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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. 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.

    1. It’s not anti-American. Europeans are more satisfied with their sex life, are less depressed, better educated, healthier etc. Those are facts, just look them up.

    2. As an American woman, of British parents – who has lived in Sweden, Spain, Norway, Finland, France, Italy, Greece, & Hungary – gotta say what you’re spouting is the crock of ignorant laughable BS. Maybe darling set your standards higher.

      There’s a reason why I’ve limited interest in American/Canadian men and that’s predominantly because culturally (if they have any actual culture that is, as Americans do lack in cultural aspects) they’re NOT that appealing compared to European men.

      It’s like comparing apples & oranges… related but so dissimilar they can’t compete.

      Btw Americans didn’t pioneer anything in relation to sexuality. The concept of liberal nudity in the modern era was in Europe AT LEAST ten years before it ever reached America.

      French have always been pioneers in sexuality – they (and the Swiss) likely had nudist beaches, as example, before Americans even knew how to spell nudist. Italians, specifically the Vatican area, legalized same sex relations before Americans likely even knew what same sex was about. While Scandinavians can also be quite liberal – Swedes, despite the imagine of stuffy to some, can be quite open minded & liberal about sexuality.

    3. Sorry dear but maybe you should set your standards higher.

      European men, well Europeans in general, are in many ways superior to Americans culturally, mannerly, and behaviour wise. There’s a reason after all why Americans disguise themselves with Canadian flags on their clothing/luggage when traveling aboard and that’s because of the typical oh American they’re ig.norant as sh*t reputation your country has.

      The concept you have that America is more sexually liberal is a good example of that ignorance. Compared to some European countries you Americans embody life spent in a nunnery prudes.

  2. 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.

  3. 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….

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    Lmfao

  7. As an American man I am no expert on European culture. But I am world travelled. I was talking to a European man standing in line beside me at an international airport in Europe. He initiated a conversation with me because he lived several years in USA on work visa for a global company. He said he was flying home to spend time with his wife and kids. Twenty minutes later he apologized for forgetting something I told him earlier. He said he was forgetful because he spent previous night with two women and refrigerator full of liquor. I have many other stories about European men I have met. I am not saying European men are dogs or have less morals than American men. But to say European men and women are less sexual than American men and women shows you haven’t spent much, if any time in Europe. You cannot base European culture on the attitudes or behaviors of a few European men in USA on work or torist visas.

  8. This article is pretty accurate, I have noticed labeling, ghosting, shouting loud out “confidence”, fake masculinity etc. among my american friends, and I am just a guy.
    In general, Americans are less happy with their sex life than Europeans, big porn industry doesn’t change that.

  9. I am a German women and lived and worked in the US. This article is pretty accurate in my opinion. I had long relationships in my home country and after coming to the US I thought it might worked out with American men. I had two releationships and even though the men were totally different in age, looks, experience, character they still were pretty similar in the behaviour.
    1. The men are very insecure, want to be a “real” man but behave like teens even though they are far over the age of 30.
    2. They are very jelous, especially when they have a good looking gf from Europe. They start to explain why you should talk just to girls but they think they have the right to “hang out ” with girls themselves.
    3. They don’t really know how really to talk to women, how to have a long conversation. All they are interested is to bring you on a date, eat, make out, fuck and then own you. I noticed Everytime I came to a group the girls were just interacting together and guys were talking to guys. As a German that’s very strange to me so American girls think you are pretty and want attention from guys and guys think they have a free ticket to hit on you. That a conversation and interaction between sexes is possible seems not possible for them.
    4. And then it’s always about looks looks looks. Typical women look and typical man look. Really deep values like family, teamwork, respect, future are not important because they think all that matters is the now.
    5. And if you get in arguments with them then you feel like you live with a 13 years old. They starts to swear, lock themselves in their rooms, watch TV or start drinking. Conversation not possible.
    Then they told me oh you just got the wrong guys. Oh really? Then why do I hear from every European and!! American woman that their guys act the same and it’s normal??
    I am happy I am done with that. But it was a cultural experience so it was worth it. If I will ever be again with an American then only if he is very cultural open. Thanks for reading!

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