Im 29, into a 5yrs realationship with a chinese man,whom i really love and want to be with the rest of my life,but the problem is that his parents does’nt want a non-Chinese for him,although he promise me that he will fight for me and build a family together in a right time,he asked me to wait 3 more years coz his father was passed away one year ago..and its a tradition..he told me that we will face the problem together regarding his family after that,besides he told me that he can fight for me coz he has enough savings and stable job and he dont need there family wealth incase his mother unrecognized him,he has his own investment too,I know how much he loves me but some times i feel so depressed coz im not getting younger anymore,i want to have a baby and family,many questions comes on my mind…what if i wait then nothing happens,sometimes i feel so lonely especially if theres an occassion and he cant stay any longer coz his relatives might caught him having a relationship wd me,i realy love him and i know he loves me too and he loves also my family…i am afraid and sometimes tired and wanna give up of waiting but i realy love him.my family and friends pressuring me why we’re not planning marriage 5yrs is enough they said, everytime i heard that i pity my self,ang cried ,pls give me advice,
It’s never easy to wait for a marriage, but your Chinese boyfriend has his reasons.
His father’s death, for one. In some parts of China, people observe shouxiao (守孝) in the wake of a parent’s death, to show respect for them. That means either getting married within three months of their passing, or three years after that.
Financial security, for another. In loving you, he faces losing all family ties. And while Chinese don’t necessarily live off their parents and relatives, these people are there for them in need. He’s going to lose that emergency financial help, so he’s going to want to make sure his finances are truly in order before walking down the aisle. Anyhow, most Chinese men simply cannot marry unless they have the savings, home and, often, car that the celebration demands (think of savings/home/car as the modern version of a dowry in China, except now it’s his responsibility).
While you’re not that old, your worries — at least from a Chinese point of view — have merit. After all, in China, when a woman reaches the age of 30, it’s as if she expired, marriage-wise. She’s often stamped as “too old,” and tossed aside in the scrapheap of unmarriageable women. Sad, but true.
Still, a baby won’t solve your problems. If you had a baby now, you’d just be replacing one worry (I’m too old) with many, many more (such as — How to take care of the child without his parents knowing? How to balance your relationship and work with child care?).
Most Chinese men do date seriously, with the intent to marry, so, chances are, you can count on a marriage when the time is up. But, it doesn’t hurt to make that intention more official.
What you need is his promise to marry you when those three years are over. You might call it an engagement, or a commitment. But whatever you call it, you need his understanding.
I would invite him out to dinner and have a nice, long talk. Say you love him very much, and he is the man you hope to spend the rest of your life with. Tell him you’re fine with waiting three years, that you realize this is part of his culture. You just would really like something that symbolizes your intentions to marry, once those three years pass (most Chinese, incidentally, do get “engaged” in a way — they call it dengji/登记, or registering the marriage in a government office, which comes before an official Chinese wedding).
It doesn’t have to be a lavish diamond ring or the queen’s jewels. It doesn’t even have to be jewelry. Just something — anything — to make your commitment official between the two of you. You could even offer to pay or share the costs (though, chances are, he won’t let you pay for anything).
Whatever you decide to say to him, make sure you don’t make this a “shotgun” engagement (as in, promise marriage or I’m gone). Otherwise, instead of waiting to marry, you could be waiting to find a new boyfriend.
What advice do you have?
Do you have a question about life, dating, marriage and family in China (or in Chinese culture)? Every Friday, I answer questions on my blog. Send me your question today.