I went over to New York when I was 20 years old and I finished my BA and my MBA there. I also worked there for about one year before I decided it was time to come back to China with my classmate/girlfriend then who was from New York. I was able to make the decision of coming back to China because my girlfriend was very supportive of this decision, which, to be very honest, was really to my surprise because she never had been outside of the States except for going to Canada that one time.
When we came back to China, we came back to my hometown near Guangzhou. My job was to take over my parents’ factory and export business and she also found a teaching job at a local college. Our life in China officially began. At first, it was really nice and exciting. But as time went on, I got vert busy at work and started to travel a bit. But I still tried to spend as much time with her as possible like going out to buffets and taking short vacations together within the Guangdong area. But she never really studied Mandarin because she said she did not like the sound of it according to her. So instead, she tried to study Cantonese but she had a very hard time learning for some reason even though we paid to have a teacher come and help her on a regular basis. So she never was able to communicate with my parents and family even though my parents loved her very much. As for her job, she was ok with it. But as for me, I never really liked her job. So to make her life better, I tried to start a business with her together. We decided to represent a foreign brand and become the the sole agent for this brand here in China. But without a lot of experience and connection, it was a very difficult start for us and we started to have arguments from time to time. Looking back, I think maybe this is something I thought she would like and she was thinking this is something that she thought she was doing to make me happy. At the end, it hurt our relationship. As time went on, with the pressure of the business, the pressure of getting around and communicating with my family without knowing the language, I noticed her being less and less talkative. The third year after living here in China, she went home for Christmas like she always did, then I got a phone call from her and she basically told me that she decided not to come back to China and asked me not to hate her and that she thought living in the States was the best way for herself and we should just be apart from each other. She did not give me any chance to discuss with her. That was her final decision, which was a huge huge shock to me because I never thought this would happen to me being that this is my first love relationship and that we had been together for 5 years.
This was 2 years ago, I tried to go out with Chinese girls and tried to forget everything that happened. But I simply could not get anywhere with any Chinese girl that I went out with. I realize I still like to be with foreign girls. And I know given a second chance with a good foreign girl like my ex, I would deal with it a lot better than before. And I know this is the only thing that would truly make me happy even though my parents, being as nice as they are, still very much scared of me being with another foreign girl because of what happened with my ex and they still could not understand why she would leave because she was treated and loved so much here in China. Guess my parents still felt a little betrayed especially in her phone call and brief emails to me after she went back to the US and decided not to come back, she only asked about the two dogs that we had together and did not even mention my parents very much.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I still feel like I connect with foreign girls the most and I mea the kind, nice, caring and funny foreign girls like my ex, not the crazy ones you often find in so many bars these days. I think of myself as a nice, funny, handsome Chinese guy. Although I am 34 year old, I still truly believe there is a right foreign girl out there for me, whom I can connect with once again and who I can share all the happiness and the sadness in life with once again. But I truly don’t know where I can connect with a nice foreign girl again now that I am back in China and I just wish there is site or group put there for Chinese guys like myself. Please advise!?
Ken, who says you can’t find another foreign woman to love in China?
Okay, I know, the odds don’t seem to favor you:
According to our survey data, assuming these are representative of the larger population, single Western women constitute less than 20 percent of all foreign teachers in China and are the least likely to remain in China for more than one year.
But Guangzhou still holds one of the largest foreign populations in China, probably more than 100,000 — which means, potentially, there could be more than 10,000-20,000 single foreign women in town.
Plus, you’ll probably have an easier time connecting with women already in China. Sure, some turn out to be the kind of “expat party girls” you’re not into, or just here because their company sent them to Guangzhou. Others, however, come to experience the country and culture, study the languages, and more — more like the kind of nice women you had in mind.
Start with the expat magazines/sites — in your area, you’ve got That’s PRD (Pearl River Delta) and Guangzhou Stuff, to name a few. These offer clues to places, groups and organizations where you can potentially meet like-minded Western women. Guangzhou Stuff, for example, lists groups on its site as well as events. That’s PRD has listings, events and more. You may need to search through them and find those events/groups/places that you happen to like, and that you’ll have a better chance of meeting single women at. Forget the bars/clubs, since that’s not your scene; instead, consider gyms (women especially love yoga/pilates classes), Chinese language groups, author readings or book discussions, outdoor activities, and even charities and volunteer groups. Not everything will work out, but the more places/groups you try, the more chances you have.
Check out your local universities with foreign students. Sara Jaaksola famously moved to Guangzhou to study Chinese at Sun Yat-sen University and found love with a Chinese man she met in town — why can’t it happen with you? Chinese language corners or practice groups at universities could potentially be great places to meet young foreign women who really care about the country and culture, but you may need to ask around to find them.
Don’t rule out networking either. One Chinese man found a foreign woman because he told his friend at the gym he was looking for a girl, and his friend gave that guy’s e-mail to foreign woman he knew. Another guy met a foreign woman at a bar, but because he didn’t speak great English, he gave that woman’s number to another guy (and yes, they married). You never know who might introduce you to your future wife, so don’t forget to tell everyone you know you’re on the lookout for love.
And give all Western women a chance. Most Chinese men assume “white” when they think “Western woman” or “foreign woman,” but China has some great catches out there who aren’t white.
Don’t give up, Ken. You may need months or more before you even meet the right woman. But as they say in Chinese, hǎoshìduōmó (好事多磨, the best things in life don’t come easy).
P.S.: I titled this “More on…” because I answered a similar question almost two years ago, which you can check out here.
P.P.S.: Apologies to Ken for posting this late on Friday!
What did I miss? What other advice do you have for Ken?
Do you have a question about life, dating, marriage and family in China/Chinese culture (or Western culture)? Every Friday, I answer questions on my blog. Send me your question today.