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This is a familiar topic, both here on ChinaDaily, and to me personally.|
I am engaged now to a Chinese woman who is two steps "worse" than left-over. She is 39 and has a 9 year old son and divorced. I was not looking for a Chinese woman, just a *good* woman. She seemed to fit the bill when I accidentally met her through work. (We work at the same company; her in a China office, me in the US)
The way the culture seems to work there is that men are expected to be successful. Have a good job and a home. The woman is expected to choose one such man while she is "young." (which means under 27) The woman or her family will demand a house and car of the man, and maybe that he not beat her up all the time. The woman will then make babies, stay home to rear the babies, and be a faithful, subserviant wife. This is the old way. This is why the parents push it.
An educated, successful woman doesn't NEED a man to provide her with a home or money. She can earn those things herself. So why would she buckle to this pressure from her parents?
a) Because she knows she may remain single forever if she waits too long. The men are still looking for a hot young woman. The youth gives bargaining power to the woman, which she can exchange for wealth in the man.
b) Because she is respectful of her parents.
c) Because she wants children one day, and may not have them if she waits, due to men not wanting them.
There are a few women here who are in this situation. I consider a few of them to be my friends.
You have advice to tell the woman to ignore her parents and wait until she is ready. But is she prepared to deal with the consequences of that? From what I see, the consequence is that she must be prepared to marry a foreigner. Trying to find and convince a foreigner is hard. Cultural differences also make it very hard sometimes. (read my blog here for a couple examples)
Even today, I just had a fight with my fiancé because our philosophy is completely different. We both have dominant personality types, so we just fight and fight sometimes. It is very hard to resolve. Now, we are both wondering: "We are doing all this fighting now, and we are not even married yet. Do we have any realistic chance of success, or are we both just wasting our time and money?"
If we break up, I will probably not pursue another Chinese woman, or any woman outside of the US. (my ex wife of 8 years is Polish, so I've been through the whole immigration thing once already) The governments make it SUCH a hassle. I believe there HAS to be a woman in the US who is right for me. Easier to sort through all the selfish ones, and date her for as long as I need to than be forced into some procedure by the government or tricked by a woman who is desperate to marry, for one reason or another.
Result? The left-over women in China have an even HARDER time to find a good man. Their only chance is to catch one unawares, and make him fall in love with her before he realizes what a huge trouble it is going to be.
The best path for these left-over women is to try to change the old Chinese cultural view. It may take a while; changing the culture in China is not a quick thing. They should look for a Chinese man who is open-minded. A man who has been married, burned, and divorced by someone else already. The man has to be humble and somewhat poor, so that he will not be pursuing the hot young ladies. He has to be looking for LOVE, not just beauty. Maybe the perfect woman has only one leg? Or an ugly face? Is he open-minded enough to accept that? Same for the woman. Maybe he is white, American, older, and poor, because he got screwed out of all his wealth by his terrible ex-wife? Can she accept this?
It requires open minds by both the man and woman, and the willingness to resist one's parents. A tip for your friend, purewoman: The Chinese way of resisting is sometimes not enough. It is not always enough for her to just ignore her parents' pleas or try to evade the subject. It is not always enough to ask them to stop nagging. Sometimes, she will have to take ACTION. She may need to move out of their home, to get away from them. Even then, if they cannot stop nagging, she may have to not spend as much time with them. (and she should TELL them so!) She should tell them: "Mom, Dad: you're making me miserable. If I'm miserable I will not be attractive to a man. I will be stressed out. I may choose the wrong man, just to get you off of my back. You need to leave me alone and wait patiently. Accept the possibility that I may never marry or give you grandkids. If you don't, then you might just lose me too."
If she is holding out for a man who has a house and car and money, instead of just love and a good personality, then she is part of the problem too. (my opinion)
Best of luck to your friend. Tell her your buddy Jeremy on ChinaDaily forum says to stay strong and open-minded.
P.S. - I have a buddy here at work who came from Hong Kong. When I told her I had a Chinese fiancé, he scolded me. He said: "Why!? Why don't you just ask Theresa out? She's single, she's nice, she's pretty." I replied: "You are chinese, you should be supportive of your countrymen." He said: "That's why I'm telling you this. Chinese women are sneaky! Avoid them. Find a good American woman."
PPS - If your friend decides to go with a western man, she has to be ready for some culture shock. We don't tend to avoid confrontation. We would rather argue, then come to a compromise or at least just "agree to disagree" on a topic than to avoid certain topics just to keep the peace. Evading the topic only works with minor things. Nothing makes me madder than when my fiancé says I hurt her and made her uncomfortable days or weeks ago, but she didn't say anything about it because she didn't want to fight. Or when she did not disagree with me, but let me think she agreed, but later I find out she disagreed and just evaded the topic. When that happens, I feel betrayed. I thought I knew her, but she was hiding things from me and I don't know her at all. If I ask questions, to try to find out these things she is not telling me, then she feels like I don't trust her. We both feel like we can't win, and like we can't make the other person happy.
PPPS - Now let me ask YOU, purewoman: Should I keep going ahead with this woman, try to understand her more and vice versa? Or should I stop swimming upstream and find someone from the same culture?