Dating in China [part 1]

Learning that an ex is married. Walking away from a Tinder date. Getting set up by your boyfriend. These women tell true stories of their dating experiences in China.


I was dating this guy from the States for a month or so, and long story short, he ditched me out of his fear of commitment. One year later I found out that about ten months after breaking up with me, he got married to a Chinese girl. Apparently she’d tried to commit suicide, so he “had” to marry her. The best part is that only two months into their marriage, when I heard this story from common friends, they were in the process of getting a divorce. I’m not sure why, but she attacked him and went to the police, said it was in self-defense, I think he spent a few days in jail. I don’t know what happened afterwards.

– Spain, 32

image from: Vanity Fair


This was my very first Tinder date. I was expecting to go out with a 26-year-old guy, who had said he was outdoorsy, was a teacher in Beijing, and seemed very fun loving. His pictures were not the best pictures on Tinder; I couldn’t see him very well in some of them. But I thought I had a general idea of what he looked like. He looked, you know, cute enough. So our plan was to meet at the subway and walk over to get some food in the hutongs.

I arrived at the subway and couldn’t find him anywhere, I couldn’t see him, so I sent him a message. He replied right away, with, “I think I see you, I’m coming up behind you.” I turned around and I looked and I looked, and didn’t see anyone who looked at all close to what I thought. All of a sudden this guy is right there, he’s waving at me and he’s like, “Hi, it’s me.”

I was completely caught off guard because this guy was about ten or eleven years older than his profile said he was. I was very shocked by his appearance. I mean if he had told me that he was older, that would be one thing. But I was very caught off guard and kind of had to calm myself down to be polite, and we ended up walking over to dinner. Just the entire time I felt like, “wow, the very first thing that I see is that you’ve lied to me about your age very, very blatantly.” Ten plus years is a pretty significant gap.

The other thing was that he was significantly shorter than I was. Which for me… I’m a tall person, I’ve always been tall and I’ve just kind of embraced it. I don’t want my height to at all take away from the fact that there could be a great person out there who is a different size than me. That doesn’t discount them or make them unworthy of conversation or a date in my mind. I’ll really go on a date with a lot of people.

Beijing’s hutongs © ZhendeGender

It was my first time on a Tinder date, and I was just like, okay you know, he’s just a person and I’ll have dinner with him and that will be it. He insisted that I walk back with him, and I said “oh, you know, after dinner I think am going to go home, I’m pretty tired.” He said, “no, no, come for another drink with me”, and I was like, “oh, you know, I think I’m going to go,” so he insisted on walking with me.

But he kept commenting about it, and how awkward I must feel that he was so short in comparison to me. I felt that he was putting words in my mouth. I didn’t like that, so I said, “well if you feel uncomfortable that’s up to you, but I don’t feel uncomfortable. I’m going to feel the way that I feel.” But he kept poking and prodding about the fact that I was really tall and he was so insignificant in comparison to me and that I would crush him. It just made me feel really self-conscious and really bad, and he just kind of continued to do this throughout the night.

At that point, I was like, you know what? I should just ask him: “why did you lie about your age on Tinder? Why didn’t you say how old you were?” He said “oh, I didn’t lie.” I said, “well, yeah, you did.” He’d blatantly lied. All of a sudden he just started yelling at me, and he was like: ”Who do you think you are saying that I lied to you? That’s a bunch of ridiculousness and it’s just horrible. I can’t believe you would say that!” He just kept yelling so I just kept walking and I walked home.

That was such a horrible event. Not a nice person, did not say anything nice, didn’t try to get to know me at all, just put words in my mouth, said really rude things. I wasn’t really having it. I thought: if I go on another Tinder date, I really need to vet better before I do.

-United States of America, 28

image from: pinterest


A couple of years ago I dated a Chinese guy for a few months. I met him on a dating app, which he told me he used specifically to find foreign girls. He frequently made comments about how he preferred Western girls because they were more “open” and he thought Chinese girls were too conservative and traditional. All of his exes were also Westerners.

We’d started sleeping together and had been going on more and more dates. One night my boyfriend invited me over to his place saying he wanted to introduce me to a friend of his. I went, thinking this was an indication that things were getting more serious between us, because I hadn’t met any of his friends or family before. When I arrived, I noticed that there were several unopened bottles of liquor on the table, which was strange because I had never seen my boyfriend drink anything more than a can of beer with dinner.

He introduced me to his friend, and immediately they asked if I wanted to take a shot. We had a few drinks before my boyfriend held up his phone dramatically, saying he had to leave immediately because a friend of his was sick and needed his help going to the hospital. I stood up to leave but he insisted we should both stay without him as long as we wanted, and told us to have fun.

After he left, his friend started plying me with whiskey, asking about my past sexual experiences and what I thought about Chinese boys. When I wouldn’t drink more he asked me what was my favourite kind of alcohol then said he was going to go downstairs to buy it. It was getting uncomfortable so I left, and he escorted me to the door with a disappointed look. “I really hoped you would spend the night with me,” he said, and I laughed awkwardly and hurried away.

The next day my boyfriend texted me as if nothing was wrong. I ignored him. Several days later he asked me if I was angry at him for some reason.

“Did you make up an excuse to leave me with your friend last weekend so we would sleep together?” I texted him.

“Yeah he saw ur picture and thought u were cute and asked me to help him spend the night with u,” my boyfriend replied.

I told him: “I’m not a prostitute you can share with your friends.”

“I’m sorry u feel that way,” he replied. “That’s not what I meant at all. I thought western girls were open about this kind of thing. Didn’t u like him?”

I didn’t dignify that with a response. He tried again, messaging me a few more times before finally to ask me if I had any pretty friends to set him up with. After that I blocked him.

-United States of America, 23

Further instalments:

Humiliation by comedy in a Beijing bar. Parents say, “break up with him” because boyfriend is not Chinese. [part 2]

A Chinese first boyfriend who ruined dating for years. Suffering through sleep apnea on a first date. Offered money for sex with a stranger. [part 3]

Guy uses Chinese whispers to ask for a date. Remedies for dating in inauspicious circumstances. [part 4]

Date says more attractive with clothes on. Does an open relationship translate to open dates? Getting an I.O.U. for accepting a drink. [part 5]

These stories are shared by the women who experienced them in their own words. All stories took place in Beijing, China, unless otherwise stated. Identities are kept secret out of respect for the individuals in the stories.


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