Dating and marriage customs in switzerland

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If you're interested in someone, maintain eye contact – if you aren't, don't.If you say ‘no' to an invitation, he may well think you're playing hard to get and will probably persist.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.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 places like the Netherlands and Germany, people can be very direct in the way they speak (rather than being over polite and saying things ‘to be nice' that they don't mean to avoid hurting someone's feelings – as is often the way in the UK).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.

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Of course, every relationship is different and how yours develops will depend on who you both are and the chemistry between you.

If you like each other, you'll probably find a way to make it work, regardless of any cultural variations.

But knowing some of the cultural differences – who makes the first move, kissing on a first date, how soon to call after a date – may help you avoid awkward situations, or at least stop you from getting hurt or hurting someone else unintentionally.

In France, Germany and Belgium, it's common for the man to ask a woman out, but in Switzerland, the men can be a little reserved so women might want to give them a nudge.

For French men, it's all about the chase, and playing ‘hard to get' is part of the game.

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