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!

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.


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.

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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

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

  1. sounds like someone had a bad experience with an American guy…

    What you’re describing about both American and European men, you find in both American and European men. The stereotypes are all wrong, and you will find a little bit of both in each one. It’s not so one sided. Not every single European man has an undying respect for women, nor does every single American man have an everlasting disrespect for women.

    Men are human, and just because one grew up on a different side of the Atlantic doesn’t mean that one is either a pos and the other is a saint sent from god. They’re men, some are better than others, some worse, but not strictly in Europe or America.

    1. Agreed Victor!
      There are good men and women in every country. I found men from southern states to be incredibly charming, well-mannered and their more traditional values made “goal oriented sex” a non-issue. As a result I married a southern man but my experiences don’t apply to all men in America. America has people from a wide variety of cultures, values and backgrounds. This effort to generalize American men and European men is nonsense. I agree that this perspective sounds more like sour-grapes from someone who felt rebuffed by American men who didn’t see her as their cup of tea.
      She may be all in with European men but studies show that European men cheat far more than American men. But perhaps a committed relationship isn’t what she is after.

  2. As a European woman, even though from the bottom of my heart I wish I could say otherwise, but after countless bad experiences with American men I must agree with this for the most part.
    I’ve been in touch with Americans for years already and do have (hopefully) some good friends among them so not all of them are shitbags with no respect for women like this article describes. However I can’t ignore the fact (well, my experiences) that most of them were exactly like this.
    1 – absolutely true. American men have always pressured me into something sexual. Even a friend of mine, a happily married guy kept asking me for nudes, sending him pics where I licked my nipples etc. Another man tried to emotionally abuse me to do stuff for him bc, “It wouldn’t hurt me to do so. And we could have fun together.” When I said no he was gaslighting me. Sadly, 90% of my American male friends wanted sexual stuff from me at some point. When I didn’t want to do it, they erased me from their life like I never existed even after a year or two years of friendship with no hesitation. Which is something that never happened to me with any of my European friend. (Have friends from the Central Europe, Hungary, Sweden, Poland, Czech republic, Germany, Slovakia, the UK)
    2 – I guess it’s true. You can sit at the McDee and call it a date if you want‍♀️
    3 – absolutely true. People in my country don’t even have the definitions of “hooking up, seeing each other, dating and exclusive” in their vocabulary. If you like someone you go out with them, we don’t call others like, “This is just my hookup. This is my crush. This is my side chick”. That would be too disrespectful and rude in our eyes.
    4 – again – totally true. When a man over here likes you, you feel it. He asks you about your favourite things, about your opinion on various topics without making you feel like “you’re just a stupid girl who doesn’t know anything about it”. He takes your needs, likes and dislikes in consideration and still sees you as equall to him. With Americans, I often got treated like an object, a sex toy who’s always supposed to agree with them, be always nice no matter what since I’m a woman (which is bullshit), and wasn’t allowed to have my own voice. That’s also the reason why my friendship or relationship (or whatever it was) with Americans has ended – they cut me off when I dared to have a different opinion. Back then I felt very sad about it but when I look at the situation now they were just pretty immature in my eyes. Compared to Europeans, there are very few cases when we stopped talking to each other for we had different opinions.
    5 – not true. Most European men don’t seem to be gentlemen at all when you meet them. In fact, they can be pretty mean and impolite. They won’t say sweet words to you (unless they’re from the South Europe- those are more passionate and aim to get laid).
    They wouldn’t hesitate to tell you your haircut isn’t the best today. That you’re an idiot if you fucked up a simple task. They don’t say you’re the most beautiful woman in the world and would move mountains for you. They won’t say they want to take you to a fancy restaurant and make you happy. They don’t say they love you the first day they meet you. Unlike Americans. Sweet talking is just not for them. On the other hand, if they say something nice to you/promise something they usually mean it! Their words meet their action. I got burnt multiple times with this since I believed American men. It’s sad to say that but now when an American man is being excessively nice to me, he seems to me less trustworthy and I back off. Generally, I don’t take the things they say much seriously anymore. (Unless I’ve known them for a while).
    But I guess them, EU men, being honest with their feelings is also a part of the “seeing women equal to men”‍♀️..

  3. Agree with 11. The convenience in communication is at least ridiculous and loosen the trust. Coming from Europe, I see these false norms as proof of total disrespect in communication.

  4. This is so right on. I’m a native New Yorker, and then moved to the West Coast in my mid-thirties. I can definitely uphold what you are saying. Thank you for posting this.

  5. I only know one European man and one American man. American man is more attentive and romantic than European. Of course it is only my narrow experience.

  6. Very well written, and covers a lot. I fully agree. Although I grew up in Germany, I’ve lived in North America for over 30 years, but am now for the first time with a German man. Boy was it a culture shock! There’s much more I could add, mainly in the arena of sex/eroticism, intimacy, and connection, but don’t have time right now. Great article!

  7. Every individual is different, but I would have to agree that the majority of this is true. I’m a female from the United States, not from New York. But growing up there and feeling like 2+2=5 instead of 4, you know something is a little off. My husband is a German. I decided to move to Germany years ago. Also being an introvert, I really do like how a lot of people here keep to themselves for their things to do and, they don’t ask very intrusive questions and waste time with Smalltalk. Whereas back at home, it’s OK to ask nasty and offensive questions and God forbid you don’t answer them, then a nasty American will give you some type of rude insult for not answering their nasty question. I just find it funny that a lot of Americans think it’s rude when there are certain European countries where the general public tends to keep to themselves. But like I said, each person is different. So of course that does not mean everyone is just like the cultural or social norm of that country. With social media, accidentally befriended somebody from Norway, because I meant to click the image but apparently I clicked the confirm friend request button instead. They were talkative as hell. Not usually what you expect from the social norm over there. So once again, we are not all the same. If we were, I’m sure it would be incredibly boring.

  8. In the most liberal parts of Europe men expect women to be available physically “as friends” without any special attention/ courting – just for mutual fun – no “soul- attentive- perspective” is welcome. Women have no special value for anything feminine. No flowers etc.

  9. This is the actual dumbest, chauvinistic post I’ve ever read in my entire life. You say that it doesn’t matter where you’re from, and rather it’s a “mentality” – then why say American MEN and not American MENTALITY? You say you’re not saying one is better than the other, but clearly you are very biased and phrase every European trait as positive and skew the American traits as negative. Also, your first two points are contradictory. You say American men just want to get laid (and then give three negative reasons as THE ONLY reasons why someone would want to hook up), then in your next point say that European men won’t take you on a nice date (and spin that as a positive)? Also, how come American dates have to be “formal” and “contrived”? Also, are you suggesting that we CENSOR our televisions to not allow thinner bodies to exist in the media?
    I have only dated American men and have only known European men platonically (I’m still young), but in my experience American men are not afraid of commitment or the future, take me on nice dates (that are neither formal nor contrived), do not try and inorganically create labels on the first date, do not attempt to act unavailable, do not play games, have great manners, and are VERY monogamous. In contrast, I know of European men who are very NON-monogamous, just want to get laid, and do not respect women (at least unconsciously… They sure will try and claim they do).
    I’m not taking this post too seriously, but I think you’ve got some really harmful generalizations in here. You say in your last paragraph that it doesn’t really matter where you’re from, but rather who you are attracting. If that’s the case, why are you attracting such shitty men while in America? Maybe it’s your perspective that needs to shift when you’re in New York. Also, both America and Europe are MASSIVE places… One is a country and the other is a literal CONTINENT. Spanish, German, French, British, Polish, Bulgarian, Italian, Slovenian men… Lots of generalizations you’re making. (Also, if Europeans are so sexually liberated and educated, don’t you think they’re more liable to swing towards a less monogamous mindset? In my experience, that has been the case.)
    Many of your points contradict each other. Do European men not just want to get laid, or will they not take you on “formal and contrived” dates, or will they never label their relationships, or will they not date around?

  10. All clichés and all wrong. Try to date in France you will see how they’re exactly like the American men. You shouldn’t generalize like this

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