CODING CROSSCULTURAL LOVE
Chinese entrepreneur Yang Yanzhi helps people overcome beliefs that prevent them from finding happiness in their intercultural relationships
Like many young Chinese, Yang Yanzhi’s career path was chosen by her parents. Information technology seemed like a rapidly expanding sector with abundant job possibilities and high salaries. So,
Yang studied computer science and technology, and after graduation, she moved to Beijing where she steadily climbed the ladder of success from being a programmer to a manager. However, after 10 years, she’d had enough.
“I wasn’t a very talented coder,” she said. “Other people were a lot faster than me.”
But her English language proficiency proved to be her distinctive advantage when dealing with international clients. It was also the skill that opened the door for her new career which, this time, was entirely her own choice.
It all started when she began to date beyond her backyard and got to know men with diverse cultural backgrounds. What sounds like an adventure, soon turned out to be more complicated than she had thought.
“I found that it was easy to attract them, but hard to keep the guys that I actually wanted,” she said. “I asked myself why I kept experiencing a similar pattern with the guys I liked, why I behaved the way I did, and why men do what they do.”
A science to everything
Instead of giving up, Yang started to do her homework. She read everything she could about intercultural dating, relationships, psychology, religion and spirituality. Afterward, she thought the skills and knowledge that had helped her could help others as well, so she hatched a plan. She created her own website Joyfuldating.cn, named after her English name Joy, and quit her day job to become a dating and relationship coach that specializes in cross-cultural love. Instead of being a contradiction, her tech background comes in handy. Yang said she is essentially doing the same thing she used to do in her previous job, just on a different subject. Whereas she was fixing bugs in computer code before, now she analyzes the “software” humans run on.
“People think feelings and emotions are illogical, but actually, it’s also about a deeper understanding of human beings. There is a science to everything. Sometimes we feel terrible because our underlying beliefs, thought patterns and rules regarding what we should or shouldn’t do don’t correspond with reality. As a result, we develop a resistance to ourselves and our life.”
Yang helps her clients to rebuild the beliefs that are beneficial to them through conversation. First, she helps people heal unresolved trauma and define what they expect from a romantic relationship. Then she helps them get what they want strategically, unleashing their full potential in taking action to find and keep a “quality” partner.
In understanding themselves first, their mind can become more open and accepting of other people, explained Yang.
“Embracing our differences and appreciating them will be especially helpful for intercultural couples,” she said.
When two lovers from different cultural backgrounds come together, unique challenges emerge. Chinese women tend to impose their own expectations and ideas on their partner, Yang said, drawing from her own experience in past relationships.
On the other hand, many of her Chinese clients have reported feeling disrespected when their foreign partner speaks lowly of Chinese products or culture. Other issues are that foreign men tend to avoid talking about money or feel that the Chinese woman’s family invades too much into their life as a couple, especially when it comes to raising children.
“Western men think that their child is theirs, but Chinese families see children as belonging to the whole family,” Yang explained.
She believes that accepting and embracing these cultural differences and seeing them as special and unique will lead to a feeling of gratitude and appreciation. In contributing to happy and successful intercultural relationships, she hopes to have a greater impact on cooperation, understanding and peace between different nations and cultures. “I am proud of what I do,” she said. Ultimately, she sees her purpose as empowering women and helping them become capable, powerful and beautiful.
Occasionally, Yang has male clients too. Franz, who wishes to conceal his Chinese name for privacy reasons, contacted her to receive dating advice. The young Chinese man speaks perfect German and is keen on dating a woman from another country, but does not know how to go about it.
“I like tall and sporty girls,” he said. “But my problem is, how do I get them interested in me?”
Yang advised him to show genuine interest in the person he likes first.
“Be yourself and find out what moves her, what she likes, what her dream is,” Yang said.
For someone who knows so much about love and relationships, she has been taking her time finding “the one” herself.
That she is unmarried and quit her stable job to become an entrepreneur has caused some differences between Yang and her father, who she describes as a very “respectable” man.
“For Chinese people, if you are successful, you are a winner. But if you are not successful, shut up and keep working hard,” Yang said. “Once my father sees that
I am successful he will be proud of me.”
Different views on money, family and child-rearing techniques can lead to challenges in cross-cultural relationships, dating and relationships, says expert.