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.

 

124 Comments

  • Reply September 24, 2016

    JC

    Its very interesting as a man to read this article and the after comments. I’m grateful for the openness of discourse and thoughts. I was born in England and lived there until I was 8 and then we relocated to Texas. I read the article because as I’ve gotten older and out of a marriage and several longer term relationships with women from the U.S., I’m starting to wonder if a European woman might be a better fit for me so I was curious to read a woman’s perspective on men from the 2 cultures.
    From my perspective I would agree with much of what’s been said. Monique really hit the nail on the head with what she lamented on around men from the U.S.. From my own upbringing I can certainly confirm that disconnection and divides in the household you grow up in creates a disconnection in the self and so almost all motivations stay down solely in the lower chakras – survival, sex and power. Meanwhile the left brain learning is emphasized to such a degree that real connection, true intimacy and self expression are more easily dismissed especially within a misogynistic culture like the U.S. (that Trump even has a chance to win this presidency speaks volumes about our culture). It’s taken me a great deal of self healing work to truly connect to my own heart, to drop down into it and allow it to be a major guiding factor in my life. I believe many men (I can only speak for the U.S. on this) jump from their left brain to their genitals and back again; lord knows that has been my way of passionless existing for many many years.

    • Reply December 14, 2016

      Tom

      Read the first line of the first paragraph, realized this article is BS, will leave a comment and never read this site again.

      I lived i many euro cities and Paris was one. During people watching, I saw many Parisian men stand outside the subway exit hitting on woman after woman as they exited the station.

      So, right away this invalidates the writer’s statement. (especially since I have girlfriends that have been stalked and followed in Italy and Spain. In northern europe the Polish are flippin’ nuts and every guy in the world wants to get laid…..EOS).

      I realize that personal experiences will be different for everyone, so questions like, “are americans better than europeans?” means absolutely nothing. It all depends on your experience with these people. In general, it is impossible to tell unless you ask everyone in these 2 countries this question and even then you are only getting their experiences from a limited, situational, relative time of their life.

      This question has no answer.
      save yourself time and read something else.

  • Reply September 24, 2016

    The genius

    Hilarious. This chick went on a date with some dude from across the pond, now she has a label for a billion people. American men aren’t even getting married like they used to, because as everyone knows, the US has the worst women in the western world.
    Is that all of them? Of course not. But most women here are more concerned with taking selfies, and being catered to. They watch reality shows, visit social media 24 hrs a day, and generally have a sense of entitlement from the American culture. If you visit other countries, men are generally the same, the women are like a different species.

    • Reply October 10, 2016

      Mariana J. Pedroso

      No, not at all. But it’s expected from a bitter straight American male.

      European men are definitely much better than American males, hands down.
      The only ones who say “the US has the worst women in the western world” are bitter straight American men, like you and so many others. You guys are entitled, sexist/misogynistic, uncivilized… and wanted women to be submissive doormats once again. That’s why you guys label American women like that, because they dare not to submit to your entitled, vile and many times violent ways any longer. Look at you, a whining like a little boy what “selfies”… what a sin it is to take selfies! Watching reality shows, visiting social media… how horrible. Haha!
      Never mind American males and their football, porn addiction, violent tendencies, misogyny and homophobia… nah, that’s not as bad!

      European men and American men are like different species. European men are way more sensible, empathetic, respectful of others, much more well groomed (most American men won’t even trim their gross armpits), well dressed, polite… and see women as human beings. While most straight American men… are the reversal image of this. Don’t worry too much, though: some third world men are as bad, when not worse than you. As a Brazilian woman, I can attest Brazilian men tend to be as bad.
      American women and European women are also like different species… but that is mostly about fashion choice, body language, etc.

      Take care.

    • Reply November 7, 2016

      Brilliant

      Genius,

      You are a Genius! Your comments matched my impression of this article e-x-a-c-t-l-y. I guess great minds do think alike!

    • Reply November 19, 2016

      Eldac

      Your name tells it all. Genius!

  • Reply September 26, 2016

    Ann

    American men are beyond clueless in the bedroom.

    • Reply October 10, 2016

      Mariana J. Pedroso

      That as well… the worst men in bed. Selfish, phallocentric, entitled. Too aggressive without asking for permission, borderlining criminal conduct. Don’t know, don’t want and simply won’t give oral sex, while basically demanding it from women – and women need it more, as most don’t orgasm with intercourse alone.

      And that is a fact, studies say most American men orgasm every single time when having sex with a woman, and 85% of them say they are satisfied with their sexual lives.
      While not even 30% of American women orgasm when having sex with a man and most describe their sexuallives as less than satisfying.

  • Reply September 29, 2016

    MarLa

    Hahaaa, I´m sorry but this article is just so wrong – like the whole lot as it comes along! European men don´t “ghost”? Who told you that fairytale?! Of course they do! And they learn about sex from porn too! I live in europe and what you write about american men – is equally true about european dudes! hardly any difference apart from maybe the dating stages which are truly blending in as the relationship develops. But let me tell you one thing, European guys are just about eager to score as americans. That´s a fact!

  • Reply September 30, 2016

    Ashley

    Thanks for this article! It’s helped me to understand why a European guy I started seeing perhaps doesn’t move as fast than other guys (American) that I have dated . Can u comment on how European guys feel about the woman making the first move? The first kiss? Let’s say after u have gone on 2-3 dates and they show interest in many ways to continuing to see you?

    • Reply October 17, 2016

      Martin

      In Europe, its really a lot about equality of the sexes, so that includes that sometimes women will make the first move, and sometimes a man. There is no “rule” that dictates who should do it. Both sexes can make the first move, and are expected to if that is what they want to do.

      Its DEFINATELY NOT a taboo to make the first move as a woman in Europe, and its not uncommon either. Especially in the Netherlands you will find that women are generally more aggressive and prone to make the first move a lot of the time, while the men can be kind of shy a lot of the times.

  • Reply October 6, 2016

    Brendan

    So, I was forwarded this some time ago. But, as an American man, I suppose I was aware that it might be a hit job.
    I think there are some relevant virtues that European men exhibit that are fairly absent in America’s more individualist culture. There are many unhealthy aspects of the particular way in which America, as a younger, more market driven , warped by puritanical notions of sexuality, country raises its men.
    However, the flipside is that the overgeneralization of ‘European men’ misses out on various dysfunctional qualities of European men by region.
    For instance, as a woman, would you want to , if it is realistic, to have all of the relevant qualities mentioned above in men, in a French man? What if this meant taking on board the widely shared cultural assumption of men that they will have several mistresses over the course of a marriage? Why isn’t this cultural value discussed?
    What about the machismo of European men? Many are entirely uncomfortable with women in non-traditional roles and are very uncomfortable, for instance, with women making as much money as them, or even have to work outside the role of mother. Are you ready to slip into the traditional expectations a European country has for women? My guess is that the more freedom and gender equality women have, the less the men behave in the romantic way you portray. Scandinavia may be a perfect example of this. And someone check back with me, are Scandinavian men romantic and great in bed? My New York women friends were contesting this.
    Or would you like the Italian family model of men living with their mothers until they are married? Sure they may perform a variety of more reassuring habits such as ‘long term’ thinking but what if that is primarily to replace you as a kitchen bound matriarch while they engage in the art of romance elsewhere once they get bored. Look at the rates of a hugely underreported phenomena of domestic violence in Italy.
    And do you think the virgin-whore complex is an American phenomena? Freud discovered it in Vienna!
    Look, there is no doubt that European men are different, and that they have older traditions of courtship which present as ‘refined’ ‘respectful’ ‘responsible’ and the like, but this appears to be close to click bait.
    Europe, in short, is large, with various gender and courtship rituals which falsify these generalizations.
    That said, I do think you are on to something with the presumed long term involvement once connection is made line. Then again, a woman from Poland was just complaining a UK man did not feel bound to be faithful as they had not had ‘the talk’ yet. So, this is really just a romantic fantasy. But I clicked and read!

    • Reply October 8, 2016

      Marilyn

      Brendan–I totally agree with everything you have said here!! This article failed to mention the other “virtues” that European men hold dear, such as the expectation of kitchen wife and mother and the assumed right of a mistress.

  • Reply October 18, 2016

    Ron Davis

    WOW ! Totally one sided here. . I’m a straight American male, rather shocked at what I just read.
    Really ? Amy C. ? An article written from New York ? And now that’s the basis for the whole country ? Wow. . .that’s just great. .good job! Keep writing, you’re really great at what you do.

  • Reply October 20, 2016

    R.

    Hm. It’s an interesting line of discussion, but I thought I’d mention perhaps a few things that I think may also be of interest.

    RoK (Return of Kings) is a pseudo-masculine site that cloaks itself in the idea of men’s rights. They often encourage men going abroad, specifically eastern countries usually, since they grade the women as more submissive. Another facet is they wrote an entire article about why India is terrible for women (ie, too conservative in how they think about sex). The article seems to oddly mirror this one, from my perspective.

    In terms of US culture with women and men, well, there is no US culture. Here’s a quick example, you can research farther if you wish. You even say yourself sex education varies by certain regions.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/11/08/which-of-the-11-american-nations-do-you-live-in/

    When I say “you” throughout this, I’m using it in the plural for whomever is reading this.

    Now- I am a guy. I’m also 18, so hesitant to call myself a man. Also hesitant to tell a woman what she has or has not seen as a rule among men. But I believe this article is watered down for easy digestion.

  • Reply October 28, 2016

    Krystoff

    It is a bit old post, but still… I am Pole living in UK for last 5 years (love it!), have friends from around the Europe, met people from around the world, You name it. When I find all europeans in general pretty the same, but with some differences between the countries.

    1. “European men aren’t just aiming to score”, obviously not all of them, but as I can tell about myself and most of the friends I know, but I see myself as “old style” gentleman. We enjoy all evening, still care what women will say (me personally). As they say, “it is more about journey than just a goal”.

    2. No we don’t “date”, in my opinion it is MEGA cheesy, We see it more like spending time, having fun together. It is because every one is looking to a person to live with for most of the life, so it need to be your best friend as well, not just weekends and evenings.

    3. It is most what I said at 2., “I like you, I want to see you, and if it’s enjoyable, let’s keep seeing each other”, in my opinion it is what You could describe our relationship. I like description of our relationship as “organic”.

    4. I believe it is because as Union of (still) 28 nations, we were raised to have some understanding for other person, no matter what sex, nationallity etc.from youngest age. I have few female friends, whom I think as males. If I have to take pants off, I will no problem and vice versa.

    5. ” European men are raised to have great manners”, yes as I said before because, I believe, we are gentlemans. We need to try more, show that we are more just a bloke for one night, “courtesy” such a nice description in one word. Yes, I have been raised with strong family and community values, but I think, from my observation, it have changed in last 10-20 years.

    6. No we don’t we get it from school, as lessons, not other way!. I got my first sexual education, when I was 11-12 and I used to live in one of the the most catholic state in Europe, Poland. At 12-14 I knew that it is better to have condom and not need it, than not have it and need it, but I laid with women for first time when I was 17!

    7. Well, it is what I prefer, but yes “this comes down to respect and manners”.

    8. I believe it is true, I don’t mind If women is “curvy”, but still it is whatever lets you (not) sleep at night. I prefer when women is casual weightlifter.

    9. Just listen to another person and don’t be too hasty.

    10. It is true, because being with women it is time consuming, like trying to surprise her etc. and sometimes expensive. There is also big chance You will make enemy with a person which You like hanging out with.

    11. Well, we play a games in bed mostly ;), but being serious I don’t really understand these “games”. We like it straight!

    It took me about an hour to read all of these “differences” and read back about every single one, but I see difference about Poland and UK. It isn’t possible to put every one in same “bag”, as I believe there are american guys, whom think same way as I do.

    P.S. Apologize for my English, as it still isn’t perfect. This post wasn’t to offend anyone.

    PZDRO,
    Hoff.

  • Reply November 19, 2016

    Eldac

    I’m laughing my ass over this post and all the offended Americans in the comments. I think it’s really well known that America has the worst women in the western world. European men usually avoid dating American women. While American men are not the best either, the women are truly the worst. Men are not as bad as are the women, with the feminist bullshit from last few years and those imaginary genders. I really feel bad for Americans, and I can completely understand why American men usually date European or Asian women.

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