The world of dating and relationships can be tough to navigate. And if you’re an Asian single looking to make a meaningful connection with another Asian person, then there’s a whole other set of rules and guidelines by which you need to abide. (For the purpose of this article, when we say “Asian”, we’re referring to someone who immigrated to America for school or later on in life.) From family values to cultural norms and expectations, in Asian dating there are a number of things you’ll want to take into consideration before jumping into a relationship. For starters, someone who moved to America in adulthood will have had very different experiences from an American-born Asian. (For tips on dating Asian-Americans, check out Asian-American Dating Tips.)
Across the board, family is always an incredibly important factor for Asians, whether they are Chinese, Korean, Malaysian, or Vietnamese. Be respectful of your date’s parents, siblings, elders, and the rest of the extended family. This is a universal rule, of course, but Asians truly value and respect their family’s opinions and if you don’t make the cut with the family, then you might find yourself being shown the door sooner rather than later. Beyond that, you may eventually want to discuss things such as taking care of elderly parents. For example, in China it is considered disrespectful and uncaring if you allow your parents to live in a retirement home. Tradition has dictated that adult children care for their parents in their old age. While this mindset has gradually been shifting to accommodate the changing society, it is still very much a part of the family values system. You don’t want to be in a committed relationship only to then realize that your family values completely clash and you neither want nor expect the same things. While marriage may not be part of the conversation when you first start dating, keep these things in mind as the relationship progresses. Remember, you don’t just marry the person, you marry the entire family. For many Asian cultures, the family is often involved in making decisions, big or small. If you do get to that stage in your relationship where you’re considering marriage, you’ll be in a much better position if you’ve been courting the family from the beginning.
While there may be some similarities or overlap, every country also has very culturally-specific values and traditions. For example, let’s say you’re meeting this person’s family. Should you bow, shake hands, or wai? Do you introduce yourself or wait to be introduced? Did you know that in Chinese culture, shaking hands is commonly accepted while in Korean and Japanese cultures, bowing is the standard greeting? Make a good first impression by familiarizing yourself with any manners and traditions specific to your partner’s home country. (A “wai”, by the way, is the traditional Thai greeting where you press your palms together near your chest and bow your head.) You should also find out what values are most important to the person you’d like to date. Is a good education at the top of the list? What about gender roles? Are you looking for someone who is more traditional or liberal? Faith and religion are other things that you should discuss as you get to know each other. A Korean person who is also Christian will likely be looking for someone who has the same values. If you are not religious and would not consider converting, this might be an issue worth discussing.
Are you Vietnamese, hailing from Hanoi? Chinese, born and raised in Shanghai (until you moved to Vancouver for university)? Korean but born in Japan? Did you both move to the US when you were 18? These are all great conversation starters! But don’t assume that you both had the same exact experiences. Find out about the other person’s background and history. Did she grow up in the countryside or in a large city? Is the rest of the family still over there? How important is his birthplace and heritage and does it factor into his life on a daily basis? What about extended family? Do she go back to visit often? Think about whether or not you would be willing to travel and commit to living in two different worlds. Many Asians in America will maintain a very strong connection to their home country (oftentimes even supporting their family back home) and look to create a similar close-knit community in the US, whether it is through a church group or another type of organization. This “getting to know you” stage is exciting and gives you great insight into your compatibility, so take it slow, be respectful, be inquisitive, and communicate your eagerness to learn about this other person.
EastMeetEast is an Asian dating site that helps you meet Asians who are compatible with you since it is specifically targeted towards Asian urban singles who are looking for someone with a similar cultural background. With profile options that allow you to see everything from when that person arrived in the US to languages and dialects spoken, a quick search through the EME database will match you up with other like-minded Asian singles. We do the hard work and find the best candidates for you. Of course, it’s up to you to take it from there! Curious to hear what others think about Asian dating? Take a break and check out some of these videos:
Fung Brothers - Dating Asians in the City?!
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Linda Dong - Asians & Dating Apps?!