Ask the Yangxifu: Chinese-American Woman Seeking Boyfriend/Husband in China

Michelle Guo (photo from http://itsmichelleguo.wordpress.com/about/)

For this week’s Ask the Yangxifu column — which features a question from a Chinese-American woman — I decided to turn to Michelle Guo (who was featured in the post I ran a couple of weeks ago called Double Happiness: How One Chinese American Woman Married a Chinese National) for answers. She blogs about expat life in Beijing and social media tips at her site. Thanks to Michelle for stepping in to answer this question!

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E asks:

I’m a 2nd generation Chinese-American, and I’d like to expand my boundaries and look for a possible boyfriend (or husband) in China.

Although most of your posts are aimed primarily at Western women who aren’t Chinese, I was wondering if the same rules applied for Chinese-Americans, or if things get even more complicated from there. I’m afraid that native Chinese people will look down on me for numerous reasons, such as my not being able to speak Chinese (however I am learning Mandarin), my not-typical-Chinese-girl looks (short hair and a naturally more curvy figure), my not-typical-Chinese-girl attitude (I tend to have a more Western mindset, however I do enjoy many Chinese cultural things and am proud of my Chinese heritage), and the fact that my own parents were not born in China.

Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated!

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Good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone and being open to a relationship with a Chinese man! I myself am also Chinese-American (my parents immigrated to the US at a young age, and I was born there), and I am approaching my one-year anniversary with my husband, who is from Henan Province in China. I’d say that in a Chinese-American woman/Chinese man relationship you don’t necessarily have more or less complications than other Western women/Chinese men. It’s more like you trade in some complications for others. 😛

Each couple’s situation is different, so I can only speak from my own experience. I’ve actually asked my husband before if he would have married me if I was a Caucasian-American woman. He replied honestly, “Maybe not, because I don’t think I’m physically attracted to Caucasian women.” Then again, he’s also said that he likes that I’m different from traditional Chinese women, particularly that I’m more independent and not super high maintenance. So he basically gets a wife who looks Chinese but has the views and personality traits that he admires in Western women. Lucky guy.

I think the fact that you’re learning Mandarin is admirable and humble, definitely not a reason to look down on you. Cross-cultural relationships are awesome because you end up speaking in your own bilingual language. I wrote about this in my blog post titled “The Language of Love,” where I talked about how my husband and I speak a mix of English and Chinese and it feels like our own secret language. I do realize it’s not actually a secret language and that a billion people in this country can understand at least half of what we’re saying, but it’s fun nonetheless.

I’ve actually talked to a lot of local Chinese guys who prefer curvier bodies over anorexic ones. My husband has told me many times before that in his hometown, they actually prefer to find wives who are tall, have darker skin, and have some meat on their bones. I chose to take that last quality as a compliment. He said that the reason why they want wives who are curvier is so that it’s easier to give birth to a baby. In which case, it would make sense in a lot of places in China that the preference is a curvier body over a stick-thin one if it means you have a better ability to bear children.

Since I’ve never been a non-Chinese Western woman in a relationship with a Chinese man, it’s hard to say whether it’s more or less complicated than being a Chinese-American woman with a Chinese man. I’d say in general, more of the cultural issues you’ll experience will have more to do with differences in thinking and expectations than in how you both look. But one thing I can say for sure, it’s definitely worth it to go out there and give Chinese men (and yourself) a chance. 🙂

Michelle Guo blogs about expat life in Beijing and social media tips.

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Do you have a question about life, dating, marriage and family in China/Chinese culture or Western culture? Send me yours today.

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10 thoughts on “Ask the Yangxifu: Chinese-American Woman Seeking Boyfriend/Husband in China

  • May 17, 2013 at 8:06 am
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    I’m a Caucasian-American woman with a Chinese fiancee. He has told me on numerous occasions what you mention in the article about curvy women and childbirth, Michelle. One of his aunts told him, after meeting me during Spring Festival, that curvier women can bear children more easily. I was a bit surprised by this statement so I’m glad to hear someone else has been told the same thing. Personally, I feel any relationship, regardless of cultural or ethnic differences is complicated. I have several friends back home who have more troubling relationships, mostly because they just assume they are on the same page. Unlike my previous relationships (with Caucasian-American men), my fiancee and I don’t make assumptions.

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  • May 17, 2013 at 9:01 am
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    Chinese/Asian men do like curves. All of my Asian/Chinese friends like curvy body more than skinny body type.

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  • May 17, 2013 at 3:16 pm
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    Michelle Guo is one of the few American Born Asians (Chinese specifically), whose experiences in China taught her more of her ancestral heritage and be proud and be part of that vibrant society that’s coming back to the World Stage.

    I’m glad I’ll come across such a beautiful story of her love in China and how she embraces it.

    Reply
  • May 17, 2013 at 8:53 pm
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    I think that the question E has asked is quite interesting. I would think that it really depends on how much Chinese culture you got to know from your parents and/or grandparents or from other influences (like TV or whatsoever). If it wasn’t that much at all, I guess the relationship wouldn’t be too different from Western women who don’t have any Chinese roots who are together with Chinese men. I could also imagine that there might be some misunderstandings if you find a Chinese guy who assumes that you’re Chinese at heart just because of your roots and who wouldn’t take into account your growing up in the US.
    I think that most Chinese guys (or most guys in that case) like curvy bodies, not just because of the child-bearing thing (which I doubt is true), but also because curves are really sexy.

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  • May 17, 2013 at 9:27 pm
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    It is so interesting how the blgo is evolving! Last articles are about Chinese-American women interested in Chinese men, it shows a trend and the way Michelle explains it shows that differences might be similar to any other Western – Asian relationship.
    As @chinaelevator stories mentioned maybe is confusing at the beginning, when you see a Chinese woman but inside is American, this might create some different and interesting talks, assuming that you are and feel Chinese because your outside looks Chinese may lead to assuming that you are Chinese, but you are American. Interesting!

    Curvy women are the symbol of fertility, it does matter when it comes to childbirth.
    Short women usually have small pelvis, if the baby is average or larger than average sized the risk of cephalo pelvic disproportion s higher, that makes it difficult for your baby to come out of your body and increases the chances of having a C-section.
    It doesn’t mean very small women are always going to face this issue, but it increases the risk. That’s why they always recommend to keep active, practice positions and be flexible.

    Higher rates of C-section for Asian Mothers, why is this happening?:
    – Hospital’s revenue
    – Predict a good date for the delivery
    – “My friends did it so I also do it”
    – One child policy makes it a huge project
    – OB-Gyns pushing C-section (financially speaking is good for them)
    – etc
    In the case of China is not easy to know if the size of the pelvis has something to do with the C-section rates, but Hospitals are pushing and promoting C-sections.

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  • May 17, 2013 at 11:11 pm
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    @E – Have you dated with ABC men here in US ? Wouldn’t that be easier ?

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  • May 18, 2013 at 5:57 am
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    I think Chinese men like curves, but I’ve found people in China can be a bit harsh if your weight goes much over 50 kg. Obviously it depends on your height, but it does seem like the sort of place where your partner / coworkers / landlord / neighbour feels free to comment on your weight. I remember putting photos online of a trip to Huangshan only to find my coworkers standing around the office discussing how I looked fatter in them.

    As some said above, I think the only problem might be that they expect you to magically understand their behaviour just because you are also Chinese. On Western mindset, I suppose one big difference is that you might like a nice debate over dinner, which I thought put a lot of guys off unless they had been abroad or did a postgraduate degree. It also might take awhile to get used to being um, babied. I found a lot of my male friends would cut up my food for me or suggest I not eat certain things and although I found it sweet, it could also be a little embarrassing. I suppose I just had to recognize that they were showing that they care in different ways and that they weren’t trying to be patronizing.

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  • May 18, 2013 at 8:29 am
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    @Amanda: I guess you’re right with the weight thing, but there seems to be no way around it, you’re either too chubby or too skinny (they’ll comment on you being too skinny just as much as they would comment on you being too chubby). Either way, it can be annoying to hear people comment on one’s weight all of the time.

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  • May 21, 2013 at 2:39 am
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    I am native Chinese, and I only like cucasian females, but also I perfer skinny type, I don’t mind height but I do mind the weight.

    Fit is always better

    From a tough guy ‘s opinions so with all my buddies who are over 6’2″ and weight 200 pounds at least.

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  • May 30, 2013 at 5:46 pm
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    I prefer Asian girls who are bit more Westernised (but not totally white washed). Even with native born Asians preferably they have lived abroad for a certain period of time. Yeah, I definitely like my woman with some curves on them lol.

    Reply

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