‘My love, I decide’

By He Keyao Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/8 18:43:39

Women discuss how and why they take their romantic relationships into their own hands

Instead of waiting to be wooed by men, a growing number of women take the initiative and pursue love themselves. Photo: Li Hao/GT

As Double 11, or Singles' Day, approaches, crowds of lonely hearts are crying out on social media, calling themselves "miserable single dogs" and asking how to find someone special. These questions once again become an hot topic. Different from the past, more and more women are taking the initiative and pursuing their love interests, instead of being reserved and waiting for men to reach out an olive branch.

The practice is so trendy that it has even created related businesses. Searching online, one can easily find relevant training sessions that teach women how to pursue the men they like, but they also carry a hefty price tag. "My love, I decide" has now changed from just a slogan to a daily practice for many Chinese women.

However, the nontraditional practice has also been doubted as many claim that women would "lose their grace" if they chase after men and appear "desperate" to build up a relationship. Does being upfront about their affections help women find a partner? And what ways have women successfully pursued a relationship? Metropolitan spoke to several females to find out the answers.

Do your homework

"Everything you want needs to be earned, and love is not an exception," said Liu Shuang (pseudonym), 27, who is happily married and lives in Beijing. Talking about her romantic history, she said adequate preparation and a good strategy are the keys to finding a good relationship.

Liu and her husband graduated from the same university years ago. She was majoring in literature and journalism and he was majoring in mechanical engineering. In school, her husband was dubbed xiaocao, a popular title in China used to describe the most attractive man in a university.

The two met at a student event during their first year of college and she fell in love with him at first sight. However, he did not know her and all she knew was his name and department. During the next two weeks, she did everything she could to dig out his detailed personal information and learn about his personality and nature before she decided to pursue him, making a detailed plan.

She began to approach his friends and roommates, got familiar with his daily schedule, went to listen to lectures where he attended and created numerous "coincidental meetings." In addition, they sometimes chatted in group discussion sections. Gradually, he began to know her as a special girl majoring in foreign literature who also showed a strong interest in engineering. She occasionally asked him out for dinner and also kept a good connection with his roommates, who constantly did "spy work" for her - telling her his likes and dislikes, reporting his status and also sometimes saying good things about her in front of him.

After the two got to know each other, she confessed her feelings for him and he immediately said yes to dating. The couple got married right after graduation.

"You need to do your homework and get to know everything before you make a move. Be fully prepared," said Liu.

"Of course, the most important thing is love itself. But a smart strategy is sometimes necessary to make sure you don't miss out on true love." 

The trend shows women's increasingly independent attitude toward life and taking more control in building up a relationship. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Using social media

"Social media can be another powerful weapon to help you win a "love battle." For Rebecca Zhao, who is in her 20s, it was what helped her seal the deal on her relationship.

Zhao and her boyfriend Xu have been together for a few months. They met at a karaoke party held by a common friend and she added him through the WeChat group created for the event in the attendee section.

"Social media is a handy and direct way to get to know and interact with someone. It's not hard work at all if you really want to break the ice and get close," said Zhao.

Zhao first studied his hobbies and personality on his Moments, continued to post comments and likes on his statuses and successfully drew his attention.

"Regularity is the key. You cannot show too much enthusiasm and never comment on every single post. One or two high-quality comments every two days is perfect," said Zhao.

Interacting on his posts, she was surprised to find that they had many common interests and similar views. For example, both of them like to watch British TV dramas like Inside No.9 and Black Mirror; they both love cats, reading A Brief History of Tomorrow and jogging. They sometimes discussed the same books and movie plots on WeChat, and Zhao gradually increased the conversation day by day. After two months, the two became good friends and often went out to dinner and movies together.

After making herself a regular part of his life, she suggested that she enjoyed the time they spent together in a subtle way, which resulted in him finally asking her to be his girlfriend.

"Never lose your grace and make everything happen naturally," said Zhao.

Open to possibilities

"If someone asks me if I would confess my feelings or wait for the man to speak, I would definitely go for the former!" said Xu, in her late 20s, who works in Beijing. She stressed that taking initiative is nothing shameful for a lady and the practice opens up possibilities to gain happiness.

Xu had feelings for a man surnamed Jia for years and was not brave enough to tell him how she felt. The two are very good friends and it caused her countless sleepless nights and upset days before she finally got enough courage to say something to him last December. She asked him to go for coffee and the two had an honest and open conversation.

"Though I was rejected, it really relieved me from the endless guessing and worry. When I finally got the answer, I could move on," Xu said.

She said by confessing her feelings and being open to the subject, the two got to know each others' real thoughts and felt much more comfortable getting along with each other. She felt their friendship was somehow "upgraded."

What happened next was an unexpected and pleasant surprise. Six months later, Jia finally realized his love for her and asked her to be with him.

"I think a close friendship and a clearer understanding of my feelings made him think about further possibilities of our relationship. See, there is nothing wrong with taking initiative!" smiled Xu, who is very happy now in her relationship.

Talking about pursuing men, Xu added that the trendy practice shows a more independent attitude and a more active position of women in a relationship. And it also shows an increasing inclusiveness to different values and lifestyles in modern society.

Li, in his 20s, who has received confessions from girls twice, echoed Xu's opinion.

"I think it's brave and kind of cute to see a girl taking initiative, as long as they don't cross the line and interrupt others' lives," said Li.

He thinks it shows a girl's independence and he likes it. He added that he thinks it is usually easier for the couple to get into a relationship if the female takes the lead, pointing out the old Chinese saying: "Male chase female like climbing a huge mountain, whereas female chase male like eating a piece of cake."

However, a lasting relationship depends on the way they get along with each other, which has nothing to do with who wooed who in the first place, according to Li.

"I believe that more women will follow the trend as society further develops and dating culture is further diversified," Li said.


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