Yesterday is the lunar date of Chinese valentine’s day. Girls have been expecting the gifts from boyfriends since weeks ago. Rose-selling people started marching up along the street at the lunch time. Word on the TV said thousands of couples getting married yesterday. Being single made me the only person who hung around on the Internet, wondering when is the so called Mr.Right gonna arrive on his pure white horse back.. Nahhh..Lets just talk about something not-so-dreadful. Hmmmm. How about Chinese Love Life?
Generally speaking, LOVE is pretty much the same in all countries. But the way of people meeting their love and the way people expressing their love are quite different. Being Chinese makes us pretty shy at expressing our undying love fire to other people. Although as the world is becoming “flatter and flatter”, the new generation is having some fun at their love life/affair. One night stands, cheatings, twisted relationships, etc. Amazingly, Chinese really catch up with the international level. But what I want to tell you is a more traditional process of “Falling in love with a good girl/boy”.
Usually, Chinese don’t start dating until the two know each other very well. For example, being classmates for years or he’s-a-friend-of-my-best-friend. Until recent years, “Dating” was still considered to be events happen during relationships. Once you start dating, that usually means you are about to be in a relationship soon. I think it shows a sign of responsibility, at least avoids the awkwardness of “Lets not meet each other any more” after an undesirable first-date. You don’t fool around and date several persons at the same time even before you get involved in a relationship. Dating several persons at the same time is considered cheating, even for now.
And another thing is about age. Teenagers are not allowed to be in a relationship or dating or having anything to do with the opposite sex before colleage. The wild teenagers are often called to the principle office together with their mums. They may even get suspended from school for holding hands with a young man. All you should do at this age is studying.(See more in previous blog: Education)
Ok, nail down the first date and several dates after that. You are good to go to the relationship. I’m not quite sure about this part. Coz from what I’ve heard and what I’ve been through, this is what usually happens: After several dates, the two are feeling quite comfortable being with each other, feeling warm when thinking of him/her, with no further difficulties in sight (ie. Long distance, religious problem, difficulties related to money and income.), well, basically you are in a relationship. What matters is give a title to the two people and that’s it.
But what is the difference between a date and a relationship? If the “commitment” is the answer, then I don’t think I see it on chinese people.(Maybe it rarely exists.) I mean, most chinese wont draw a line of commitment and discuss it with the partners. Then some of chinese may not even know what is commitment, coz when something going wrong, they believe a simple word “sorry” could solve all the problems. Abortions are really common nowadays (although the promotion of one child policy partly contribute to it), and people can even get married with only aiming of reproduction. I think that’s one thing we chinese still have to learn in our love life.
Anyways. The rest of the story goes very similar to your story. Getting married, have kids, live happily ever after(will it?).
Marriage is a big part of everyone’s life. If a woman at her 20s still have no sign of having a boyfriend, the parents and grandparents would be really asking about the same question every chance you see them: “When do you give us some grand children?” or should I just type in “Child”. And with the old tradition of bringing more kids means bringing more prosperity into the family, so almost every couple is having a baby or two(If the couple are able to pay the fine of the second child). And divorce rate inChina(0.79 per 1,000 people 2004) is way below the international average(1.3 per 1,000 people), which shows the commitment do exist in the marriage. Parents are normally very responsible for their child. Being collectivism makes parents forget about their individual benefit and think more for the Big Family. Take my parents for example, they have lived for 24 years. When I was a child, they used to fight a lot. But amazingly, after enduring for twenty more years they are getting along with each other better and better! Although one must say their love has become family-love already, but I still think its good.
Its Love after all.