Western culture permits a very free and easy attitude to dating. Couples make their own choices, and parents' wishes are often ignored. Chinese dating customs are very different. There is far more restraint shown by the couple. The families' wishes are at the heart of any decisions that are made, and courtship is a much more delicate process.
Honor and Respect
Chinese families tend to be more traditional in their expectations of how "dating" should be carried out. The most important criteria for a man wanting to date a Chinese woman is to show the utmost respect, courtesy and honor for her and her family.
Getting to Know The Family
According to Asian Dating Zone, Chinese suitors know that they are not just dating a Chinese woman, but her entire family, as well. Family is very important to Chinese people; children are respectful of their parents' wishes. Therefore, if the family does not like a suitor, he will struggle in courting the woman. He must make a good first impression on the family, and continue to gain their trust and respect by always showing respect to all members of the woman's family.
Sex before marriage is still frowned upon in Chinese culture. It is a free choice between the couple how far they wish to go, but pregnancy out of wedlock is seen as a disgrace to the whole family. Some families may actually disown a child who become pregnant or fathers a child outside of wedlock. In fact, in China, it is illegal to actually give birth to an illegitimate child, meaning that the law requires an unmarried pregnant woman to have an abortion. Co-habitation is also frowned upon, as it shows a lack of sexual restraint.
Role of the Man
Chinese women expect men to take the initiative in courtship, as they are socialized to be submissive in relationships. It is also expected that a man should be faithful, even at the "just dating" stage. Promiscuity is considered immoral.
Stages of Dating
Chinese dating has many stages. At the beginning, there should be "friendly" dates in public places with friends; at this point there should not be any displays of affection. Couples in the second stage of dating may go out together without friends, but only very discreetly. This stage could last years, depending upon the woman and her wishes. The third stage is when the couple goes public with their relationship. It is important to discuss with the woman's parents the decision to formalize the relationship. At this point, the man should remember to take a small gift to the woman's family on every visit. Finally, after completing all other stages, the man may ask for the woman's hand in marriage.