Do you have a Taiwanese boyfriend or husband?

I’ve found a lot of threats about cross-cultural relationships here, but only one of them seems to be related to foreign female and Taiwanese male relationships. However, that thread is not about relationships, but it’s dominated by foreign guys, who find it thrilling to compare physical differences between westerners and Taiwanese and this is not really what I was looking for.
So yesterday I opened my own threat only to notice, that our dear moderators cancelled it and put it together with the above one. So, I give it another try here.

I am, a foreign girl with a Taiwanese fiance wondering about other females in the same situation. I don’t wanna talk about penis sizes or sexual practices. What I’m looking for, is other foreign female, who have a Taiwanese boyfriend or husband to share their experiences with me. I’d like to know about problems that might come up sooner or later and how you solved them or live with them. Any comments or advices for making such a relationship work?
So, please, dear moderators, give us western girls a chance here and don’t cancel this threat again. Thank you!

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Seems fair enough to me, mods. Mesheel has a specific request here for other foreign females with Taiwanese boyfriends or who are married to Taiwanese guys to talk about their experiences.

That’s quite distinct from the other thread which started on a more general note and was rapidly hijacked by some people who thought they were very interesting or funny.

Given that there must be 20+ threads (Mesheel, note spelling!) on the various aspects of foreign male/Taiwanese female relationships, surely we can let this one stay and encourage it?

good idea for a thread, though not sure how many women (taiwanese or foreign, for that matter) post on this board. mostly middle age expat guys

One woman here with a Taiwanese significant other! I can’t say I have any “must-have” advice, but feel free to PM me if you have anything specific you want to share experience on.

I didn’t know there were many of these out there…I can only think of five foreigner women-Taiwanese men relationships and one of those doesn’t really count because she’s overseas Chinese.

Actually when you walk around Taipei city you might come to think that you’re the only one, but it seems like there are quite a few of us around here.

I don’t have any perticular question, I was just wondering about problems that might accure to me in the future and that I haven’t thought of yet.
For example, being accepted by his family might be a problem…

ImaniOU said that an overseas Chinese woman ‘doesn’t count’ as foreign. I’m not so sure. I know an overseas Chinese girl who finds a lot of Taiwanese culture mystifying. Her personality is very direct and even confrontational at times. You must have heard Chinese people describe Western-born Chinese as ‘bananas’; that is, ‘yellow’ on the outside, ‘white’ on the inside.

I do find this thread interesting. I know a New York girl who has a Taiwanese boyfriend. I believe things are not always easy for them; perhaps because of his expectations. Western gender politics and Chinese patriarchal society could clash unless the couple were able to see beyond these limitations.

I think the term “Taiwanese” should be defined. Do you mean a person with :

  • just Taiwanese citizenship or
  • a person that lived in Taiwan their entire life or
  • a person who grew up in Taiwan but educated overseas?


When involved with Taiwanese men there’s a very important tidbit you must ALWAYS remember.
His family comes first. Always. It doesn’t matter what kind of deadbeat assholes they may be. His family comes first. And then, his friends or colleagues. Only unless you’ve born children or in very rare rare circumstances will Taiwanese males put you first.
If you take them to your country they may feel useless unless they peg a decent job straight away.
If you stay here with them, get used to being part of their family and NEVER EVER EVER EVER bitch about that. That’s a sure fire way to toss an unreconciliable rift into your relationship.
That’s my 13 year experience with an ex spouse (8 yrs) and lover (5 yrs). They’re great guys though. Just be sure you like his family (and they like you) before you marry him. :wink:


[quote=“roseha”]Okay I apologize. But do fix the error … there

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The family thing has broken up two of my relationships here, but then, I’ve never really gotten to the serious relationship stage.
One said he couldn’t tell his parents (his mother particularly, he despises his father) that he was dating a foreigner. Whenever I called him on his cell and he happened to be at home, he would hiss “Can’t talk now.” and hang up. Since one of my friends was also dating a Taiwanese guy and even got invited to Chinese New Year’s events I didn’t feel like putting up with that kind of crap.

Then there was another guy who I broke up with because he lost his front tooth. No accident, no violent punch…his tooth just felt neglected and died.
But aside from that I’d say if you’re on top of the family issue…aware of its importance and willing to deal with it…any other problems and joys are pretty similar to those experienced with any other guy, anywhere.

I apologize for any spelling or grammar mistakes I made or will make in the future. I’m not a native English speaker and if anybody feels offended by my mistakes…well, sorry.

[quote]When involved with Taiwanese men there’s a very important tidbit you must ALWAYS remember.
His family comes first. Always. It doesn’t matter what kind of deadbeat assholes they may be. His family comes first. And then, his friends or colleagues. Only unless you’ve born children or in very rare rare circumstances will Taiwanese males put you first.
If you take them to your country they may feel useless unless they peg a decent job straight away.
If you stay here with them, get used to being part of their family and NEVER EVER EVER EVER bitch about that. That’s a sure fire way to toss an unreconciliable rift into your relationship[/quote].

I haven’t met my boyfriends family yet, but I know that he doesn’t have a very close relationship to them and that he would always stay on my side, if there were any conflicts. Of course, I hope, that we will get along and they will accept me, but if not, it won’t be the end of the world.
Anybody wants to share their experiences on “meeting the family” ? Haven’t heard any good ones yet… :cry:

His family seems pretty friendly and easy-going for the most part. Still, I’m sure they’d prefer he had a Taiwanese partner. I have also heard that having a baby really smooths things out for those who found their in-laws not so accepting.

Don’t forget your own family, too. If it’s a serious relationship, your family is a part of the deal, too.

It IS difficult not being able to communicate much. I’m kinda shy sometimes to begin with, and in another language, making mistake after mistake - forget it! There’s no way for me to just relax AND be able to communicate. It is ideal to be able to enjoy time with one’s partner’s parents, but most folks have to just “get through it” anyway, culture and language issues aside.

The relatively larger responsibility that a Taiwanese son may have towards his family might be obscured by the fact that it’s an underlying assumption, not an explicit priority. Talking about it only gets you so far.

Also, from my limited experience and observation, I’ve seen some Taiwanese get serious fast. One month of steady dating and there’s references to eventual marriage. Of course, some westerners are that way, too, so I can’t really generalize, but my experience in the US that most folks don’t explicitly toy with the idea of marriage until at least 4-6 months in, if not longer.

I was born in Taiwan but grew up in the United States. Although not western, I have brought home a couple of Japanese girlfriends.

End result was that partly because of parental attitudes we broke up. I can’t say I blame them because the reason they gave was that communication was difficult. The Japanese girlfriends didn’t really speak English.

Although understandable, I have resolved not to bring home any more girls unless we are engaged.

I guess the advice I would give is to really make an effort to learn Chinese.

Another example-- my uncle (my mother’s younger brother) studied in Germany and ended up marrying a German woman. It turned out really well – and I would say partly because she speaks really good Chinese. They must be married close to 20 years now.


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As Chairman of the National Network of Foreign Spouses, founded in July 1995, I have had some contact with foreign females married to Taiwanese men.

Often-times what I noted were two extremes: (A) the foreign wife is a career person, and is fully respected for that. The household employs one or more maids, and the foreign wife does not get heavily involved in domestic chores, she and the husband entertain together, etc. (B) the foreign wife was totally in the “traditional Taiwanese/Chinese mold”, did all the housework, looked after the in-laws, appeared totally integrated into the family, did not go out much, etc.

When I did come in contact with foreign (western) wives who did not fit either of these descriptions, in other words perhaps more of a “middle class” orientation and/or “husband and wife are equal” orientation, etc. it often seemed to me that the wife was being pulled in direction B. Moreover, the wife’s failure to conform was gradually causing friction in the marriage.

How independent is your fiance? Does he listen closely to what his parents say? Does he follow their advice exclusively? Will he expect you to do the same? These are all factors to consider.

In my own situation (being married to a Taiwanese lady), she was not on speaking terms with her parents when we started going together, and that simplified things quite a bit. When asked if her father would approve of her marrying an American, and particularly me, her answer was an unequivocal “No, he will not approve.” Later I found out that this was not a racial thing however . . . . . her father didn’t approve of any of the selections of marriage partners that her brothers and sisters had made over the years.

After we got married, we pretty much ran our own show . . . . . . no interference from her parents, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, grandparents, etc. to speak of. My wife formerly studied and worked in Japan for about ten years however, so she is quite independent and has her own ways of doing things. Currently she is teaching in a university in Taipei and also consulting for the Council of Agriculture. We had an English language bushiban together in Taipei for about 18 years, and closed down in mid-1997.

My wife is quite different from me in many ways however, and I should make a note of that. For example, she can pack her bags and leave on fairly short notice . . . . . and on long trips of course she generally arranges to take me, the son, or both of us along. A few years back we all went to see the cartoon movie “The Prince”, and the next week (during winter vacation) she and the son booked on a tour to Egypt and were gone . . . . . . After we closed our bushiban and were feeling somewhat depressed she decided we should all spend the summer in London, England, so we bought tickets and spent about five weeks in London. That was really marvelous. Then in 1998 she decided to go to Berlin, and we all went to Germany for the summer . . . . . . . we went to Prague in the Czech Republic and lived there for about ten days, then back to Germany, visiting the farms and small villages down south, with just our backpacks. The next summer we went to Phuket, Thailand . . . . . I would never run off on such unplanned excursions, but she is often eager to do so. I am just pointing this out because that is one facet of my wife’s personality which is totally different from me and yet which I find rather exciting. So, you might want to look for some similar trait in your fiance . . . . . .

One thing which I think is possibly bad is a tendency for the male to have various times when he associates with other males exclusively, even to the extent of taking vacations with other males . . . . . . I think that bodes poorly for a future happy marriage. To me, this clearly means that he has no desire to settle down. What do males do when they get together in some exotic city? Of course, they find some prostitutes . . . . I certainly never do such activities, although the most my wife ever said about it was “Don’t bring any strange women into our house.” You can interpret that remark in various ways . . . . but at the basic level there has to be a great deal of trust between the husband and wife. If my wife calls me from Kaohsiung and says she is not coming home for a few days, is busy with her consulting, etc, etc, I don’t question it. And the same applies to me if I am out for a few days. If you have one party becoming suspicious and jealous because of suspected “affairs” that is definitely going to cause long term problems.

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Mesheel, every time I try to respond I end up changing my mind and htting the delete key. My husband’s family wanted so badly for him to marry a “nice Chinese girl” and even went as far as offering him money to leave me. Luckily for me (at least I’m feeling pretty lucky today–that might change tomorrow…) he chose me over money and pleasing his parents. Ten years later, I still call them Mr. and Mrs. (out of habit) but they really are so sweet, thoughtful, and helpful to me. Dh is a mama’s boy, but he definitely has a mind of his own, and his parents enjoy their independence too, so there is no talk of us all moving in together.

A couple of things I would caution others about: Money–make or keep some of your own. Career/Family–talk about your plans/expectations now.

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I’m not a girl … but I have dated a few Taiwanese guys. I agree with what many of the other posters have said … the biggest difficulty is dealing with the family. It still shocks me when a guy, who would be considered an adult in most other places of the world, is still so beholden to his family … having to ask permission to go out, not permitted to spend the night away from home, and must do everything mommy says (and this is without the family knowing that he’s gay, dating a foreigner, or anything like that). I’ve found that many Taiwanese guys are momma’s boys, and no matter how much they profess their love for you, mommy will always come first … Confucianism at work yet again.

A little anecdote … I was dating a Taiwanese guy for a few months … he was really intelligent, cute, and sweet. Unfortunately, he decided (against my better judgment) that he just had to tell his family that he was gay and had a foreign boyfriend. The end result was that his mother flipped out, called my apartment crying and begging him to come home when he was over here (I have no idea why in the hell he gave her my phone #), and then sent his two older brothers over to threaten me and tell me that I couldn’t see him anymore. They said it had nothing to do with being gay but rather because I was a foreigner, foreigners are bad, and will just leave suddenly one day without saying a word, yadda yadda yadda. Of course they pulled their machismo crap and said they had “gang” friends, blah blah blah. I told my bf that he should just leave them (they were being terrible to him at home, wouldn’t let him out of the house, threatened him, etc.) but of course he would rather suffer in misery for the rest of his life than leave. I’ve heard of similar instances with straight couples too (and big brothers issuing threats).

Anyhow, just remember that the power and influence of the family here is the ultimate authority, and their hold over their kids (gained through arfful manipulation, guilt, etc.) are far beyond anything that you can probably imagine. There are exceptions, but I haven’t seen many in my two and a half years of dating here. My current boyfriend’s mother knows he’s gay, and she can handle that (begrudgingly) but he says he doesn’t dare tell her that I’m a foreigner … :unamused:


Yeah, I’m a little afraid of the “meeting the family thing,” cause my boyfriend hasn’t told them yet, that I’m a foreigner. They think, that I’m a Taiwanese studying abroad… :?
He hasn’t dared to tell them the truth yet, cause he doesn’t want them to try to talk him out of it. Gosh, I don’t think they’d give him money to leave me, though. I do speak Chinese, so this might help.

My boyfriend isn’t a mama’s boy. He doesn’t really care about his parents opinion and thinks that they are quite annoying. For example he has long hair, I mean loooong, and moves out to live with me, when ever I’m in Taiwan. Unlike the rest of his family he is not religious at all. In plus, so far he has rejected every invitation to invite me home for dinner…

As for my parents, well, I guess Chinese boyfriend is OK, but Chinese husband wouldn’t be so thrilling for them. There are quite a few cross-cultural marriages and relationsships in my family and all of them worked out well so far. My parents are from slightly different european cultures themselves, my mom’s sister is married to a Turk and the father of my cousin’s son is Vietnamese. Maybe that is why my mom came to think, that cross-cultural relationships do work, but are very exhausting and she wouldn’t want me to be unhappy. But as most western parents, they wouldn’t talk me out of it or give my fiance a hard time. Actually my mom had a lot of fun teaching my boyfriend how to cook risotto… :smiley:

Actually my boyfriend is very attached to me and can be quite jealous. It’s not like he would prevent me from going out with male friends, but I know he is uncomfortable with it. Well, that’s how I am, I have a lot of male friends and enjoy their company and I wouldn’t change that for him. He himself has a lot of female friends and doesn’t understand why I’m not as jealouse as he is…

There might be a tiny little problem: He is afraid of flying and doesn’t enjoy travelling as much as I do, but so far I could always persuade him… :smiley:

That could very well become a problem in the future.

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I wish I had NT$1 for every married closet case on this island. My advice would be to hire a private dick (no pun intended) to trail your local hubby-to-be and make sure he’s really working overtime or at business meetings, rather than making stops at the sauna/bar/bf’s house.