Wednesday, October 8, 2008

When Asian Parents Don't Like Asian Single Moms

My friend's blog, Single Mom Seeking, recently posted an interesting topic about culture and dating single mothers:

“My traditional parents won’t let me date a single mom”
By singlemomseeking ⋅ October 7, 2008 ⋅

This week, a 30-year-old single man named Brad, wrote:

“I have a situation which I haven’t seen in your blog. There’s this woman I really adore. She’s the same age as me, and she’s a single mom. She has two sons. I’ve never been married, and I would love the chance to be a part of her — and her sons’ — lives.”

So, what’s the problem?

“My parents are Chinese. They are also very traditional. When I told them I was dating a single mom, they were furious.”

“She is Chinese, too, but they just won’t hear it. I really see a lifetime potential with this woman, but my parents refuse to even meet her.”

Ok… I can definitely weigh in on this issue. She had quite a few opinionated responses posted by the time I got to post. Below is what I added to the conversation:

For people to suggest that he just needs to “cut the apron strings” reveals their poor understanding of Chinese culture. Chinese culture teaches to respect your elders and honor them for the sacrifices they have made. And respect doesn’t necessarily “go both ways." There are ways younger people show respect and gratitude to elders.

I know that, relative to the rest of the population, there are not a lot of Asian single mothers to begin with. So Brad’s parents may not have had exposure to meeting single moms and may only know the stereotypes they see on TV.

Family is integral to the Chinese culture. There are definitely preconceptions as to what a traditional family looks like.

That said, I would not advise Brad to completely obey his parents’ wishes, but try to find a situation that appeases both sides. The I-don’t-care-what-you-think approach won’t work.

Brad could try using actions rather than words to explain how much she means to him. Somethings are better said when unspoken. I’d be surprised that the parents’ perspective doesn’t soften if they are ever able to meet the kids.

In my dating experiences with Asian men, I’ve had a wide range of parent reactions. Some embraced me and my daughter whole-heartedly. Another Korean guy could not mention my existence to his mother who probably would never accept me b/c 1) I’m Chinese and 2) I’m a single mother.

My situation is made easier by the fact that my daughter is all-Asian (as opposed to being half-Asian). Unfortunately, biracialism adds another complicated layer to winning over traditional Chinese parents.

Best of luck, Brad!

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