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Learn how to navigate the world of dating in the UK with our guide to understanding British men and women and the local dating culture. Believe it or not, not all British people are tea-chugging football fans with bad teeth. Understanding these traits and the mindset of British men and women is key to successfully navigating the local dating pool as an expat. It will also help you avoid any misunderstandings further down the line if you enter a relationship. After all, what is commonly seen as polite or romantic in your home country might have the opposite effect in your new homeland.
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Generally speaking, British people have a laid-back approach when it comes to dating. Unlike in some European countries, dates in the UK often center around drinking and heading to the local bar or pub. This is particularly true in the initial stages of getting to know someone. Although attitudes towards dating are somewhat relaxed in the UK, the idea of finding a partner, buying a home in the UK , and having children in the UK is a traditional process that many young people still aspire to.
However, nowadays, getting married is not necessarily seen as a necessary part of life that it once was. In fact, figures from the Office for National Statistics ONS show that the marriage rate in the UK is declining and those that do are increasingly likely to divorce. There were 21, fewer marriages in than there were in At the same time, there has been an increase in the age at which people marry. In , for example, the average age at marriage for men was By , however, the average age was Other than changing attitudes towards marriage, one reason for people marrying later in life is down to limited finances.
In fact, statistics show that the of first-time buyers is on the rise. Indeed, there were , first-time buyers in , a total of , more than in This suggests that many couples in the UK consider getting on the property ladder to be a bigger priority than tying the knot. The millennial generation is another factor that is contributing to these shifting attitudes towards marriage. They are less rooted in traditions, which is partly due to the financial strictures placed on them by the UK economy. In fact, there were 7, marriages between them in ; an increase of 8.
This is likely due to the fact that same-sex marriage was legalized in the UK in March Like in many other European countries, there are various traditional ways to meet people in the UK. This might be through friends or work colleagues, in bars or clubs, or via online dating platforms.
Despite the big nightlife culture in the UK and the growing popularity of online dating platforms, many people meet their partners through their circles of friends and social gatherings. In fact, a survey of 2, adults, which featured in The Independent , found that one in four married couples met on a night or day out with friends. Online dating is very popular in the UK, especially in larger cities. Location-based dating apps such as Tinder, Happn, and Bumble are among the most popular ones. However, when SurveyMonkey polled 4, people, they found that more than half of 18 to year-olds view apps like Tinder and Bumble as platforms for casual hookups.
Older adults 25 to 34 years old , meanwhile, see profile-based dating websites such as Match. This is because they provide a greater opportunity to get to know other users in more detail. Another popular way to meet people is by ing local Meetup groups and attending events. There are numerous groups throughout the UK that cater to those interested in dating and relationships. This is a fun and safe way to meet new friends and potential partners. Groups usually specify the age range and sexual preference of members too; therefore, you are likely to meet like-minded individuals.
While the dating etiquette in the UK is arguably more relaxed than in other countries, there are still some traditions that are useful to know. Being quite a traditional country, the burden of asking someone on a date in the UK usually falls to the man. And if the man has initiated the date, he will usually suggest a place to go too. Generally speaking, a couple is likely to go for a drink or two on a first date.
However, in larger cities such as London and Manchester, there is also a growing trend towards going on quirky dates at unusual places ; This might mean hitting a mini-golf course, heading to a silent disco at the Natural History Museum , or having drinks at a themed cocktail bar. After all, the British are a varied bunch and are just as likely to enjoy dancing and drinking at a nightclub than staying at home and binge-watching Netflix.
One important thing to be aware of, however, is the concept of exclusivity in dating. Generally speaking, people prefer to have the undivided attention of their potential partners. In this sense, you might say that dating in the UK is perhaps more meaningful than in some other countries. While it might be unfair to stereotype a whole nation, there are certain behavioral traits that you are likely to come across when dating in the UK. British people are widely renowned for being unfailingly polite. Indeed, if two people bump into each other in the street, you can expect them both to quickly apologize; and in some cases, apologize several times.
More often than not, this politeness translates to dating. Initially, when going on a date, people greet with a handshake. However, once you know someone, this could extend to a kiss on the cheek. Chivalry is certainly not dead in the UK. On the contrary, it is quite common for men to act like gentlemen on dates. This might mean holding the door open for his date, lending her his jacket when she gets cold, or insisting on paying the bill. That said, gender equality is fairly strong in the UK and many couples like to split the bill after the first few dates.
When dining out, however, sharing meals is generally less of a cultural trait than in other countries. When it comes to conversation, you can expect your partner to want to learn about your life. They will take a genuine interest in your goals and dreams. This is because British people tend to be quite ambitious in terms of their careers.
The UK has a wide range of regional accents and dialects, so this can be difficult to understand at first. British people usually choose smart-casual clothing and in some cases go on a date straight from work. It is worth noting that British people are generally more reserved than some other Western cultures.
How a relationship might typically progress in the UK is really down to the individuals involved. There is no rule book with regard to when to get intimate, meet the family, and so on. That said, attitudes towards sex are fairly liberal in the UK. For instance, if the first date goes well, some people have no qualms about sleeping together. In relationships, you might find that British people are in less of a rush for you to meet their friends and family.
It is likely just due to the fact that parental approval is less important in the UK than in some other countries; therefore, meeting the parents early on in a relationship is not considered a priority. It is also quite common for individuals to maintain their own friendship groups separately from their romantic relationships.
This might actually be a good thing if you value your independence. Couples in the UK might date for months or even years before they decide to move in together. Given that rents in large cities can be substantial, living together is a cost-effective solution for many people. Furthermore, couples looking to buy a property in the UK may need to rent for a longer period of time before they have enough money for a deposit on a house. This is reflected in statistics that show that the average age of a first-time buyer in the UK in was 32 years old; two years older than in The family remains a key part of life for many adults in the UK.
Most British people are very proud of their heritage and relatives are a fundamental part of this. Therefore, as the partner of a British man or woman, you can expect to spend a fair amount of time with your in-laws. In this respect, the UK remains fairly traditional when it comes to attitudes towards marriage. This transcends to parenting too. Although both men and women in British families now tend to work albeit often part-time for new mothers women generally spend more time on family duties.
In fact, NatCen Social Research suggests that women spend an average of 13 hours on housework and 23 hours on caring for family members each week; whereas the equivalent figures for men are 8 hours and 10 hours. So, while the UK is fairly progressive in terms of attitudes towards dating, sex, and marriage, there is still some way to go before it reaches a level of gender equality in the family home that is seen in neighboring countries.
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In the UK Today, Men Who Marry Are Deciders, Not Sliders