Silent Agreement: The Four Unwritten Rules of Courtship in China

Silent Agreement: The Four Unwritten Rules of Courtship in China
Apr 02, 2014 By

Editor’s note: As is the norm with these translated articles, it is best to take it with a pinch of salt. This article, first published on, is particularly tilted towards the male perspective but then also makes statements such as “Men are subconsciously chauvinistic”. Nonetheless, it is an interesting view into to psyche of Chinese men who are looking to get hitched and what they look for in a potential mate.

courtship rules in China
Source:Made Underground

1) Men Are Concerned about Women’s Pasts
When looking into a woman’s past, men are not only looking at the woman’s dating history. They are more interested in her sexual history; specifically whether or not she is a virgin. If the woman is not a virgin, a man will want to know how many other men she had ‘close contact’ with before she met him.

Men customarily have pre-marital sex, but do not take any responsibility for their own pre-martial sexual behavior. Men feel that it is fine to have casual sex before marriage, but at the same time are strict regarding their future wife’s sexual history. This results in situations in which women who have a lot of pre-marital sex have a difficult time finding a husband when they are old enough to get married. On the other hand, men who have many pre-marital affairs find that it does not impact their marriageability in any way. 

2) Men Care about Women’s Motives for Love
In spite of declarations of love, men still care about women’s motives for love, especially women who have had many pre-marital affairs. Men have a sense of superiority. When in love or dating, they want women to love them because of their looks or talent and not because of their material circumstances. For this reason, if a woman is dating a wealthy man, she must not openly show her desire for wealth and material objects, or else the man will begin to begrudge her and eventually ‘kick her to the curb’.  

3) Men Are Concerned about a Woman’s Family
When young people are dating they will often discuss the woman’s family conditions. A man will think highly of his future wife’s family if her parents have a lot of social power or influence. With influential in-laws, he himself will have to struggle on his own for fewer years. A man will also think highly of his future in-laws if his girlfriend’s parents both hold steady jobs. Moreover, it is best that the man’s girlfriend is the youngest among her sisters. If she is not the youngest, it is better that she has a younger sister rather than a younger brother. This is because after marriage a man does not want to unexpectedly be asked to find his wife’s younger brother a job, help him get married or help him buy a house. It is very difficult for a man if his future wife’s parents are in bad health or are unemployed. Because of this, a woman’s family conditions are an invisible indicator when a man is considering her as his future wife.

4) Men Care about a Woman’s Career
Men are subconsciously chauvinistic. Because of this, the overwhelming majority of men will not choose a successful career woman or a woman in a higher post than them for their wife. Men subconsciously want to maintain good face in their community. The majority of men would not marry a secretary because the world knows that secretaries and bosses have close, constant and often confusing relationships. Prejudice exists in society and in the subconscious minds of men. Therefore, many men will not marry women who work in nightclubs as they feel that this kind of work is trashy. Men dream of marrying a woman who is an office worker or a similar position. This class of work will give the man face, be a source of steady income, and will allow the women to take time to take care of the home after marriage.


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Keywords: Chinese men Courtship in China unwritten rules of courtship


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Anyone, Foreigner male or female, who are dreaming of dating or worse, marrying a Chinese man or woman is just crazy, dumb, stupid or high as a kite!! Chinese women age like coffee, cold and bitter, as for the men, wow...ok, there are a lot of white trash floating around China, but as low, depressed and addicted, or as fat, ugly and depressed as most white women are, it's still a looong drop down to getting married to a Chinese man...I mean, now you talking someone who is, generally speaking of course, just plain ignorant, delusional, usually spoiled, always on mission impossible...then again, who knows, this may actually be what Western women secretly desire in a sort of sadistic self-flagellating way, with heavy dollops of masochism obviously mixed in...some people can never get enough of suffering, and they love to dream the impossible dream and to take on 'big projects'...for these this is the relationship they need...but it will be an eye-opener every day, and seldom of the pleasant variety...suffer through is the motto!!

Mar 17, 2015 05:15 Report Abuse



And Gailored, that common statement"oh we have 5000 years of History" is stupid propaganda. Western Civilization is at least that old. Western Civilization started in the Middle East, spread to Europe and eventually to the Americas, Australia, etc. Americas law is based on Roman law, our philosophies go back to the Greeks and previous societies before that. Don't believe the propaganda you've been spoon-fed with.

Apr 08, 2014 13:11 Report Abuse



Guest2368048 was merely making the point that it's not fair to judge the Chinese culture using Western standards. He is right of course. He didn't condone Chinese atrocities he merely made his point. Why jump his shit so bad? Lot's of atrocities in the west my friends.

Apr 08, 2014 13:03 Report Abuse


and how many men have you slept with? your understanding of western culture is humorous. your portrayal of chinese culture is stereotypical at best. live your life without the boundaries of cultural conventions, or suffer the consequence.

Apr 07, 2014 06:56 Report Abuse



5000 years of 'civilisation' and people still spit in public, shove each other in 'queues' and film people involved in accidents to post on weibo rather than actually help.

Apr 09, 2014 08:27 Report Abuse



Dontcha know Jiang Ze Min added 2000 years. There are no records of any 'civilization pre 1000 BC, only myth.

May 25, 2014 01:02 Report Abuse



Englteachted, whoever taught you how to read failed completely.

Apr 02, 2014 13:35 Report Abuse



A lot to get to here. Guest: Culture is not an excuse for being primitive and barbaric. In fact it is an insult to believe one group of people can't be civilized because of their culture. And having had sex previously does not make her a whore you shit brained loser. Your mother had sex with your father before they were married, does that mean she worked in a whorehouse? Chinese men, you are the reason why women in this country are looking elsewhere.

Apr 02, 2014 13:13 Report Abuse



opps, so any American girl marries a non-American guy stands as proof of failure of all American adult males. YOU ARE THE REASON SHE LOOKED ELSE WHERE...haha

Apr 03, 2014 09:44 Report Abuse



I think an issue in China is the fact that people respect people with money despite however dishonest the means were to get there. Guys get face despite the fact that their parents bought their car, built their house and paid dowdry money to in-laws to acquire a wife....this is the reality of the situation. All aspects of 'we should respect people with money in china is quite simply laughable'.

Apr 02, 2014 12:44 Report Abuse



A lot of chinese women I meet are the driving force behind relationships and success. Ihe men are simply a vehicle for driving the success. It is like in football terms when someone wants to buy a club they will use figureheads to act as a legitimate means of driving the agenda forward. Look at Man Utd- a consortium is trying to take over and will use Beckham, Giggs etc as pawns to give it more credibility.

Apr 02, 2014 12:40 Report Abuse



So the man is offering this woman a house and car? And the women offers absolutely nothing else? To you, her ass is nothing, but to her, it's a hell of lot to ask for when giving it to you. And what house are you talking about ? The one that's coming from your Mommy and Daddy? I'd love to see what kind of house or car a man in China can provide to his own wife without asking his parents for it. And I've never heard of women lining up infront of you for your hand in marriage either, so I guess it goes both ways, huh ?

Apr 02, 2014 12:07 Report Abuse



When it comes to marriage most guys want to marry a clean girl. Throughout the entire course of human history, regardless of race, culture, era, income.....etc. have you heard of guys lining up outside whorehouses looking for a wife (a prostitute, both technically and logically, is the preferred choice if you want firework displays in your bedroom)? I haven't.

Apr 02, 2014 10:19 Report Abuse



Would you like to define clean in this case? Does it mean a virgin? Does it mean that if she slept with her previous boyfriend it makes her unclean? That's absurd and chauvinistic don't you think? If that's your logic then you are guilty of dirtying all your previous girlfriends! MCP!

Apr 02, 2014 14:43 Report Abuse



Uh-uh, here we go. This is a tough issue with no easy answers. With different and conflicting cultures knitted together, this is quite something debatable. Nonetheless, there're universal guidelines for us to follow: gender equality. So the question is how to express gender equality.

Apr 02, 2014 17:24 Report Abuse



That's a double-edged sword you're wielding there. It sounds like you agree to the idea that a man's penis can be allowed to roam free while a woman must keep herself chaste and reluctant to allow a man who's not her husband touch her. I woman who has had more than one sexual partner does not make her a whore no more than a man who has sullied potential wives.

Apr 02, 2014 17:42 Report Abuse



you are missing the point. It's about preferences. We Chinese men prefer our "wives to be" virgins. It's the same as most girls prefer their boyfriends TALL, or have a British accent. Should all the short guys rise up and demand "height equality"? What about those who don't have a British accent? We demand ACCENT EQUALITY...

Apr 06, 2014 10:32 Report Abuse



as a Chinese man, do you really know what most girls want? If you are talking about preferences, most women prefer men who have not had multiple partners. Oh, sorry, i forgot. This is not about 'foreign' ideas of equality so a woman's preference is not relevant.

Apr 07, 2014 23:58 Report Abuse



Guest2293436@ FYI, I am a Chinese man and I don't share your thoughts about preferences. It's about the state of one's mind, one's upbringing, etc. Your statement that "We Chinese men prefer "our wives to be" virgins" holds very little water. It smacks of chauvinism, don't you think? So women cannot "prefer their husbands to be" virgins? Is that the gender equality you speak of? I do believe you are either living in a rural part of China or if you've not been to China, I meant China all over, not just certain cities. Just so you know, Chinese women in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou are far more gender equality imbued than you, judging from your arguments I've read here. Your comparison using height and accent suggests that you are out of your depth in this subject, which in turn suggests that you totally lost the plot!

Apr 08, 2014 15:03 Report Abuse



As I said, I haven't heard guys lining up outside whorehouses looking for wives. You guys can go looking anyone from virgins to prostitutes to be your wife.

Jun 23, 2014 12:17 Report Abuse



I absolutely love the amount of western culture superiority complex going on in the comment sections on this site. so nobody went to college and learned the concept of cultural relativism ? Gender equality as progress is such a western concept, and we Chinese have our own way of doing things. And we are doing just fiiine. It's funny, really. In the current Chinese culture when it comes to dating, a man must provide his wife with a house and car prior to marriage, and apparently he cannot ask her tough questions related to her past nor have a say in his preference of her career and family. Oh, and marriage is supposed to be for life btw. Do you realize how absurd this is? It's like you are hiring a new CEO for your billion dollar company, and guess what, you can't have a preference in the past careers of the candidates. Now, you can argue the validity of the standards by which the Chinese men are choosing their wives, but again, there are no better races in the world, only different races, and there are no better cultures in the world, only different ones.

Apr 02, 2014 10:16 Report Abuse



"we Chinese have our own way of doing things. And we are doing just fiiine" So you mean that domestic violence is fine, and because anyone who is a foreigner objects to this, we are bad people ? Also, most foreigners don't accept the demands of girls for a house and car prior to marriage as ok. Likewise a man asking a woman 'tough' questions is not fine. Equally, most foreigners would hope and work on a marriage for life, not as a temporary state. Absurd? Probably. What you are saying seems to be that most Chinese don't see it as a life-long commitment.

Apr 02, 2014 11:29 Report Abuse



what I'm saying is that gender equality as progress is a western idea, and you are judging the Chinese culture based on your understanding of your own WESTERN culture. If you took Anthropology 101, then you should know that you can ONLY appreciate and understand a culture from within, and no culture is better or worse than one another, only different...

Apr 03, 2014 09:38 Report Abuse



so are you saying that the domestic violence endemic within chinese society is ok because i am foreign and i don't understand? How is this or the mistreatment of women and children not a bad thing for ANY society? I have witnessed the casual violence regularly and you suggest i should accept this? Until women are treated as equal contributors to any society, they will continue to be property of their families or husbands and be treated as such.

Apr 03, 2014 12:43 Report Abuse



what I'm trying to say is that you should never judge another culture based on the comparison drawn from your own culture. The fact that you say that the Chinese mistreat their children shows how little you know about the Chinese culture, really. I'm not saying you should accept anything. My argument is entirely that there are no better or worse cultures, only different ones

Apr 03, 2014 17:28 Report Abuse