Ask the Yangxifu: Waiting to Marry a Chinese Man | Speaking of China

17 Responses

  1. Sara
    Sara September 10, 2010 at 3:58 am | | Reply

    I would tell Waitingbride the same thing, make sure you will marry three years after. My situation with my Chinese ex was different but the similarity was that his parents didn’t approve me because I was waiguoren, not Chinese. He promised me everything and said he want’s to spend his life with me. But after five years he listened to his parents, met a Chinese girl and left me. In that order.

    I really do understand your concern with waiting. And I don’t know how to know that your boyfriend will surely marry you after. Well, maybe the registering the marriage would be the strongest proof.

    I really do hope that everything will go fine with you two and you will get married after three years. I hope my comment doesn’t make you worry more, but I wanted to tell I’ve been there.

  2. Jessica
    Jessica September 10, 2010 at 8:37 am | | Reply

    Maybe I’m being cynical but I do see some red flags. 5 years is a long time to be together, especially in China, without a firm commitment or a promise of one. As for the mourning period, it really depends on how strictly traditional your guy is. My husband lost his mother about a year and a half before we were married and although my husband is a “filial” son from a relatively traditional part of China, the mourning period never factored into our marriage plans. According to my husband these days not many people follow these old customs, although your milage may vary depending on where exactly in China your boyfriend is from. However, add to that the family disapproval, I would be worried that he’s making excuses, that what is really going on is that he can’t bear to go against his mom’s wishes and he’s biding his time hoping that something will change.

    I would tell him that I respect the mourning period, but ask if you could register your marriage like the others suggested. In China it is the wedding banquet that really “counts” even if the registration is what makes you married in the eyes of the law. Or perhaps he could take you and declare his intention to marry you after the 3 years are up in front of his mother, thus making it “real.” He’s Chinese, he should understand better almost that a Western guy wanting to married before you get “too old” because Chinese parents put this sort of pressure on their own kids all the time. In fact, I can’t imagine a Chinese guy asking a 29 year old Chinese woman to wait another 3 years to get married, since her parents most likely would be having none of it. I don’t think a shotgun wedding is the answer, but I do think you need to get some sort of real promise of commitment otherwise it just isn’t fair to ask you to keep waiting. Just my opinion, of course!

  3. Laura
    Laura September 10, 2010 at 3:08 pm | | Reply

    I don’t want to sound cynical either…and I’m sure this post will probably get a lot of responses from men and women who have been in the same position, so I recognize that my experience is not true for everyone. I will just tell you a bit about my experience.

    I was in love with an American-born Korean man for about 4 years. We were set up by friends, immediately became inseparable, and had a truly wonderful friendship and relationship. However, his parents were VERY strongly against him marrying a non-Korean woman. Without their approval, our marriage would be very difficult to go forward. It was hard to stomach their hypocrisy, which I will not get into here out of respect for elders.

    What it really boils down to, though, is does the man want to marry you or not? If he does, he will have the strength to weather what life throws at him to be with you in order to be your husband. If not, he will drag things out – probably forever if you’ll let him.

    To contrast that with my Chinese born and raised husband… We met and married within 6 months. It feels 10000 times more right and I love him 10000 more than I could ever love anyone else, including my ex that I was so sure I wanted to marry. I think one of the reasons it feels so right with my husband is that he is MAN enough to go for what he wants!!

    Also, his family treats me like their own daughter, and they have MUCH more to lose than my ex. Our marriage could mean he will never live in China again (his parents still live there). My ex-husband’s family lived in the same city as us. It’s not like they were going to lose their son to a foreign land, never to return. So that brings me to another point. If the extended family is making things this difficult for you now, are they going to always treat you this way? Marriage is HARD WORK…way more than you can imagine. It’s hard enough when you are madly in love with one another and have family support. Take either of those away, and I just don’t see how this will work.

    My advice (you asked for it)…see if he is willing to register the marriage now…if not, move on. You might be just as surprised as I was to find your TRUE love out there.

    One last note… that ex that I was so in love with has now been stringing another American girl along for 3 years. I think it’s very telling that he’d only date “forbidden fruit”…hmm seems like someone doesn’t actually WANT to settle down!!! Glad I didn’t wait!!!

    I will pray for you to have guidance and direction for your relationship. I really hope things will work out with this man if he is in fact the right one.

  4. AOA
    AOA September 11, 2010 at 12:07 am | | Reply

    I’m Chinese Chinese and grew up in Dongbei. This story sounds very weird to me. Is such long “filial wait” still happening in China? A wait of several months or any time shorter than a year is reasonable before marriage after one’s parent passes away. It should not be a reason for asking you to wait. As I see it, it’s perfectly done to get a marriage certificate NOW from the authorities and postpone your wedding until some day when the wait is long enough.

  5. Rui
    Rui September 11, 2010 at 7:47 am | | Reply


    As a Chinese who grew up in Fujian province, and lived in China most my Life. I don’t ever remember me even hearing about this …..thing.

    The 3 years wait…what is he even talking about? I have never even heard of it.

    In fact, a lot of the things on this blog seems “foreign” to me, and I am Chinese myself!

    hehe…but then again that is why I love it so much.

  6. The Chinese guy
    The Chinese guy September 11, 2010 at 10:04 am | | Reply

    Never heard of such a long wait…

    I would however whatcha call it old Chinese phrase, um two feet one in each boat… in my twisted view of the world is means he is keeping you to one side as a booty call. While looking out for something better in the mean time.

    Do not think with your heart think with your head! There are 700,000,000 other Chinese men out there some are good evil and all the things inbetween.

    Wow that sounded weird from somebody who is somewhat anti marriage…

    But my point is you can never get the 5 years back, and in ‘investing’ 3 more years will you get it back?

  7. Richard
    Richard September 11, 2010 at 10:13 am | | Reply

    I’m thinking this is what he wants to say: “I want to be brutally honest with you. Right now, I love you and want to be with you forever, but there are some complications that I can’t get into. So, I’m going to ask you to wait 3 years before we (tentatively) marry. However, there’s no guarantee that I won’t change my mind during those 3 years. This is just how I am. If you can’t handle that, it would be best to break up now so you won’t have to endure it.”

  8. Crystal
    Crystal September 11, 2010 at 11:01 am | | Reply

    I would agree with the other commenters and say that waiting for 3 years is not a reasonable request/demand.
    The guy does not want to confront his relatives now and there is no guarantee he will be ready to do it later.

  9. Lueex
    Lueex September 13, 2010 at 2:35 am | | Reply

    As a Chinese man, I would like to tell you that some Chinese old tredition do not deserve any courage. It is ” MIXIN”. JUST INSIST YOUR CORE VALUE

  10. Xiaoheng
    Xiaoheng September 15, 2010 at 7:40 am | | Reply

    Love in the next 3 years, no guarantee!! I wish you good luck. If he really love you, he will come back and married you but on the basis that you are not married yet.

  11. Timur
    Timur March 11, 2011 at 12:58 pm | | Reply

    Waitingbride: The Chinese like all other peoples are exclusive, but mostly from cultual point of view, because the Chinese is a big melting pot or thousand of years. I would try to reach out to his mom and try to follow the traditions more than another Chinese woman to change her mind towards you. She will soften up in time and reach back your way, because deep down she understands where you came from. I think your deliemma is mom wants to move in with her son. If you can show that you are a true Chinese wife, you may not be living with her, but she is always welcomed in your house. This problem affects not only in mixed marriages but modern Chinese wives in general. You have found a true love and you are older you may want to give this suggestion a shot.

  12. Gauss Lee
    Gauss Lee November 17, 2011 at 4:52 am | | Reply

    I am not so sure where you husband is from. I am A CHINESE guy but my parents do not care what kind of girls I love since what they really care is whether the girl their son loves really loves their son….:-) They will judge from their own perspectives. Let me tell you some secrets. You must understand Chinese culture about how to be a wife and then at least show something in front of your bf’s mummy. This is not cheating. The first impression is really important on if they approve your marriage or not.

  13. DarlaNg
    DarlaNg June 20, 2014 at 6:55 am | | Reply

    I married an ethnic Chinese immigrant in the 1970’s. This was not easy, but I learned not to put up with his bull shit. We are still married after 38 years, but you have to remain a strong person, meaning don’t let his family overwhelm you. You need to place good boundaries to stay healthy.

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