Relationships, Marriage, and the Four Horsemen

Regardless of the fact that the level of relationship may be dating, courtship, or even marriage, there are always trouble signs that will greatly predict the success of the relationship. Strangely enough I stumbled upon literature from Dr. John Gottman using the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse analogy from the Bible. Bear in mind that disagreements and fighting every now and then are signs of a healthy relationship. In any case here are the four key behaviors:

Criticism

Criticism in my opinion has two variants, a positive form and a negative form. Positive criticism is about improving the situation without any intentional personal attacks on your partner. There is possible frustration expressed, but definitely not offending. Take for example you were watching your favorite reality competition and one of your favorite competitors was sent packing. I know for one I would be in absolute shock. “How could he be eliminated?”  I would exclaim in discontent “that’s not fair.”

In that situation I do not wish harm on the judges, but I am clearly disgruntled by the apparent unfairness. Now when it comes to negative criticism, this behavior may start out as dissatisfaction but then becomes unbearable. They start with phrases like:

“I can’t believe you…”
“Every time you…”
“What kind of (noun) is this?”

The usual intention is to claim that you are right, and the offending partner is clearly wrong.  Unfortunately it comes with a vicious attack on your partner’s character. I can honestly admit criticism in this regard is almost considered normal in Traditional Asian upbringing. Not only do we get criticism from our parents, we are expected to accept it, as it is supposedly their way of expressing how they care.  The tragedy is that then if we start to believe our actions bring criticism, then as Asian Males we resign ourselves of apathy, and stop believing in anything.

Contempt

Although contempt is very similar to criticism in the fact that there is intent to draw some form of mental abuse, it differs by not focusing on a particular event, but as a global degrading feeling. You could almost say that criticism occurs as a reaction while contempt is a lingering feeling no matter if it is premeditated or reactionary.

Examples usually come from verbal insults, mockery, and most often through body language combined with tone. Since most of contempt is something that is “read between the lines” I will describe obvious situations where it could happen. A couple fictitious examples I have spontaneously thought of is as follows:

Example One:

Shen and Ashley decide to spend their Friday night window shopping at a local trendy district. While passing by an eclectic store Ashley stops to point at a cute summer dress.

“Are you kidding me?” Shen said as he rolled his eyes in disgust, “that dress makes your arms look even bigger.”

While Shen was able to voice his opinion, Ashley would be more disappointed over with the implications: he shows indifference to her opinions, and reinforces her apparent weight issues.

Example Two:

Han and Angela have been officially dating for a couple years. In preparation for Han’s cousin’s wedding, there is a banquet party group dance that both of them are involved in. Unfortunately being a typical male with two left feet like Han, the steps do not come naturally. To make matters worse, Han not only has to remember his steps, but also has to lead Angela. Trouble arises with alignment issues. Angela stops and glares at Han.

“I don’t get it” Angela voices in frustration, “this is so easy.” Han recollects his composure and tries for a second time. Failure ensues. “Nope,” she says while biting her lip. Completely petrified Han tries for a third time, only to get a tongue lashing.

While not as direct as the first example, there are many situations when the male feels emasculated by his partner. This is something that comes with experience, and no video game is going to teach you this.

Defensiveness

Just as criticism and contempt are more offensive approaches, there are defensive approaches that Gottman classifies as action and inaction. In a sense it is an approach that minimizes the incoming threat to give an opportunity to respond back offensively by both criticism and contempt. The defense comes by evading a perceived attack or using a victim mentality. It is only natural for us to protect ourselves from harm, but things get muddled when things are tense.

“It wasn’t my fault…”
“But remember the time you…”

Now by developing the two examples above, we can create both a defensive and non-defensive approach.

Example One Development – Shen & Ashley

A: “That burger you had for dinner isn’t helping your waistline either.” Ashley quips as she pokes his belly.

B: “Great,” Ashley smiles, “I’ll be sure to wear it next weekend for your mom’s birthday dinner”

Development A used a diversion to place the weight issue onto Shen, while B turned the situation from displeasure to humor. Mind you Ashley may get the last laugh if she gets all genuine compliments for the dress next week.

Example Two Development – Han & Angela

A: “It is sooooo easy” Han responds.

B: “Backseat driving.” Han grins.

C: “As expected from your formal training” he sighs.

In response A, Han repeats what Angela had said earlier, with a slightly altered tone. This has the intention of having her believe that Han was listening. For response B and C, Han diverted the perceived threat by countering with a comment that may actually escalate the situation. While this may seem the most viable option, it does nothing to help the relationship. The problem really is not the small disagreements but the fact that this will accumulate over time and the behavioral response will be the same. Only when enough is enough, then a sudden change tends to follow.

Stonewalling

I confess that growing up this was my main arsenal when it comes to dealing with conflict. It made perfect sense to me, keeping a neutral tone would make the other person feel that I not offended and won’t retaliate. I was always taught to turn the other cheek, but it often is with physical conflict. When it comes to an emotional connection with a woman and especially a White Female, it conveys actually a lack of effort in the relationship.

Examples include:

  • A blank face
  • Crossing arms and refusal to communicate
  • Leaving the situation without any explanation during or afterwards
  • Using the pseudo-agreement of “yes” responses

Granted that the natural response for a male is to hide in his cave to regenerate himself, constantly disconnecting yourself as a male towards a female is extremely hurtful over time. This is a serious issue when it comes to Asian Males as we are taught to maintain a stern disconnected composure.

Fortunately this can be worked around by giving signals that you really want to connect as an Asian Male. Get into her personal space, hold her hands, tell her how much you really care for her – she will forgive you for the lack of expression and recognize your sincerity to be with her. Remember it is a healthy relationship to encounter conflict, but what is important is that you both ultimately respect and acknowledge each other.

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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.

Why I Am So Attracted To the Asian Mans Face

People are usually attracted to people who look like themselves, and they usually evaluate faces that exhibit features of their own ethnic or racial group as being more attractive. As a WF who likes AM this if far from true, in fact we are attracted to a face that is just the opposite! So what features of the Asian mans face do we find so attractive and why? Good question, so let’s explore that shall we.

Now to be honest, most people are attracted to faces with a high-degree of symmetry, but although we all can’t be models or have the money to undergo surgery to look like one, there are features that every Asian man has that I ( and other women) just love. First let me say that I love the almond shaped eyes with the dark eye color. To me this is one of the most exotic of the Asian features, and although everyone in Asia has these eye characteristics to me it’s still one that always is the most beautiful. My second favorite feature has to be the plump and soft Asian lips. I mean Caucasians usually have thinner lips, so the contrasts of the fuller lips look very appealing to me. Thirdly, another favorite feature of Asian men is the dark hair. If it’s spiky or long, to me the dark color and stiffer texture is pretty sexy. Sure again everyone in Asia has it, but I like the way it can be styled and suits the Asian males face. Finally I always enjoy the baby faces that Asian men can often have. Now I know, not all Asian men have this and some have a slim face with chiseled cheekbones, but to me a younger looking face is just as good looking as a more matured looking one.

There is no ideal face for a man and a man’s face is not a measure by any means of his worth. A man that may not have such a good looking face can become very “attractive” as defined by his society with his great personality, his nature, his character, etc. The whole person, inside makes the face of the man, but still none seems as handsome to me as the Asian mans face.


How to Tell He’s Interested – The Mixed Signals of Asian Men

Recently a reader asked me if there was a way of telling if an Asian Male was interested in her. Honestly to tell you the truth, if your gut feeling tells you that he is interested, he probably is. Before I discuss the possible actions to resolve this, I’ll discuss the background information. Asian males are quite the mysterious and tricky bunch, but they are not that difficult to decipher. The majority of our behaviour stems from language issues, cultural traditions, and family upbringing.

Language & Communication

Language issues are usually the easiest to spot. If the Asian Male’s primary language is not English, then you will notice a difference in character when he is around you, and his Asian friends. When he is around his friends there are people who can relate to him through his native language and cultural understandings.  Asian humour is often different from the slapstick varieties, where there is this cute-yet-satirical tone involved. This is strongly evident in Japanese culture and has been replicated across Asia.

Cultural Traditions

Historically the coveted occupations in Asia were professionals such as the typical doctors, engineers, lawyers, or high ranking military officer.  The fact is that the ability to provide for a family can be thought of as a duty for Asian Men.  Thus, by having an excellent career would (in theory) make life easier because there would be no financial struggles.  Job? Check. Car? Check. House? Check. Those three items are what deems an Asian Male to be worthy of a wife – or even just a girlfriend.
This may seem strange for a typical Westerner, but having these three things in Asia is one of those status symbols. Bear in mind that real estate prices are astronomical so home ownership is something almost unattainable as a young Asian Male. Really it is a sad story for Asian Men when they feel unable to provide. This is what they believe defines them as a man.

Traditional Family Upbringings

Traditional family upbringings also make things difficult as well. At times it could be considered as stifling with a Confucian filial piety system for over 2000 years. There is an order in the household, and the family unit is strongly emphasized. Typical Asian families would involve the husband to be the sole breadwinner with the wife in charge of domestic duties. While the man would be out working, the woman would have time to take care of the children and the home (finances included). In theory it would allow for a functional and happy family. What I mean by happy family, is a family free from the financial struggles – where stress can often stem from. This is not the same type of happiness as Westerner would assume, think of it more as being at peace. In other words it’s considered a gentle warm glow when it comes to passion, and not as red-hot intense as we imagine.

The reason for this is because in Asian media and family, the amount of intense passion is muted. We never see much physical contact between our parents. Growing up as a child, I barely remember my parents hugging or kissing. Even in the Asian Television series physical contact is portrayed as being “cute”. The first kiss is made to be a magical moment – and there very rarely any passionate interludes that proceed after the kiss. Now of course this is dealing with public appropriateness. Often in public, Asian Males will drastically tone down their affections. Behind closed doors may be a different story.

Understanding the Asian Male

Once you really understand the background of Asian Males it starts to make sense about how we behave around others. Spending increasing amounts of time together is a clear indicator of interest. The reason why we tend to use the friend approach is even if we don’t have the guts to express our feelings we still have friendship.  It’s a shame to have never tried, but often we spend too much time trying to find absolute certainty when our opportunity has already passed. So what can you do as a White Female? Well if you believe you don’t want to let the opportunity to pass, you can simply help give him a little push. Talk about how excited you are about how a great movie is coming out in theatres. Just by coincidence you don’t have any friends that want to go with you. Be sure to make it clear that you are interested in him. This may mean explicitly making it clear to his friends so they can also extend their influences over him. It does not just have to be a movie, but you can apply it to any event, or location. Help him break through the initial social awkwardness and he is yours.

Asian Men and Sex

Let me just say right off that the racist myths and assumptions about smaller stature and less sexual and erotic drive are just not true…I am sure you agree with me. I think that there is absolutely no problem with Asian men and from my experience, the best sex I’ve ever had has been with Asian men. Sure like anyone there will be times it’s not good and others when it’s fantastic, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes and it’s got nothing to do with race.

There have been studies that have pointed out that Asian men (from Asia) feel less satisfied as a whole with sex than Westerners, but that does not mean that they are bad in the bed, or that Asian men are less passionate or romantic as lovers, it just means that they may not be experiencing sex the same way as the west. Men in Asia can often live in a culture where sex is much more of a no no to talk about, let alone learn about from family or friends. I mean think about it, the expression of love can often be very indirect in Asian cultures, where no one was ever hugged or kissed in public and probably not even hugged or kissed at home.  Parents would never talk about sex to their sons, and I am sure the sex education at school left more questions then answers.

When it comes to sex, Asian men may not be well-informed and not socialized to talk about sex or express their sexuality. So how can a man even be expected to perform well when he’s got no instruction, and no expression of sexuality to draw from? Well I think that no matter how much or how little experience you have, there are some things that make Asian men great lovers naturally. My number one kudos to Asian men is that they are always hard workers, patient, focused, and always willing to please. So when it comes to sex, with this skill set any man can succeed.

Now I know you western Asian men are saying to yourselves, I’m not like that, and some men from Asia also are saying “We know a lot about sex and how to please women”… which is great and like all people in the world there will be different levels of education, and experience. But the point I want to make, without getting into details, is that with a lot, a little, or even no real experience a man can do well…that includes Asian men… and the best part is that whatever  your experience is, your WF will be happy to learn and share with you.

Perfection is Unattainable – The Mindset of Asian Men

Perfection is to be marvelled at, but at the same time it leads to our own demise.  While there are some abstract components like mathematics which have a very clear expression or answer, living a life of perfection is truly another story. Even I must admit I have grown up demanding perfection upon myself, when in fact it was not attainable. Some of it I will admit came from my Asian upbringing as well. Just like every Asian child I was placed in the typical piano lessons and extra schooling. Math became my strongest subject, and I never took a liking to the Humanities during my K-12 years. Now that I think of it, what made English and Social Studies so difficult was the fact that it did not come as natural as Math or the Natural Sciences. I had to feel something. What was that all about?

Perfection Described

I remember the stories of my Asian friends who have parents who get upset at their child’s grades because they were not 100%. Phrases like “Where’s the 4%?” would come up after their child received a 96% test result.  Other times it would be the demanding mother forcing her child to practice piano until the song was error free. Perhaps you could say back in the early days of China with Imperial Examinations, those who achieved the highest grades were often rewarded with the best civil servant jobs. From then on, they were set for life. While perfection is great for theoretical pursuits such as mathematics, statistics, or natural sciences, it cannot be the sole basis when dealing with people. This is especially important in AMWF relationships, and every other relationship for that matter.

This becomes a huge problem for situations that do not call for perfection. Let’s take a look at a few TCAI examples:

Feng is your typical Asian Technophile. He’s great with Math and Computers, but when it comes to social issues – he’s completely lost. Once his girlfriend, Steffi asked him what he felt about the upcoming student elections. Feng shrugged his shoulders.
The problem is two-fold. Feng has never encountered this situation before and has no idea how to respond. Second, he may want the perfect response, leading into an “analysis paralysis”.

Alvin, an academic overachiever, can also be thought as an Ambitious Archetype. Recently he placed second overall in academic standing, and thus losing the Valedictorian spot.
Of course this just an example, but often at times Asians tend to measure their success by being the best. While it is great to win and be the best, there is no win-win mentality for us Asians. Thus we become completely consumed with the obsession of perfection – to be number one.

Hyun-Soo is popular among his friends, being the group Comedian he can always crack a joke to make people smile. While relaxing at the local pool, Hyun-Soo is dragged by his friends to the deep end of the pool for some diving board excitement. Although Hyun-Soo is not the greatest diver, he employs his patented belly flop. After a gigantic splash, hilarity ensues.
The Comedians are usually the best when it comes to dealing with perfection. Instead of being perfect, they tend to do something completely opposite and funny. While it is effective, there is a possible shortcoming if they overuse their humour. Then the excitement is lost.

Don, an aspiring jazz musician, plays the double-bass in his jazz trio. Almost always at the spur of the moment, he has the urge to improvise. His band mates recognize it and follow along.
Perfection for an Individual type is less of an importance than excellence. They understand things cannot be perfect, but just go with the flow.

Aiming for Excellence

TCAIIt’s important to realize not everything can be treated in a black and white manner. This binomial nature of true and false, yes and no, does not always work for real life. Instead of aiming to become perfect, we should aim for excellence – always striving to do our best. It doesn’t matter if someone is better than us, but as long as we put in our best and learn from our mistakes, we’re bound to improve one step at a time. Take for example any sport: soccer, hockey, football, tennis, etc. There is bound to be a winner and loser. When you win, it’s easy – but when you lose it is even more difficult to deal with. As much as we would like a perfect score or record, it’s almost impossible naturally. Aim for your own best, and improve yourself each time. Usually the biggest culprits of perfection-obsession are the Technophiles and Ambitious. This is usually because of their conservative upbringing. This is the old-world mentality. Comedians and Individuals are more liberated and usually deal with perfection issues better. In case you forgot, I’ve included the two spectrum diagram to refresh your mind.

Regarding AMWF

When in a relationship with a White Female, as an Asian Male it would be almost a natural tendency to go through all the “what-if” situations and try my best to make each situation perfect. I’d have the date planned out, what clothes to wear, rehearse the motions in my head – but then forget about being there in the moment with her. What I mean by this is when you are intensely focusing on a future even or past event while being with your White Female, you tend to make her feel disconnected from you. This can be perceived as you are uninterested or upset at her – which is not at all what your intentions are.  So leave perfection at the door, smile, and realize you’re with an amazing woman who loves you. So be sure to reciprocate.

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.