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.“
To learn more about how to change old relationship patterns, and how to create healthy ones, join my 2-hour Live Workshop on Sunday, April 25 where I’ll guide you step by step on how to become more secure in your attachment, manage emotions and our reactions to pain and create healthy relationships. Get your ticket here.
267 Replies to “The 11 Differences Between Dating a European Man vs an American Man”
I have to say that I am surprised how one-sided and skewed this article is.
As a European women who is now dating an American man and has dated European men before, I do not agree with the points you made here. I’ve never met a European man who is so considerate, such a gentleman, charming, masculine without being macho as my American boyfriend. Wanting to “score” asap is something I’ve experienced a lot with Southern Europeans. And I think the segregation of the sexes is also a matter of upbringing and generation.
No. 8 and 11 are ridiculous. In fact, I woild argue that European man expect women to be a certain (small) size even more than Americans and fat shaming can be much more extreme in Europe because overweight people are not as common. And, European men don’t play games? That must be a joke. My experience is that Americans often have more self-awareness, more confidence and this helps tremendously to communicate clearly and openly with your partner – without playing games.
Erika, my thoughts exactly! I am from the Balkans and dating an American man. I have have dated Mediterranean and Balkan men in the past.
The last thing I would call them is gentlemen and charming. From my experiences, they do not take a woman’s feelings into consideration at all nor do they understand women. Americans have far more respect for females and they do not play games. They communicate their intentions from the start . European men are rarely honest and you have to almost always guess what they’re thinking because you know their words are far from the truth.
It seems to me like the author has some kind of European guy fetish that won’t allow her to see the truth. Oh well, more American men for us European ladies. Cheers.
It’s clear the article was written by someone very bitter about being dumped by her decidedly American ex. Some of the background on the author is publicly available and corroborates this.
Couldn’t agree more ! I live in Europe ( Germany ) and grew up around a lot of other Europeans ( Greeks, Italians, polish etc ) and I only know a few European men that act like this. Most are just as rude and awful as men in other places around the world. I feel like the author was hurt by some American men, and now thinks that European men are some god send .
I’ve always found it odd, how European men are regarded so highly around the world, when a lot of them will slam the door in your face instead of holding it open, cuss you out publicly , rarely be romantic etc
LOL – that explains the dismal dating scene that I experience here
This is so biased and stereotyped and wring. I have seen European men (German) ditch their girlfriend in the middle of an evening leaving her stranded while they go have a drink with their friends. There are jerks and there are nice guys regardless of which side if the Atlantic. I will say one thing, Americans (men and women) smoke less. In my experience American men are less chauvinist and more attentive. European men are better cooks and more relaxing to be with. But that’s just my experience.
Also what is a European nan? Are French, Swedish, Italian, etc men all the same? Similarly American men. Southerners, Westerners, city or country, etc.
6 – true but I don’t think American men get their sexual education from porn either. Some men are just retards and some are not♀️. Didn’t notice any difference between US and EU men.
7 – very true!! I can’t remember a single person who ghosted me over here! It’s just something we don’t do here. (I’ve never ghosted a man either). We don’t even use this term over here. Over here, it’s something to be seen of what cowards do. Unless the other person kept abusing you and you’re scared of her/him, it’s not okay to ghost anyone. It’s seen as an unfair and incredibly cruel act and if the other person is not a total piece of shit whom you feel absolutely 0 respect for, it’s not accepted to ghost.
(And yes, that’s another point when I got hurt terribly. – I’ve never had high self esteem and when Americans did this to me few times, I got super depressed, was wondering where I went wrong for months even years – for like I said, it’s not common to ghost normal people all of a sudden for no reason over here, so I questioned my own worth and meaning in this world). Many American men told me they loved me and ghosted me the other day, while Europeans never did this to me. (They also don’t say often they love you tho).
8 – bullshit. European men have often much more strict perception of the beauty.. whether it comes to body shapes, haircuts, etc. They typically go for a skinny woman with longer hair, naturally beautiful without tons of make up, shorter than them. They all basically have the same ideal of how their gf should look like. Plus, the skinnier she is, the better. Big butts are not a thing. Compared to Americans.
9 – Can’t confirm this one. Europeans are generally less loud while talking, yes, but when it comes to confidence? I dunno.. I know some very loud and arrogant Europeans and some quiet and humble Americans.
10 – true. If you say to this one woman over here you want her, see each other regularly, it’s not okay to say the same stuff to other women and date them as well. If you do that and the woman finds out she has all the right to tell you to fuck off and call you a jerk. (Sorry, I know this is something cultural but over here dating people simultaneously for “hunting better option” is something almost at the same level as cheating over here♀️). I’m not saying it’s not happening over here but people won’t talk nicely about you if you do this. I’d also drop a guy who had me like one of his options.
11 – very true. Most European guys I talked to, talked to me as to a potential girlfriend. Not like to a hook up. And actually, even though we weren’t even dating yet they already talk to me about their family plans, about how they wanted their future to look like. (Sometimes it scared me a bit haha) But it was nice to see they’d involve you in their plans.
American men did talk about involving me in their plans as well but they didn’t mean it. (It was just a part of their games, I guess..) oh and regarding to texting back.. It’s normal to text back immediately without being seen as needy or desperate over here. You’ve been looking forward to get a message from this person all day, reply right after you read it, no problem with that. It only shows you care. I texted back to this one (Slovak) man after like 6 months since I got depressed and felt like he couldn’t want talk to me anyway, and he replied to me in 5 minutes. What did I think about it? That it was absolutely sweet and even nicer was his reaction when he was totally understandable and didn’t give me hard time at all. Absolutely loved that.
Sorry for the super long comment:/ I’m aware this could sound Anti-American or something like that. But it’s really not like that. These are just my experiences and observations, some people can have a horrible experience with Europeans ♀️. So don’t take this personally. Maybe I was just unlucky, or you were lucky. Or maybe I just wasn’t emotionally built for American dating culture, but it doesn’t mean others can’t be happy with that. There are dickheads in all cultures, I just met more in the American one♀️.
LOL! This is the most ridiculous article I have ever read!!! The author apparently gets this info from Hollywood movies! I am a Brit happily married to an American for 17 years, and this is so far from the truth, in every aspect about REAL LIFE American men. In reality American men are gentlemen – most all that I meet. Check your facts.
As someone who has lived in both the U.S. and Europe, I can say that these points don’t really hold true. There are plenty of European men who have the negative qualities that you describe Americans having and American men having the European qualities you mention as well. The truth is that men suck everywhere, and the good few exist regardless of cultural background.
I agree with this article . American men are very subconscious and play stupid games .
I live in Italy and “dated” a few guys and let me tell you, they will ghost you!!! They play games and most of them do try to get you to bed ASAP.
As an American woman living in Europe, I can say wholeheartly that this is a ridiculous cultural generalisation! Think for yourself folks!!
Wow this is so fake! As a European woman, who experienced dating in the US as well, I can say that your perception of European men is like from a fairytale. I would even say that European men would be better described as men from the USA. Total disagreement with this article.
First of all, Europe is huge. You can’t generalize them into one category of “European Men”. Even in just one country like Italy: southern Italians, Tuscans, and northern Italians are different in terms of men and dating. Heck, even in the same region the men can be different. Sure, there will always be good guys and assholes no matter where, but categorizing all men who happen to reside in EU as “European men” then put several bullet numbers to generalize all of them is ridiculous.
That being said, the writer sounds like an American woman who is bitter with her own country’s men back in The USA. So when she met a guy or two from EU, they seemed like hot romantic angels descended from the sky.
However, i can tell you that this article is far from the truth. Almost opposite of the truth in fact.
Although there are some half truths in it like EU men don’t like to have labels, but that is only because the guy in question have not yet decided in his mind that he wants you to be his gf. By not putting a label, or defining ur relationship with him, he can subtly change gears to date another woman, while you have no right to claim he is cheating on you. Hey, you are not even his gf. Right? Smart ass, these guys. When a man wants you, no matter where he comes from, he will define ur relationship. He will mark his territory all over u. All over ur social media too. So every other men can know that you are his and his alone.
If an American man likes to put a label. Then that’s good. He isn’t being sneaky about it. He is clear from the start what he wants to do with u. If he clearly states that u r his ONS or his Callgirl, yet u secretly hopes he will change that label to GF, then that’s on u. Yet with an EU guy, u don’t know, coz he sneakily don’t wanna define ur relationship. In fact, when a guy said that, it actually subtly, and as gently as he could, trying to tell u: Hey, i haven’t decide yet what i want to do with you, or if i like you, or if i want to see u again after this. Why not we have sex, then we see afterwards, ok?
EU guys love sex too. No guys don’t love sex unless he is gay. In fact, in EU sex is more free and the men wants it faster, like on first day of tinder meet, if possible. Oh yeah, they are down for it. No men will tell you: Oh no, no, wait, let’s meet couple more times before i open my pants.
They’ll open their pants as quickly as you say: would u like to stay for tea?
EU guys don’t ghost u? Come on. There will always be those ghosters assholes. No matter where they come from.
EU guys don’t play games? Only American guys do? Well, it depends. How old are these guys we’re talking about? 18? 21?
I am sure that a 40 years old American guy don’t play these stupid games. Only teenagers do. And usually, only teenage girls do this.
But in any case, i can tell you from my own experience having dating both European and American, and even was married to an Italian, my American boyfriend is far more independent, far more a gentleman, respects woman, does not treat women like a furniture or a slave, is not a mammaboy, can have a decent conversation with me, and spoils me not just me serving him, and he also can do housechores. While my ex husband, is like a mute, treats women like objects, disrespect women, a mammaboy, cannot do anything around the house, don’t even know how to wash his own underwear, expect me to serve him daily like his mamma does.
He is Italian, from Tuscany. Of course i cannot claim him to be the representative of all “European Men”. I can’t even say he represents all of the men in Italy. But i can tell you that many men in Italy, tho not all, are like this.
They live with mamma until 30-35 years old. They don’t do housechores. They treat women as lesser. Even if u have the same exact job, if u r a woman u will get less salary. Partriarchy is strong in Italy. Italian men can flirt like no other. Cheat like no other. Then lie about it like no other.
If you are smart enough and caught them cheating on u, leave. Many women have no idea their italian men have been cheating on them with everything that moves, coz they are so good in lying and twisting words and facts, it’s almost like they were born to be assholes.
Italy is a country where men are taught to disrespect women and treat them like a sex object. They can call women based on their sexual organs, they can follow women around, flirt with women in front of their own woman, stare at other women in front of their own woman, and they do not feel ashamed about it.
Of course there are good italian men, especially within the younger, more modern generation. But in general, italian men are the worst kind of men.
Be grateful with your loud, direct, independent, labelling American men. At least they are being frank right from the start what they decide ur relationship is gonna be. You have a choice. Whether to respect urself and say no, or accept being humiliated like a rag. You don’t have to swallow the bitter pill later on knowing that after 6 months of sex and all that, he shifts to another woman just like that because u r not officially bf gf.