Dating Greek Men – Written by a Female Expat in Greece

Dating Greek men is certainly an appealing concept. Mediterranean guys are known for their olive skin, seductive accents, and laidback lifestyle.

Not to mention, Greek men have gained themselves something of a reputation for being among the best lovers in the world. All things considered, it makes sense that you would consider finding yourself a Greek God.

I have been living in Greece for almost four years now. One of the main things that women want to ask me is “what is it like dating Greek men?”.

This guide will discuss the Greek dating scene and possible cultural considerations to keep in mind when dating Greek men. You can use the Table of Contents to navigate to various sections as you need.

Dating Greek Men

You need to be careful when stereotyping a group of people collectively. The same applies to talking about dating Greek men.

Not all two Greek men are the same. This is especially the case when comparing dating Greek men that have never left their native Greece, to dating Greek men that have grown up in the west.

Additionally, you need to be careful when determining what behaviour to attribute to a person’s culture, and which behaviour stems from their own personal attitudes to life and women. Here is an example.

Culture Versus Personal Values

Several decades ago, it might have been considered something of a scandal for a Greek man (or a woman for that matter) to marry a non-Greek. This may have been a big disappointment for their parents.

Consequently, the Greek person that you were interested in romantically may never have seen you as a long-term partner. However, things have changed significantly since then.

Globalisation, and the fact that Greeks have relocated across Europe and the world, and indeed foreigners and ex-pats have relocated to Greece have made Greek-non Greek relationships more common than they were in the past. Dating outside of the Hellenic community is less of a taboo.

My Experience

This is where it’s important to not judge everyone the same. For the first three years of my life in Greece, I was in a long term relationship with a Greek man in Athens. His family were from a small village close to Arta and were very traditional.

They were horrified that I was British. Even more horrified that I was not Greek Orthodox.

To be honest, I am not even baptised. However, I did not tell his traditional, conservative family that lest I wanted them making crosses on their chests and flicking holy water at me as if I were the devil!

Throughout the relationship, I felt that my partner was ashamed of me. He repeatedly told me that it was “weird” for him to be with a foreigner.

His family made me feel ostracised and very unwelcome. After that experience, I thought that most Greek men would feel this way. However, time and experience have taught me I am wrong.

I know plenty of mixed cultural couples where one person is Greek and the other is not. Similarly, I have dated Greek men who introduced me to their family early on.

I have also dated those that could only see themselves with a fellow Greek. As aforementioned, you cannot judge everyone the same.

How to Meet Greek Men

The dating scene in Greece is still quite traditional compared to other European countries. We have dating apps like Tinder here. However, most Greeks will try and meet people out at bars or through mutual friends.

Online dating is not so mainstream yet. You will find that most people that you meet do not have profiles on apps like Tinder and Bumble. Nor have they heard of them.

If you do decide to play a little Tinder roulette in Greece, note that the Tinder scene is just like anywhere else. The men you match with could be looking for hookups or something more serious.

Be warned though that many see foreigners as just “fun” to pass the time with. This is especially the case if you are a tourist that is in town for just a week or two.

Many Greek men cannot imagine settling down and marrying someone who is not Greek. This is not the case for all men.

However, it is relatively commonplace. If you are interested in someone, try and establish what their bottom line is early on so that you do not get hurt.

Gender Equality & the Patriarchy in Greece

If you are considering dating Greek men, it is important to have a little understanding of Greek culture, and the role of men and women in Greece. 

Living in Greece is a dream for many people. They fantasise about moving to a Greek island like Skopelos and living a life that rivals the plot of Mamma Mia. However, life in the Mediterranean isn’t all roses. 

Studies Reveal that Greece is the Worst Country in Europe for Gender Equality

According to a 2019 Gender Equality Index study conducted by EIGE, Greece ranked as the WORST country in Europe for gender equality. It received just 51.2 points out of a possible 100.

Little progress has been made since 2015. Compare that to a score of 72.2 in the UK. The best country was Sweden with a score of 83.6.

What do those numbers mean? To give more context, 77% of Greeks said that women were too emotional.

Similarly, 69% of Greek men think that a woman belongs in the kitchen. 57% of men vs 9% of women think gender equality has been achieved.

There’s a joke in Greece that “we have become Sweden”. In other words, people are becoming too liberal, and women are expecting to be treated equally instead of doing as they are told and baking pies in a pretty dress. The nerve of these women!

Of course, it is impossible to apply one brush sweep and generalise an entire demographic of men. However, there is some truth in these numbers.

How Greek Culture Views Men Vs Women

Greece is very much a patriarchal society. Today, the country’s economic difficulties necessitate both men and women to work.

However, women are still expected to take on the lion’s share of domestic tasks. Women will work all day and then go home and do the cooking, cleaning, and take care of the children. 

Greek culture lavishes lots of praise, glory, and attention on boys. It is common for Greek mothers to fixate on their sons, even as they reach their 30s and 40s.

In some towns and villages, the children are counted differently. “I have three children and one kopelli”. The two genders are raised differently from the beginning, and the traditional family values and upbringing do sometimes feedback into the patriarchy.

Are All Greek Men Super Traditional?

In a word: No. It is impossible to generalise an entire demographic/nation of men. It is just important to note that on the whole, Greece is a much more traditional country than say, the UK, or the USA. 

If you are interested in dating Greek men in Greece though, you should try and make a connection with someone who has either lived/studied outside of Greece or is extremely well-travelled. Chances are that if you meet a Greek man from a rural area or an island, he will have had a more traditional upbringing that is less exposed to foreign cultures.

Observations of Dating Greek Men

Dating Greek Men
Dating Greek Men

Greek Men are Social Creatures

The Mediterranean lifestyle is to thank for Greek men being incredibly social creatures. In the UK, people tend to live for the weekend. In Greece however, it is not uncommon to go out with friends every day of the week.

Even on random weeknights, coffee shops will be filled with friends catching up over freddo cappuccinos at 10 pm, and most restaurants and tavernas are open until as late as 2 am. In this regard, dating a laid back social Greek can feel like a breath of fresh air!

Beware: The Greek Man’s Mother

If you find yourself dating a Greek man, beware that you will always be the “other woman”. You will always play second fiddle… to his mother!

The relationship that Greek men have with their mothers is almost disturbing in terms of dependency. It is likely that your man’s mother will run around after him and spoil him rotten as if he is a baby – even when he is a “baby” that is over 30 years old!

Expect to overhear emotional phone calls between him and his mother while you are together. “You’re with her aren’t you?” she huffs in Greek. (Or you know, something to that effect, you son-stealing malaka!)

Tantrums will be thrown if she feels he is spending more time with you than with her. As your relationship gets more serious, she is likely to be monitoring your treatment of her son like a hawk.

Important Traditions

People all over the world are often proud of their country and their cultural heritage. In Greece especially, there is a great sense of pride in being Greek. Cultural and religious (Orthodox) traditions are an important part of Greek culture. 

As someone who is dating a Greek man, you will have the opportunity to experience these wonderful cultural traditions and Greek festivals. Expect to paint eggs over Easter for a game of tsoúnkrisma, and dance to typical island dance routines at weddings and family gatherings.

Dating a Greek introduces you to a lot of fun activities that you may not have experienced in your own country. Every day can be an adventure when you date outside your culture.

Cooking? What’s That?

If you are planning on seriously dating Greek men, be informed that most Greek men are not informed and educated in the culinary arts. While I may be a disappointment to a Greek man’s mother because I cannot make the perfect moussaka, imagine my amusement when the Greek guy I was dating looked at me in awe as if I was Martha Stewart because I taught him how to boil eggs.

Yep, I definitely missed my calling in life as a chef. A chef of a restaurant that serves boiled egg sandwiches that is.

If you find a rare breed of Greek male that is able to cook, cling on to him for dear life! I jest a little.

However, it is true that a lot/the majority of Greek men do not know how to cook. In the UK, it’s pretty alarming if a 35-year-old man goes to his mums every day for dinner.

In Greece, that’s pretty normal. Even if your Greek man can cook, his mother, grandmother, and other female relatives in his life are likely to want to feed him and take care of him as much as they can.

Fidelity

Greek men have a notorious reputation for being womanisers but this really depends on the individual. Just like anywhere else in the world, when dating Greek men, you cannot tie an entire demographic of people together as being the same.

I had a long term Greek boyfriend for three years. I trusted him completely and never worried about infidelity. 

One important caveat to this is that the divorce rate in Greece is very low. If two people marry, have kids, then drift apart, they will often stay together and make it work “for the children”.

There may be no real spark or romantic attraction there anymore, and Greek men will often then seek “extracurricular” female attention. This is very commonplace among older couples in Greece.

Living Situations

If the guy you are dating is in his thirties and still living with his parents, that is pretty normal in Greece. Who can blame him either?

Rental prices in Greece are soaring way past what is affordable for a standard Greek salary. The cost of living in Athens is forever increasing, and the economy here is still in a very slow state of recovery. 

In today’s modern society, more and more Greek men are flying the nest early and living alone or with roommates. However, it is likely that his Greek mother is never far away and always on hand to prepare him lunch or do his laundry if he needs it.

I lived with a partner in Greece. Unmarried cohabiting couples were considered something of a taboo until recently. However, more and more young Greek couples are moving in together, much like in other European countries.

Meeting the Parents is a Big Deal

Meeting the parents is a relatively big step in most developing relationships anyway. However, in many western countries, this is often done after several months together.

In the UK, it is relatively normal to expect my parents to meet the person who has become such a big part of my life. This is the case even if we don’t know precisely what the future holds.

In Greece, meeting the parents is considered more of a big deal. If after a couple of months you still have not met his parents, have a little patience and remember that relationship and dating rules are different here.

Parting Words

Have you had any experience dating Greek men in Greece or in your native country? Let me know!

Alternatively, if you have any questions or queries about moving to Greece, or life here in general, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I have lived here since early 2017 and I am happy to assist with any questions that you may have.


Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer and Blogger based in Athens, Greece. She writes for numerous high profile travel publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, Matador Network, The Times of Israel and The Huffington Post.

9 thoughts on “Dating Greek Men – Written by a Female Expat in Greece”

    • Years back I dated a greek guy who came to South Africa to join his uncle in the family business. He was a wonderful guy and we got on so well. But his uncle interfered in the relationship as I was not Greek but Indian. It was so stressful and we eventually parted ways.He went back to Greece eventually. He was the love of my life and I never married .I still think about him everyday. The other day I found out on facebook he married a Greek and has 2 sons. The day we parted ways he took a piece of my heart with him.

      Reply
  1. Hi
    That was a great read and very insightful. I have just started dating a Greek man but he has been in the uk for nearly 10 years.

    I will definitely some how find out where his cultural commitments are!

    Thanks x

    Reply
  2. Great blog! very insightful and very accurate! Wish I read your blog before I started dating a greek guy, one part of that 69% that think women belong in the kitchen, “because mothers get so much “thrill” from cooking for their 30+ yr old sons”.

    Living of their parents, believing “their mums money is their money” (at 30+).

    I felt like I learnt the hard way, I wish I had saw this blog! – thats all I can say!

    Thanks Melissa!

    Reply
  3. As a man of Greek parentage brought up with the old values the following secrets are revealed.
    1. You cannot buy mothers and wives are a dime a dozen.
    2. Been married for 45 years to a person of Greek descent and will stay that way what ever comes our way .
    3. We were brought up to be served by the women in the house.
    4. The man is the head of the family and the woman is the neck which can turn a mans head away way she chooses.
    5. Children make us less selfish and we honour our parents by giving our children the first names of our parents. After four children we look for other names 6. Your spouse or husband family becomes your family. You marry the family.
    7. The greatest cultural virtue is to maintain PHILOTIMO.
    8. Greece never had an industrial revolution the curse that sent English villagers into the impersonal cities. Greeks came from villages and that is the huge extended family where second cousins are family Everybody acts as the extended family in a village. As opposed to the isolation of western cities.
    9. The elderly by one day older than oneself are called Uncle or Aunty .

    Reply
    • Some alarmingly misogynistic statements there which don’t really surprise me after spending so long in Greece. Your comment that “wives are a dime a dozen” and you expect to be served by women tells me everything I need to hear about you and your views that belong in the 1950s.

      Reply

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