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To gather real accounts of the European dating scene, last year we asked around 500 (mostly, but not exclusively, heterosexual) expats living in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, and Switzerland a series of up-close and personal questions about themselves, their relationships and their sex lives.Of course, every relationship is different and how yours develops will depend on who you both are and the chemistry between you.When you're going out with someone, don't rush to formalise it with the ‘where are we going with this relationship? Just go with the flow and enjoy what's going on between you.More often, the clue that a relationship is getting serious is if you're invited back home to meet the parents.If a man keeps calling you, don't start thinking he's a bit of a stalker.In France and Spain it's not unusual for a man to call/text/email a lot – it just means he's interested.If you're interested in someone, maintain eye contact – if you aren't, don't.If you say ‘no' to an invitation, he may well think you're playing hard to get and will probably persist.
For French men, it's all about the chase, and playing ‘hard to get' is part of the game.
If you like each other, you'll probably find a way to make it work, regardless of any cultural variations.
But knowing some of the cultural differences – who makes the first move, kissing on a first date, how soon to call after a date – may help you avoid awkward situations, or at least stop you from getting hurt or hurting someone else unintentionally.
In Germany, couples don't start with formal dating either and it's only after a series of informal meetings – walks, dinner, cinema, theatre – that they might start being seen as a ‘couple'.
It's also common for couples to keep the fact that they're an item to themselves.