Given the size of Europe and the many different countries that exist within its borders, the dating customs from country to country vary. While in some countries the typical American idea of dating, whereby two people exclusively see each other and others know about it, does exist, it is not prevalent in all societies. A look at the top five most notable European countries shows the variance in culture.
French Dating Culture
According to "France Today," French singles primarily spend time in groups as friends. It's customary in France for people to get to know each other slowly and allow romance to develop over time. It is frequently said that people somehow just end up together. Relationships, romantic or otherwise, are not labeled or defined as stringently as in American dating culture. In fact, it is considered proper not to tell anyone, even your parents and closest friends, whom you are dating or interested in. Frenchmen actively pursue women and women don't display interest, not even eye contact, unless interested.
German Dating Culture
Dating in Germany is still more traditional than in the United States. A man is always expected to ask a woman for a date, never the reverse. The man pays for the date and if the girl is still living with her parents, the man brings flowers to her mother. German women do flirt and leave hints to their men of interest.
Many short-term relationships occur in the twenty-something years of Germans, instead of long-term American-type relationships with one person. Germans marry at an older age than do most Americans and German men tend to take younger wives. But young German men do tend to date older women to gain valuable experience.
British Dating Culture
Most like American dating culture in its approach, the British dating culture has become a system of strictly evaluating person against person to find the best match for personal preferences before committing to an exclusive relationship. Speed dating and Internet dating are both acceptable and practiced in Britain. Men ask women out and vice versa. When in a relationship, Brits are generally less physically affectionate than their American counterparts. British social customs veer away from physical touch.
Spanish Dating Culture
Commitment is key in Spain and is based on long-standing relationship and intrinsic value more so than most other European cultures. Frequently, a Spaniard will marry a childhood friend or high-school sweetheart. Spaniards are frequently characterized as the most passionate and verbal of the European dating cultures. Constant communication and interaction are part of the dating process and fighting is not shied away from. Men are courteous and chivalrous to women they are genuinely interested in but can be flirty to the point of annoyance to women they do not know but find attractive. Both men and women ask each other out and splitting the cost of the date is becoming customary.
Italian Dating Culture
Italians have a reputation of being great lovers and great dressers. The ideal of passion and romance so frequently portrayed as inherent to all Italians is not the guiding force for dating and mating in Italy. Women dress well to catch a financially stable mate and men dress to impress to prove to women they can provide. Generally Italian men have an ongoing relationship with a woman they plan to marry and provide for while they have adventures in dating before actually tying the knot. Italian women may also engage in flippant relationships and affairs with men that are attractive and exciting, but not able to provide.
- kissing couple image by Mat Hayward from Fotolia.com