“Do you have a boyfriend?”

I’m at a Spa getting a massage and start talking with the girl working there. A while into the conversation she asks:

“Do you have a boyfriend?”
I: “I do.”
She: “Where is he from?”
I: “He’s from Northeast China.”
She: “Do your parents approve of your relationship?”
I: “Of course, why wouldn’t they?”
She: “That’s great. Many Chinese parents would be much more traditional.”
I: “Traditional?”
She: “Yes. They’d be afraid that if their daughter lived abroad with a foreign boyfriend or husband they might not be able to help her if she get’s into a dangerous situation or if her guy doesn’t treat her well. They wouldn’t be able to just travel there and help her in that situation.”
I: “I see. I’ve met many Chinese women who are happily married to foreigners and whose husbands treat them fairly well.”
She: “Oh really? So realtionships between foreigners and Chinese can work out pretty well then.
I: “Of course they can.”

Have you ever been asked about your relationship status by a stranger?

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11 thoughts on ““Do you have a boyfriend?”

  1. You make it sound so obvious that parents would approve of your relationship, but I think you should consider yourself lucky. My family struggled with my engagement to my (now) Chinese husband.

    They accept it now, but I took it a bit to heart at first when they didn’t. Honestly, I can now, having been married several years, understand their concerns. Being married has its tough times and they can be
    even harder when you are living in a foreign country.


    • You’re right and I do consider myself lucky. We weren’t sure if all our parents would approve of our relationship, but luckily they were all happy for us. I do not take it for granted that one’s parents approve of one’s relationship, but there’s a huge difference between jugding someone on an individual basis and jugding someone based on race only. If parents don’t approve of their daughter’s relationship just because her partner has a different cultural background, I don’t consider it fair. I wanted to challenge the assumption that just because people have a different cultural background, parents will not approve of the relationship.

      I’m glad that your parents approved of your relationship in the end and hope that the good times in your marriage outweigh the tough times.


  2. I think the families of our “life partners” might be similar, they are traditional but no issues understanding that this is a multicultural thing. No issues at all… they ask questions and agree, I am so lucky and glad.
    I read many blogs where people mention different issues for this kind of relationships:
    – Approval of the family because you are a foreigner: I was more than welcome!
    – “Gifts” culture, I read some posts that explain how many issues they faced when they chose the wrong gifts cause they were not enough expensive: No way, they don’t care about gifts and we always bring something, which depends on what we hear they like or what we think they would love to know. His dad loves wine so I would bring 2 bottles ( A Chinese one and a Spanish one), he finds it interesting that I travel a lot so he likes to check the different currencies I have, getting some Hk dollars, Euros from different countries is a huge thing for him. His mom is also happy with everything, she loves pictures and accesories.
    – Food: If I bring something different is not because I don’t like Chinese food, they know I love it, I just open it in the middle and they run to try it, happy about the fact that they can travel through pictures and food
    – Behavior: The agreement is that both sides are doing an effort. I am a foreigner living in China, therefore I need to get into it, and I do, but just because you live here doesn’t mean 100% has to be like that, also they do efforts. Some people think when you are in this relationshio and live in China the person who is moving to China needs to change his or her life 100%, is not like that, both change. When we go to my home he needs to get used to the food but my family will also cook some rice for him, they will try to say some words and so on…

    I feel lucky that I am part of a family that understands that we need to share!


    • You’re totally right, it’s all about sharing and not about one person giving himself/herself up for the other one (or for the other culture).
      I feel very lucky that both of our families are supportive. I have read online that family members are often not supportive, so I do really appreciate that. Great to hear that there are other families where it’s the same.
      When it comes to gifts, I told my fiancé that it really doesn’t matter if we don’t bring any, nobody will be mad, but he still wants to bring some. Same for me, I’d also like to give his parents presents (I just think it’s not polite not to), but my fiancé says it’s really not necessary (he said it quite a few times, because I really want to give them a present).
      Thanks for sharing your experience!


  3. Pingback: Top 10 posts on China Elevator Stories | China elevator stories

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