The Problem With Dating Chinese Women

chinese wife

If you are dating Chinese women, either in your own country or in mainland China, or even doing a bit of online Chinese dating there is probably something you should know first: Many Chinese women who’s native language is actually Mandarin, don’t really translate the word ‘dating’ or ‘date’ from English into Chinese, into the meaning you might think they do!

A ‘date’, when translated back into Chinese frequently only means an ‘appointment’, and doesn’t necessarily contain the romantic connotations the word in English does. It then, therefore, becomes quite a subjective term based on pre-conceived notions (theirs, and not yours), and not least, a bit of convenient obtusification on their part, when it suits them.

What does this mean for you in real terms if you are dating Chinese women? Simply put, it means you can be led through a merry old dance with little to no results necessarily.

In most western countries, a girl agreeing to go on a date with you shows at least some kind of tentative commitment to perhaps beginning a relationship, but in mainland China it often means nothing. This can also be the case if the girl in question has immigrated from China to a western country. It takes quite a few years before they adapt to the western concept of dating, as in going out with a guy actually means something; some never do in fact.

Chinese wife

This is basically because within China, friendships between males and females are way more common, with often no actual interest in developing a physical relationship on either persons part. In some ways, it’s actually one of the nicer aspects of Chinese culture. Not every Chinese male dating Chinese women is trying to get into the girls pants should he get the chance (having said that, there are many others who are, but by ratio, less than non-Chinese males).

I have a Chinese male friend who consistently ‘dates’ a selection of Chinese girls. All the girls know he takes other girls out, and all the girls know he does pretty much the same thing with those other girls, that he does with them, i.e. absolutely nothing! Except pay the bill.

Talk about spoiling it for every other guy alive!

Many Chinese girls seem to imagine in fact, that to be taken out by a male and have dinner and a movie paid for without any chance of a potential relationship, is their God given birth right. Apparently (and this comes from the horses mouth) what they are giving is the pleasure of their scintillating company, and the grace of their presence, not to mention giving him good ‘face’!

Personally, I can do without ‘face’, and could do with a bit more of ‘the other’, if you catch my drift. In Chinese Karaoke bars, KTV, you can pay for a girl to sit beside you and ‘entertain’ you. Now, I’m not alluding to anything sexual here when I say ‘entertain’, I mean they apparently entertain you by merely sitting there and sometimes making conversation and perhaps singing a song if you ask them to.

I once tried it out of curiosity with a group of friends. The girls were brought into the room and you pick one, pay money and she plops herself down beside you. I felt so uncomfortable and actually bored (she was no conversationalist, in Chinese or English), that I ended up ‘entertaining’ her! I paid for the privilege of entertaining her… somethings not quite right with that picture now is there?

It was one of the most dull experiences of my life, not to mention the money I spent on this, although it wasn’t much, to this day still grinds on me. It would have been better spent on a burger, a burger would have been more ‘entertaining’ in fact. I could have sat beside the Ronald McDonald statue, and he would have made pretty much the same amount of conversation as the girl did (although with a depth and wit only Ronald McDonald can muster).

Ronald McDonald, debonair charmer that puts KTV girls to shame

When I asked subsequent Chinese girlfriends what exactly the point of the KTV deal was, it came down to two things: 1. If you can afford to have a pretty girl just sit beside you and keep you company it means you must be ‘rich’, and if so, you really have good ‘face‘. Apparently that night I should have been ‘walking on air’, with the admiration of fellow males, and my new found status of ‘face‘ (I can’t say I really noticed it).

And 2. The initial fee is something of an introduction fee, after that, if you like the girl, you then negotiate a price for her to come home with you. Not all KTV girls are prostitutes, but if they are not in the beginning, they certainly are by choice at a later stage. Again, I think Ronald McDonald would have been a better prospect, and that’s saying something bearing in mind he was rather stiff too.

dating chinese girlsWhat does all this KTV talk have to do with dating Chinese women? Well, it’s that the basic premiss is, in Chinese culture, that a woman is really doing you a favor by simply being seen with you! Many Chinese women really do believe that to be the case in fact, because many Chinese males actually do too.

They simply carry this opinion over to when they are dating western guys, imagining we must think the same thing also.

When dating Chinese women this can lead to a real waste of your time and money if you’re not careful. Since I wrote my book ‘Chinese dating secrets exposed’ in 2011 ( I actually I began writing it in 2010 based on numerous Dating Chinese Women experiences), I had plenty of the readers of the book tell me they had experienced exactly the exact same thing I’m talking about here.

Many used my methods to change the situation into their favor, while others realized it was really going nowhere, and focused their attentions elsewhere.

What I want to say is don’t buy that whole ‘Chinese culture’ deal Chinese girls are fond of telling western males that they should follow and understand. It’s often just a convenient excuse for the girl to string a guy along and be ‘entertained’ without actually ever intending on moving the relationship forward at any stage.

There are few Chinese girls that are so called ‘traditional’ these days, and those that really are, almost never consider a relationship with a non-Chinese in the first place. Beware.


Written by Sam Reeves

Sam Reeves is a corporate manger in China and author of ‘Chinese Dating Secrets Exposed’. He has lived in China for ten years (give or take) and been involved with the Chinese community in his native country for many a year. He is interested in all things Chinese (but is still not quite sure why).


Sam Reeves

Sam Reeves is a corporate manger in China and author of 'Chinese Dating Secrets Exposed'. He has lived in China for ten years (give or take) and been involved with the Chinese community in his native country for many a year. He is interested in all things Chinese (but is still not quite sure why).

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13 thoughts on “The Problem With Dating Chinese Women

  1. Pingback: Hao Hao Report

  2. Hi,

    I had quite a few experiences with Chinese girls and what you say it's true: they are "spoiled" because Chinese guys never get to the point. I guess it's a matter of face: if they try to get the girl and she refuses they would lose face. So they don't make any move (yeah, I'm generalizing but this is the only way to talk about dating and so on…)

    However I find that if you "physically escalate" since the beginning it's easy to spot the girls that want a provider (i.e. someone paying bills) and the ones that want a lover. Actually I would extend it to all girls, not only Chinese, but then again I'm Italian…

    With "escalation" I don't mean you should kiss them after two minutes you guys meet. It's more about establishing a physical contact and then steadily increase it.

    She's a woman, she will get the point.

    Another important fact it's to manage expectation: If at your first "date" you bring the girl to an expensive restaurant and pay the bill, of course she thinks she's a princess.

    So I would prefer a casual date, actually I would not even call it a date… just let's meet up for a coffee or something

    An example? I would meet a girl at Starbucks, arrive late and then bring her to the supermarket and buy stuff I needed for my daily life. She would help me. Then I would invite her to dinner and cook for her. As I cooked, she would washes dishes…

    Of course not all girls would accept to come to my house at the first "date" nor the fact they come to my house would always lead to sex, which is fine.

    However something was clear: I was not going to pay for bills nor to wait too long…

    • Yep, I think you've got some real good points there.

      Managing expectations is a really good one, that's so true. Without that they will just expect the same deal as they get with many Chinese guys, as in, long drawn out protracted 'dinner dating' without any need for action or commitment (physically or otherwise) on their part.

      I love the way you get them to wash the dishes by the way. It's fair in my opinion, since you are cooking for her after all.

      Tell me Furio, as I've always wondered this, but never had a chance to ask an Italian guy directly, have you found there's a deep connection between Chinese culture and Italian culture in relation to the deep feeling toward food and cooking? I'm guessing it's a real bonus for Italian guys with a Chinese girlfriend?

      • yes, we are really enthusiastic about food and so chinese are. So i guess this help to create a connexion early on the interaction

        The problems is that many young girls here in china dont really know how to cook beside eggs and tomato

        So for me it has often be onee way: i talk about italian food and they listen

  3. Yes, the famous 'eggs and tomato' dish. I've had more eggs and tomato than I can stomach for one lifetime.

    Coca-cola chicken wings are slightly better, but the same menu does get a bit dull. Like you, I generally just cook myself. It's way less trouble.

  4. This is totally wrong from everything I have seen. MEn and women aren't friends. Couples 'date' with the intention of marriage. What Chinese girl in her right mind will waste her time without getting a husband out of it??

    • Men and women aren't friends? I have a lot of female friends… and as far as I know, none of them are secretly planning to marry me Dia. 'Some' couples date with the intention to marry, some do not. I know plenty of Chinese relationships where both parties freely admit they have no intention of marrying the other (not while the other partner is there though), yet they still continue as it's considered 'secure'.

      If you consider any Chinese girl that dates without wanting to get a husband out of it, to not be 'in their right mind', then I can only say there are therefore a fair number of Chinese girls technically not in their right mind by your definition, although not by mine.

      Personally I think it's somewhat crazy to just marry the first person who comes along, but that's just me. Different cultures, different views, and would even venture to say 'different sexes, different views'.

      As to 'dating' with the intention to marry, the point I was making is the term 'dating' is a rather flexible one (in Chinese usage) with sometimes unclear definitions being used on occasions, sometimes deliberately so. Dating can simply mean meeting someone, they frequently mistakenly use this word in the English translation.

  5. You guys are exactly right! I am glad I googled this dating Chinese woman stuff. I was being patient as hell, and thought I had something going. They are stringing us along guys, don't waste your time. Anyone out there ever break through the ice?

    • Ya… It just takes time and doesn't work with all of them Mark. There are just certain types that can change and are willing to, and others that absolutely never will.

      I should say there are some good ones though Mark, it's just you've gotta' go through a lot to find them!

  6. If you were raised with any sense of old fashioned dating at all you might notice something. Even in American culture, when a guy is with a girl he should pay for things and treat her well like a date. The girl IS doing the guy a favor by spending time with him. It's the guy's job to make this enjoyable for her.

    And dating isn't exclusive unless you agree it is. Or you've gotten serious enough you think it's time. It is normal to date multiple people.

    If you're just talking about taking home as many girls as you can. That is exempt from old-fashioned dating etiquette. But for dating none of the Chinese tradition sounds different from old-fashioned American traditions.

    Paying for dates is part of a guys gender role. If you don't like it, don't date. Women are much more capable of being alone than guys. It's just part of life, get used to it.

    As for being friends and not going any further. That's great. Most of my friends are women. And a lot of them I don't want to go any further with. It sounds like a comfortable environment where you can interact without fear of sending the wrong message.

    As far as dating goes, it sounds like the Chinese have it down. It sounds like you guys are after something else, like adding more names to your list.

    • Hi Jangotat,

      Actually what you describe as in 'non-exclusive dating' is an American precept, not a world precept. If there is 'contact/intimacy' it is exclusive, especially in Chinese culture. As to wanting 'something' else, well… a grown man can't hold hands for very long you know… especially if the female in question is way past the age for just simple hand holding :)

      As to your other point, I wasn't raised with any sense of old-fashioned dating. I was raised in the seventies and eighties, and my mother is a feminist. There is a big difference with the first date and second date a man paying, as oppossed to forever without any hope of progress… and I did mean a relationship, not just sex. I don't mean Chinese females make it clear there is no possibility of a relationship, I mean they deliberately obtusify the fact that there isn't.

      You and I have obviously a marked difference of experience with women, as I don't believe, nor have I ever believed, that is a woman is doing me a favor by going out with me. That mindset will end up with a man paying out the ear for a very long time, when another guy isn't. I'd rather not waste my time, and don't usually have to.

      Thanks for your comment.

  7. Somewhat accurate about my experience in Thailand,–especially Chinese-Thai. My experience is in the middle-age range. Young girls just out of high school are keen to have a baby and a father to go along with it. inter-family alliances influence all of this. Dating middle-age divorcees are the ones that are most similar to your model. Widows–and there are many–eager, not angrily playing game.

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