Dating Chinese: What's it like to have a Chinese Boyfriend?

Read on to know how it is to date and have a Chinese boyfriend!

By Bella
Dating Chinese: What's it like to have a Chinese Boyfriend?

What You Need To Know About Dating A Chinese

Dating someone from another race and culture definitely comes with its own set of challenges. While this article serves as a guide, this is not meant to stereotype Chinese men. It is best not to jump to any conclusions either. Cultural intelligence and good interpersonal skills will go a long way when it comes to relationships. Chinese men in America might be more liberal and similar to Western boyfriends, whereas, Chinese men from mainland China may behave differently. There are Chinese men living in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, and Malaysia as well, and they may not share the same traditions and customs as those living in China. 

What To Expect When Dating A Chinese Boyfriend?

He may take a bit of time to warm up to you. But don’t mistake that for a lack of affection-they come from a culture where they are less likely to show overt forms of love, such as hugging or kissing. 

They are very hardworking and driven. They don’t bum around or expect handouts from a girlfriend. Financially, they are not dead-weights.

What Is The Difference Between Chinese And Western Boyfriends?


Man carrying woman shopping items by Gan Khoon Lay from the Noun Project

As for western boyfriends, they may end up splitting the bill wherever you go out for dinner with them. For Chinese boyfriends, often, they may end up treating their girlfriend to a meal at a restaurant. Hence, there is a strong emphasis on chivalry, such as opening car doors for their girlfriends or helping their girlfriends carry heavy things.

Filial piety and parenting styles

Chinese boyfriends tend to come from collectivist cultures so they tend to be closer to their parents, and they value filial piety.

In Asian countries, it is quite common for Asian men to live with their parents until they get married, which is a stark contrast to American men. This could also be due to the high rent and property prices in Asian countries, especially endemic in Singapore and Hong Kong. 

Sometimes, adult children who have helicopter parents who hover over their lives and those who were raised by authoritarian parenting styles may consult their parents before making major decisions. Hence, when dating a western girlfriend, Chinese men may end up feeling emasculated at times, and those who are close to their mothers may be nicknamed "Mommy's boy."

Financial support by Symbolon from the Noun Project

Moreover, they might be expected to financially support their parents in old age. Some of them may end up giving them a small allowance of a few hundred dollars each month.

Height differences

Asian men(1.7m on average) are generally shorter than White men. Despite this, due to a better diet and nutrition, Asian men have grown taller over the years. Moreover, there are some Asian men who may be exceptionally tall, standing at 1.8m or 1.9m. You may have to take their height into account if you are wearing heels unless you don't mind being taller than him.

What Are Chinese Customs In Relationships?

No sex before marriage

Although some Chinese men may have adopted more liberal attitudes, some Chinese men still possess conservative values. Virginity is seen as a prized possession that is reserved for marriage. They would prefer to have a girlfriend who is a virgin.

Til death do us part

When the going gets tough, he may be more inclined to stick around and resolve the differences between you and him. Chinese men are usually very serious and committed. Once you end up marrying a Chinese man, he may be reluctant to file for divorce and choose to work out the differences and conflicts in the relationship with you. Widowed or divorced women may end up stigmatised as well.

Pressure to settle down

There might be some pressure to settle down with him, from either his parents, relatives, or himself. Chinese men are often expected to carry on the family lineage by having children, preferably a son, as they believe that sons will take on their father's surname, whereas daughters may end up being married off to a man. Chinese parents used to be biased towards sons over daughters, giving their sons preferential treatment, but times have changed, and not all families are the same.


Asian men tend to come from a culture where they are supposed to study hard at a young age and get into a good university. Afterward, they usually aspire to climb the career ladder. They rarely end up as househusbands as well. 

Head of the household

Family Burden by Gan Khoon Lay from the Noun Project

Men were traditionally perceived as the head of the household. They were expected to support their families and bring home the bacon. They used to wear the pants in the family, and women were supposed to be more submissive. Due to a rise in egalitarianism, women in Asian countries tend to earn more than before. Therefore, most households may end up as dual-income households, with both parties playing an equal role. Asian women's roles in the workplace and family have evolved over time, with most of them choosing to stay single and become successful career women. (女强人 ) They have also become more assertive, outspoken, and independent over the years. Since then, Asian men have had to adapt to these changes gradually.

Inauspicious gifts

Clocks and tissue papers

Clocks and tissue papers are deemed as inauspicious gifts. As for clocks, the meaning could be macabre and morbid, ie. to signify that the person’s time on earth is limited. The Chinese word for clock is (zhōng)钟 and combine it with 送(sòng), which is the Chinese word forgiving, it becomes 送钟(sòng zhōng). This phrase rhymes with 送终 (sòng zhōng), which means to send someone away on their last journey. Old folks are especially scared of death.

Tissue papers imply that the person would have an unhappy occasion to cry about.


Giving someone a pair of shoes means that the person may eventually walk away from you, which may cause you to break up with him or her. The Chinese word for shoes(鞋xie) also rhymes with(中邪zhongxie) or cursed.

Knives and scissors

Knives and scissors are frowned upon, as it is a symbol for “cutting ties”, or ending a relationship(断绝关系duan jue guanxi) with the person. 

The word “4” aka 四(si) rhymes with 死(si) which means dying in Chinese. Hence, it is best to refrain from gifts that contain the number 4 in it.

Among the Chinese, it is quite common for them to exchange oranges during Chinese New Year, or send fruit baskets to each other when hospitalized. However, one should avoid giving pears(梨子lizi) as it rhymes with 离开(likai), the Chinese term for leaving.

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When it comes to dating Chinese men, it is best not to generalize them or think of them as one monolithic entity. It is best to read up on common customs and traditions, but date them with an open mind, and take the advice on the internet with a pinch of salt. There is no such thing as "one size fits all" when it comes to relationships, and your experiences may vary greatly from other people. Perhaps you may find that you get along with Chinese men very well, or you may find that you are incompatible with them due to clashing values and principles.