3 Challenging Things About Meeting the Parents for People in Intercultural/Interracial Relationships | Speaking of China

27 Responses

  1. Constance - Foreign Sanctuary
    Constance - Foreign Sanctuary June 29, 2015 at 9:00 am | | Reply

    My husband and I have been lucky in most regards. However, my brother-in-law did give a few snide comments about my husband and our relationship at the beginning over the phone – something that my husband has asked me to blog about and I will. When they finally did meet, my husband brought it up as a joke [but I knew he wanted to make a point and wanted to let my BIL know that he knew] and my BIL was so embarrassed.

    1. Autumn
      Autumn June 29, 2015 at 9:33 am | | Reply

      Ha! Good for your husband. Bide your time, turn it into a joke, and zing the offending relative. I suppose it is childish of me to cheer, but, yeah, I love it.

  2. marghini
    marghini June 29, 2015 at 9:30 am | | Reply

    I was also very lucky as my bf’s family is very well traveled, lived abroad for a long time and is from Hong Kong (which is more international than Mainland China).

    I think dating a Mainland Chinese with traditional parents must be a real challenge. I frankly cannot imagine myself doing it, but kudos to those who successfully overcame the obstacles!

  3. Autumn
    Autumn June 29, 2015 at 9:41 am | | Reply

    Yeah, my welcome by the China-born parents wasn’t exactly warm, but I think Andy timed it nicely. A few months before we started dating, his parents tried to push a suitable Chinese girl on him during a family trip to Hong Kong. Andy ignored her, then showed up with me the following year.

    By then he was almost thirty and the parents were probably desperate. So I guess that’s my oh-so helpful advice. Wait to show up until the parents are worried their #1 son may never give them grandchildren!

    1. Sara
      Sara July 1, 2015 at 2:04 pm | | Reply

      My husband’s family often jokes that they were also getting worried as Alan had never brought a girl home before. The only thing his mother said to me before we got married was that I have to be absolutely sure that I want to be with Alan, they don’t do divorce and it was okay if I had changed my mind. She said that in a caring way, wanting to make sure that I was in it for good.

  4. Susan Blumberg-Kason
    Susan Blumberg-Kason June 29, 2015 at 10:47 am | | Reply

    Lovely post! Although I didn’t have any problems with my Chinese ex-in laws, I’ve always been an other in my relationships and it has to have been hard for the parents I’ve met, whether it was being American in my first marriage or a divorced single mother in my second. I have friends who were cut off from their families for marrying Chinese men or men of other races or religions. It’s really tragic.

  5. Ruth - China Elevator Stories
    Ruth - China Elevator Stories June 29, 2015 at 10:52 am | | Reply

    Great article!

    For us, the Chinese parents are very welcoming, but unfortunately we’ve had some racist remarks from the Austrian side (often indirect remarks, making it hard to reply to it). I hope that this will change with time.

  6. baixiaotai
    baixiaotai June 29, 2015 at 11:39 am | | Reply

    I have some thoughts about first point – what if his parents don’t want him to date with foreigner? Well… sometimes it’s better just stop the relation at this point, you know.
    My first Chinese boyfriend took me with him to visit his parents during Chinese New Year. We were supposed to stay there as long as we could, but after everyday-comments “she will leave you”, “don’t be stupid”, “this is the last time we see her” and so on we just left. At the beginning I believed that our love will change an old man’s view over the time. Now I know that if prejudice is that strong, there is a big chance that outsider has to go, because for many Chinese guys family (understood as parents, grandparents etc.) stands first. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. It just means he doesn’t want to choose between family and you and he wants a simple life. For my first Chinese boyfriend there was no choosing. It was obvious parents aren’t happy with his idea of having white girlfriend, so he just made me go.
    And you know? I’m very glad it went that way. Now I have a good husband and his family loves me, too. I don’t have to struggle. Sometimes it’s just not worth fighting.

    1. Autumn
      Autumn June 29, 2015 at 1:06 pm | | Reply

      I see your point. I think I’d rather know up front, without wasting my time on a guy, if he was going to wilt in the face of his racist parents.

  7. Jen
    Jen June 29, 2015 at 12:51 pm | | Reply

    My future Chinese family did not like the idea of my future husband dating a foreign woman. His mother wanted him to marry a nice Chinese woman. His grandma even thought I was an American spy from an old Chinese film. I was worried he was going to break up with me because of what his family thought, but he didn’t. He has heard all kinds of comments like, Why are you dating a girl from the USA? I have even had my fair share of a lot of negative comments about my relationship with him.

    Our relationship is an international long distance relationship. He lives in China and I live in the USA. It was a challenge to fight off the negativity around me but I was able to. Very soon I get to meet my future parents-in-law and I am still a little nervous but my future mother-in-law seems very excited. I am so glad she changed her mind.

    I think there will always be people out there that will disapprove of relationships no matter what. Thinking back throughout history, my relationship with Yu would have been against the law. Knowing there are still people who believe it to be wrong, I try to not think too much on their poor view. From hearing comments like, “He is Chinese so you need to be careful,” “Why date a Chinese man? You should date a white man,” and the list goes on and on, I get mad but then I have to let it go, as Yu tells me all the time. I even experienced a couple telling me that I should choose between marring Yu or becoming a godmother to their child. That choice was very easy to make. I don’t need negative people in my life.

    It is harder to deal with family members whom are negative. It takes time so you shouldn’t give up. It will get better, believe it will. And as Yu says, let it go, you shouldn’t get mad at views that are not right. Life is too short to get mad too often.

    1. Autumn
      Autumn June 29, 2015 at 1:03 pm | | Reply

      Hi, Jen, and oh, I laughed over your story about being considered an American spy. It’s like Big Asian Package’s story, only in reverse! Crazy relatives on either side of the Pacific. With all the presumed spying going on, how did any AMWF couples ever have time to fall in love?!

      Yes, you are right, better to just shrug off, but oh! What silly, ridiculous, and shortsighted people to exclude you from being a godparent based on your love’s race. I’m glad you can shrug it off. (I want to throw things for you.)

      My Chinese-American guy went down to a fair near Redondo Beach (LA) and reported that he spotted about ten AMWF couples there. Including couples with kids. We used to be trendsetters, and now we’re going mainstream. I swear, I am going to start taking pictures for the AM commenters on this blog that keep insisting American women will have nothing to do with them.

      Either that or the Redondo Beach/ Hollywood Riviera/ Torrance area is strangely attractive to AMWF couples. I expect y’all to be moving here soon. 🙂

  8. Yocelyn
    Yocelyn June 29, 2015 at 1:03 pm | | Reply

    Preach! I really enjoyed this article. I can relate to every point you described. I’m happy to say over the years my boyfriend’s family has warmed up to me. They are more open to our relationship and whatever obstacles we’ll face in the future.

    My family took a good while…They are still learning. They are very opinionated, traditional, and don’t fear making it known how they feel about you. I’m glad my boyfriend has been patient enough all these years to earn their respect. Yes, my crazy uncle still tends to make racist comments from time to time. At least it’s calmed down since the first meeting. 🙂

  9. Rene
    Rene June 29, 2015 at 3:07 pm | | Reply

    I’m glad it worked out in the end for you – and that you and your husband were able to stick it through!

    Unfortunately, for me (an American woman) and my Chinese husband – it didn’t turn out as well. Thankfully my parents, the only family I have, met my husband with open arms. They are the most accepting and supportive people I could of hoped for in parents. They support and love us through everything we do. Race never would be an issue.

    My husbands family, on the other hand, was totally against us being together from the beginning (especially his sister). It got so bad that we actually had to cut them completely from our lives. I never expected such hatred because I always thought of myself as a “good person.” But, the racism I experienced before they even met me was eye opening. I was innocently thinking I would be able to be part of a large family (something I had dreamed of)… but, sadly, they didn’t want to even be civil. It’s especially sad since my husband, the eldest of three children, had always been good and supportive to everyone in his family.

    Sometimes things don’t work out the way you hope they would. And looking back – the best advice I could give to anyone in that situation would be to accept the reality of the situation and know when to walk away. Some relationships are worth working on… But, others are not. That’s okay! Because even if you are in and intercultural relationship you still deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.

  10. Marta
    Marta June 29, 2015 at 6:20 pm | | Reply

    I guess I have been pretty lucky, I was accepted by his family with open arms (the grandma was actually very excited to meet a foreigner, haha). As Autumn said, the fact that he was divorced and almost 30 when we met might have something to do 😛 My family has also been very supportive from the start.

    1. Donald
      Donald June 30, 2015 at 2:03 am | | Reply

      The older the son gets, the higher chance the parents are going to accept whoever he brings home. In my uncle’s case, my grandfather would be smiling if he had brought a woman of any background home.

  11. Roberta
    Roberta June 29, 2015 at 6:42 pm | | Reply

    Hi Jocelyn, what a good timing to find your mail in my inbox this morning!
    Sorry to ask (hope it is not impolite from me – maybe you already got this question many many times in the past), but how old was your relationship with John when his father expressed his veto? And did John report it to you immediately? I think his staying by your side makes him very brave!!
    When I told my parents about my relationship with M, my dad did not seem very happy, though I know the problem is not race, but eventually the possibility of me, the first daughter, already living abroad, flying away forever; my mother, on the other hand, was only concerned about us (M and me) being in a LDR. My mother still frets when I mention we had a discussion, and asks me how he is going every time I call my parents. So, in my sometimes-naif imagination, I believe they accepted him even though they have not met him yet.
    After I flew back to Europe, he got home in Inner Mongolia for a short vacation, and told his mother about me (his dad passed away a few years ago – he also has one older brother and one older sister); she only said him we might be a short-lived couple due to our cultural gap, and did not add much more to it. Another concern is, just like my mom, our LDR.
    M asked me to go and meet his family for Chinese New Year, next year, so there is enough time before panicking, but still…

  12. Jackson
    Jackson June 29, 2015 at 11:36 pm | | Reply

    Chinese rejection seems like cultural while a white American rejection likely has to do with race. A white family in the south which does not like a mainland Chinese boyfriend or girlfriend probably does not like a Hapa mixed race boyfriend or girlfriend whose families have been here in the US for generations…so it has to do with color in most cases and not culutre.

    1. xeonfuzion
      xeonfuzion June 30, 2015 at 2:30 pm | | Reply

      I agree with you very much. It seems everything has a racial undertone in the US. Sure there are white women willing to date an asian man , but it’s like trying to find a needle in a heystack.

      They don’t like anything but white.

  13. Timo
    Timo June 30, 2015 at 2:40 pm | | Reply

    Thankfully there were no such issues when meeting my future in-laws/ my wife meeting her future in-laws. It always depends hoe open minded and tolerant people are and there is nothing you can do to prepare them beforehand.
    I heard also a lot of terrible stories over the years when it came to meeting the parents or family but thus far nothing like this ever happened in my case 🙂

  14. leslie-koreainmykitchen.com
    leslie-koreainmykitchen.com July 1, 2015 at 1:13 pm | | Reply

    Another great post! My in laws had their reservations when my Korean husband and I started dating but they warmed up quickly. They knew my husband is stubborn and would do what he wanted and he is the second son so there was less pressure on him since lots of the responsibilities for taking care of the parents falls on the first son. And… I like to think I won them over with my smile 😉
    Now my mother-in-law is happy since I produced her 4 grandchildren!!

  15. Jo
    Jo July 2, 2015 at 3:49 am | | Reply

    I met my bf’s mother when we had been dating for 3 months, but he had already told her he was dating a foreigner almost as soon as we started dating. She was worried at first, but spoke to her brother in law who is also a musician and he convinced her it was better for my bf to date a foreigner because we give our partners more freedom and don’t demand the house-car-money deal that many Chinese girls want in order to marry.

    My bf met my parents the first time when he came home for Christmas with me the first year and even though his English isn’t so good they were able to communicate with him and can see we are happy together. He’s a skateboarder and my father used to skate/surf when he was younger and still competes as a cyclist in his 60’s, so they have that love of sports in common. My bf was worried at first because in China as a musician/skateboarder most gf’s families would not take him seriously.

    We’ve now been together 2 1/2 years and my parents just met his mother last week on their 4th trip to China. It all went well, my parents can see that we are happy together and are planning a future split between NZ and China. He’s the second son, so there’s no huge pressure from his mother for us to get married, but she thinks that my parents worry about me here, so she kept assuring them that I am like a daughter to her, and she and my bf will look after me, so they don’t have to worry.

  16. Karen
    Karen April 13, 2016 at 1:36 pm | | Reply

    My boyfriend is brown and I am chinese and I still haven’t had the courage to introduce him to my parents after we’ve been dating for a while. I was even nervous to introduce him to my friends and I am SO happy and relieved when I did, because now I don’t have to lie about missing my friend’s bday dinner because my boyfriend and her has the exact same birthday! My parents are Christian and I just don’t know what they might think and people back home in Hong Kong calls brown people racist names and I don’t want to face any of my relatives’ comments. I worry what my parents would worry how they would tell their friends and family that their daughter is dating a brown guy. I know I need to grow up and face this! So glad I found your blog on line to know I am not alone!

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