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9 Biggest Differences Between Dating in Western and Eastern Societies


Not being from the same culture as someone can lead to a lot of difficulties, when it comes to dating. At the core of it, the West is more of an individualist society, concerned about what benefits them and their personal desires rather than their community. Eastern cultures, on the other hand, are focused on a collective society, and what will benefit their whole community, along with their end-game goals rather than idealistic adventures.

Culture shapes everything that we know about dating – here are the biggest differences between going on dates in the East and in the West.

1. Picking a partner

Western: Choosing the right partner for Westerners is often based on looks, and whether or not you fall in love with that person. Romance plays a big role when it comes to choosing your final bae. Finances don’t necessarily play a role.

Eastern: Parents usually pick who is going to marry who, in Eastern cultures and looks aren’t always the deciding factor. Even if it’s not arranged, stability and finances will play a big role in choosing a mate rather than the spark you find based on physical attractiveness or what you have in common.

2. Dating

Western: It’s common to date several people and even have casual relationships and flings before settling down and marrying someone. Marriage is not always the goal in these situations.

Eastern: It’s forbidden to date before marriage in many Eastern cultures, and many people are expected to practice abstinence.

3. Marriage

Western: Most Western couples have slept together and dated for a lengthy amount of time before getting married. They meet on their own accord, even on a dating site, and decide the fate of their relationship from there, including whether or not to have kids.

Eastern: Many Eastern marriages are arranged marriages, and in most cases, are set up by the parents all meeting and introducing their children to each other. Soon after they get married, it is expected that they have children, or at least express a desire to.

4. Woman in charge

Western: It’s common to see American and European girls be completely independent in their relationships, taking charge, and wearing the pants. If a woman out-earns her partner, this is considered normal and acceptable.

Eastern: Women are usually in the submissive position when it comes to independence – their man is in charge in the relationship, and female independence is seen as “unladylike.”

5. PDA


Western: You’ll often see Western couples holding hands, hugging, or even making out in public to show off their affection for another.

Eastern: PDA is highly unusual in many Eastern cultures and even considered disrespectful. The act of simply touching arms with the opposite gender is considered scandalous by some of these cultures, if you can believe it.

6. Discussing polarizing topics

Western: Although it is usually avoided on the first few dates, it’s important for Westerners to discuss their politics, sexual preferences, and other topics that some would consider too taboo or private.

Eastern: These polarizing topics are definitely not discussed – it’s considered unseemly. Generally, you take on your parents opinions, otherwise it’s considered quite rebellious.

7. Living alone

Western: It’s often perfectly normal for a Western girl to live by her own before marriage, or with a group of roomies, including boys and girls.

Eastern: It’s forbidden for a man and woman to live together before marriage in Eastern countries. It’s also not ok for a woman to have platonic male roommates. Generally, she will live with another female roommate before marriage in these situations.

8. Equality

Western: We presume equality in the West when it comes to two people being together based on their personality traits, regardless of gender. It tends to just be whoever naturally has the more dominant personality.

Eastern: Men are usually dominant in Eastern relationships while women are more submissive. Men make most of the decisions, and some people are relieved by this, since they’re not constantly fighting over the power dynamic. For less submissive women, this might be more difficult.

9. Practicality

Western: In the West, romance is the highest virtue and is up on a pedestal, for some reason. If you are looking for a wealthy man, you’re considered a gold-digger.

Eastern: In Eastern families, if you think you’ll have a good life with someone, then love might not necessarily play a determining factor. However, income and career choice might! While Western men think of this as gold-digging behaviour, it’s seen as practical by Eastern men, who expect to take on the role of provider.