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Chinese Dating and Face Value by Achelle Vinzons
Any foreign man who has put in the time and effort to learn the most relevant stuff he needs to know about the culture of China as it relates to relationships, to aid in his quest to find a China woman to make his wife, would know about the concept of "face," specifically "losing" or "gaining" face.  Whether one is still Chinese dating online or is already in a relationship with a China lady, understanding the value of "face" in the Chinese way of life will go a long way in making any potential or on-going relationship successful.

"Face" is akin to the concept of reputation.  In China, a lot of attitudes, behaviors, interactions, and relationships are influenced by the potential to lose or gain "face."  Here are a few examples: if a man is not able to provide a house to his potential wife, he and his family lose face; if a wife cannot afford a certain luxury that her friend enjoys, because her husband does not earn as much her friend's husband, she and her husband lose face; if admitting a mistake would mean loss of face, a person would try to evade the question in very creative ways or simply not answer at all.  On the other hand, if an owner of a restaurant shakes the hand and exchanges a few pleasantries with one of his patrons, that patron gains face; if a wife can afford to go on the same holiday that her friend is going, she and her husband gain face; any association with a person of higher status means a gain of face.

Allowing your Chinese love to lose face in public and be a real dealbreaker.When it comes to relationships, dating and/or marrying a foreigner can be perceived as losing or gaining face, depending on a variety of factors.  In most very traditional families in China, however, a daughter dating/marrying a foreign man is, often, still seen as a loss of face because the community may perceive this as the girl being an undesirable wife to Chinese men.  As China catches up to the rest of the world in terms of modern attitudes and behaviors, at least those that are relevant to international relations, its people are also starting to appreciate the "face" value of being associated with foreigners, especially the successful ones and when it involves business.  Taking this particular increased appreciation further, more and more families are also shedding the perception that marriage to a foreign man would cause a loss of face for the woman and her family. 

What this means is the same face value attributed to traditional marriages, that is marriages between two Chinese, is more commonly also being attributed to cross-cultural marriages; for example, if the marriage to a foreign man means the woman and her family's status becomes elevated, then this may be considered as gaining face.  If the foreign man is well-connected in his industry with very successful businessmen in China, then he would gain face and become a more desirable potential husband to any China lady.  Certain behaviors and attitudes a foreign man may have while interacting with his Chinese girlfriend's family may cause him to gain or lose face, and also give face or cause someone to lose face.  That's why it is extremely important to be more than just familiar with the ways of the Chinese.  Face value can be a relationship/marriage deal breaker or maker.

Understanding the concept of "face" can be a very tricky and, oftentimes, frustrating endeavor for a foreigner.  One way to have a better grasp of it is to have a better grasp of the Chinese way of thinking, which in itself can also be very complicated.  Another way is to have one's Chinese friend or girlfriend guide him.  If a man is unsure as to how to deal with a certain situation, especially one that involves an interaction with his girlfriend's parents or another Chinese person, he would do well to ask for advice.  

There's a lot more to be learned from the invaluable insights of other foreign men who share their real-life experiences about dating China woman and life in China through the blogs and forums that can be found only here on, the home of trusted Chinese dating.

From: Original         Author: Achelle Vinzons         Time: 3/12/2013 6:09:27 PM

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