Dazed and Confused
My dating life in Korea started off as a string of bizarre incidents. When I first started having “relationships” with Korean women I had a really tough time understanding how they would act, and why. All the normal dating conventions seemed to be skewed just enough to keep me guessing.
Take just regular dating. One of the first girls I dated was a real fox. She had curves in all the right places and a personality that was just as seductive. She thought the world of me, too, so our relationship grew quickly and we became close. We spent pretty much every weekend together.
That’s why I found it odd that she was so self-conscious about being seen with me, and never included me in anything she did with her friends. To me, coming from the West, meeting a girl’s friends and spending time in her group is part of the dating experience. I had no idea why she would keep me hidden from her friends when she was apparently so into me.
The East is Not The West
I was sitting in my favorite chicken restaurant the other night waiting for my dinner to be wrapped up when a couple of foreign guys sat down at a table next to me and started talking. They started complaining about the girls they had dated in Korea. As I was watching my chicken get dumped into a takeout box behind the counter, one of the guys started bitching about how his girl never invited him out with her friends, and never let him meet her family. It was the same problem that I had years ago.
If you’re going to date a local in a foreign country, you have to realize that the way things work in the West is not always how they work in other countries. A lot of the customs and behaviours guys expect from girls are shattered when they date women from other cultures. Recognizing that there are major cultural differences is the first step to having better relationships. This is exactly what I failed to see when I first started out.
One of the things I didn’t know back then was just how much social pressure women in Asia face when it comes to dating foreign guys. Of course, this doesn’t hold true for every Asian country but, in Korea specifically, women face a lot of pressure from their society, not to mention their friends and family, when it comes to dating a foreigner. The whole western notion of interracial dating being okay just doesn’t apply in many parts of Asia.
When a woman dates a foreign guy in Korea she can be seen and treated harshly by many other Koreans. They can see her behaviour as very disrespectful to Korea, or even just think she’s a slut. In one article, I read that had been translated from Korean, commenters were referring to women who dated foreign guys as prostitutes. The hatred for interracial dating does not just exist in small pockets of Korean society, either – most Koreans see interracial dating as wrong and completely intolerable.
Of course, some of those people could be her family and friends. A lot of girls just won’t tell other people that they’re dating a foreigner, even their close friends. A lot of fathers, steeped in the garments of Korean nationalism, would even disown their own daughters for getting involved with a foreign guy. With this kind of pressure, is it any wonder women choose to be careful about introducing their foreign boyfriends to others?
It’s not all bleak, though – there is another reason why your Korean lady likely won’t introduce you to her family. In Korean culture, women just don’t do that sort of thing. It’s just not done, at least not until she’s ready to show her parents the guy she is about to marry. This goes for platonic friendships, as well. In Korea, a woman’s dating life is kept far away from her family life.
How To Strengthen Your Relationship With a Few Simple Words
If your girl is keeping you away from her friends and family, don’t take it too badly. Instead of getting mad, look at her situation and consider how you can make it easier for her. The first step is to understand where she’s coming from and what she’s dealing with. Recognizing her for being independent enough, or strong enough, to go after what she wants is another good way to help her walk the tightrope of interracial dating. At least if society isn’t cutting her slack, you can… and then it’s the two of you facing an unjust world together. Above all, though, cut her some slack and realize that she has to like you a lot to put up with so much negative sentiment.