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.

 

129 Comments

  • Reply December 18, 2016

    Cheese

    This is why feminism exists. To get rid of dicks like ElDick lmao

  • Reply December 19, 2016

    Gmail

    Wow I’ve always loved American men started with donny Osmond ha ha wow I hope it’s true about European men they are lovely australia men are much to be desired macho loud mouths think more of their male friend’s then their wives an girlfriends there ugly in and out!

  • Reply January 15, 2017

    Maggie

    I’m an American woman, my parents are of mixed races and are immigrants to the US, and I’ve lived (not visited, but LIVED) in 4 other countries. 2 of those countries were Australia and the UK. I had a serious BF who was German, one who was French, and one who was Scottish, as well a few casual dates with an Italian. I married a man who is American (from the mid west as a matter of fact!) but of Indian decent.

    Since we are speaking in totally widespread generalities (and acknowledging that of course there are some nice guys and some dick-heads in all countries) I’ve got to say that my experience was almost entirely the opposite of the author’s. With the exception of the Scottish guy, pretty much every man I dated in the UK and in Australia would qualify as an alcoholic. The drinking culture was so ramped it prevented most dates from becoming relationships. In the UK I found men to be beyond awkward, and totally unable to make eye contact or speak to a woman unless he was drunk. And the only men who ever opened doors for me or used pleasantries – they were all Americans.

    #1 “European men aren’t just aiming to score” – I have found zero difference in the percentage of men who want to hook up vs the percentage of men who want a relationship. This seems to be a universal trait that has nothing to do with country of origin.

    #2 “Europeans don’t date” – again I would bring up the drinking culture and say that a lot of Europeans – especially Brits and Germans – seem to think that getting drunk and hooking up is a date.

    #3 “Not as fussed with labels” – you might be right. But again, this is because they like a girl, don’t know how to talk to her, get drunk and hook up with her at an office party, and then just move directly to BF/GF phase. I’m not sure that’s my ideal for how to start a relationship.

    #4 “Europeans have more respect for women” – this has got the by far the most laughable point on this list. Have you been to Europe? Which country exactly are you talking about? This would probably be true in Scandinavia, but Italy, Spain, Greece, anything French speaking or south of Germany, and anything that used to be part of the Eastern Block — are nuts!! They have crazy gender rolls, and machismo that is out of control. No way in hell the majority of these countries are more respectful to women. I don’t think American men are perfect, and we have plenty of misogyny that is linked to capitalism and the workforce, but as far as relationships and domestic rolls, I think the US is in the top 10 of countries that have respectful and partner-based relationships.

    #5 “Europeans have better manners” – nope! Americans say please and thank you so much, and we call bartenders and bus drivers “sir” and “ma’am” – this is is actually why people think we are the country bumpkins. We are overly polite to strangers. And we are very chatty. Europeans avoid eye contact and don’t usually talk to strangers.

    #6 “Europeans don’t get their sex ed fro porn” – I totally agree!! American’s, especially the frat boy mentality, seem to think that porn is sex ed.

    #7 “European men do not ghost” – yes they do. At probably the exact same rate as American men. This one is a tie.

    #8 “European men have a different idea of beauty” – dude you really need to list specific countries. Because Italy and Spain are much more curvy, but France is a very skinny country. All of them are fairly sexual cultures (and I mean that as a compliment). But northern Europe is not sexual at all. They are afraid of being sexy, acting sexy, being accused of sexual things – which is probably why they feel they need to get drunk in order to have sex. Heaven forbid they try it sober!

    #9 “European men have a quiet confidence, American men are loud and arrogant” – I would argue that American men have been the most consistently polite and the most consistently confident group of men (tied with Canadians) I have ever met. But yeah, Americans are indeed loud. We actually speak from a different part of our throats – like theatre actors – so we project more. We literally speak at a louder desepol than other english speakers. We also over enunciate our Rs, so our accent sounds more harsh. I don’t know if we are more arrogant, but we tend to be more direct (which can be seen as rude). I think this trait is equal in American women and American men.

    #10 “American men like to date around” – I would say that all American’s date around. I don’t know if we like it. We all seem to hate it. But we do it. Unfortunately we are the primary creator of pop culture and this trend is now pretty normal everywhere. It might be crap. It might even have started in the US. But you are crazy if you think it’s not happening in Europe.

    #11 “European men don’t play games or freak out about commitment” – Haha ha ha ha ha!! That’s funny. Men are men in every country!! And to be fair, women in every country play their own games too.

    My massive wide sweeping generalization is this: The biggest difference between dating in the US and dating int eh UK or Australia is drinking culture, immediately followed by sport, and a shocking number of Australian men are proudly racist and homophobic (especially as they drink). The US is full of men who are more likely to have moved away from their parents and their home towns and have established a level of independence that I find attractive. The men here make eye contact. They tell me I look nice while they’re sober. And they aren’t dripping with cologne or machismo. I know that good men exist everywhere, but I didn’t do a good job of detecting good men over seas. Here in the US I can spot the good ones, and I can dodge the jack asses. Finding love is hard no matter where you are.

    • Reply January 31, 2017

      Adam

      Hahahaha!!
      You talking about UK. They don’t even consider themselves Europe. And you’re with an Indian now.
      Your opinion doesn’t count

    • Reply March 13, 2017

      Amber Gold

      I could not agree more. I am from the Netherlands and sex education at the age of four?? Where do they get their information from?

      I have not dated American men, but all your points about European guys are spot on.

  • Reply February 9, 2017

    David

    Wow not biased at all

  • Reply February 13, 2017

    Preston

    TLDR:

    #s 1-11: European guys are so mature; American men are adolescents.

  • Reply March 1, 2017

    Alexandra

    I have to disagree. I am an American that has dated in Europe. I think manners, and objectives depend on the person.

  • Reply March 18, 2017

    Daisy

    Jeez. All these comments make me want to not dare American or European or anyone at all. People like Jen made me realize how racist Americans are to Asian people. And articles like this are very confirmation biased leaning that it’s almost too good to be true. Fuck being Asian American sometimes I swear…

  • Reply March 19, 2017

    Rod Evans

    Let the UK, and the English speaking countries join together. I love the UK. She is our mother(America). Anyone who threatens them(UK), or us(America) should pay a heavy price. Europe is dead. There are no men left in Europe. As sad as I am to say it: European men have become women, and Muslim men have become your masters. We in America still have the second amendment right of the American Constitution to bear arms. We will not allow our country to be taken over by a group of people who believe we are infidels. We will throw you out!

    • Reply April 3, 2017

      Steven

      OMG!!! I can’t believe you said that. I’m shocked.
      P.S. I live in USA, but not in a redneck area.

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