Some insights on cross-cultural relationships.
Readership: Western expat men in relationships with Asian women.
Some Taiwanese girls have a little dream… “Mom, I wanna marry a foreign boy.”
Her mother replies, whispering, “So did I…”
But still, Taiwanese parents always say that their children are crazy for wanting to marry a foreigner!
A young expat in Taiwan says, “I’ve been going out with my girlfriend for 9 months, and she still hasn’t told her parents.”
Some Taiwanese girls won’t tell their family that they are dating a foreigner because they know their family would not approve, and they are too ashamed of their boyfriend and too afraid of their family to make a stand. But they continue to see their boyfriend anyway because they want a little thrill, and they want to brag to their friends about it. The girls who act this way will probably never marry their foreign boyfriends. When they get tired of him, or when they decide that they want to marry someone, then they will dump him and go find someone else who is more “acceptable” to their family and society.
Another thing is that, in Taiwan, getting married is like marrying the whole family. It is difficult to decide whether you want to marry into her family, if you never get to meet them. The downside is the simple fact that if she won’t tell her family about you, there is a good chance that it is because she knows they cannot accept her with a foreigner, and if that is true, then they will probably reject you and try to undermine your relationship with her, should you two decide to stay together anyway.
On the other hand, if a Taiwanese girl does tell her family about her foreign boyfriend, then she is also putting pressure on him to get married soon. But if he doesn’t marry her, then in addition to being broken-hearted, she also becomes a disgrace to her family. To make matters worse, her desirability to Taiwanese men in the future is severely reduced, and the stereotype of foreigners being playboys is reinforced.
So, in summary, the stakes are high, and we are risking our very lives and future progeny. Maybe your girlfriend is just waiting for you to make it clear that you want to marry her, or maybe she is just playing around for fun. You won’t know which one it is until you try to change the status of your relationship.
This is the trouble for the foreign boyfriends; it is difficult to tell how faithful, reliable, and trustworthy their Taiwanese girlfriends are, whether they have a serious and realistic mind about the relationship, and whether they are actually mature enough to be ready for marriage. The different cultures teach us different expectations for marriage, and very few people find a match in this respect. If you talk to your girlfriend about some of your respective expectations for marriage, it will probably help you determine whether your relationship is worthy of permanency.
So there are some supremely big risks there, which in the end, cause many people to decide not to marry outside their race/culture. But it’s better that you know what you’re getting into, so that you can think about it clearly and seriously.
Σ Frame: Cross-Cultural Relationships and Dating in Taiwan (2016 October 17)