It’s an interesting topic that hits on a lot of key cultural touchpoints, so I want to take a few minutes to talk about this.You’ll often hear people say that cultural differences are overstated or not as much of a factor as they used to be, and while there is some validity to that, cultural differences are nothing to scoff at – they do most definitely exist.
It’s also commonplace to bring a friend along, but not for a double date – it’s more like a chaperon, buffer or safety net.
Anyway, all of this means that in China itself, if you're dating someone seriously, marriage is at least on the table.
If your parents and other family members married out of convenience rather than romance, there isn’t a lot to help guide you when trying to find a romantic partner you really click with.
The same girl I mentioned before – her parents’ marriage was arranged by her father's commanding officer in the military, and I’d occasionally ask her, do you really think you should take dating advice from people who’ve never dated?
Even if it’s not such a big deal to her personally, it's still something that's on her mind and that her parents will be bringing up just about every time they see her.
As a result, being intimate before marriage is a lot less common in China than in the West, though this is not so much the case anymore among younger, more urbanized Chinese.
Her date literally couldn’t believe his luck and immediately tried to set up a time for another date.
Altogether, the cultural emphasis on marrying early, particularly for women, means that dating is imbued with a lot more meaning and isn’t something to be taken lightly.
While in the West we might try to play it cool and not be in constant contact with someone, in China it’s common to text or call multiple times a day, even if the relationship isn’t even remotely serious yet.
This particular cultural difference, is, in my experience, a big reason so many intercultural relationships fail; I know one girl I met texted me five times the next day – a serious no-no for me but standard procedure for her.
The man is generally supposed to handle all the decision making in Chinese dating, and some girls take this very seriously.