The world of dating and relationships can be tough to navigate. And if you’re looking to step foot into the world of Asian American dating, you may find yourself struggling to find a balance between two very different worlds. (For all of you Asian Canadians out there, this goes for you, too.) From family values to cultural connections, there are a number of things you’ll want to take into consideration before jumping into a relationship. For starters, a first generation Asian American may think about his/her heritage in a slightly different light than someone whose family has been in the US for generations. (For tips on dating Asians in America, check out Asian Dating Tips for Asian Singles.)
Hands down, family is always an incredibly important factor for Asians, whether they have just immigrated to the US or Canada, or were born and raised there. You’ll likely find the same, or very similar, family values among the Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Vietnamese, and beyond. Always show the utmost respect towards your date’s parents, siblings, elders, and the rest of the extended family. This is a universal rule, of course, but Asians truly value and respect their family’s opinions and if you fail to make a good impression with the family, the chances of going on another date are slim. Find out if s/he has extended family here. Are they still quite traditional or have they adopted a more western lifestyle and perspective? In Korea, for example, a parent’s 60th birthday is quite a big deal that warrants a great celebration. The children honor the parent with an extravagant feast and a big party. Expect the same (or perhaps something even grander!) for a parent’s 70th birthday! Take the time to find out if you’re on the same page regarding family values and expectations because you’re straddling two different cultures that both require acknowledgement and respect. While marriage may not be part of the conversation when you first start dating, keep these things in mind as the relationship progresses. Remember, you don’t just marry the person, you marry the entire family. For many Asian cultures, the family is often involved in making decisions, big or small. If you do get to that stage in your relationship where you’re considering marriage, you’ll be in a much better position if you’ve been courting the family from the beginning.
If you’re Asian-American, think about how important your culture’s traditions are to you. Do you and your family still celebrate traditional holidays? For example, in Japan, the New Year holiday is spent quietly and with family. It is not the raucous affair that Americans are used to, with countdown parties and fireworks! If you’ve spent your life celebrating it by getting together with friends and watching “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”, are you willing to compromise with someone who prefers to approach the holiday in a manner more traditional to his/her heritage? You should also find out what values are most important to the person you’d like to date. What’s his stance on gender roles? Are you looking for someone whose Asian culture is closely tied to her identity? What kind of roles do faith and religion play in your lives?
Take into consideration how long your families have been in the country. A first generation Japanese-American may think and feel differently about certain things compared to a fourth generation Japanese-American whose family has lived in Hawaii since the early 1900's. Did his family move to Canada as refugees from the Korean War? Does she have extended family in the Philippines? How important is his Chinese heritage to him? Is there a desire to maintain a strong sense of Asian culture within her daily life or is that not as important? There are many Asian Americans who are very proud of their roots and have grown up in a bilingual household. They may have even made annual trips overseas to visit their grandparents and learn about “where they came from”. Others, particularly those of later generations, may primarily identify as American or Canadian and be quite removed from their Asian heritage. This “getting to know you” stage is exciting, so take it slow, be respectful, be inquisitive, and communicate your eagerness to find out more about this other person. Don’t assume anything and be open to learning more about him or her.
EastMeetEast is the perfect matchmaking site to help you meet Asian-Americans since it is specifically targeted towards Asian urban singles who are looking for someone with a similar cultural background. Here’s what other Asian Americans have to say about EastMeetEast and Asian dating in the US!
Fung Brothers - Dating Asians in the City?! (PS - they also have a video that talks about Asian Americans vs. Asian Canadians!)
David So discusses online dating! (Warning: NSFW - salty language ahead!)
Linda Dong - Asians & Dating Apps?!
Been in the dating game for a while?
You’ll totally be able to relate to this episode of ISAtv:
Dating: Now vs. Then - “It’s…Complicated”