Expat starts support and advice group for women dating in a foreign country

by Ray Clancy on June 9, 2014

Moving abroad to live and work usually means getting used to a new culture, which can take time and a lot of patience.

But dating is one aspect of settling in that is often overlooked, and one where etiquette can be completely different.

france eiffel tower

The group aims to give women practical advice about dating as an expat

In France there is now a new group for expat women, called Dating Without Games, who have become disillusioned by the dating culture in Paris.

According to founder Johanna Steinhaus, originally from the United States, dating customs in the modern world can be overwhelming, full of rules such as the length of a first phone call to who makes the first move, and in France it is no different.

She has set up a website where women can find practical advice and attend a monthly meet up to share experiences and put the fun back into dating.

She has found that when it comes to meeting someone, too many women are happy to meet and chat with people on the internet, but seldom take it further because most men fail to measure up to an impossible checklist, and in a foreign country language can also be an initial barrier.

There is also the problem associated with living in a new country and not knowing a lot of people, especially outside of the workplace. In big cities like Paris, meeting new people can be even more problematic.

Steinhaus explained that when she moved to Paris almost six years ago to work as an English teaching assistant, she didn’t know anyone and had a limited knowledge of the language. But she soon found ways of meeting people.

On one occasion, she was asked out by a ticket collector on a train, after pretending she couldn’t speak any French at all in order to avoid a fine for an unstamped ticket.

When French people and expats start dating, she said, the cultural differences can be exciting and help to fuel a relationship. Initially, the accents, cultural differences, quirks, and differing habits can fuel a relationship.

While in the beginning, the mystery and exoticism can be intoxicating and fun, as time goes on, those same quirks and differences can become tiresome, and both sides can begin to lose interest. Steinhaus hopes to help reduce this by giving expat women a forum through which to connect.


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