Seemingly, contemporary Chinese college students may be adopting a perspective of dating and intimate relationships which focuses less on paths toward marriage and more on immediate pleasure and gratification (Yang ).Not surprisingly, Chinese parents tend to strongly discourage their daughters and sons from becoming sexual active, and many are opposed to their children being involved in dating relationships, at all (Stevenson and Zusho ).The Chinese character for “xiao” can visually be interpreted as a child with an old man on his back (Han ).
This involves, especially for sons, the care for parents in their elderly years (see Ho ).
Understandably, this places great pressure upon unmarried sons to negotiate with his parents over the identification and selection of a suitable wife, who, in turn, will also provide assistance to his aging parents.
Hence, individual choice within dating relationships and mate selection processes is more likely to occur within individualistic cultures.
Collectivistic cultures prompt young adults to regard love and romantic relationships within the larger context of their familial and societal obligations (Yang ).
While researchers have long examined the dating and mate selection patterns among young adults, the vast majority have utilized Western samples.
In order to further our understanding of the changing nature of dating behaviors and attitudes, this study examines a sample of young Chinese adults and focuses upon the gender differences therein.Thus, in order to best understand and appreciate the social dynamics occurring in present day China, one should first examine some of the important long-standing traditions connected to its culture.The traditional expectations concerning dating and marriage have a long history within Chinese culture and are based heavily upon ancestor worship and Confucian ideology.In China, marriage and family life continues to be a central element within Chinese culture, with adolescents and young adults typically assuming that they will eventually find a partner.What is lacking, however, is a broader understanding of how contemporary Chinese youth view dating and intimate relationships.The initiation and maintenance of intimate, romantic relationships have been linked with improved physical and emotional well-being, stronger perceptions of community attachment, and better developmental outcomes for the individuals (e.g., Amato ).