Sigh. The French Dating Scene.
Or lack thereof.
I’ve been talking a lot about this topic with a few of my French friends lately and I’ve realised that this is probably a bigger reason for why I am still single.
Disclaimer: Of course each person and relationship is different so this may not apply to everybody. I’m discussing what I’ve experienced, observed and discussed with french friends and other Europeans.
So what is the “French dating scene”? Well it is DEFINITELY different from the ‘North American/Caribbean’ model that I’m accustomed to.
In fact, I would say that most French people don’t really “date”. They kind of just get together in a relationship and then figure it out.
Ok so let me qualify what I mean by “dating”. When I say ‘date/dating’ I mean the courting period; the “get to know each other” phase; the “who/what are my options?” segment.
Yea, they don’t really do this at all. Also you can’t date more than one person at a time. Like there is no option, no way, no how you can do this. If the other person finds out (even if it’s a few days after you first met that person) consider yourself dumped.
What generally happens is they meet a guy/girl (usually at a party); verify mutual attraction; and 1-2 weeks later they’re in a relationship.
Strange, I knooooooww.
Yea, I was like wtf? Three weeks and I’m somebody’s girlfriend? No thank you.
Actually, the guy may think you’re not interested if you don’t want to be his gf after 3 solid weeks of love, affection and attention.
Hahaha silly me to want to “take it slow” and “get to know” the guy before I make him my boyfriend. The French generally do this the other way around…they get in the relationship in order to get to know each other. They find it weird that we “North Americans” expect to know anything meaningful during our so called “dating.”
BUT the french don’t usually ask the kind of questions we do. They don’t play the game of 20 Questions (and sometimes 120 Questions). They don’t ask (or wanna know), in the first 3 months for example, what the other person’s ambitions are; where they see themselves in 2yrs; how many kids they want; if they plan on getting married; their dreams and aspirations; blah blah blah.
The French focus mainly on the good feelings; the fact that they’re having fun, etc.
So in all fairness, they are right. You won’t learn anything meaningful IF you do it the “french way.” But if you go about it “ninja detective style” then yes, you can learn a buttload of stuff about your “potential bf/gf”.
Different strokes for different folks!
Even worse, if I emphasize the “virginal christian” values of the Jamaican/US dating system then I’m surely doomed. I tried to explain that it’s not weird at all to court someone for 1-3 months without sex (example: the 90 Day Rule). I was greeted with bulging eyes. This is next to impossible in France.
Remember I said “they verify mutual attraction”? Weeelll how do you think they “verify” this? *wink wink*
Like they just can’t fathom the concept of maintaining intimacy and attraction without sex. And also how to avoid sex for such a long period when you are attracted to each other? Personally, 1 month is doable (2 is pushing it), after that I become a starved crazed animal (don’t judge me!). <— This is STILL too long for the French. They are all for instant gratification and they wanna make sure all the mechanics are fully functioning and up to scratch 😉
There is also a trend that I’ve noticed in France that I may NEVER get accustomed to:
Kissing random folks you’ve just met in a club.
Yea, no. Just ewww.
This is apparently the easiest, fastest and popular way to get a boyfriend :S
Can You Imagine the Catastrophic Misunderstandings I’ve Experienced?
- There was this one guy I dumped in a blink of an eye because he called me his girlfriend after like 3.5weeks 😮 I ran like the wind!
- Another guy dumped me because he thought I wasn’t interested because I wouldn’t respond to his texts immediately and because I was not interested in seeing him every single day of the week, the first week we started going out. (I’ve decided to explain that I’m slightly claustrophobic/agoraphobic; maybe that would help…???)
- Speaking of which, the French, from my experience (and observation) are waaaayyy more attached than I can handle. I remember I had a bit of a challenge explaining to one of my exes that I needed some “me time” and that I was gonna just stay home to “do nothing” that night. Or the fact that I dont think he should come with me on every outing. (Hmmmm, maybe he was just jealous/insecure and this had nothing to do with French dating.)
- Although it seems to me that once a french person gets a bf/gf they kinda just disappear and spend all of their time with said person. Not that anything is wrong with that…it’s just not for me (not yet anyways).
In retrospect, I may have been quite distant and cold from a French point of view. Not ‘may have’ lol, I was. This was confirmed by an ex. But now that we’re good friends, he’s admitted that I’m not cold at all but that I just have different ways of dating and he didn’t understand it at the time. Oh well.
Honestly, this whole dating scene has been kinda stressful – for both parties, I’m sure. BUT that’s a part of the package when you decide to move abroad. Sometimes the new culture gels really well with your own. Other times? Not so much.
I’m still learning and exploring and laughing at the complete mess I’ve made of my lovelife. My french friends laugh all the time…I was REALLY clueless when I first arrived. Now I get it a bit more and I am able to say which things I will not budge on (ie. kissing random males) and those I can adjust.
It’s a learning curve 🙂