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This post was edited by linda_sun at 2012-10-20 16:08|
Oct 20, 2012By Andrea Scarlatelli, eChinacities.com With all the talk about foreigners dating Chinese (and the possible pitfalls and perks that situation may provide), it's sometimes hard to forget that foreigners also date…well, other foreigners. It's true that couples, especially married ones, move to China together, often for job-related reasons, but more often, foreigners come over here solo, and quickly find themselves looking for a partner with whom to share the fabulous craziness of this country. But while it may seem easier to just date a fellow foreigner of similar background to you (especially if you don't speak Chinese), foreigners dating foreigners can present almost as many obstacles as foreigners dating Chinese. Read on for some of the highlights and lowlights of dating your fellow countrymen and women.
1) They will happily put up with your "In China, I…" stories
Oh, we wearisome expats. We've all experienced that awful feeling of going home and, in the middle of elaborating on an obviously fascinating tidbit about living in China, being rudely shut down by blank stares or indifferently shrugged shoulders of friends or family members. But dating someone who is simultaneously experiencing his or her own This is China moments?! That, my friend, puts you on level footing. Now, you'll never have to worry that your romantic and, consequently, conversational partner is getting tired of hearing how some Chinese guy almost launched a snot rocket directly onto your foot or how foreigners need to just, like, get out of "the bubble," man—because you'll likely be hearing the exact same stories yourself! Let the titillating conversations begin…
2) Fewercross-cultural barriers to break down
I'm certainly not saying that all foreigners, (or even all Westerners) are culturally homogenous. There are plenty of couples where each partner comes from a different country, and I'm sure they encounter certain cultural barriers at some point or another. But it's not much of a stretch to say that "Western" couples (even those who come from different countries) have a much easier time navigating social and cultural norms than when a foreigner dates a Chinese. Living arrangements, gender roles, and social expectations that may not always fly here in China are all generally agreed upon by a large proportion of Westerners.
3) (Probable) Agreement on where to live
At least from my personal experiences with meeting (and saying goodbye to) fellow expats in China, it seems that most do not intend on staying here. Whether he or she moved here for a job, school, or just to blow through some money while "figuring things out," the likelihood is great that China is not a permanent resting place. This means that, while forging a relationship, both of you will probably have some sort of agreement about moving home…eventually. As long as that "eventually" remains flexible (my husband convinced me to move here for "one year" and we're happily settling into our fourth), long-term plans can be a source of excitement and even a way to bring you closer together. But all the foreigners I know who have married a Chinese citizen wrestle continuously with homesickness for family back home and their love for their Chinese partner who wants to remain in China. And trust me—China almost always wins.
4) Friendlier on the wallet
Certainly there are Chinese citizens who make plenty of money. One need only to glance outside an apartment window and watch the Porsches and Ferraris zoom down the streets to see that that's true. However, the average Chinese worker makes, at best, a modest salary—one that isn't necessarily conducive to the "expat lifestyle" to which foreigners tend to become so accustomed. Foreigners, however, have a higher probability of working for a foreign company and, thus, making more money. Two foreigners dating each other, then, would presumably have more money to spend on all those high-class excursions like 100 RMB all-you-can-drink open bars. And no discussion of finances and relationships in China would be complete without mentioning the costs associated with dating (and eventually marrying) a Chinese. While we've already covered the topic heavily in the past, it's worth repeating in brief: the expectations of owning an apartment and car (for the guys), not to mention that all of those annual hongbaos, presents and treated dinners with close friends and family quickly add up!