The Truth About Dating Spanish Men

April 29, 2016
The Truth About Dating Spanish Men

Four months into my big move to Spain I was wondering if I would last the whole year. Teaching English in the small town of Linares, Jaen wasn’t working out how I imagined it would. However, after spending the holidays in Italy with my family and yearning to go home, I headed back to Spain determined to make the best of my remaining five months there. Within a week, I met my Spanish boyfriend, and three years and many challenges later, we are still making it work.

What is like to date a Spanish man? Spanish men have the reputation of being tall, dark and handsome, with thick accents that can make you swoon. As with anything, it’s hard to generalize, especially when it comes to dating in Spain, because each region has a somewhat distinct culture. However, there are some similarities. Here are some things to keep in mind for your Spanish love affair.

The Truth About Dating Spanish Men

Family matters

The first and most important part of dating a Spaniard is meeting their family. Meeting the family is a big deal in most cultures, but even more so in Spain. Expect it to happen pretty early into the relationship. Three weeks into dating my boyfriend, I still remember when he timidly asked me if I would like to meet his sister and niece. I was surprised at how soon he asked, but it was clearly very important to him.

Weekly dinners or even daily lunches, where the whole family comes together, are really common. And once you meet the family, you’re immediately a new member of their circle and they’re thrilled to have you. Be prepared to join in with those weekly dinners. Also, it can sometimes be the case where your amante has nights set aside to eat with their family alone. Don’t be offended if his Monday or Tuesday night is always booked for family dinners and he has to meet up with you after. It’s common.

He still lives at home

While we’re talking about family, it’s important to face the facts. The majority of Spanish guys still live at home. With an unemployment rate of 45 percent, this is understandable. It is also socially acceptable for young people to live at home until they are in a serious relationship or until they’re married. Since this is the case, it normally isn’t a big deal, especially if you have your own apartment where you can have your alone time. It’s just a matter of getting used to the idea of a 28 plus year old still living with his parents.

Spanish men

The language issue

The language barrier may or may not have an impact on your relationship depending on each person’s proficiency in their partner’s native language. I was lucky to have a solid base of Spanish when I came to Spain. I have friends who started their relationships with zero Spanish and their boyfriends had zero English, and they’ve made it work.

Things can get complicated when it comes to those inevitable arguments. I’ve more or less always been able to communicate how I’m feeling to my partner, and understood his sentiments as well. But I’ve also learned that it’s OK to say that you don’t understand when you don’t. I now ask my boyfriend to re-phrase what he’s saying, when needed. And it’s especially helpful when you’re arguing because misunderstandings can make things worse.

When it comes to arguments, patience is always key. Even more so when you don’t share the same native language.

Plans DON’T exist

Plans do not exist here. The Spanish like to see where life takes them; they don’t limit what could happen on any given day by making strict plans. Ask them Wednesday or Thursday what they are doing on the weekend and they typically respond with, “Ya veremos” (“We’ll see”).

How does this apply to a relationship? Well, in mine in particular it was a bit difficult for us to overcome this huge difference between our expectations at first. I’m a compulsive planner, coming from a city where you have to schedule a coffee date with someone at least two days in advance. And my boyfriend is carpe diem to the max. As you can imagine, it led to quite a few arguments, especially when it came to planning trips.

With time, however, we struck a balance. I eventually adapted to the Spanish lifestyle and became less compulsive in planning, and he understood that for bigger trips, we had to make reservations and plan in advance. In our daily lives we move to our own rhythm. Whatever strikes us in the moment, whether it’s taking a walk or heading to a café, we decide then and there.


Spanish men

The romance reality may not match the reputation

Spanish men have a reputation for being incredibly romantic. I actually think part of that comes from confusion with Latin American men, who I’ve found are actually much more romantic than the Spanish. That being said, this does vary depending on the person. I personally haven’t seen or heard of Spanish men randomly buying flowers or chocolates for their girlfriends, or trying to woo women by breaking out a guitar and singing to them.

In fact, Spanish men are quite shy and not at all forward when it comes to talking to women. My boyfriend was an absolute gentleman–to the point where I wasn’t sure if he was interested. Another friend of mine said she thought her boyfriend was mean at first because he barely spoke to her, but it turns out he was just incredibly shy. When you meet people at parties, the guys almost always wait for you to strike up the conversation with them. So, if you’re looking to meet a Spanish lover, be prepared to make the first move.

Being with my Spanish boyfriend has been an eye-opening experience. Dating someone from a different culture, especially one so different from the extremes of New York City, has its challenges. But overall, being with my Spaniard has helped me to truly adapt to la vida española.

 

Related Reading

Spanish Culture: Machismo Dominated Social Attitudes
Siesta and Fiesta: Acclimating to Spanish Culture
Spanish Guys: 5 Ways to Fend Off Catcalls

Have you dated Spanish men? What were your impressions? Email us at [email protected] for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you. Photo credits for The Truth About Dating Spanish Men by Unsplash. 

 


About Nina Lee

Nina Lee is a New York native currently exploring Madrid from the inside. She enjoys stuffing her face with jamon and chocolate pastries as she continues on her journey of living, loving and traveling more intentionally. You can follow her sweet adventures and dive into the fun and beauty that is Spanish culture at NinasSweetAdventures.com.

23 thoughts on “The Truth About Dating Spanish Men

  1. Basque_Spaniards
    March 25, 2017
    Reply

    We live at parents home not because we want, we live because of circunstancies.
    1 Job. You need a job that can make you independent. If you dont have enough economic revenues its a total madness to do it. I have a bussiness career and I have a maximum salary per month of 250€ at a company, even I have to help my mum in his boutique to earn something more at afternoon. Its not enough money but give me enough to go out at night with friends.
    2 the Girlfriend. Something incoherent in your culture but is the most important part. Maybe the most important. We spanish men need to feel loved. This is the case of my big brother. He has a very well paid job and has lived 5 years alone and still live with us. He felt sad and alone in his house. He even tried to find a girlfriend but always fail. A romantic man without success like me and nothing. Always call home sad. He is only happy living with us.

    However, there are cases of a friend living in their New house with girlfriend but two of them working to achieve enough money to live together.

    First job, then girlfriend. And finally Get Married and live together when we are in a good economic situation.

  2. Anna
    December 8, 2016
    Reply

    Nice article and matches my experience a lot. We both are not-native English speakers, but we communicate in English, while I try to improve my Spanish.
    Family matters a lot, I was worried how they will accept me when i first met them, but now at least 1 time a week we have a dinner all together, and they really treat me like a family member. But at the same time my novio still lives with his parents and some things like cooking easy stuff or doing laundry is a mystery for him. I think in other countries guys of this age are more independent.
    Its one year since we are together and i still feel loved and in love like during our first weeks, a lot of romance, passion and charm.
    The only thing what was surprising for me it how Spanish people ( not only men) like to socialize. They really make friends with everyone and everywhere! My Spanish is not so good by now to join it properly but one day I will.
    I also want to add about family and kids, Spaniards usually marry and have kids not earlier than in their 30’s but the divorce rate is also very low. You can see dads everywhere in the city with the kids and see they really enjoy being a parent a lot.

  3. Arnau
    October 26, 2016
    Reply

    Disculpa que te hable en castellano.

    Creo que estás muy enamorada de tu marido español (cosa que me alegra) y eso hace que te lleve a generalizar y confundir.

    En Estados Unidos hay hombres que se comportan como tu chico. En España hay hombres que no respetan a sus mujeres, que se desentienden de sus hijos y que se tiran pedos en público. Y también hay hombres maravillosos que tienen las cualidades que tú aprecias.

    Por no decir que España es un país culturalmente muy diverso, y eso ha comportado y comporta ciertos problemas políticos.

    Un catalán es más como un francés y un andaluz puede ser más como un italiano. Un canario no tiene nada que ver con un vasco. Y el hombre castellano quizá va a caballo entre un portugués y un vasco.

    Después debo decirte que he conocido muchas chicas estadounidenses hispanofilas. Mujeres que sin saber muy bien por qué se enamoraron de España y su cultura. O sí lo sé. El tópico irresistible para una mujer que han formado la literatura castellana llena de hidalgos caballeros, misteriosos y atractivos toreros y Don Juanes amantes, pero también de republicanos igualitarios aplastados por el propio peso de sus ideales que perdieron la Guerra Civil aunque el mundo anglosajón hizo que moralmente la ganarán a posteriori, o el sensible García Lorca que escribía novelas sobre mujeres cuando el mundo no pensaba en ellas más que para fregar la casa.

    El macho bravo mezclado con el caballero respetuoso. La mezcla de los dos polos opuestos que enloquecen a una mujer.

    Os enamorais de España. Y de ahí del hombre español.

  4. October 23, 2016
    Reply

    Thanks for your article Nina! I’ve been a bit obsessed with Spain for about 5 years and I’m planning to go visit (finally) in a couple months.
    I’m single and was wondering about the men in Spain. This info you’ve given is exactly what I was looking for!
    I just dated a guy from Chile and it was the worst dating experience… ever. Very disrespectful + misogynistic. Sounds like the men in Spain are respectful (obviously generally speaking) which is great to know and now I won’t be as concerned about dating there. 🙂

    • October 24, 2016

      Hey, Jacqueline. That’s great that you’re going to be able to visit Spain! It’s such an incredible place. I hope you enjoy your trip! I wish I could say there aren’t misogynistic men here, but unfortunately there are still some hanging around, like in all parts of the world. Either way, have a ball on your trip, don’t let anyone stand in your way!

  5. Manolita
    September 29, 2016
    Reply

    Oh well. I’m in a verge of break up with my boyfriend. I’m so overwhelmed by our distance and I have try to communicate it but he always feels it’s not working for me. But everything written is so true.

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