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

Do you know the difference between dating a European man versus an American man? If not, read up!

Amy C Written by Amy C · 4 min read >
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.

 

Written by Amy C
Amy Chan is the Founder of Renew Breakup Bootcamp, a retreat that takes a scientific and spiritual approach to healing the heart. Marie Claire calls her "A relationship expert whose work is like that of a scientific Carrie Bradshaw" and her company has been featured across national media including Good Morning America, Vogue, Glamour, Nightline along with the front page of The New York Times. Her book, Breakup Bootcamp - The Science of Rewiring Your Heart, published by Harper Collins, will be released Fall 2020. Profile

245 Replies to “The 11 Differences Between Dating a European Man vs an American Man”

  1. I spent the first 14 years of my life in the US and then moved to Europe as a teenager, Austria to be exact, and I agree with many of the things you wrote, for example, that European men don’t “date”. However, I find some of the other comments may be idealizing the European man a little too much.

    For example, you can’t say that European men don’t “ghost”. Perhaps you can’t call it “ghosting” because of the lack of formal rules to the mating game. Yet, since they don’t actually date, sometimes it’s hard to tell if the encounters you have with a European male are just friendly or romantic in nature.

    Since they don’t overanalyze, which I agree with, he will simply stop pursuing a romantic relationship with a woman even if the meetings started out romantic in nature. If somewhere along the lines he has decided that he isn’t romantically interested or rather that he doesn’t want to pursue a more serious commitment, then he will simply stop pursuing it.

    You will still see him, and he will be friendly and courteous, and you might even meet for coffee, dinner, drinks etc… However, suddenly without your knowledge, the relationship has become platonic. And I have yet to experience any open confrontation such as “I respect you, but I am not interested in anything more.” A woman is supposed to understand the signals, and she can either accept it or she can address it. She is given the right of way on how she would like to handle it.

    Not addressing it may very well serve in enabling her to save face so that a friendship or at least a further acquaintance is possible, but in my opinion there is also some cowardice involved. The burden is left on the woman to keep a brave face because if there are no rules, then nothing has been broken.

  2. lol, way to be a stereotypical racist. please do an article next on the fundamental differences of dating american white women to broken asian women who can’t find a guy

    1. Ahh, let the hate mail begin. It’s interesting that comments like these always try and dig at the author instead of providing an intelligent, thoughtful rebuttal. My guess is that you’re an American guy, and some of the observations in the piece triggered you. Now you’re mad.

      I mentioned that the article was based on my experiences along with a group of women (and men, actually).

      1. A stereotype of this proportion does not warrant an intelligent reply. I thought my comment had equal amount of insight and assumptions as your piece.

        It feels to me like you recently had a fling with a European guy and therefore feel a strong connection there. Maybe if someone wrote an article about asian women vs american women and made it completely one sided you would realize how stereotypical and racist your writing was.

        As a side note, I wrote my comment while laughing at a immature piece of opinion than out of anger and any anger expressed came out of the same anger I feel when I overhear a social injustice of any kind regardless of topic than my “insecurities” of being a happily married American man who you’ve actually met. You used to be good, now it seems like you’re trying hard to fit in with buzzfeed.

        1. I’m not sure if you understand where racial stereotypes come from, but they happen to come from personal past experiences. You should have at least titled the article pertaining to your own experiences, ie: my experiences and differences in dating… instead you try to define and generalize between the two groups. Also curious as to where you stand. are you american, european, asian, asian-american? sorry I think you’ve received enough attention this far.

      2. I hope you will find this reply “an intelligent and thoughtful rebuttal.” I did not feel that any of the comments above constituted “hate mail.” I am definately not a male, although I am an American and I read the article in the company of a European male who has lived in many countries around the world and currently lives in the United States and agrees with every one of the 11 points you made. I, on the other hand, agree with others who feel that there is a kind of “halo” around the head of the European man in your message. Further, you describe the “American man” as sterotypical United States men, especially those between age 16-30. Yet they are different than older US men and quite different from other North American men as well as Central and South American men. As a research scientist, I question your sampling procedures–they do not appear to represent the majority of European or American men, and therefore you really cannot generalize your observations to the majority of either population.

    2. I completely agree with you Jen. This piece is so biased and stereotypical! European man are not all like that neither American men. I have dated both of them they are men, and in this globalized world you can’t tell them appart. Unless you’re dating a 70year old guy.

  3. Woow, I just realized European man are not such a pain in the * as I perceived and felt them. Sorry for my “french”, but I really do not find european man (at least most of them – there are quite few bright exceptions) as good and bright as you do. So I am mostly in shock – could that be even worse with USA guys 🙂 So thankyou for opening my eyes I often forget that all is learned in comparison.

    PS I love reading your blog – it is fantastic to read something sincere eventhough I do not agree always 😀

    Wish you Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    1. I could write an article saying the opposite of this. I grew up with and dated American men of several races. I have also dated European men. I also recently married and separated from, a European man. First, each was an individual. No one American or European man shared a general outlook or behavior. That’s bull*+*:. Second, if I had it all to do over again, I would have married an American man because marriage is hard enough without such different cultural upbringings. This may not apply to everyone, but I don’t think I have enough in common with European men to make it work. They are not willing to be true “partners” (the American guys I dated were..I was not ready to settle down), and the European guys were not. The balance of responsibility was so out of whack.

      Bottom line: I would not take a random writers opinion for much more than 2 cents. Best of luck finding a decent guy…no matter his country of origin. 🙂

  4. Besides the two bullet points that actually have facts, the rest of article seems skewed. While this may have indeed occurred via polling European women etc. There doesn’t seem to be a real answer. These are just opinions of some European women who may have gotten lucky with good men. Or are simply trying to fill in the gaps with some interesting details that may or may not be true.

    The real answer is: don’t date/hang out/sleep with men or women if they’re a**holes, whether they are European, American or simply Eskimo. The same can be said for women.

    The end.

  5. This is exactly the opposite of what I have experienced on all but one point. I realize that I possibly had a unique experience with my church, camp background, but I have experienced much more aggressive, loud, men who treat women very poorly (trying to be nice here) from Europe then my American born guy friends and boyfriends. I wonder if the perspective is from someone who is also European…. perhaps the treatment is different toward a woman who grows up in Europe rather than an American who meets European guys who have moved to America as adults?

  6. The author’s comments are so one-sided that they invite dismissal. In her view European men are just great and American men are just dogs. I am not sure how one reaches such a conclusions in a solid manner. Did she conduct a random sample or or did she get together with her friends and share anecdotes? I trust the random sample a lot more. As an American man living in Europe I don’t find myself handicapped when it comes to dating. Nor do I find that European women are enthralled by European women. Indeed, I encounter plenty of complaints about European men disappearing from their mates. I would ask Amy C whether bad experiences have clouded her judgment and perhaps even prompted the writing of this article.

  7. did you find any differences that put american males in a good light? also, where was the majority of information you received about american males, some of these don’t seem to apply as much to guys in the south, but as was said earlier by others, experiences could be different.

  8. I couldn’t disagree more with these statements. I’m European and have been living in New York for six years so I’ve seen both sides and dated plenty of European and American men. There are douchebags everywhere that disrespects women and “disappear” when they’re no longer interested. Absolutelty nothing you said about New Yorkers fits in to my soon-to-be husband who is born and raised in New York. So ladies, don’t believe a word in this article, there are plenty of good (and bad!) men around the globe!
    / The American European

  9. This article is a mess,I’m Italian from Venice and lived also in US and all the things said are actually the opposite:men in Europe try to get laid at the first date,they likely disappear and never play with girls,they don’t treat women really good,well,if it’s to get laid they will be the most romantic people

  10. No offence,but this all sounds like some science- fiction to me. European guys all vary pretty much depending on their background,nationality and religion and do not seem to be as ideal as you think. No porn education? Try asking the Italian women what they think about that one..No aim to score? Come on. Life is not a Disney’s tale… Curvy French women? You can mostly see really skinny women and models here,even the general French fashion is adapted to their body type. Ps. I have lived in 3 different countries in Europe and therefore have been meeting all the nationalities possible.. After all,the prince charmant did arrive, but this was a single case in a long story full of failures and deception.

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