Dating in the USA

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Updated 2023-10-04 07:23

Dating anywhere in the world can be nerve-wracking, but dating in a foreign country can be especially intimidating. You may be worried about the right things to say, how to behave, where to meet people, who should pay, and other etiquette issues. Fortunately, the dating culture in the US is rather open and flexible. Moreover, due to the country's multicultural nature, you are sure to meet many like-minded individuals, no matter how far from home you may be.

The dating culture in the USA

The dating culture in the US does differ based on which part of the country you find yourself in and which communities you are part of. Generally, American dating culture is best described as casual and relaxed – however, some states and cities can be more conservative.

Many people in the US meet in bars, clubs, and via dating apps. The intent of these meetings is not necessarily serious relationships; they can be just for a hookup, casual dating, or friendship, with the potential to blossom into something more. People will use their dating profiles on apps to describe what they are looking for, i.e., whether they are after something NSA (no strings attached) or are seeking a more long-term partner.

Relationships are quite flexible in the US and come in many different arrangements. Marriage is quite often not the goal of dating, and moving in together without assuming that marriage is to follow is also quite common. It's normal to live with a partner for several years, break up, and do it again with someone else.  In the early stages of dating, going on dates with different people is considered acceptable until you communicate with your potential partner and define your relationship as exclusive. There are also people in the USA who consider themselves “open” or “polyamorous” (this is much more common in some cities and communities than others), and they will date multiple people at the same time.

Dating in the US is rarely guided by traditional norms. It is usual for women to ask out men, and restaurant bills and other expenses are often split.

Parents tend not to be involved in their children's relationships (which may be common in other cultures). Single people in the United States also tend to feel less pressure from their relatives and society about settling down and having a family, although if you are from a religious background in the US, there may still be pressure to date within this community.

Where to meet people in the USA

As we've mentioned above, it's very common for people in the US to meet in bars, clubs, and online. Naturally, you can also meet new people through friends, hobbies, similar interests, events, and more. Workplace romance is also quite common, but you do need to be careful and make sure that you are not breaking any company policies. Some companies may have strict workplace romance regulations in place: you may need to notify Human Resources of your relationship, transfer to another branch, or coworker dating may not be allowed at all.

Dating apps are a very common way of getting to know people. Tinder is the number one dating app in the United States, followed by Bumble. Other popular options are Match., Eharmony, OkCupid, PlentyofFish, Hinge, and Grindr.

Looking over some stats from 2020 might give you an idea of how Americans are meeting each other: 39% of polled couples said they met online, 27% met at a bar or restaurant, 20% met through mutual friends, 11% met at work, 9% met through school or college and only 7% got introduced through family members.

LGBTQ dating in the USA

The LGBTQ dating scene varies depending on where you are in the US. Big cities like San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles will have options for meeting prospective dates in person: gay bars and clubs, Pride events, and more. Smaller towns, on the other hand, may not offer the same variety. With that, a recent study has shown that, regardless of location, online dating is the most popular way for queer couples to get together. The most popular dating apps geared towards the LGBTQ community are Grindr, Hornet, Jack'd, HER, and Scissr, although using regular apps is very common and just specifying your preferences in your settings or bio.

Good to know:

Make sure to stay safe when dating online. Do not give away too much personal information at once; meet in public places, video chat, or call your date before the first meeting and let others know where you are going and with whom.

Wherever you settle in the US and whatever outlook on dating you may have, remember that feeling shy and insecure is normal - especially in a new setting. You don't have to rush into the dating scene or do things that make you uncomfortable. Take things at your own pace, make new friends, and explore your new environment.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.