Full Circle: Looking Back Into The Past

After a two month sabbatical and extended hiatus, it’s good to be back. During my period of non-posting, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time reflecting upon our whole AMWF journey at AMWF Love. When I revisit my first few posts on AMWF I begin to wonder how I ever managed to write those topics. The majority of my compositions come purely spontaneously. It began with just Laura and me posting a collection of writings that soon turned to some form of formal blog. While we may never know our actual reach to our audiences, we were grateful enough to receive feedback from our supporters.

It was great to know that there were other people who expressed their mutual interest in interracial relationships involving an Asian Male. In fact our scope reached out to not only Caucasian females, but also to many other visible minorities including those with African or Latin origins. This was not our intent at AMWF Love to exclude these populations, but to share our thoughts and real life experiences online.

With Laura and I having a Caucasian and Asian background respectively, we elected to talk about AMWF because it would most accurately reflect our thoughts and feelings. I could not speak from an African-American perspective or from a Latin American viewpoint either. Instead I believed it was important to discuss principles of relationships through the perspective of a Westernized Asian Male. At AMWF Love we strive to discuss topics regarding AMWF as well as cultural, emotional, and social issues relating to Asian Male and Non-Asian female relationships. These principles can be also used for Asian Male Asian Female relationships or any other possible combination as well.

So back to the full circle reference – what does it mean? I see it as a way of evaluating progression of interracial dating with emphasis on Asian Male Western Female. Times have changed, and even a decade ago I probably would have a significantly lower chance developing a long-term relationship with a non-Asian female. While I did run into my former girlfriend (AMWF) who I haven’t seen in over seven years, I found out she is happily married (non-AMWF) with a caring husband and son.  Fast forward to present day 2012, I would say instead of getting the automatic rejection from a non-Asian female, there are times when I do get a warm response. Nobody said it was easy, but we are making progress one step at a time.

What about the plans for 2012? Well, we will be discussing more current and present day issues of AMWF relationships as opposed to the prior years of diving deep into historical reasons for typical Asian Male behavioural responses. Things are constantly changing, and clearly what I remember about Asian societies from my elementary social studies classes do not accurately reflect present day society. In the meantime, if you haven’t read some my principles to Asian Men, you are most welcomed to read topics regarding my TCAI model. Happy reading!

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The Public and Private Life of AMWF Relationships

Despite my Western upbringing, I still retain some conservative tendencies when it comes to relationships. When I tried to trace the roots of my behaviour, I found it fairly muddled. I suppose the majority of the tendencies came from watching my parents as an example and perhaps the Asian notion of love in general. In any regard, what I wanted to focus on was the difference between the public and private lifestyle in relationships with a focus for AMWF.

Background Information

There should be no surprise with the onset of an Asian shame society; appearances play the number one role. I would take it another step further and say it is how you are perceived by others. Probably the very first thing people notice in an AWMF relationship is the fact that it is an interracial relationship but a lot less common than the WMAF variety. After the initial shock, they will probably think of “how” the relationship was even possible.

AMWF relationships also do come with a preconceived notion of White Females being hedonistic or at worst promiscuous. While it may be true for a small select proportion, it is simply unfair to label the entire population as such. Many of us forget the great strides White Females (and other minorities) have done to progress society for equal rights as well. They didn’t just think about it, they committed themselves to change, bonded, and took action. Back to AMWF – When it comes to a serious committed relationship, White Females also have the ability to involve themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. It means they are willing to establish a connection while also risking their own pain and suffering.

For the Asians, most of our ancestors have vivid memories of coming from impoverished and war-torn societies. The majority of the time was spent on hard work and survival and less on love and relationships. If anything our expression of love came from our actions – primarily through going out of our way as Asians to do something (with no expectation of reciprocation).

The Public Life

Dating is almost synonymous as intentionally being around each other (just the two people together) on an occasional basis. While this may not seem like much for a White Female, it means a considerable amount for an Asian Male. For the most part, they are looking for someone who they can introduce to their parents. When his Asian parents accept the relationship that is an incredible milestone, because not only does the Asian Male have to worry about public opinions, his parents are the most important to please. That being said, if you can have Sunday night dinner with his parents at a restaurant without a hitch that is something to be proud of.

While you may think you have to show your affection for your Asian Male constantly, there is nothing more Asian Males love having their White Female be present physically, and show commitment through attentiveness.  You don’t have to show how madly in love you are with each other in public (which you both should already know), but showing a willingness to be together is something that will make an Asian Male very happy.  In other words, the absence of hostility and the pure comfort about being around each other is really plenty. For the most part, being calm and well-behaved is exactly what the older Asian generation likes to see.  This does not mean you have to be weak and submissive, just refrain from being obnoxious and outspoken.

Again, I reiterate commitment is something Asians value strongly (especially the older generation). I would personally have to say one of the worst feelings about relationships is being in a limbo. When you aren’t really sure of things: “Does she really like me, or is she like this to everyone else?” Whatever you do to show that you care, it’s important to reconfirm it and make sure the intentions are clear.

The Private Life

As many Asians know already, expressing the word love in our native tongue is a very difficult thing to say. This is not quite like how we can use the word love in English. We may love chocolate or ice cream in English, but when it comes to Asian languages, I would say it really means more of a total commitment than anything else. This is probably why we tend to use some form of “like” in our language in contrast to utilizing “love”. Yes there is a “really like” and if I recall in Cantonese there’s a “caring by spoiling” word as well. What I mean by that is the nature of how Asian Males tend to use actions like gift buying to show that they really do care.

When it comes to communication in private, the truth is Asian Males really want to communicate, but it’s not something they will immediately warm up to. Sometimes I would say it stems from the whole family system of filial piety and authority. Traditionally we have to defer to high authority as our thoughts and opinions are replaced by the wants and the needs of the family. Sometimes it’s a really strange notion to wrap your head around, but for me, it was just second nature.

In all honesty there is usually one type of love that almost every Asian Male will experience, and that is motherly love. With the exclusion of the psychotic Asian mothers, they are often very loving and caring. Perhaps it may not be in the same way through words, but through their actions like making their favorite foods or deliberately doing all of the cleaning duties. A woman truly willingly to do things like that for her Asian Male will probably win his heart instantly. A White Female does not have to be a supermodel, but she has to be attractive in his eyes. Of course this is not always the case, but if he’s willing to do most of the household chores anyways, it probably means he’s head over heels for his woman.

How about physical intimacy? Well, I will leave the up to the discretion of each couple. It does vary, but we are definitely not against things like that “behind closed doors”. The toughest part is actually the beginning of a new relationship. By default Asian Males will play the conservative approach, trying not to be too touchy-feely, but with enough trust and communication, things can definitely change. Remember that nerve-wracking first kiss or hand holding? Yes Asian Males sometimes don’t take enough proactive action, probably because they are too busy trying to analyze the situation to see if it is the right moment or not (getting embarrassed is a really bad feeling).

Just like the public life, there is a certain level of bonding and commitment, but usually there are more opportunities to speak candidly about issues. Unfortunately if there are language barriers, it is a little more difficult to convey thoughts and feelings. Sometimes the pride of Asian Males also is something to be aware of. While females have a vast supporting network of close friends and family, Asian Males will tend to keep their own problems to themselves. While he may talk about the external stresses, like his oppressive boss, when it really comes to talking about the intangible things like emotions or spirituality, he’s usually at loss.

Personal Commentary

Nobody enjoys having retarded moments in life. This is especially true when other people witness and recollect your embarrassing moments. The fear of shame is still deeply ingrained in our Asian mindset. Consequently we resort to waiting for the perfect moment where we are almost guaranteed success, but we forget the many opportunities pass by because we weren’t willing to take a risk. I have missed many opportunities because of my own conservative nature. It didn’t matter if I had the future planned, I totally forgot about the present. The travel plans, adventures together, and plans to be together went up in smoke because I was so self-absorbed in the future.

I always thought the true commitment came from doing the trivial things together. Things like going to her little sister’s graduation or just really being there for her when she was on the verge of an emotional breakdown. While it does sound nice, the fact is that we tend to meet people in a public setting first. As much as we want to completely open up as an Asian Male, it would be inappropriate at such an early stage because there are no connections built. I would probably say it would reveal a level of desperation or insecurity more than anything.

Somehow as a result it just hit me. That’s exactly why as Asian Males we go for the friend into lover approach. It makes perfect sense as it reflects the transition between the public and private side of Asian Males. Initially as friends, it is about getting to know each other without divulging too much into any intimate details. Things are lighthearted and fun, and until there some sort of chemistry or connection it progresses into the private and more candid things.

The key is that there is usually some sort of opportunity be together privately. Say it was some mutual friend’s birthday, the opportune moment would be the time when the two would be alone together. Take for example the car ride home. If there are no other passengers, this is actually an opportune moment for one of the parties to speak up. There are many other possibilities, and for the White Females that want to give their Asian Male of interest a little helping hand, provide a situation that allows just the two of you. Have him walk you to your car, ask for technical assistance with some sort of technology, or just simply flat-out approach him (if that is your style, it’s really not a turn off for Asian Males – sometimes it clears things up really fast).

So Asian Males, take more chances, and White Females, recognize the difference between the public and private life. When in doubt, just be upfront about it and communicate.

The Technological Crutch

When we look back to how our parents met, they did not have the vast array of technological tools we have in modern times. Text messaging didn’t even exist, nor did Facebook. So how did people manage with the absence of Internet and Communications Technologies? You guessed it, real human interaction.

Our Technological Crutch

Information has not only shared knowledge, but it has completely transformed our society. Had it not been for the Internet, I would have never been exposed to the Popular Culture of Europe and Asia. To be honest, the majority of the information was purely for entertainment purposes – but it was a refreshing alternative to the typical Top 40’s radio stations and mainstream television channels.  However, being compromised primarily of music, video, and pictures, a strong emphasis of visual and auditory sensing was used.  What made it worse was that organizations picked up on the information and began feeding us a lifestyle we wanted to believe in. From the nature of how to behave, think, or feel, we tune into the shows we enjoy. We buy products that we identify with, live the lifestyle, and surround ourselves with people alike.

Information is at our fingertips. Instead of purchasing a product at a store, it may be even more effective to purchase the product online and have it shipped directly to you. We can look at product reviews, read about the user experiences, and make the best informed decision. However, when we apply this concept to human relationships, it does not exactly work out the way we expect – especially as a typical Asian Male.

Our Online Presence

The anonymity of Internet works as a perfect foil for Asian Men. We are able to assess the situation, learn about information, without having to expose ourselves (assuming we are careful). With the modern developments of Social Networking, we are able to share immediate information with our friends, but does that apply to meeting new people?  Honestly there is no clear answer as its effectiveness varies on the situation.

In a situation where there are no prerequisite criteria, this is essentially an open door policy for Asian Men. This is made possible because of the lack of shame from public opinion. A social network group devoted to interracial dating and open membership will have a vast amount of members.  Despite the high membership, the real success rate may be much lower than perceived initially. Again, the immediate feedback nature of information works against us.

Immediate Feedback

In a sense our preferences are shaped both by predetermined genetic architecture, and social factors such as exposure to television, or other forms of mass media. Being raised in a consumer driven society, the users dictate the needs of society through their consumption. If they do not like a consumer product, it will be reflected by its sales. It’s as easy as saying “no”, because of our inherent consumer driven mentality. This also applies to communication both online, and in real life. If someone absolutely repulsive approached you with the intentions of dating, chances are you would reject them immediately. You could say it was just a natural response to prevent future pain.  Within a split second, we are already able to determine if someone is attractive or not before any real communication is met. How easy is it just to ignore the individual (assuming no prior human interaction) online by a few clicks? It is really that easy.

Back to the Basics

While I speak for Asian Men, this is certainly applicable to every group regardless of belonging. Technology should not be used exclusively in relationships, but as an aide. This is extremely useful for long distance communication, providing that some sort of relationship has been properly built up. As much as we enjoy instant messaging, to be in the actual physical presence with someone you truly enjoy being with is far more effective.  Yes it is also a long and difficult process to develop social skills, and even to this day I still am working on improving myself. If we are left to depend on Information and Communication Technologies, we are merely just a dead face behind a screen. If you seek for something beyond the online world, get out there and experience what life has to offer.

The Connection Gap – Neglected AMWF Issues

Physical attraction is a funny thing.  As an Asian Male what you need to know about most is that it begins with a pass or fail. What I mean by that is that even before someone is remotely attracted to you, there needs to be a minimum level of hygiene, grooming, and overall image. Otherwise you will face some form of rejection from a female of interest. Even before you open your mouth you have already been pre-categorized into a no, maybe, or yes kind of guy. The reason for this is that people do not enjoy being emotionally torn apart by a relationship that could have been easily avoided.We do our very best to avoid the creepy, abusive, or twisted individuals, sometimes they manage to slip through the barriers.

When it comes to short-term relationships, the short-term criteria doesn’t necessarily equate to a fulfilling long-term relationship. In the short-term relationship, the excitement lies in the intensity and mysteriousness of the relationship. I would even go as far as to call it the honeymoon phase where passion often expressed in a physical manner. This may also include the provision of gifts or gestures that Asian Males use to show their affection. It is not uncommon to see gifts early on, or have him decline your offer to split the bill. To this day I still witness the typical feud between family friends and my parents when it comes to paying the bill for dinner. Being a provider is one quality Asian men pride themselves on.

Perhaps that may draw parallels to why Asian Parents tend to pressure their kids into taking a professional career. With a generous amount of remuneration, they would be capable of being solid providers and not struggle financially. Traditionally it would be common to have the husband of the family be the sole income earner while the wife would allocate the household resources. This is what Asian men believe makes them a man. To this day, even I still believe it to be true – well at least partially true. Enter long-term relationships.

While being a solid provider is great, that is also the problem in a long-term relationship with an Asian Male. That’s all it is. You believe him to be a good person – someone trustworthy, loyal, and attentive. You know for sure he cares for you, but deep down inside as a White Female, you still feel incomplete.  This is what I like to call the Connection Gap.

The Connection Gap

The easiest way to explain this is to break it down from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Essentially it is as follows:

Level of Need Asian Male White Female
Physiological As the provider, this can be attended to financially. A healthy lifestyle and a place to call home.
Safety/Security A stable job, house, and car. A comfortable lifestyle, extravagant is bonus, but not required.
Social Some friends, co-workers, neighbours, and family. Always large gatherings for special events.

Parents may play a large role in the decision making process.

To enjoy an event with others (i.e. sport event at the bar with the boys).

The “status” of being taken.

A network of family, friends, and partner to share life with.

Establishing and maintaining a strong connection with her partner. A close support network to turn to no matter how tiny the issue is.

Bonding as a group through conversation (girls night out).

Being surprised with signals of affection every now and then.

 

Esteem Largely based on having a happy marriage often with direct family support.

“If the partner is happy, then I am happy.”

Friends are present physically and virtually to share milestones and accomplishments.

To not be hated by anyone.

Being appreciated and needed by her partner and close network.

Sharing accomplishments first with the ones she loves the most.

Having love reciprocated in a genuine manner

Self-fulfillment Engage in activities that require sufficient skill and challenge.

Technical: Photography, Model building

Creative: Music, Acting, Singing

Generosity: Volunteering

Transcend beyond the physical and engage mentally, emotionally, and possibility spiritually.

Engage in charitable (youth group), creative (painting), or spiritual activities (yoga).

Now this is just a hypothetical example illustrating the two different viewpoints that applies to males and females and not just AMWF exclusively. Where the Connection Gap lies is when the Asian Male is focused on the Safety/Security or Social Level when the White Female is looking for Esteem and Self-fulfillment needs. Consequently the Asian Male will feel content with the relationship because he clearly is doing his job providing. While having basic needs and safety taken care of is excellent, there are often higher levels of esteem and self-fulfillment that are neglected in an AMWF relationship. If left unattended for extended periods of time, the relationship risks deterioration.

Dealing with the Connection Gap

If not already in a relationship, a White Female may choose to find someone who she feels able to meet that social, esteem, and self-fulfillment needs. As a result, instead of choosing Technophiles, the White Female may opt for the Comedian archetype. Asian Males who are naturally the Comedian type will attract many through their jovial temperament. Others prefer the Ambitious to provide the energy and intensity she craves on a social and esteem basis.  Individuals are few in numbers, but are often the most suitable to meet the self-fulfillment needs given their creativity, expression, and awareness.

What about the poor Technophile who was pushed aside? There’s nothing to fear – the most important thing to remember regardless of TCAI group is the ability to open and maintain healthy channels of communication between each other. While there is no perfect formula, there are two general steps. The first is to encourage healthy communication by taking a proactive stance. Instead of her always trying to bring up issues, take the opportunity as an Asian Male to genuinely let her know that you care and want to listen to her. After that is done, be sure to carry out actions deemed necessary.  Even though there are inherent gaps in the connection, by making an honest effort you move one step closer. Continue the process and grow together in the AMWF Relationship. The sooner you address the situation, the better. Don’t wait for things to get to nuclear levels as an Asian Male. Not only will the relationship become unmanageable, but it may lead to its eventual demise.

The Pursuit of Technical Excellence – Life as a Typical Asian Male

The honest truth is that for many Asian Males, we are strongly influenced by our parents in deciding life choices. Our parents would decide which school and courses to take, musical instrument, and sometimes extracurricular activities as well. It was their way of showing us that they cared for their children and wanted to give them as many tools to succeed in life. These tools ended up being a form of knowledge and technical skills. Take music as an example. Piano or violins were the rites of passage as an Asian child growing up. I remember my mother sitting me down at the piano and placed a two hour clock timer on the clock instructing me to practice. Honestly I didn’t enjoy it, and I resented the fact I was forced to do it. Always pursuing the error-free piece was something I obsessed over, yet it eluded me. Nevertheless it laid the groundwork for studying and discipline.

Our Favourite Analytical Subjects

Math and Natural Sciences were definitely my favourite subjects growing up through primary and secondary schooling. The beauty of these subjects was that there was this logic behind it all that just made sense. I could just rely on my intuition and instincts and completely succeed in these subject areas. Mathematics had that property that everything was based on another proof after proof (or axiom), and aside from the minimal memorization was just being careful. The majority of errors would come from carelessness, so I would do my best to not become complacent. Sciences were the same, with the slight exception of Biology that required more memorization. All I had to do was really two things: think and memorize. That’s probably why I battled with English literature and Social Sciences early on. I had absolutely no experience or reference when it came to human interaction, thoughts, and feelings. My repertoire of books consisted of non-fiction instructional books and periodicals: computers, food, cars, and of course video games. There was no fiction in my library – which is probably why I despised English classes growing up. I was taught to replicate – not to think and feel.

The Social Subjects and Creativity

Essays, I completely dreaded that word. To this day I still don’t quite understand what it really means. Perhaps to the best of my knowledge it’s just a composition using words to formulate a message with a clear beginning, middle, and end. When it came to literature, I completely was at a loss for words. Of course I knew the basic love story themes, and epic battles, but being able to turn my thoughts and feelings into words was completely different. My parents never helped me with schoolwork actually. I was mostly self-taught, and it was not until midway through my undergraduate degree did I actually take a liking for the Social Sciences.

When it came to artistic creativity, it was frowned upon by my mother. She would lecture me how Artists have poor money management skills and always had troubling lives. I listened early as a child and never took a liking. When it came to art classes growing up, I would apply what I knew. Since there was a formula for math and natural sciences, there must be one for art as well. I would pay attention to the details and techniques – replicating pieces, but I would never truly understand its purpose. I lacked the spontaneity to create something out of nothing.

Actually this is quite common for Asian Cultures. You will even notice that many artistic presentations are based on adherence to strict order, technical abilities, and form. Things have been so rehearsed that there is a technical perfection we appreciate in Asian Culture. Combined in a massive group, it is quite impressive watching a large group of people perform each movement with perfect timing and synchronization. Beyond the rigid order, there is no individualism, and no means of expression. Yes it’s very beautiful and orderly, but it still leaves me empty inside.

Introverted Tendencies for being Technical

To nobody’s surprise, we find the technically skilled individuals have little to say. They are amazing at what they do, but when they are deep into their focus, they often result in an absence of social interaction. The sheer amount of knowledge required in many professional careers requires careful focus and a level-headedness which is suitable for what I call the Technophile types. Their mindset is more of a long-term basis. Yes, they forget to live in the moment, but they have consistent, predictable, and reliable nature to them which makes them attractive. Would you be concerned if your Comedian type was a brain surgeon? He may be too busy being engaged in conversations to be doing his surgical duties.

What Can We Do As Asian Males?

There are two choices really. You keep doing what you do, or you take action. To be with a White Female, often changes will have to be made. Her upbringing into a life of love and expression may be the complete opposite of your Asian structure and discipline. Granted there are many types of females, by improving social skills, physique, and grooming you give yourself a better chance as an Asian Male. While you do not have to completely transform yourself, it is incredibly helpful to build secondary skills to compliment your inherent technical skills. The only way to learn is from experience. This means you have to get out there, try, and fail – many times. It’s all part of growing up.

Appreciate the Work He Does – Asian Males & Affection

Without prior experience, one of the most difficult things to understand is how Asian Males display their affection.  Much of this has to do with our upbringing. Even for myself I would almost never see visual displays of affection between my parents. Dad would always share household chores and set aside weekend time to venture out into the city to shop with my mom. As for television, the Asian Television series never quite represented relationships the same way Western series do.

What I really remember about those Asian series growing up was the cute and awkward juxtaposition of a male and female liking each other. Physical touch would occur through some random coincidence such as the woman slipping and somehow miraculously positioned for a kiss. Now in real life, that’s probably not going to happen.

Showing Affection

The truth is that Asian Males tend to take an indirect route when it comes to showing affection. He will be attentive for conversations, and willing to provide for you. Honestly it really does come from our upbringing. To be a man in our Asian culture is not necessarily being macho-alpha-dominating, but being able to provide for his family. What you may not know as a White Female is how much power you really have over Asian Men.  Basic requests such as going to your favourite restaurant can be easily fulfilled. Want to spend the night at home instead of partying? Say the word, and it’s done.  In essence, if the female is happy, the Asian male is also happy.

Beyond the Basics

This is when the problems start to arise. Unfortunately for the most part, as Asian Males we are willing to take care of our romantic interest, but that’s all we can do. Physical contact may be minimal unless the female takes slight charge. The problem is that he is so focused on trying to make you happy, he forgets about himself taking action. While giving gifts shows that we are continually committed, there’s this emptiness that begins to grow overtime. The Asian Male responds to simple questions, but when asked for a viewpoint on a social issue, there’s a long pause, and then a shrug of the shoulders.

Silence is not Indifference

One of the most important things to understand is that the natural tendencies for an Asian male to not engage in debates or display affection on a more physical level often stems from his upbringing. He may simply not know enough of the situation to fully express his opinion, but it does not mean that he is indifferent.  What makes it difficult is that his facial expressions and body language may be “neutral” or “relaxed” but on a Western perception it can be misinterpreted as “upset”.  This can be remedied with strong levels of trust and communication. Make sure there your tone is free from hostility, and maybe place your hand on top of his – reassure him that you are here for him. Tell him how much you appreciate the things he does for you. Knowing that you are also loved and appreciated as an Asian Male is one of the greatest feelings.

AMWF and Social Change in North America

After World War II, racial barriers began to lessen somewhat for the U.S. as servicemen who had fought and were stationed overseas in Asia began to return with Asian brides; mostly of Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and Vietnam. Although the AMWF was not existent at that time, this did bring about a change in the way the US viewed interracial marriages/relationships. In 1967, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that laws prohibiting the mixing of different racial groups through marriage were unconstitutional (Loving v. Virginia). At that time, many states still had formal laws that forbid the marriage of whites and non-whites.. Crazy but true!

Thanks to this change, and due to the diverse nature of North America, Interracial dating and intermarriage has increased in the last century. Studies have pointed to the fact that Asians have the highest rates of intermarriage, and most Asians who marry a non-Asian have a white spouse. However, most Asian women have a non-Asian husband, but here is a rising population of Asian men who are husbands to non-Asian wives. So, as the AMWF population slowly beings to grow, I often wonder what we as a society think about it. I mean for so many years it’s been AFWM, that naturally it was bound to happen the other way… right?

I think that our generation of Asian men is no longer afraid to step outside of what was their or their parents comfort zone. Women in North American are raised to be self-sufficient and independent, and I could see how that might intimidate more traditional types of Asian men. But today, Asian men no longer feel the need to be bound to the traditions of their parent’s generation. They realize that their ability to support a family is no longer a major contributing factor in mate choice for women. They see that the different way they look, languages they speak, and foods they eat are not a deterrent to women, but actually work in their favor. I think they are beginning to see that all along that they had the opportunity to have relationships with white women, but just never had the support and encouragement to do so.

Women in North America are also going through a change. We are beginning to see Asian men as a serious option in the dating/marriage market. Not only because of the values and cultural differences that as an Asian male you might bring, but also because of the simple fact that Asian men are here! They are all over North America and are such a part of the society that why would women not consider them as an option. Deciding to date or marry someone of another race is a personal decision, and in that choice you may face more challenges than if you married someone of your own race. But in return, you have the possibility of enjoying a diversity that same-race couples will never know, and you will have an identity as a couple that millions of other couples maybe never have or experience in their lives.

When looking for love, we are beginning to look beyond race, and for that matter, beyond appearance, social status and economic brackets as well. I think that as women in North America we realize that by doing so, we can increase our opportunities to find a satisfying relationship, and Asian men are doing the same.

The AMWF Relationship as a Partnership

When it comes to choosing a lifelong partner, it is important to not only understand what you are personally looking for, but to also understand that relationships are partnerships. Especially in the AMWF relationship, there may be cultural differences that can test the strength of your relationship. So as you enter into, or choose to want to be part of this relationship, here are some things to consider.

Similar Intellect

If you are going to spend a great deal of time with someone, being able to talk to each other is very important. Assuming language is not an issue, things can get pretty boring if you aren’t able to hold a conversation about things that are important and provide you with intellectual stimulation. So if you can’t stimulate each other with dialog, then you will be missing an important part of connecting to each other. For example, if as an Asian man you are reserved, and rarely want to chat with your lady and spend quality time talking, than there is little chance of her feeling an emotional connection to you. Without this emotional connection you have little chance of keeping her happy. Similarly as a woman, if you are not interested in the way your Asian man thinks, believes, and feels, then you will be less likely to spend time connecting to him.

Complementing Strengths and Weaknesses

People say that opposites may attract, but if you’re too much the opposite you won’t stay together. For two people to truly click, they should balance each other out. For example, if you’re the type of girl that’s kind of shy, but your Asian guy is friendly, and outgoing, then you will benefit from his strength and lean to be more assertive yourself. If as an Asian man you speak another or several languages and she does not, she can work together with you to improve her skills and bond with you in the process. Ideally, the person you spend time with should bring out the very best in you, not enhance your more negative qualities.

Interests in Common

Although you may come from different cultures, couples that share a few of the same hobbies will be able to build a deeper friendship than those that don’t. In relationships friendship equals longevity.  For example, although you may have grown up in different countries, or parts of a country, you may share a common interests like the arts or sciences. Regardless of your locations in the world, if you and your mate share a passion for something, chances are it will make you appreciate the time you spend together.

Similar Intimacy and Sex Drive

Physical intimacy is a large part of a successful relationship, and its important to make sure each other is happy. For example, if as an Asian man you may have rarely saw your parents express any physical affection to each other, you may not consider how important things like holding hands, hugs, and kisses are in a relationship. Also if you always want sex and she never wants it, then as a man you will feel unsatisfied.  Couples that share the same level of desire for intimacy will argue less and be happier.

Have the Same Life Goals

To make it simple, if you don’t share the same aspirations for family, children, and home life, it will make things a constant push and pull over the most basic areas of living. For example let’s say you met your WF while she was studying in your home town in Asia, she wants to go back to her native country, but you want her to stay here with you. If you can’t agree on what lifestyle you want then you will always be working against each other rather than together. Couples should talk openly about their wishes for the future and never assume that just because you love someone they share the same perspective.

Sharing Similar Faiths

The couples that have faith together stay together. Even if your religion is no religion, you and your partner should both be on board with what you believe. As I have said before I have seen many couples who blend Buddhism and Christianity with very good results and raising children this way has been successful. Faith is a foundation for many relationships, and if one of you just goes through the motions while the other is devout, it’s likely to cause serious conflicts down the road.

Disagreements

As a couple you are sharing a great deal of time together, and at some point you are going to disagree. How you choose to argue however, will make all the difference in your relationship. For example, your Asian family/ parents expect you be visit frequently and your WF is not used to it. She expresses to you that she, although willing to go on special occasions, would like to have more time alone with you, and less time spending it under the watchful eyes of family. Although her feelings may conflict with the way you were raised and or what your family expects, it’s important that you both are respecting each other’s feeling and work toward a compromise. In this example the compromise may mean speaking to the parents and working out something that everyone is comfortable with. Couples that focus on the issue at hand and discuss things immediately and respectfully often work through issues better than those that resort to name calling and dragging out past events to win an argument.

Share a Sense of Humor

Laughing is the best medicine and the ability to laugh with each other goes a long way in your relationship. If one of you thinks something is hilarious while the other is offended, you won’t be sharing happiness together. For example, as WF if you’re learning mandarin with your Asian man and the pronunciation makes you feel self-conscious. But rather then feeling that way, you can laugh at yourself and laugh with each other while learning. Sharing a sense of humor also helps make the simple moments in life that much more enjoyable. You should be able to enjoy your partner’s company and laugh together sharing in that happiness.

Too Much Too Soon – The Suppressed Emotional Intensity of Asian Men

Learning about relationships definitely does not come easily. Even I experienced many growing pains and life lessons when dealing with the emotional intensity. What I mean by this is that in general Asian men tend to be cautious and reserved, but when we see the one female we absolutely want to be with, we focus all our energies trying to make it happen. As a result, we either get immediately rejected or our perceived “seeing each other” relationship crumbles. Both situations have happened to me several times and I vividly remember those discouraging moments in my life.
For our readers who are not Asian Males, I will do my best to divulge into the minds of the Asian Men.

Examples of Emotional Intensity

The best way to illustrate the concept of emotional intensity is to describe various situations.
Ren a drummer for a youth orchestra has been eying Katie, a first violinist, for quite some time.   With a performance nearing, practice has been increased from once a week to twice a week. There’s this aura of elegance around Katie, a warm natural glow surrounds her when she plays.
“Hey Katie,” Ren starts as the practice has just finished and everyone is packing “are you interested in a movie with me sometime?”
“Sorry Ren,” She sighs, “I’m seeing someone right now”
Another week passes and Ren decides to try again.
“Yo Katie, I know you didn’t want to go for a movie, but how about coffee?” Ren asks. Katie shakes her head.
“You just don’t understand,” Katie says as she rolls her eyes.

Although this was just conversation, it happens commonly to females have to turn down males because they are not interested or already taken. For Ren, he has been thinking about Katie quite often. This is quite true for Asian Males as we tend to think about situations on a daily basis – probably how we imagine the woman to say yes and accept our love. Of course in this situation Katie is already seeing someone, and she has no choice but to decline. Problems will occur if you persist as an Asian Male, she will not change her mind and it will definitely worsen the situation. This commonly happens in the digital world as well. A random White Female won’t message you one day confessing her love for you – so why should you do that as an Asian Male?

Another situation deals with an AMWF situation when the couple are “seeing each other”. This means they are hanging out on a regular basis, but have not made it publically official that they are dating. Hyun-Soo and Jamie were mutually introduced by friends on a “double date”. Things went well, and they exchanged contact information. After a month of seeing each other, Hyun-Soo realizes how happy he’s been around Jamie.  To show his appreciation, he decides to purchase an eco-friendly purse and a small flower arrangement. His plan is to give these gifts to her when he picks her up from work to take her home.

“You know Jamie,” Hyun-Soo smiles, “I really appreciate being with you.” After a long hard day at work, Jamie smiles back. “I really want to thank you for everything.” Hyun-Soo starts as he reaches for the gifts, “So, thank you.”
Jamie takes the gifts and places it on her lap. An awkward silence ensues. “Thanks.” She smiles.

The hard lesson to learn is that even though Hyun-Soo has been seeing Jamie for some time, he has committed too much, and too soon. Yes, he’s probably thought about how he wants to take care of her and be a really good person for her, but it’s not quite the same for Jamie. Yes they have both hung out for coffee and meals together, but the passion and emotional connected has not been developed. For Jamie, she has no choice but to accept the gifts, but she is probably freaking out with the intense commitment from Hyun-Soo. It’s not that she doesn’t like him, it’s the fact that what Hyun-Soo is doing is similar to placing her into chains of commitment. Most women prefer having the choice, so being forced to comply is definitely not desirable.

Other situations can deal with the usage of digital technology – notable text message and online messaging.  Wen has been seeing Allison for a few months. Things are going well.
“Good morning, how are you?” Wen would write via text message every morning to her.
“I am fine thank you.” Allison would reply. The novelty would soon wear off. Later it turned into instant messaging.
“I miss you.” Wen would often use this phrase online as he wanted to show how much he cared for Allison. Instead Allison would give a smiling face icon in return.
Shortly after endless hours of consulting with her friends, Allison decided to end the relationship with Wen.

Wen is overcome with passion and truly has feelings for Allison, but trying to display his affection for her on a daily basis using technology starts out nice and quickly turns to clingy. Just because things don’t work at first doesn’t mean you should continue doing it more frequently. Now Wen is left alone, completely devastated, even though he does not actively show it.

The Green Light

One of the toughest things to understand as an Asian Male is that after a female gives the signal of “yes I am interested” is that we automatically turn on the afterburners and do everything possible to make the relationship work.  We suddenly take on a different character. Sometimes it is goofier, other times it is serious, or sometimes we get nervous. The problem with emotional intensity is that we need to learn to control it as Asian Males. There really is no other place for emotional release, maybe the closest thing we have is activities of video games or sports. We are not taught how by our parents, nor by mass media – in fact, I’m not even sure who we turn to.  The point is that the White Female isn’t looking for a male who is highly sensitive emotionally, or is he emotionally intense. She is looking for someone to share an intimate emotional connection with. Instead of you wanting to tell her how you feel about yourself, maybe it’s time to let her know you care about her and want to be an important part of her life.

Blending Eastern and Western Foods

When you are in an AMWF relationship, you not only share the cultures that you came from but also the foods that are part of it. I was raised to believe that taking the time to share a meal with someone was a way to connect, to get to know, and to enjoy someone’s company. It was over a big bowl of pasta that my family and I would share stories about our day, talk about the trials and tribulations of our lives, and generally find comfort and love from one another. So when it came time to experience Asian foods, I wanted to know what this was all about.

The first difference to me in comparing East Asian to Western foods was the way the food was prepared.  From the very start Asian foods are cut into bite sizes, and then stir fried or steamed, and served to you family style. In contrast, my experience with Italian/western cooking was different. All the ingredients were usually in larger pieces and we always cut the food on our plates with knives and forks. It’s not that things were not family style, because there would often be items like salad, pasta, meats, or etc, out on a table, but you just selected the portion you wanted and placed it on your dish. Another difference was the food choices used in the dishes. There are some ingredients or seasonings in Asian cuisine that Western cooking seldom uses, like jelly fish, sea cucumbers, shark’s fins, bean curds (tofu), oyster sauce, black bean sauce, salty shrimp paste, soy sauce, etc.  In western cooking there are also, like Asia, lots of sea foods, meats, and etc, but herbs like rosemary, dill, sage, oregano, thyme, basil (etc) are used, where Asian cultures add ginger, spring onions, mints, corianders, and white pepper.  Sometimes you can find Asian foods that contain cheese, butter, cream or milk, but I rarely see it.

So even with these differences, I found that I enjoyed trying all the culinary delights that East Asia had to offer… well almost. One of the most common problems when trying foods from Asia was not taste, but texture. For me anything with a spongy or jelly like texture just freaked me out, and just eating it would send a shiver down my spine.  So, when I would share a meal with anyone Asian, they would give and a smile and laugh because they know I don’t like the texture and that the western palate is just not used to it.

At home, when I look at the foods I eat every day, I realize that it’s always a blend of the best of the east and west. In America you can find any foods you want, Asian, European, or more traditional regional US foods, but I always find myself drawn to either Asian or Italian cooking. One day its chicken parmesan with ziti and homemade sauce, the next day its Korean BBQ beef, rice, and broccoli. Other times I will fuse the two together creating something I never even thought of before. Sticky rice goes with just about anything and for example often I use it as a replacement for the crust that is found in a chicken pot pie recipe. Yes really.. Just make your pot pie base like normal ie:  creamy stock, vegetables, onion, garlic, pepper, and chicken. Instead of putting that base into a crust and baking it, just place it hot over sticky rice…and there you have it!. a creamy, vegetable chicken, mock risotto like meal. Yum yum.

To me food is a way to show how much you care about those around you, and this feeling is probably true for all cultures around the world. I often find that I feel so privileged to be part of an AMWF relationship because I am able to enjoy the foods that represent a culture(s), its history, and an experience that I would otherwise have not considered.