Meet the (Asian) Parents – Well. The mom.

So you finally found your Asian man, and after dating him for a while he wants to introduce you to his parents.

Hold on a second. I can tell as an Asian, that spells trouble already.  Well, good for him for willing to introduce you, but there is a lot more to it than it seems. Maybe I can help by providing some preparation material.

His Parents

Regardless of the country, Asians in general share the same ideology when it comes to dating. It has to be serious. The conservative Asian culture tends to frown on relationships purely based on private romantic interludes. If they are really traditional, serious dating is only the prequel to marriage.

Our parents roughly belong to the baby boomer generation. They grew up strongly influenced by their parents’ bitter post war mentality. Food was sparse, and the wealth of the family was low. The only way advance in society was to work harder. While the average person worked 8 hours, we pushed hard for 10 or even 12 hours a day. Our parents pinched every penny possible in hopes that their children could live a better life.

The View of Caucasians

It was not until the 19th century that there was strong Western influence over Asia. China had been crippled internally and was divided up among international powers for trade. Just like China, Vietnam and Philippines also had influences from the French and Spanish/Americans respectively. While this angst may not be directly carried over, we still have derogatory terms to refer Caucasians.

Japan was really the only nation to completely allow Western influence since 1853.

Now what are the chances that members of the Navy were kind, loving socialites? In most cases, they would have been the classic brutish aggressive man. On the side note, it makes me wonder. If the majority of the explorers in this world were Caucasian (including Europe), then it’s no wonder why white guys naturally go for the Asian girls. I really can’t name you any real Asian explorer. Honestly, I can’t think of one. We just loved our isolationism – guess that’s evolution.

Fast forward to modern times. I can tell you right now the biggest stereotypes Asian parents have of white people is that they are hedonists who has absolutely no control of their finances. Money is a big deal for Asians, and it doesn’t help with the common fear that a white person is going to steal all the wealth away. (refer to above)

For the hedonist portion, it’s more of a lack of control of impulses. This is tied into money by the fact that by immediately seeking pleasure, we are unable to build up wealth and become a slave to money. A stern, reserved, and discipline Asian is ideal.

These are some pretty big stereotypes to break through, and if you truly are in love with your Asian man, you cannot avoid this. However this is not impossible either.

The Phases of Acceptance

There are different mannerisms to treat people based on their social closeness. I would generally classify this as:

I.              The Foreigner – Parents will be reserved, and closed off
II.            The Friend – Now they see you as trustworthy and a good influence
III.          The Daughter In Law – Approval. Finally. You’re part of the family.

Obviously the ultimate goal is to reach the third one, but you have to earn your way through each phase.

Phase One – The Foreigner

Didn’t your parents tell you not to talk to strangers? Well if the parents aren’t fully Westernized then, this is probably the toughest layer to get past. Don’t worry, when you breakthrough this one, it’s smooth sailing. The one you really need to pay the most attention to is his mom. In traditional Asian families, dad brings in the income, and mom maintains household vitality. She is the key to the success and failure of the relationship. For the most part, I would believe the dad may not appear supportive to appease his wife, but secretly he is proud of his son.

His mom is always looking out for her beloved son. You have to establish you that you love him as a person and never for his finances or status. Stand firm, and hold your ground. This is a test of resiliency. She will want to find out your education, career path, and future. Anything practical and reasonable will be fine with her. She will be slightly displeased with an unpractical career like an artist. If her control of English is not strong, be warned that there will be a lack of tact. Don’t be offended, just agree and refrain from prolonged direct eye contact (it may be considered rude or hostile). Show some humility for brownie points. Make sure you find the correct ways to address everyone. Greet everyone in the household when you first enter. Find out proper Asian table manners.

Direct conversation may not be possible at this time, and most likely you will actually have to build rapport through his mom’s influences.

Phase Two – The Friend

Building rapport is done through the community. In most cases Asian are a tightly knit community usually based around religious faith, societal clubs, or social hobbies. Asian women love to socialize and gossip.

With such a close social network, everything is shared. This is why it is so important to establish your good intentions through secondary channels so that good word about you is spread to her friends. She will warm up knowing that you help out in the community. Conversely the opposite also holds true.

Minimize collateral damage by familiarizing yourself with Asian culture – and the cultural specifics to his nationality. General manners of respect and reservation is welcomed. Look into gift giving, don’t come empty-handed into his parent’s house for large social events. It doesn’t have to be something absolutely special, just a sign you are thinking about the family. There is a caveat, avoid clocks (your time to die), hats (unfaithfulness) for the most part – just ask your Asian friends. Something completely generic is fine. Don’t stress out.

Phase Three – The Daughter in Law

Congratulations. You’ve finally made it here. You’re part of the family. It was a rocky start at first, but look how far you’ve come along. Come and visit the family often, maybe bi weekly. By now you’ve earned respect from his mom. Make sure you always maintain it and maybe soon she’s going to rant to you. (A good sign when it’s not involving you)

If marriage is in the future, don’t worry Asian moms have their ways with their son. Show that you are fully competent in life skills, and they will be more than pleased.

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5 Responses to Meet the (Asian) Parents – Well. The mom.

  1. Tara says:

    *sigh* I have personal, painful experience with this aspect of amwf relationships. All I can say is if the guy isn’t going to stick through this part, then he’s probably not worth having. A year ago I had a Chinese boyfriend of 6 months that i was deeply attached to finally tell his parents about me. It didn’t go over well with his mother or grandmother. It’s almost always the female relatives that are upset about this kind of thing. HIs dad was fine with it. Our relationship ended shortly after. This happened despite the fact that I constantly asked if his parents would be ok with our relationship. He always responded that it would be ok or that he would convince them. Instead, he walked away and actually blamed it on me, saying that I made him tell his parents too soon (despite the fact that he had even alluded to marriage at times).

    I don’t mean for this to discourage anyone from a amwf relationship, but rather as a cautionary tale. Before you get too attached, make sure your man has the fortitude to stand his ground. It’s really a big test of your relationship. Some do, some don’t. My first boyfriend back in college was from Taiwan, and his ex before me had been black. His family was really upset, but he didn’t give up on her (they later separated for other reasons). Some Asian families will welcome you, even if they are a bit reticent at first. I have two American friends in relationships with men from China and their families love them. It’s really just a gamble, especially if the guy has never dated outside of his race before. Don’t trust that things will just work out until his family meets you. Overall, I know more positive experiences with this than negative, but the negative experiences are really, really painful.

    • AMWF Love says:

      Hi Tara,

      I was lucky in the sense that when I met my Asian guys family, there were already interracial couples. He was born here in the US, and most parents are used to their children marring outside the Asian race. If they are not, then they are really forced to accept it because the culture demands it. Any man should be willing to stick up for his women, not matter if his family disapproves. It is not discouraging :) its just something that all women need to be aware of when wanting to be involved with Asian men.

      -laura

  2. pyreticsphincter says:

    I have had a very similar experience as Tara being a WF dating an AM. My boyfriend introduced me right away to his parents. We were completely in love and he had full confidence that his parents would be open minded. Well they werent. They were positive it wouldn’t work out and worked hard to insure it wouldn’t. At first his dad was nice to me but when his mother complained that I was “disrespectful” that stopped. ( Disrespectful being when she screamed at me from across the room in broken english and I didn’t understand and ran away.) She never talked to me again for 6 years…. Meanwhile his whole immediate family was extremely passive aggressive towards me for 10 years we dated, until I finally had an emotional breakdown. My boyfriend finally stood up for me, and told them since they couldn’t be nice to me he was marrying me and they would not play a part in our life. Suddenly his family did a 180 and became civil towards me. I told him if he had done that in the first place they would have changed their attitude a long time ago. We did get married and I do love him a lot. Long story short if you are going to date an AM, especially if he has old fashioned parents, make sure he is willing to fight for you, if not there is no point.

    • AMWF Love says:

      Traditional Asian Parents have problems with White Females that stem from the historical reasons. China was put into submission with opiates, Vietnam drove out foreigners (first the French, then the Americans), and the ex-pat American soldiers are still around.

      With the Old World mentality, Asians view Caucasian Females as hedonists, people who live day to day for pleasure (often sexually) and have absolutely no real aspirations in life with poor financial management skills. The other problem is a subtle one is that their behaviours can violate the Confucian family system. You have to pay your respect to elders by almost submitting. That means you almost have to willing give up your hard earned freedom/individuality and become humble. Otherwise the mother feels threatened because you violate the complete family system (or she just had bad experiences with Caucasians in general).

      The problem with Asian Male/Female relationships is often we tend to have the husband as the breadwinners and the wife to take care of domestic issues. The Asian wife can also mysteriously have what I like to term as the “Princess Complex”. With you being Caucasian, you are essentially “stealing” her son away from her. I know it sound really stupid, but it happens.

      I am glad that your husband stood up for you and his parents have started to warm up to you. Expression of love is very action based for Asian Culture, and it is intertwined with respect. Going out of your way to spend time with them is probably viewed as an act of love anyways. :) Thanks for sharing.

      - Brian

  3. Hello Tara,

    As an Asian woman, I really feel for what you’ve experienced with your Asian guy. Unfortunately Asian men despite being westernized still carries their strong cultural beliefs and tradition. Immediate and extended families play a big role into influencing an Asian man’s decision in regards to relationships. Most Asian men almost always seek parental advice when it comes to dating/marriage and they do put a big weight in their decision making. The best way to handle it is to get close to their family first. Making yourself be familiarize with the family and as time goes by, they will include you in their circle of life. By the way, if you guys are interested to comment on my article, I know this is embarrasing, but my article is http://sexyasianpixes.blogspot.com/2009/12/asian-men-have-short-penis-fact-or-myth.html ,

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