Dating in the U.S and Europe

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By Rilwan Abdullahi

Dating in Europe: a guide to first date etiquette

Even when you know the rules, the dating game is difficult enough. What is it like to date in Europe when you have no idea how the game is played? Here’s how to find love as an expat in Europe.

In your home nation, dating is difficult enough. It’s even more difficult if you’re new to the international dating scene and don’t know how the game is played. Here’s a step-by-step guide to dating in Europe.

We asked roughly 500 (mainly, but not exclusively, heterosexual) expats living in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland a series of intimate questions about themselves, their relationships, and their sex lives to obtain actual accounts of the European dating scene.

Of course, every relationship is unique, and how yours grows will be determined by who you are as individuals and the chemistry you share. Regardless of cultural differences, if you like each other, you’ll probably find a way to make it work. However, understanding some cultural variations – such as who makes the first move, kissing on a first date, and how soon to call after a date – can help you avoid unpleasant situations, or at the very least prevent you from inadvertently harming yourself or someone else.

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Getting to know someone in Europe

Getting to know someone romantically in Europe is fairly relaxed. People rarely go on dates with complete strangers, preferring instead to get to know someone from their social circle or a friend of a friend (or maybe they met online). Then something unexpected happens, and they decide to go out alone. Consider two buddies who have become lovers.

“There are no established standards in the Netherlands; you might do everything or nothing on the first or tenth date,” claimed European expats. “The timetable between the first date and having sex in France could be anything from 20 years to 20 seconds.”

Making the first move while dating in Europe

It is usual for a male to ask a lady out in Belgium, France, and Germany. Men in Switzerland, on the other hand, can be a little reticent, so women may wish to nudge them.

It’s all about the chase for French men, and playing hard to get is part of the game. When someone piques your attention, maintain eye contact; if they don’t, don’t. If you decline an invitation, he may believe you’re playing hard to get and will most likely pursue you. If you are truly uninterested, be forthright and tell him so nicely but firmly. The same hints that worked at home may not work in France.

The Spaniards have a reputation for being amorous and passionate. A woman who expresses too much interest too quickly may frighten a man away. Before any type of date can materialize, a game of chase and refusal must take place, just as it does in France.

Where to go when dating in Europe

Getting to know someone romantically in many European countries is significantly more casual than it is in North American countries: “walks in the afternoon or evening, which may be followed by an informal drink at a café (cheers!) or a bite to eat at lunchtime.” According to several European expats, “meeting up in a group with pals” is not uncommon.

You can go for a walk or a bike ride in the Netherlands. Couples in Germany do not begin with formal dating and are only recognized as a pair after a series of informal encounters – walks, dinners, movies, and theater – It’s also usual for couples to keep their relationship status a secret.

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