06/25/2015 12:45 EDT | Updated 06/25/2016 05:59 EDT

6 Dating Tips From Around the World


After many years of working with couples whose relationships are on the rocks, I know all too well how easy it is for spouses to fall into the "roommate rut" of familiarity and predictability. Yet singles and seeking often complain of the same type of thing: routine dating habits and bland, predictable dates.

Dating behaviours and patterns are heavily influenced by the dating norms that exist within a person's geographical region. They're also influenced by cultural factors and the typical way that men and women tend to interact socially. For those reasons, it's easy to get stuck in a dating rut. It's easy to keep repeating the same dating habits that simply aren't leading you to the love of your life.

But how to break out of a dating rut? Well, one way is to take a look at the dating conventions and gender interactions that exist in other countries to see whether adding a little international flair to our domestic dating scene might help Cupid land that arrow.

Check out the following six dating tips: they're brought to you by Marina Iakovleva, creator of the Dating Beyond Borders web series that focuses on dating tips and trends from around the world:

1. Cuba: Old-school romance. Since much of the population has little or no access to social media, they utilize traditional forms of communication: that means phone calls and hand-written letters instead of "wassup" texts and Tinder pings. Yes. Do this.

2. Argentina: Seduction and spontaneity. While singles in North America tend to focus on nightclubs, bars and dating sites to meet that special someone, Argentinians see opportunity everywhere: bus stops, markets, you name it. A man who is interested in a woman won't play it cool: he'll immediately go in for the seduction and ask her on a date. No mixed messages there.

3. The United Kingdom: Banter. While the North American dating scene is often weighed down by political correctness, the Brits are often more comfortable making fun of each other (and themselves) and talking openly about political issues. Sometimes it's refreshing to tell it like it is. The Brits are also masters at verbal banter.

4. Spain: Being present. Spaniards take a longer time to enjoy the finer things in life: food, wine, the company of friends. This ability to "stop and smell the roses" translates to their personal life. Unlike the hustle and bustle of the North American dating scene, Spaniards take the time to make eye contact (which you can't do if you're always staring at your smartphone!) and simply enjoy being together.

5. France: The art of conversation. From politics to life questions, the French are genuinely curious about life and the person next to them. They have mastered the lost art of compelling, intelligent and informed conversation, which is integral to the art of seduction itself.

6. Italy: Masculinity and femininity. Okay, I have to admit that this is my favourite. I've always been a viva la difference kind of person, so I'm going to finish with this point. Italian men don't try to project the "alpha male" persona: rather, they manage to embody masculinity through their body language, charm and inherent love of all women. Similarly to men, Italian women don't typically dress like streetwalkers or scream like a banshee outside a club at 2 a.m.: there is a sense of integrity, class and feminine mystique that is seen less and less in the North American dating scene. The traditional roles of the man as the pursuer may be seen as old-fashioned by many, especially in light of some forms of feminism; however, the preservation of these traditional roles has kept the romance alive. It is common to see a man run -- actually run -- to help a woman with her bags, and to see that woman respond with a warm smile and a genuine thank you.

Of course, these are idealized traits -- there is good and bad in every country and dating scene. That being said, if you're disillusioned with North American dating norms, perhaps it's time for a little culture shock.

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