Why is it so difficult to find a husband in Shanghai?
I’ve just returned back to Shanghai and met up with my Chinese friends, who almost a year later are still searching for the right guy. I genuinely believe it is universally difficult for everyone (girl or boy) to find a romantic partner. Life has gotten more complex, materialistic, superficial and fake, in my opinion. This makes it harder for people to understand and know each other.
However, on the flip side, the world has become much smaller. Whereas in the past you communicated via letters or phone calls, and could not instantly contact or see someone, today you can immediately connect with people using the internet and various apps. But, has this made it easier or more difficult to meet someone?
Arguably, it has become more difficult, because we have so much more in life these days; especially in an advanced city like Shanghai, that our demands have become higher as well. Not just in ancient times but also just 20 or 30 years ago, people were of much less means than now.
Marriages were naturally arranged amongst families. This doesn’t mean everything was happy and perfect though. In this sense, whilst marriages are on the decline these days, perhaps that is because happiness is more of a priority now. Arranged marriages are less common and Chinese women are free to be independent and choose their partner. But has this made them genuinely happier?
I guess it comes down to preference, between stability and love, family and independence, children with an unhappy relationship or no children but short-term happiness and fun.
I decided to ask a Chinese friend who is hoping to meet a potential husband as soon as she can. When asked why and if it has become more difficult to find a potential husband, she commented that it was more difficult, as ideal husbands are already taken at a very young age (after graduation or in the beginning of their career).
I went on to ask my friend what her most ideal husband would be like, and she responded that he should be wise, humorous, kind-hearted, reliable, responsible, medium-looking, progressive and sharing some objectives in their pursuit of a high-quality life.
He should also be charming, encouraging and influential. “He should be my idol and guide me to get through everything. He is a husband, a friend, a teacher and a partner; all combined. I demand a lot from an ideal husband,” she concluded.
All together, these demands are in fact very high, but I would argue that they are universal requirements for a good partner anywhere in the world. Why settle for just so-so? Perhaps the difficulty is in realizing and knowing whether someone has these qualities or not.
This led me to question my friend about the fact that Shanghai is such a large city with a large population, and if this makes it easier to meet someone or not. She said Shanghai people do not have many chances to meet new people because their daily work routines limit their number of new encounters.
I absolutely agree with this statement because, although Shanghai has many people, everyone is so busy. The very fact that Shanghai is so big may also be serving as a counter-effect to finding a potential husband. Some areas out in the suburbs are so distant and sparsely populated that it’s almost as if you are no longer in Shanghai.
I have another Chinese friend (in Xujing) who says there is definitely no potential husband for her there. Unless she makes the hour journey to downtown Shanghai everyday, she seemingly has no chance to meet someone.
Ultimately, choosing the person to live with and be with for the rest of your life is not a simple choice to make. My single female Chinese friends and I believe that finding a husband is not just a Chinese or Shanghainese issue, but rather a universal issue.
Some people meet others quickly, others don’t. Relationships end, relationships last. There are so many important considerations to make, such as values, principles, culture, hobbies and priorities. When it comes down to it, though, we just need to embrace all the different stages in life – single, dating, having fun and, hopefully, getting married. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Global Times.