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.

 

148 Comments

  • Reply April 29, 2017

    Chrissi

    It depends if person wants have manners be a man and be Mature all women around world grow tired of men just want be player. Men need to mature or they won’t get a lady.

  • Reply May 5, 2017

    Heather black

    I disagree,I work with all nationalities & find American men are very romantic & treat women like Princess. European men treat women like second class

  • Reply May 16, 2017

    LoveJones

    As a black woman I prefer European men. I’ve tried American and most seem arrogant and hateful.

  • Reply May 16, 2017

    J

    In conclusion America is a very f****d up society (very unnatural).

  • Reply June 6, 2017

    HRP

    I’ve dated both enough to be able to say I totally agree with this article! The Americans that I’ve been with are exactly as described here – such a stereotype!

  • Reply June 7, 2017

    Rayna

    I disagree with all of the above. Men are men wherever you go. And Europe is made of different countries and cultures you can’t just lump them all into a holistic geological unit and stereotype them because they differ hugely in what is considered as their dating norms. Secondly the game is the game. Men by in large biologically want to get laid. Just cos you’re European (whatever that means as it’s vague and a non description) doesn’t mean as a man you’re biologically set differently. All comes down to the individual.

  • Reply July 5, 2017

    Serena

    i want european and usa boyfrinend really ㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎ

    i look forward to see you later indeed

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    i love you too …………………….. ㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎ

    see you all at after 40.

    we can meet and date each other.

    i don’t know who are gonna be my husband. god knows.

    and i didn’t meet my boyfriend and husband yet……..

    i don’t know his face also.

    and now i don’t have my boyfriend now………………..

    i don’t care about other couples and husband and wife.

    why i care about them?????????????????????????

    they very ugly and old and stupid.. and like barking dogs……………………

    if they go to hell who will help them???????????????

    nobody can.

    i want hansome guys…………..

    go to hell that bithes

    i love help me and love me people.
    and god helps them too and bless them absolutely.

    we will meet in heaven again too.
    in heaven everybody happy just in heaven.

    begar can go heaven too……………….
    if he trust god and sincere.

    but bad and jealousy and effect other negative people will certainly go to hell.
    and hurt others give pain and suffer other will go to hell.

    god will judge them…………………

    they don’t know nothing.

    because they’re not christian.

    anyway we can go anywhere with me and our friends.
    we can go travel each other ㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎㅎ

    i will be very happy with you usa people.

    and especially with boys and guys…………. hahahahahahaha

  • Reply July 26, 2017

    Jessica

    I don’t want to label all American men but this is a pretty accurate observation.

    Till this day, my best dates have been with European men, one from Sweden and another from Germany. They were both very responsive, very communicative, and very direct. I always knew where I stood with them. The thing that stood out the most about them in comparison to American men: Consistency and Communication.

    With every American man I meet, even the ones who became my boyfriends, we always had to play the game. I had to be unavailable, I had to careless, I could not respond when I wanted to, I couldn’t sleep with them too early or when I wanted to. We have to play the game in America or you end up alone. It’s why I have been single for so many years. Men freak out because I’m direct, responsive, and interested. I assume they read it as clingy or desperate even though I have a full life and I’m not even close to being that. The two European men were the only men I ever met who responded positively to my equal level of interest. I only ever had one ex (American) who also responded well to my equal level of interest but he’s very different from most guys.

    Hate to say this but American men and women have a horrible dating culture. You have to be completely self absorbed and selfish in order to succeed in dating.

    • Reply July 27, 2017

      Kyle

      @Jessica — if you’re in the States… keep looking. Isn’t the one you want… different?

      – An American Man who hates the game

    • Reply September 16, 2017

      WestCoastGal

      Wow!

      As an American woman who has lived in Europe, I can say you are 100% accurate. I’m so sick of all of the games here. They don’t have the balls to come up to you, or just be a real “man” in general.

      Canada is sounding more and more desirable 🙂

  • Reply July 31, 2017

    Amani

    I have to agree
    I’ve lived in the us ; NYC for over 7 years and dated guys form everywhere
    I always find european are more respectful towards woman and more gentle, maybe cheaper as they take you to drinks but not dinner but sometimes cold and passive and deginely more feminine than Americans
    I agree on the organic evolvement of the relationship
    Americans remind a lot of Arabs ( I am North African between ) in their bad characters like being very masculine, paying and dinner and also getting jealous and treat women not so equally I do not feel like american respect women that much and they like to fade and play game and see options…the winning mentality is what ruins it ! They see you as a prize they have to win ! Dating concept is diffent than any other place in the world.
    Good and bad exist for both european and american, I just feel european are more polite and they make me feel safer than being with an american !

  • Reply August 2, 2017

    Thomas

    Well Jessica let’s put this way : US guys are more fun orientated then getting married , wanna get laid and the true focus is material mostly then emotional .

    • Reply September 16, 2017

      WestCoastGal

      Yes, Thomas. You have fun with that now.

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