The 11 Differences Between Dating a European Man vs an American Man

dating european men

I never thought that the cultural background of a dating prospect would make much of a difference when it came to relationships. However, since living in New York, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many different people from various backgrounds and it’s become clear that there are definite cultural norms specific to European men versus American men (especially New Yorkers).  I’m not to judge that one is better than the other, and mind you, my observations are based on my own experiences as well as a group of women I’ve interviewed in the last two years. The below is a list of some of the themes and commonalities observed. Now, when I discuss the differences between European and American, I’m referring to a mindset. You can very well be born in America but have a more “European” mindset and vice versa.

1. European men aren’t just aiming to score. American men on the other hand, tend to be goal oriented, with the aim of getting laid. Perhaps this ‘score mentality’ is for bragging rights, perhaps it’s for validation so they can feel wanted and desired, or perhaps it’s a pure ego play. American men will rush to get you in bed as quick as possible, while European men don’t appear to have the same rush (or desperation).

2. European men don’t ‘date’ – in the formal way that Americans are used to. The types of dates seen in movies – the formal ask, the fancy dinner and the entire dance that ensues simply doesn’t exist in the European mindset, in fact, the word “dating” isn’t even a part of their lexicon. Sure, they will go out for dinner and do fun activities, but it’s not packaged up in a formal and contrived manner.

3. European men aren’t into labelling. Unlike American culture, where there’s almost a rite of passage which takes two people from “hooking up” to “seeing each other” to “dating” to “exclusive”, these labels just aren’t a focus or concern for European men. They don’t over analyze the situation. Rather, the mentality is, “I like you, I want to see you, and if it’s enjoyable, let’s keep seeing each other”. It’s more organic and instead of defining the relationship in order to know how to act, they let the relationship unfold and the label of boyfriend/girlfriend just naturally develops in the process.

4.  European men are comfortable with women, which leads to respect for women. Perhaps this has to do with their upbringing, where it’s very normal for boys and girls to play and intermingle together. They grow up developing friendships with the opposite sex and in turn, develop more empathy and understanding of the opposite sex. In American culture, there is a clear segregation of the sexes, boys play with boys and do boy things and girls do the same. Then these boys grow up and are exposed to the opposite sex in an abrupt, often sexualized way.  The consequence of this is a lack of understanding of women, a lack of comfort and often, a lack of respect.

5. European men are raised to have great manners. This is definitely seen in how they treat not only women, but everyone around them. There is a courtesy, consideration, chivalry and thoughtfulness in how they act, behave and engage with others. They are also raised with strong family and community values, so there is a sense of responsibility and accountability for others, not just for the self. American culture raises children to be fiercely independent and to look out for ‘number one’. This breeds a generation of men who have habits of looking after their own needs versus the needs of the collective.

6. Europeans don’t get their sexual education from porn. For example, in the Netherlands, comprehensive sexuality education starts at age four. In America, sexual education is not taught until one hits their teens, if they are taught at all. The topic is still taboo and filled with shame. It’s no surprise that American men are left to their own devices, subconsciously learning about sex through porn and the media.

“Many American men are getting their sexual education from porn.”

7. European men do not “ghost”. Instead of cruelly dismissing someone by disappearing, they communicate that they are not interested. Again, this comes down to respect and manners.

8. European men have a different perception of beauty. As the media in Europe is a lot more heavily monitored,  Europeans grow up surrounded by media and images of women who are curvy, comfortable in their own skin, and sensual (versus overly sexualized). The latest law passed in France where excessively skinny models need to prove their health is a testament to that. But when you’re surrounded by American media, filled with Barbie dolls, waif skinny models and Baywatch breasts, the idea of what ‘beauty’ is becomes skewed.

9. European men have a quiet confidence, a demeanor that doesn’t need to scream out loud to prove themselves. The American way is loud and even arrogant at times.

10. American men like to date around. The dating culture involves trying out many different options at the same time. Call it the revolving door or hedging – there’s the idea in the American approach to dating that there’s always something better around the corner. With European men, if there’s mutual interest, they keep seeing that person and don’t keep hunting for better options simultaneously. The dynamic may or may not move into a serious relationship, but they are not trying to gather other options or back up plans in case it doesn’t.

11. European men don’t play games. Nor will they freak out when discussions of commitment or future come up. Americans (both men and women) have been socialized to play games, to act unavailable, to wait a particular amount of time before texting back… There are a set of ritualized rules that are abided by in American dating culture, and if you don’t play within them, you are labeled as desperate or needy or undesirable.

So does this mean the only hope for a happy, committed relationship is to move to another country? Not at all. As mentioned above, the observations summarized above are not really about where one is born, but rather a mentality that is influenced by societal and cultural values. We must be aware of our own behavior in the dating game, because we are active participants in how we are treated.  We must take a look at who we are drawn to in the first place, and why. If you keep attracting (and are attracted to) men who are emotionally unavailable and who treat you poorly, then it really doesn’t matter if your dating prospects are from France, New York, Vancouver or Mars – the shift needs to occur within you first and foremost. In fact, you may be experiencing attractions of deprivation, where you try to recreate the issues from childhood in your romantic partners. To find out more, read this article on “Why Do Good Women Pick the Wrong Men.



  • Avatar
    Reply January 3, 2019

    Carol Reed

    What a crock of utter BS

    This article regurgitates a lot of false, and quite frankly backwards, European views and talking points regarding American culture.

    Sex education is far more wide spread in America than it is in Europe. It’s the standard for reproductive education to begin either in designated health classes or biology classes repeatedly starting from as early as the 4th or 5th grade (10 or 11 years old). There is nowhere in America outside of a possible Indian reservation or two where you don’t get sex education. Blatantly false.

    Second, on what fucking planet is America, the country that kicked off the sexual revolution, the country that easily has the most outrageously sexual media (American grindhouse, exploitation film, and American cinema in general? American beauty standards? American fashion? American music? The fact that America produces the most porn? The fact that America has done so for longer than anyone? The fact that the first gay clubs and leather bars were popularized in Chicago and New York City? Playboy culture? The Hippie counterculture?) to the extent that it’s often vulgar and over the top, how is it that America treats “sex like it’s a taboo”? That’s such a backwards view to have of American society. America pioneered sexual liberty and expression. If anything, America set the tone for sexuality and freedom in modern society, partly due to its libertarian social culture that existed at a time when monarchies and fascism existed throughout Europe.

    Have you ever been around a group of American teenage boys or college aged men as opposed to British college aged men or teen boys? Ditto girls? The competitive, hyper-sexual nature of an American university (let alone an American metropolis) goes above and beyond anything you’ll find in Europe. In truth, there’s not much difference between the two locations in how talk of sex is treated in most circumstances, but god…maybe visit any college town in the US and realize for yourself that Europeans (as confirmed by a 2000s-era study published in The Guardian that specifically reveals that “Americans have sex more often and at younger ages than their limey counterparts” on average) are quite tame when it comes to sexual expression and veracity, compared to Americans.

    You prefaced your list like you were trying to be diplomatic, but like every other absurdly righteous Anti-American, your list simply seeks to insist to everyone that a demographic as broad and diverse as American men is decidedly insufficient compared to European men. Using a bunch of outrageously opinionated, anecdotal, or outright backwards and utterly false/contradictory statements on the nature of American society.

    Like, seriously, in one of your points, you insist that America is “sex segregated”. What in the WORLD, my girlfriend, was THAT about? I can’t imagine saying something so idiotic and taking myself so seriously at the same time.

    There are more American men than men coming from any single European nation, and this is how you speak of them? In such grossly paradoxical and ironically ignorant, generalized terms? I can’t even call some of your “points” stereotypes, because they’re based in absolutely no fact or reality whatsoever! Indeed, some of them are utterly backwards!

    Honestly, European men tend to be all talk, no give. All style and very little substance. They also tend to be much less upstanding, much less driven and capable, and I dare say, far more feminine, which I do not appreciate in a long-term partner.

    Europeans also tend to have a warped and extremely infantile sense of sexuality and sex, which they confuse for liberation and even wisdom on the matter. It’s absurd. Europeans will often say the most ignorant things about LGBT persons behind closed doors that most Americans would have the common sense not to, and my gay friend, in (*gasp* the horror!) Birmingham, Alabama, received more respect and acceptance, not to mention sexual success there than he reported feeling in Toulouse, France, where people were openly tactless, isolating, and hostile towards him and his sexuality at a far more frequent rate than he experienced at a college party in Alabama. He never managed to ‘hook up’ in Europe because so many of them were so sexually ignorant and, aside from that, introverted!

    I think European men tend to be poor sexual partners. All of their energy is spent on flirting, and sex in Europe is far more often enacted like its supposed to be weird and full of taboos, not like it’s a natural aspect of life, as opposed to what many suggest. European men tend to be much lazier and much less enthusiastic and knowledgable in bed, I find. They’re just far more passive and feminine than American men, and this has reared it’s head in my three separate sexual liaisons with usually skinny European men (an Englishman, a Frenchman, and a German.) All were very suave in courting, but utterly horrible at sex. American men tended to be much more blunt and informal in courting, but it usually made them less intimidating and much friendlier, and they were much better at sex. They had more energy, warmth, muscle, and American men take charge much more often. European men will work their magic and then just lay there, passive. And leave.

    Final sentence: I never knew a European man to even tolerate post-sexual cuddles. American men, at least far more often than Euros, did.

  • Avatar
    Reply January 21, 2019

    Josephine Willis

    I WHOLE HEARTEDLY AGREE, this smacks more of a generational difference in US men,, although my gen (baby boomer’s) were not much more evolved ,socially/emotionally..
    Sorry , i think California men take the prize of least evolved. –
    Yes, i’ve been in relationships with east coast/west coast – British, Norwegian, Irish, Dutch. Mexican-
    The one i loved and almost moved to be with was the Brit,, believe it or not i did something dumb and he took it seriously and never was able to get passed it..- That was the most mature relationship i’ve ever had, an LDR 6 years. that shit is HAAAARRRRDDDD – we were very much committed ..There is NO way it could have ever worked with an American.

  • Avatar
    Reply January 31, 2019

    Boogers McGee

    The reason that boys and girls don’t socialize as much as they should growing up, is because liberals prefer to have dogs instead of kids. Maybe they’ll have one kid, so it won’t interfere with their travel plans. Gotta keep having self-centered experiences to maintain the instagram fodder!

    When people had big families (4,5,10 kids) everyone was well-socialized and understood the emotional and biological realities of the opposite sex. Seems like there was less crime and better manners, too. I wonder if there is a connection….

  • Avatar
    Reply March 21, 2019


    This is so biased. I’m not certain exactly who the authors encounters have been with or where her data came from but I know in the region of the US I come from we treat women with respect and equals and know chivalry. We’re called Southern Gentlemen for a reason.

    • Avatar
      Reply March 22, 2019

      Ratnakor Dosshu

      Which region of US, you came from?

  • Avatar
    Reply March 28, 2019


    My what a load of comments. The one about men being pigs is only partly correct. Men are pigs, women are assholes would be they way I describe Americans. Europe is a better culture overall both in dating and lifestyle.

  • Avatar
    Reply April 16, 2019

    Brett Brideau

    Umm what? Coming from Germany, America is prude as shit compared to aomost every European country.

    They have legal brothels and sex workers all over the place. Sex work is normalized there.

    I have a feeling the author dated American “men” in high school, and Anton from Stuggart the foreign exchange student in college once and suddenly knows every man in Europe.


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