Proper dating etiquette

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In Europe, getting to know someone romantically is fairly laid back.

People don't tend to go on ‘dates' with complete strangers but instead often get to know someone who's already in their circle or the friend of a friend, and then it ‘just happens' and they decide to go out together alone. There aren't too many rigid rules, either: "In the Netherlands there are no set rules – you might do all or nothing on the first or tenth date," and, "the timescale between the first date and having sex in France could be anything from 20 years to 20 seconds," said European expats.

In most European countries, rather than going on specific ‘dates' as you might in the US, getting to know someone romantically is far more casual: "Walks in the afternoon/evening which may be followed by an informal drink at a café or a bite to eat at lunchtime", or "meeting up in a group with friends" is not uncommon, says some European expats.

In the Netherlands you might take a walk or go on a bike ride.

If a woman shows too much interest too soon, she may scare a man away.

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More often, the clue that a relationship is getting serious is if you're invited back home to meet the parents.But the rule almost everywhere else in Europe is: don't.In most countries, the man may offer to pay the bill but he wouldn't automatically be offended if the woman suggested splitting the bill, or paying for the drinks or some other aspect of the ‘date', such as cinema or theatre tickets.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.

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