Dating Greek men is certainly an appealing concept. With olive skin, seductive accents and a reputation for being among the best lovers in the world, it makes sense that you would consider finding yourself a Greek God.
This article is based on my own experiences as a British woman living in Athens with a Greek partner. I met my Greek god while on a vacation in Athens and winded up moving here to be with him in the city’s quirky Pagrati neighborhood.
I’ve been in Greece for almost two years now and as such, I can provide a little insight into dating Greek men. Keep in mind that not all two Greek men are the same – especially when comparing dating Greek men that have never left their native Greece, to dating Greek men that have grown up in the west. Though there can be cultural clashes as a western woman dating Greek men, there are certainly also advantages to having a passionate Mediterranean lover.
Swipe Right for Love
Yep, Tinder exists in Greece just like it does in most European countries. If you are interested in dating Greek men, this is one option of meeting them. I actually met my long term boyfriend on Tinder. Modern romance, eh?
Just like anywhere else, Greek men on Tinder could be looking for hookups or something more serious. Be warned though that many see foreigners as just “fun” to pass the time with. Many Greek men cannot imagine settling down and marrying someone who is not Greek. Their mothers will see to that for sure. Though Tinder is used in Greece, it is not really as mainstream or as “normal” as in other countries. Most Greeks still meet people in traditional ways – out at bars or through mutual friends.
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, and as your relationship gets more serious, she is likely to be monitoring your treatment of her son like a hawk.
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.
Greek men have a notorious reputation for being womanizers 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 trust my Greek man completely and I’m never concerned about infidelity.
The Laid Back Lifestyle
Greece is the perfect embodiment of Mediterranean living. You only have to walk around the streets of Athens to see that people in Greece consider friends, family and good times among their priorities rather than material things and career success. In Athens just as much as the islands, you will find people sitting outside of tavernas drinking tsipouro and ouzo into the early hours of the morning, even on a weeknight. For this factor, dating Greek men can be a refreshing change to what you are used to.
Gender Roles in Greece
Though progress has been made in Greece in terms of moving toward gender equality, the country is still a patriarchal society. Genders are split relatively equally in universities and workplaces, but few women occupy senior positions. Women in Greece are still pretty much expected to follow traditional paths in life and aspire to marriage and children. In a relationship, women tend to take on the lion’s share of the cooking, child-rearing, and housework. Western women who have been raised in countries or societies that place more emphasis on empowering women may experience some clashes with understanding Greek men’s point of view.
Though all countries have their own distinct cultures, few nationalities hold as strong cultural values and traditions as the Greeks. Where Greeks are concerned, it is often not just a case of feeling a sense of pride about one’s country and cultural heritage, but wanting to live according to traditions and preserve these for the future.
Many Greek men live at home with their families until they start planning their wedding. They essentially go from being under the nurturing and care of their mothers to being under the nurturing and care of their wives. In today’s modern society, more and more Greek men are flying the nest early and living alone or with roommates, however, his Greek mother is never far away and likely always on hand to prepare him lunch or do his laundry if he needs it.
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. For me growing up 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, 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 realize that relationship and dating rules are different here.
Try and Discover His Bottom Line Early On
As mentioned, a lot of Greeks see foreigners as a fun way to pass the time and experiment a little, rather than a long term relationship material. I spent over a year building a relationship with a Greek man and even moving in together, but we face many challenges because many of those around him do not approve for the simple fact that I am not Greek. (Honestly, my life here is just like I am living the plotline of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding!”)
Without sounding negative, there are very few foreigners living in Greece and the Greeks can tend to prefer to stick to their own (other than for flings and casual fun). People have made racist comments towards me for being British and Greeks can often seem xenophobic. My experience is not isolated however, I have many foreign friends also here in Athens who have spent time dating Greeks, only for their Greek partners to turn round and later say that they can’t take them seriously because they are foreign. Try to establish what the other person thinks about dating outside of their culture before you find yourself too invested.
Have you had any experience dating Greek men in Greece or in your native country? Let me know!