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Old vs. New Chinese Dating Culture

When it comes to technological achievements, China is one of the top nations. Yet, it has managed to maintain its culture and traditions. Casual dating might go against the country’s dating conventions, which are conservative and place a high significance on rituals and astrology. Today, let’s look at the differences between the old and new Chinese dating culture.

What is China’s dating culture like?

China’s dating customs have changed over time. They have shifted from depending on matchmakers to relying on their freedom of choice. The evolution of dating in general and various western influences had a significant impact on how Chinese courting customs were practiced. Region and province have a significant impact on both traditional and modern Chinese dating customs. The way Chinese men and women choose their partners is significantly influenced by money and wealth, and is reflected even in a modern society like Singapore. 

The Old Chinese Dating Culture

In ancient China, love was seldom a factor in a man’s and woman’s union. For Chinese men, the appropriate marriage age was about 20, while for women, the appropriate marriage age was 16 years old. These unions were less about the permanent fusion of a couple and more about a commercial relationship to link two families.

The sān shū liù, which translates to “Three Letters and The Six Etiquettes,” is a long-standing dating custom in China. It dates back to between 1046 BC and 771 BC and is used as a standard for courting Chinese women. Aside from this rule, matchmakers and festivals with a social focus were quite important in Chinese traditional courting culture. The letters and the etiquettes are the two components of this tradition.

The Three Letters and Six Etiquettes

The three letters act as the official correspondence for each meeting between the two families under this custom. The betrothal letter, gift letter, and wedding letter are among the letters. To guarantee that China’s dating customs are followed, the groom must adhere to the letter’s order. These letters are necessary to formalize and make legally binding each dating activity. The man and woman’s marriage would be considered worthless without these letters.

Meanwhile, the six etiquettes included Proposal or 纳采 (nà cǎi), Birthday Matching or 问名 (wèn míng), Presenting Betrothal Gifts or 订婚礼物 (Dìnghūn lǐwù),  Presenting Wedding Gifts or 纳征 (nà zhēng), Wedding Date or 请期 (qǐng qī), and Wedding Ceremony or 亲迎 (qīn yíng). 

The New Chinese Dating Culture

Despite the changes in lifestyle that have occurred around it, China is still a conservative nation. Despite maintaining the country’s long-standing dating customs, China’s dating and relationship outlook has undergone a significant transformation. This transition, not only in China but all throughout the world, was greatly influenced by the creation and use of new technology.

How Relationships Work

Before beginning a relationship, people in western nations go through three stages: introduction, dating, and exclusivity. Through friends, parties, social events, or online, strangers can connect. Online dating services are the quickest method to meet other single people in liberal nations. Before determining whether to commit to something serious, both parties spend time getting to know one another while dating. After spending so long without an official title, they go into the “girlfriend/boyfriend” stage when both parties are still interested in one another. Both parties upgrade their status to “in a relationship” and agree to be the only ones for one another.

The only real difference between dating in China and dating in the West is the absence of the “dating” phase. If you wish to date a Chinese person, you should anticipate that when you declare your interest in him or her, your partner would want to be your official girlfriend or boyfriend. Being in an official connection with them allows you to get to know who they are.

How Men Court Women

In China, chasing a woman often entails seeking her family. Men are expected to exhibit initiative in expressing interest in the relationship and taking care of the female, much like the traditional dating culture in China. In China, it’s typical for buddies to like the same female. In contrast to how it could be perceived in other nations, people consider this scenario as a friendly competition. Although it may be common in the Chinese dating culture, not all women find these competitions amongst friends to be pleasant.

The Dating Phase

Dating is location-dependent for them. Although China is becoming a little more accepting of casual dating, old norms, and traditions are still observed in rural regions. In comparison to rural areas, urban areas like Shanghai and Beijing are more liberal and welcoming of casual dating. In the rural areas, the expectation that you will wed your date is still part of their dating protocol.

It’s imperative to spoil a Chinese woman with gifts when dating her. In Chinese courting etiquette, material affluence is essential. This is how can one can tell how much the man loves their girl by how many presents he gives her. It’s also typical to make a public display of their love, such as by dressing alike. Another unsaid dating norm in China is disclosing their relationship status and competing with friends who are also dating.

Marriage Plans

Since the beginning of time, parents have been involved in their children’s dating lives. Due to this, the man must still obtain parental consent before formally dating a Chinese woman. Additionally, because of their involvement, Chinese singles are under pressure to get married and their dating culture is hurried along by this. Lately though, online dating services and marriage marketplaces are available to assist Chinese people to keep up with the times.

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