Family and dating

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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