The rules of dating are far from universal. What may be considered a standard dating practice in one culture may not be considered proper in another. In the United States, for example, casual dating among teenagers is pretty common. In China, however, it is not, as students are too busy working towards passing China’s notoriously difficult college entrance exam (per LiveAbout). It’s more common for people to wait until they are finished with school to begin seriously dating.
That’s far from the only difference between dating in the U.S. and dating in China. While dating in the U.S. is normally the business of the involved parties, in China, parents tend to be more involved in the process. While meeting the parents is typically a big step in a relationship in the American dating scene, parents in China are more likely to set their children up on dates. Parental approval also seems to be more important — if parents don’t approve of a relationship, it’s likely that it won’t progress.
Dating is more difficult in China for a few reasons
For those seeking heterosexual relationships, dating is made more difficult by the fact that there are significantly more men than women in the country. As noted by ShareAmerica, by 2026 it is projected that there will be more than three men for every woman between the ages of 15 and 29. This gap will take several decades to close.
In spite of the fact that there are so many fewer women than men in China, dating can still be difficult for women. As noted by news.com.au, unmarried women over the age of 28 in China are viewed as “leftovers.”
Guo Yingguang, a 30-something photographer in China, noted in a YouTube video that men often lose interest when they find out how old she is. She observed that men searching for a wife are typically focused on their age, appearance, and cooking skills. “I am not against marriage,” she said. “What I am against is this uniform criteria of happiness — you have to get married at a certain age. If you don’t, you can’t be happy. You are a loser in life.”
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