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Chinese Dating Etiquettes: Past and Present

Chinese Dating Etiquettes: Past and Present
By Rose Salas

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Looking for a life partner is never an easy thing. Finding a relationship where love, trust, and harmony deepen as time goes by has always been a marriage goal for any bachelor or a bachelorette. Presently, the gender imbalance in China created a big gap in the ratio of men to women. Based on a survey, there are over 33.5 million more men than women. Given this number, one in four men will never get married.


To get into a marriage, you must adhere to the rules or what is known as the Three Letters & the Six Etiquettes. And of course, a single guy must first look for someone to court. Dating practices vary from one person to another. What made Chinese culture unique is how the old-fashion custom still reflects, despite being open-minded is the norm nowadays. Back during ancient times, dating was far different from Western culture. Let鈥檚 get a flashback with some of the top codes of behaviour of Chinese dating!


1. The Role of a Legal Matchmaker
- During the Yuan Dynasty, the proposal to a girl who you want to marry is done appropriately in the presence of a Matchmaker. His role is to see and check if the woman is a perfect match for the man, or whether they are a good match based on the four pillars of birth time. They also tag along with them a fortune teller, who will interpret their future based on their birth dates.

TP 201904 art 032. Parental Consent and Approval
- Parents have a significant role when it comes to their child鈥檚 preference, even before marriage. When dating, they prefer more those whom they know, and allow only to go to places where they approve. If you introduce someone to the family, it becomes a big deal, as they believe that the relationship is getting deeper between them and they are heading towards marriage. Without the approval of the parents, marriage should not pursue nor take place; otherwise, it will cause heart breaks and disrespect to them. They were the first matchmakers who decide and set-up a partner for their son or daughter. They prefer them to only marry among their race.

TP 201904 art 043. Women Seek Praises but Men Decide
- Women expect praises during their first date. The appreciation of their beauty is a sign of politeness. They long to hear that they are beautiful, or that they look pleasing. When it comes to a decision, men should dominate. They choose to decide where to go, where to eat, or even what to order. They should initiate the conversation, and the women should not talk too much or be too open. The chat should only revolve around family, friends, and general topics to avoid divulging of very personal matters.

TP 201904 art 054. Women Must Choose to Date Financially-Stable Men
- A woman wishes to marry a guy who will give a comfortable life to his wife. Security comes first before love. Parents are pleased when their daughter would get to know a guy who is career-driven and owns a house, or comes from a reputable family.

TP 201904 art 08What happened to the dating etiquettes presently? Here are a few things about it:


1. Strict Dating Etiquette Still Exists
Casual dating is not a standard practice. Single people still look forward to date as a gateway to a lasting relationship. Intimacy is not a requisite for those going steady. Particularly women, purity is something still very precious to them.


2. Parents are Still Involved
Yes, even up to these modern days, parents can participate in their children鈥檚 love life. Nonetheless, parents are more open-minded to their son or daughter鈥檚 choice when it comes to deciding who to date or marry.

TP 201904 art 063. The Rise of Dating Apps
A modern way of getting to know, or finding someone, is via dating apps or social media apps. Many singles find it exciting to date people by getting a glance first on their dating bio or profile. For them, it saves time and effort to have an idea first if they could be a good match after exchanging a few chats before meeting. Young people or millennials are into this fad.

TP 201904 art 07. Acceptance is the Key
For inter-racial dating or marriage, each partner bears in mind that they both grew up in different cultures and the best way to make a relationship work is through acceptance of differences and celebration of sameness or similarities. Family ties cannot be separated nor broken in a Chinese family, so if you are a foreigner, extending your love to your partner鈥檚 family is valuable.


Indeed, a culture that has been made solid through the years can never be turndown, even with a variety of strong influences. Some people may seem to disagree with these dating etiquettes, but as far as the Chinese society is concerned, traditions are always worth keeping!

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