This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please read my disclosure for more details(Last Updated On: June 4, 2018)
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to date a French man?
Almost immediately after moving abroad, I started dating a French man. Getting used to a new culture was already a struggle, and getting used to a new dating culture was even more foreign to me. There are many dating customs that exist in France/Switzerland that basically contradict everything we have ever learned about dating in America.
Here are the top differences I noticed about dating French guys as compared to dating North American ones. Of course, these are based on my own personal experiences and is not true for 100% of French men!
1. French men don’t date
In general, “dating” does not really exist in France. In America, I am used to setting up formal dates and getting all dolled up to dine at a fancy restaurant. This does not really happen in France.
“Dating” in France is much less formal. It’s more like going out with a friend in a casual setting. And a lot of times, he will just message you an hour before and ask if you want to meet.
Also, in France, men and women can go on dinner dates together just as friends. It does not imply that they are romantically interested in each other.
2. There is no waiting game
We all know that we shouldn’t call someone until 3 days after the first date and that we should wait until after the 3rd date to kiss.
In France, if a man is romantically interested in a woman, he will let her know right away. He does not wait to call her or to see her again.
For me, this made me really uncomfortable at first. I wasn’t so used to men being so direct.
When we first started dating, my boyfriend used to call me and ask to see me all the time. I had no idea what this meant. I seriously thought he wanted to marry me or something. But, as it turned out, it is pretty normal for French guys to act this way early on in the relationship.
3. “The talk” does not exist
There is no such thing as “the talk” in France. Don’t even bother inquiring about your relationship status.
I made the mistake of asking my current boyfriend “What are we?” Every time I do it, the conversation does not end well. I’ve learned to not talk about relationship status any more.
As a general rule of thumb, once you kiss, you are considered to be in an exclusive relationship.
4. Meeting family and friends happens fast and is very informal
I met my boyfriend’s family after only 2 weeks, and his friends shortly thereafter. I was kind of freaking out when this all happened so fast but it’s pretty normal to meet a French man’s friends and family early on.
He wants to show you off to his friends and family. If you do not win their approval, it’s pretty much a deal breaker.
Also, keep in mind that you will never get advanced warning when meeting friends and family. Every time I met someone new, it usually went something like this: “My dad is coming by in an hour. Get dressed.”
5. Expect to go on a lot of group dates
My boyfriend and I barely go on “dates.” When we go out to eat, it’s often with a group of friends.
6. It’s normal to stay friends with your ex
In America, once you break up, you’re never allowed to talk to your ex again. In France, a lot of couples break up and stay really good friends.
My boyfriend has dated some girls in his circle of friends who are now dating his other friends. To me, this felt almost incestuous, but apparently, it’s quite normal in France.
7. PDA is perfectly acceptable anywhere
French men are pretty comfortable with hugging and kissing in public. They are proud of their relationship and want to show the world that they are happy.
What I found strange is that my boyfriend is pretty public with his displays of affection even in front of his family. He will hug and kiss me even in front of his grandmother at her nursing home! This would never happen in North America!
8. I love you can carry many different meanings
This was truly confusing for me for a while. In French, you can say “je t’aime” to mean “I love you” and “je suis amoureux de toi” to mean “I am in love with you.” And to a French man, the difference is huge. I have to admit, I still don’t quite understand the subtlety behind the two phrases.
In general, if he loves you but is not in love with you, then he doesn’t want to get married or have kids with you. A real mind bender, isn’t it?
9. Don’t expect to get married any time soon
In France, marriage is not a prerequisite to living together or starting a family. Many couples live together for decades without any intention of getting married. My boyfriend’s mom, for example, has lived with the same man for 15 years.
In France, you can also have a baby with someone without getting married and it’s perfectly acceptable. There is no negative connotation associated with having a baby before marriage.
Another thing I have noticed is that fewer and fewer French couples are getting married these days. I’d say that this is part of the French culture. French parents do not put pressure on their kids to get married and there are no real advantages to getting married (as opposed to having a common law relationship).
Dating in France is very different from dating in America. If you are dating someone from abroad, I would highly recommend that you try to understand what the social norms are in their culture to avoid misunderstandings. Don’t overanalyze or worry too much about the little things and just have fun!
Recommendations for you
- Free Guide to Starting Your Own Blog! - This is a free guide I wrote to help you start your own blog!
- Free Resource Library! - I started this library for subscribers and I will be adding more to it every month. Free downloads for blogging, budgeting, moving abroad, etc.!
- Ebates - Get cash back for shopping online! Get $10 back when you spend your first $25!
- Airbnb - I love Airbnb and it's how I afford to travel so much without breaking the bank! Sign up for $40 off your first trip!