Family and dating

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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.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.In Germany and Switzerland, however, punctuality is highly valued so if one of you rolls up late, your date will be off to a bad start.

So what you say may be taken at face value – and you shouldn't always take to heart what's said to you. In the UK, drinking a vast amount of alcohol can be central in beginning a sexual relationship with someone.In Germany, couples don't start with formal dating either and it's only after a series of informal meetings – walks, dinner, cinema, theatre – that they might start being seen as a ‘couple'.It's also common for couples to keep the fact that they're an item to themselves.The dating game can be hard enough in your home country, and even trickier if you're navigating an international dating scene without knowing how the game is played.Here's a guide to take you through your first Euro date.

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