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.

 

186 Comments

  • Reply August 7, 2018

    Lisa

    This article was completely biased, i’ve dated men from both cultures…and each are different. Many europeans just want to score. Sounds like you don’t pick the right guys and also have something against americans..

  • Reply August 25, 2018

    Zac

    If an American Man wrote an article about American Women compared to European Women that would be interesting. If it had the same tone, the male author would be under a lot of scrutiny. I found women from other cultures respect the men of their respective culture more. If a man generalizes or criticizes he is seen as rude. Whereas, a woman is being informative. Give me a break lady. Men like to have sex, women like to have sex, and we all have means to getting to our end ;). Even those European peckerwoods haha.

    • Reply September 6, 2018

      Ratnakor Dosshu

      Yes , we all like sex. But what Americans do, they make a date with a women, because at the end he wants her bed. And European men meet or talk with a women, because they enjoy the company of the women…..Not because sex is the main focus….there is a difference baby!!!!. you have to understand. Human talk with human. men -women…… Some people give you more emotional support then others, always. what american men do, when they get a little bit deep conversation with women, they think, Yes, now we do sex!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      How strange , you Americans are!

  • Reply September 2, 2018

    Rachel

    What bothers me about American men, is their inability to view women as partners, they want to dominate and spew out orders, which has much to do with some engrained religious fanatical beliefs. Many of them are Christian fundamentalists or if not they still want to order you around.

    European men and other cultures outside of the United States don’t talk down to women, whereas an American man will talk down to women especially if the subject is deemed as a ” male interest” such as fixing cars.

    American men don’t like women to be ‘ too smart’ or it somehow triggers a deep insecurity.

    There is an undercurrent off this behavior which can effect relationships.

    • Reply September 4, 2018

      Someone old enough

      I’ve dated Americans, Hispanics, and Europeans. As someone that is Hispanic but was born here and raised here, I can tell you that there is a difference. It’s not genetic as much as cultural upbringing. My best relationship has been with a German. It wasn’t about him leading, as much as him listening. And because of that, I did too. We had a mutual partnership wherein some things I made the decisions and in others he did. We lived a happy five-year relationship where we clearly did not have to define what we were to anyone. They knew. He was also a considerate lover. The Americans I have dated have been good lovers, but they don’t like to listen or if they do, they assume that I’m trying to gain their sympathy. Which I never actually wanted in the first place. I was just opening up about myself. As one should in a relationship over the course of a long time. I can sense that the moment they realize I’m smart and not easy to persuade to follow orders, they back off. It’s a matter of time before they give me an excuse. I’ve heard the whole “You are an Alpha to my Beta” one. It’s as if all is good if I am a Barbie that just laughs at everything they say. Hispanics shift depending on their actual background, but they are similar to Americans. They don’t quite care for your intelligence but they do believe that they are the King of the Household at all times. Currently, I’ve been dating a Swedish male, and I can say that thus far, he’s incredibly patient, very quiet, very good manners though, and very smart and what I like about our relationship thus far is that we can flirt but switch to talk about science and Higgs particle in a manner of minutes. We can be ourselves and I don’t have to fear looking too smart with him. I like that. It’s reminding me of my relationship with my German ex in that regard. I did not have to worry about what I said, how I said it and how the other side would take it, I could be my true nerdy, geek, self.

      • Reply September 5, 2018

        Ratnakor Dosshu

        i am agree with you

  • Reply September 29, 2018

    Lulu

    I dated a French guy who slept with me asap. Was hideously romantic, chased and chased, swept me off my feet, told me he loved me … and then ran for the hills when I made a comment suggesting he was my boyfriend after a few months. He then started to play games and get all ‘come here, no go away, no come here’ with me. Ended up breaking my heart and my sanity.

    This article is a little sweeping in its generalisations.
    It was eye opening and nice to date a European. And so totally would do it again, largely because they do seem to know how to date and be romantic more so than British men. Plus they’re also more worldly and aware of other cultures and not fussy with food (!) But every country has its assholes.

  • Reply September 30, 2018

    Cam

    I have dated many American men and European men and I never had any issues with American men treating me poorly and not understanding me, and in fact I have had this problem more with European men who want to score with me on the first or second get-together. I have had American men even willing to wait months for me to make the first move with constant dating and talking to them. To be frank, I would say American men are the better deal than European men as American men see a sense and value in marriage and commitment but this is not the case for European men who often will not even offer to pay. European men are often into polygamy and relationship secrecy. European also includes UK. All these European men expect you to pay your own way and this includes after you have babies and are raising them together. I have met American men working 2 jobs to help their woman run her own business. This is my experience and there are some good men everywhere but they are getting harder to find. Also Europe is much more patriarchal as the Catholic church is very dominant there and also oppressive of women. People do not generally marry in Europe and have many others around to hook-up with and they often keep collecting their exes as close friends too.

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