Western women dating in china
Although I admire the strong bond people here have with their parents, being with a man whose mother plays such a fundamental part of his life undermines any sense of a mature relationship.
My Chinese girlfriends often moan about their exhausting mother-in-laws, who become jealous if their son pays his wife too much attention.
Having a native boyfriend was like being given a key to China.
I learned so much more about the country, its people and their values during the three years we were together.
I also understand what really makes Chinese people tick.
I know that when I have dinner with my boss, it is best to make sure that his cup is always filled with tea, and that the quickest way to impress someone is to ask whether they have eaten.
So at the ripe age of 30, I have given up on trying to find my Mr Right. In Beijing, even the most average Western men are able to attract pretty Chinese girls, who seem to be under the impression that they have all the style and sophistication of Daniel Craig.
I’ve had two Chinese boyfriends while I’ve been in China and the second relationship was serious, the kind in which the idea of marriage and children wasn’t petrifying.
Living as I do in a city as vibrant and bizarre as Beijing has its good points – and its bad.
Although exciting and unpredictable, from its fascinating culture to its mind-bending language, it’s certainly not an ideal place to find long-term love, no matter how beautiful, smart, successful and hilarious you may be.
But then I always have had an unusual taste in men.
Even as a teen, instead of practising my snogging technique on a poster of Nick from the Backstreet Boys, I would be daydreaming of Lister (Craig Charles) from Red Dwarf.
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Most Western women shy away from the prospect of having a Chinese boyfriend: they find them too traditional, overly effeminate (it doesn’t help that many carry handbags and adore boybands such as Westlife), and the cultural barrier too immense to overcome.