Although I admire the strong bond people here have with their parents, being with a man whose mother plays such a fundamental part of his life undermines any sense of a mature relationship.
My Chinese girlfriends often moan about their exhausting mother-in-laws, who become jealous if their son pays his wife too much attention.
And I went on three dates with a New Yorker who proudly boasted of a book he kept that contained the names of every woman he’d ever slept with (with scores).
However, unlike the majority of Western women living in China, who watch bitterly as the egos of below-average men swell from the admiring looks of Chinese girls, I took an altogether different approach and chose to date Chinese men instead.
Having a native boyfriend was like being given a key to China.
I learned so much more about the country, its people and their values during the three years we were together.
By my late teens, when my friends were chasing football players, I had developed a thing for men with long hair.
Thanks to that relationship, I can speak colloquial Mandarin (including the kind of swear words that one should never, ever use) and prepare traditional Chinese dumplings with the speed and skill of Ken Hom.
I also understand what really makes Chinese people tick.