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.
But then I always have had an unusual taste in men.
Even as a teen, instead of practising my snogging technique on a poster of Nick from the Backstreet Boys, I would be daydreaming of Lister (Craig Charles) from Red Dwarf.
Well, yes, but also having to open their eyes to the possibility of romance with expat men that under any normal circumstances they wouldn’t go near.
Quite why I once agreed to a second date with a guy from Sweden who wore white socks that came up to his mid-calves and who rattled on endlessly about his Chinese ex-girlfriend, I can’t be sure.
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.
These girls are already aware that if you want to be the number one woman in a man’s life, you’ll just have to wait until you have a son of your own.
We Brits have been brought up to consider personal hygiene and table manners as second nature.
So when you move to a country where talking with your mouth full of food, street-side nasal cleansing and communal squat toilets are a feature of everyday life, you have to develop higher tolerance levels along with a strong stomach.
Most Western women shy away from the prospect of having a Chinese boyfriend: they find them too traditional, overly effeminate (it doesn’t help that many carry handbags and adore boybands such as Westlife), and the cultural barrier too immense to overcome.
To me, though, these obstacles seemed like things that would make a relationship more interesting.
So at the ripe age of 30, I have given up on trying to find my Mr Right. In Beijing, even the most average Western men are able to attract pretty Chinese girls, who seem to be under the impression that they have all the style and sophistication of Daniel Craig.