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8 Surprising Differences Between Dating in France and America

French romance may be different than how you imagined.

By Cheyenne Lentz 

Dating as a French person can be pretty different than in America.

If you’ve ever fantasized of being in a French romance, it may be different than how you imagined. In terms of the progressive dating culture that exists today in the United States, dating in France is very much a traditional experience.

“The French remain eternally classic and old-fashioned in their manners like their dating norms,’ relationship expert Margaux Chetrit told INSIDER.

To get a better grasp of the culture, we’ve compiled a list of the major differences between French and American dating.

The French don’t call it dating

They don’t really have a word for it.

Strangely enough, they actually don’t even have a word for “date” in France. The closest equivalent for going on a date would be a “rendez-vous galant,” translating to “appointment,” according to Jennifer Seiter, a relationship therapist. But most French men would consider that term to be too old fashioned, Seiter added.

The French would prefer to say something like “I’m seeing someone,” said Fiurenzu SANNA, marketing and public relations specialist.

They typically go on group dates

It’s not going to be one-on-one at first.

In French “dating,” it is not atypical to be asked out in group settings versus a one-on-one get together, stated on Expatica.

It’s a much more laid-back experience, different from American dating. For instance, the French commonly go to dinner parties with single friends and couples simply to enjoy each other’s company, according to Expatica.

In meeting someone of interest in a group, you may then be asked to go to another group hangout or for an afternoon walk together, according to Complete France.

In France, they never just ask strangers out

It’s not done.

Though not uncommon to be asked out by your waiter or your barista in the States, in France you would never ask someone out who you’ve known only for a few minutes, according to Seiter.

The French will only ask you out after they have gotten to know you very well, Seiter added.

Men and women in France tend to stick to gender norms more closely

You won’t really see a woman ask a man out.

When you start to go out with someone in France, men and women act according to their traditional gender roles in courting and during the relationship much more so than Americans, Chetrit told INSIDER.

“Men are active and aggressive while women are passive players. French men are expected to pursue vigorously while the women are expected to act coy and blush at flirtation,” Chetrit said.

In the U.S., she added, Americans determine their relationship style not by their gender, but by their unique personalities. Women, for example, can be the initiator and pursue the man.

They don’t have the relationship talk

It just kind of happens.

Although most Americans dread the “Where are we?” conversation when trying to determine if their current partner is just a casual dater or boyfriend material, you can rest assured that you are likely in a relationship if you’ve kissed, according to Stylecaster. That’s right, the first kiss seals the deal.

This intimacy that is established is a common basis for a relationship amongst the French, according to Chetrit.

Americans tend to base relationships off of a range of things such as friendship, attraction, etc., Chetrit added, versus solely intimacy.

They likely will say ‘I love you’ early on

It happens quickly.

The reason being that the French have the same phrase for “I like you” and “I love you,” which is “je t’aime.” There isn’t much of a difference between the two sentences in French so it’s not a big deal to say “I love you” after a couple of weeks. It merely translates to “I like you a lot, baby,” according to The Local.

The French are more serious in their relationships

They are in it to win it.

The mentality in France, Seiter, is that if you are in fact seeing someone, then you should be able to see yourself marrying them.

“When I introduced my ex-boyfriend to my grandfather who is from France he asked him, ‘You want to marry her?’ And my ex, an American, looked at him like he was confused. My grandfather said, ‘Why you go out then if you are not getting married?” Seiter said. 

The French are all for PDA

It’s not seen as taboo.

Of course, it all depends on the couple, according to Jeannie Assimos, Chief of Advice at eHarmony, but Americans tend to believe there’s a time and a place for PDA.

“It’s common to see couples showing light affection, from holding hands in the park to a quick smooch in a bar. However, aggressive and over-the-top PDA is generally frowned upon by outsiders,’ Assimos told INSIDER.

Quite oppositely, the French are all for PDA. They have no problem with making out just about anywhere, according to Stylecaster. Afterall, where do you think ‘French kissing’ got started?

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Originally published at www.businessinsider.com

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