Double Happiness: The Date In China That Changed Her Future

A hand holding a pair of chopsticks
When Jemma arrived in China in 2008, she expected to stay two years and then move on to another place. But that was before she met her Chinese boyfriend. (photo by Penny Mathews)

As Jemma’s story reminded me, I’m not the only one that never expected to find love — and more — in China. I’m also not the only one who had a few friends intervene on my behalf to find a better man. 😉 
When I arrived in China in 2008, I figured I would stay two years and then move on to another place. But that was before I met my Chinese boyfriend.

I dated a few men, all Chinese, and had some horror stories and some that just didn’t work out. One night, I happened to share my latest bad date with friends. The date was a nice guy, but seemed only interested in me because I was a foreigner. After hearing this, one of the friends decided to give my e-mail address to a man he met at the gym, a guy who had jokingly asked him to set him up with a foreign woman.

At first, this man and I only spoke on the Internet, until he finally got the courage to ask me out for dinner. When we met that night, I liked him straight away — maybe not tall, but definitely handsome. He was a perfect gentleman in the corny, traditional sort of way. He opened doors for me, pulled my chair out, always checked to see if I wanted more food or drink, and refused to let me pay even though he was still a student. After dinner, we went for a walk in the local park and talked for hours, until he finally walked me home and said good night.

But the next week, I heard nothing from him. I was devastated. I thought, maybe my loud Western ways scared him away. Fortunately, though, when he did eventually call, he could not apologise enough. Turns out, he had a family emergency and had to return home, which was a long way from where we lived.

The same day he returned we also met for dinner, followed by a walk in the same park. I enjoyed talking to him and he seemed to enjoy being with me too. I told him that my parents wanted me to learn martial arts so I could look after myself, so we had a little play fight and he didn’t mind that I beat him (I think he let me win because he is very strong).

After the third dinner date, after we bought some fruit and sat under the trees to talk, we had our first kiss. That was the start of our official relationship.

My boyfriend told me he likes that I am less demanding than many Chinese girls — he does not earn very much and said his last girlfriend dumped him because his family is too poor. He is very impressed that I always ask about his mother and want to do the same things for her that I do for my own mother. He also appreciates that I am learning to cook Chinese food, though I still have a lot of work to do. 😉

We are now about to celebrate our second year together and hope to get married soon. Needless to say, I will be staying in China a little longer than I first planned.

Jemma imagined marrying a handsome Asian man after seeing an Andy Lau film when she was 16, and is thrilled her dreams will finally come true.


How did you meet? Why do you love him/her (or Chinese men/Western women)? How two different people “complete each other” in unexpected ways? We’re looking for a few good stories from Chinese men and Western women in love to share on Fridays. Submit your original story or a published blog post today.

17 Replies to “Double Happiness: The Date In China That Changed Her Future”

  1. Congratulations! I am about to celebrate my 2-year anniversary as well with my bf. Although I probably won’t be staying in China forever (we’re planning to get married and move back to the US), I was pretty surprised when I first started dating my Chinese boyfriend. Before I came to China, I couldn’t speak Chinese. My friends teased me before I left, saying that I was going to meet a Chinese guy and never come back. Who knew they’d be half right? =P

    It’s interesting what your boyfriend said about you being less demanding than Chinese girls…my boyfriend says the exact same thing to me, especially as his family is also not that well off. From what I’ve seen, though I am generalizing, it’s true that Chinese girls can be more demanding in terms of time and gifts.

  2. Chinese or East Asian men who marry white women belong to one of these two socio-economic situations: (1) wealthy; (2) very smart. Actually I have seen more white women married to Chinese or Asian men who are professors at universities than any other profession…may be because such couples are generally more accepted in such a university setting. There are at least three white women professors married to Asian men professors at the University of Hawaii and man do they have super-smart high achieving children. One even graduated high school at 15 and college at 19!

  3. Sweet story. Congratulations to you Jemma and good luck! Like few others I also enjoy reading the stories as well. Quick question though; if a Chinese guy likes a girl, does he show interest in her right away or does it take time for him to tell her he’s interested in her?

  4. I think it’s true about foreign girls being less demanding, at least financially. I don’t know about other Chinese men but even though he doesn’t earn a lot of money, my boyfriend seems to love buying gifts and paying for my stuff, though I always ask him not to. He fell in love with a girl over the internet, and when they met up, her first question was do you own a house? A car? And when he answered that he didn’t, she proceeded to dump him on the spot! When I used to meet with some of my Chinese guy friends, they would always insist on footing the bill, be it a cup of coffee or an expensive dinner. At first it made me a little uncomfortable,we’re just not used to that back home, but Chinese girls expect it. How interesting…lol.

  5. I like reading this kind of story, it also reminds me how my husband and I met in London 13 years ago. Regarding Chinese women being very money orientate, I think when you see poverty right in to your face you try almost anything to improve your position and nowadays money talks. It’s not nice but it happens and not only in China.
    My first movie with a chinese guy was “the lover” and I was hook.

  6. ” My boyfriend told me he likes that I am less demanding than many Chinese girls ”

    I’m sure the things Western men tell their Chinese girlfriends about Western women are pretty unflattering too .

  7. I was thinking of something when I read the Andy Lau part.

    For all you out that that feel attracted to Chinese guys or Chinese culture, did movies or pop culture help a lot of you all to create that spark?
    Or was it something else?

    Cause Western, particularly American, entertainment did that to a lot of people around the globe; help spark some of those desires for Western people and culture.

  8. Of all the Asian girls that i have befriended with, some wants a rich guy while others don’t care. Material demands aren’t limited to race or gender. My WGF is there for me emotionally, and nothing else.

  9. Well i don’t really check out guys that much as i am extremely focused on getting through university.
    However when i was off university timetable my doorbell rang and i open to see the most gorgeous asian man i have met.
    I think he was chinese i’m not sure but he was a salesman selling patios and i was like no thank you we’re not looking to spend a large sum right now.
    I was gutted that i was not dressed as my best anyway he’s gone now but i certainly checked him out. I was happy that i checked a guy out after a really long time.

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