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How dating differs from one country to another

It is often said that one has to kiss a few frogs before one finds their prince or princess. Consequently, if you are searching for a partner, you may have to go on a few dates before. But how does the dating experience differ from a country to another ?

When we explore different countries, we discover that the concept of "dating" is approached differently around the world. These variations are often influenced by cultural differences. For instance, some countries prioritize having a good time and enjoying oneself during dates, while others emphasize practical considerations. Understanding these differences can be beneficial, especially when traveling internationally and seeking to make romantic connections. It helps avoid unintentionally saying or doing something inappropriate.

Dating customs vary across different countries, and here are some examples:

In the USA, initial meetings tend to be casual and informal. As the relationship progresses, dates become more formal. Americans can be more conservative compared to, for example, Germany. In the US, it's customary for men to pay for the dates, and engaging in sexual activity under the influence of alcohol on a first date could have legal consequences.

In the UK, dating is similar to the US, but alcohol plays a more significant role. Drinking helps people loosen up, and it's more common for sexual contact to occur on a first date.

China faces challenges due to a significant gender imbalance, making it difficult for men to find dates. Consequently, the number of dating schools has been increasing, teaching men essential skills for finding a partner. Speed dating events are also growing in popularity.

In Japan, group meetings called "goukon" are more prevalent for dating rather than one-on-one dates. Public displays of physical affection are generally more restrained.

In France, there isn't a specific word for "date," and love is often seen as a game rather than something serious. Anything from friendship to physical contact is possible during a date.

In Spain, there isn't a specific term for "dating" either, but people put more effort into going out with someone. Be prepared though, as most Spaniards live with their parents until they get married, so meeting the whole family after a serious date is not uncommon.

In Sweden, being single is respected, so there's no rush. People often prefer going out for a coffee in the afternoon, and it's not unusual for friends to accompany each other on first dates.

In Brazil, it's possible to meet someone's family right after the first date because family is highly important. Women in Brazil receive many compliments, and public displays of affection are common. However, non-Brazilians should be cautious about using flattering words to impress women, as it can be easily misunderstood.

In India, the dating scene can be more conservative, particularly since arranged marriages are still prevalent in many parts of the country. However, attitudes towards partnerships are becoming more liberal in major cities, and dating platforms are gaining popularity.

Besides traditional dating methods, such as meeting in person or talking on the phone, online dating has become increasingly significant. Online dating refers to services available on the internet that help individuals find a partner. These services include dating platforms and matchmaking services that connect people based on shared interests.

According to the Statista Global Consumer Survey 2021, online dating is particularly popular in India and Nigeria. The survey reveals that one in every five individuals between the ages of 18 and 64 in both countries use online dating or matchmaking services. South Africa, Turkey, Argentina, and Brazil also have a significant number of people in this age group utilizing dating platforms to find partners.

In Germany, however, only one in ten people use online dating services, which is higher than countries like France, Austria, and Italy where the usage is around 8-9 percent.

Dating apps are also gaining popularity, alongside traditional matchmaking portals. There is a wide variety of dating apps available, and it is advisable to use well-established international apps that have a large user base.

The most well-known dating app worldwide is Tinder, which boasts over 30 million users across more than 190 countries. However, it primarily targets a younger demographic.

The popularity of dating apps is no longer a secret, as more and more people are turning to online platforms to find their partners. According to Statista's analysis, it is projected that by the end of 2022, dating apps and services will have approximately 413 million active users worldwide. The estimated revenue generated by these services is expected to be nearly three billion euros.

In the United States, online dating is widely embraced, with almost 16 percent of the total population using dating apps and online services to find their life partners. According to the Statista Digital Market Outlook, online dating was predicted to generate around 671 million euros in revenue in 2022. This positions the USA as the global leader in the online dating market.

The concept of virtual partner search is also thriving in the European market. For instance, in France, the penetration rate, which indicates the proportion of the population using these services, is 10.9 percent, while in Germany, it is 9.2 percent.

Although the percentage of dating app and website users is comparatively lower in India (3.4 percent) and China (6.2 percent), the sheer size of their populations results in revenues exceeding 400 million euros, surpassing the European market by a significant margin.

With numerous companies offering dating apps, it can be challenging to determine the most suitable platform. However, there are globally recognized dating apps that have emerged as the most popular in various countries based on surveys. For example, according to a 2022 Statista study, Tinder is the most popular online dating app in countries like India, Canada, Spain, France, the US, and the UK.

In Germany, Italy, and Switzerland, Badoo takes the lead, while Lovoo is widely used in Austria. In China, the situation is quite different due to many common websites and platforms being blocked. Consequently, they have their own popular dating app called Momo.

This article is from the 2/2023 issue of the magazine "Life Abroad".

The magazine is published four times a year free of charge with many informative articles on foreign topics.

It is published by the BDAE, the expert for protection abroad.