1- If you live on different continents like Jen and I do then visit her as often as you can. This is crucial. You can only talk on the phone, email and video chat for so long before you begin to become dissatisfied with the relationship. Going to see her, especially the first time, in her own country shows that you’re serious about her and is super romantic. Like a foreign knight coming to sweep her off her feet. Sounds good, doesn’t it? She thought so too.
2- Learn her language. Don’t just listen to a few free lessons online. I mean actually make a real attempt to learn it. Yes, it will be difficult and you may want to pull your hair out at times but when you speak it her eyes will light up. Jen speaks Cantonese which sounds better to me than Mandarin. Maybe I’m biased but it just sounds a little more pleasant and is a little easier for me to learn. Your girl will definitely appreciate the time invested in learning her mother tongue.
3-Become interested in Chinese culture. If you have specific interests then apply that towards China. For example, I am an absolute history nerd. I eat it up. I find the Warring States Period and Imperial Dynasties very interesting. Chinese art is also fascinating for me. Just pick your niche and learn more about it. She’ll be ecstatic to see you get to know more about her heritage.
4-Think of fun and out of the ordinary gifts. The traditional bouquet of flowers is alright but how about personalizing the gift just for her? You could go the store bought route like I did once and buy a custom heart locket with a “J” engraved on it, for Jen. Or James. Whatever. You could also make something yourself. On my first trip to see her I bought a sketch book with lined paper on one side and blank sheets on the other. I wrote some poems and quotes that I thought were inspiring or romantic and drew things to go with them. When I went back she had written many poems of her own, in both English and Chinese. Her handwriting is so much neater than mine it’s embarrassing.
5-Defend her from douche bags. Recently on LoveLoveChina, Jen has been contributing to the forums. Good for her, right? Well some guy (you know who you are and that’s all water under the bridge for me but she still doesn’t like you) decided to “critique” her English. It turned into a verbal bashing of someone who’s trying to learn a new language. Like pistol whipping a blind kid. Not cool at all. I sent him a PM to let him know I was pissed and what kind of damage he had done to her self-confidence. Everyone else on the forum was also quick to flame him and he apologized for it, kind of. Anyway, when she sees you take up for her you get instant brownie points. If you have country relatives like I do then there’s a 1000% chance that they’ll question why you aren’t dating a (insert your ethnicity here) girl. In situations like that, even if she isn’t around, you need to defend her.
6-Carry her when she’s tired. Wait a sec! Hear me out! Back when we were at Baishuizhai she was wearing the wrong kind of shoes and socks so as we started going down the mountain her feet hurt her so bad she could barely walk. So what did I do? That’s right! I carried her on my back down part of the mountain. And then when it got too steep I guided her down and caught her when she fell. If I didn’t have these lightning fast reflexes gained from years of playing air guitar she would’ve taken a little tumble down the mountainside.
7-Take the time to teach her. A lot of men who date foreign women seem to think that they’ll just pick up your language and culture as the relationship progresses. To some extent that might be true but you have to actively teach her. And it can sometimes be difficult to switch between teacher and boyfriend so be careful. I’m a very strict, no-nonsense teacher so I have to use a milder approach with Jen. Good thing she’s a quick learner. When she does good give her a pat on the back and encourage her to keep learning. And if she’s having difficulty just be patient and remember how hard it was for you to learn French or Spanish in high school. Remember how much that sucked? If the thought of teaching at a desk fills you with dread like it does me then try something different. I draw funny little doodles and use them as a teaching aid. It gets her involved and makes the learning process fun. =D
8-Show her that you love her. This is probably the easiest thing of all to do but so many men have trouble with it! Here’s how you do it. Spend time with her. Take her out for dates. Don’t cheat on her. Let her know you think she’s beautiful every day, even if she’s sick of hearing it. Surprise her. Obviously, don’t hit her. You’d be shocked how many guys mess that one up. Build a rapport with her family. One of her main concerns is your personal health so take care of yourself and don’t give her any need to worry. Trust me. Your life will be so much easier. Do these things, plus everything else I mentioned and just use your common sense. She will have no doubt that you really care for her.
Looking back over this, these points could be applied to all girls everywhere. Did I leave anything out? Let me know if there was something that you think should have made the list. Follow me and comment if you’d like. Always aim high!