Just like kissing for the first time, sleeping with someone is arguably seen as more meaningful in France. The French may be the masters of flirtation, but their true affection is actually more reserved than you might expect. This is because people are more focused on getting to know someone; therefore, sleeping together is seen as expressing a deeper form of affection. The good news is that because the French believe in being honest and open when it comes to dating, there is no shame in discussing getting intimate first, too.
Meeting friends and family
French people generally like to maintain their independence, so it could be some time before you are introduced to their family and friends. You shouldn’t take this as a sign of dissatisfaction, though. It is more down to the fact that men and women prefer to keep their dating lives private; especially in the initial stages of a relationship. However, you can assume that once they do invite you to meet their family and friends, the relationship has become serious. After all, French families are generally very private and only the most intimate friends tend to join gatherings.
Living together and getting married
Interestingly, not all aspects of dating in France are so traditional. Since the mid-2000s, for instance, the proportion of married couples in the country has been declining. Figures from the online portal Statista show that there were 235,0. This indicated that marriage does not appear to be the preferred mode of union among the French.
Indeed, an increasing number of couples are choosing to not get married or enter a civil partnership but simply live together instead. In fact, research shows that over half a million couples (550,000) in France begin living together long-term every year; whereas only 240,000 partners tie the knot, and 164,000 arrange a civil partnership. Similarly, the number of unmarried couples living together has increased tenfold since the 1960s; from just 2.9% in 1962 to 26% in 2015. This suggests that attitudes are becoming more modern.
Interestingly, the number of same-sex marriages in France is also gradually (a year after it was legalized in France) to only 6,000 in 2018. More couples are choosing to have civil partnerships instead, and there were 7,000 signed in 2017 alone. Despite all of these trends, France still had the second-highest number of ; after Germany which had 41,000. So when compared to neighboring countries, you could say that France remains somewhat traditional in a sense.
In French culture, great importance is placed on family. Therefore, as the partner of a French man or woman, you can expect to spend a significant amount of time with your French in-laws. The relationships between family members remain close, even into adulthood. Relatives tend to live reasonably close to each other and meet weekly for dinners and so on.
Raising children in France
When it comes to parenting in France, men and women tend to take a stricter approach than in some other cultures. They don’t indulge their children, but rather encourage them to be model citizens by enforcing order and teaching them acceptable behavior. They also place a greater emphasis on adhering to attitudes and values that conform to social norms instead of individuality.
This remains the norm, despite the significant changes in society; such as the increase in single-parent homes, children born out of marriage, and the rise in working mothers. As an expat, this might take some getting used to; especially if you come from a culture feeld that has a more laid-back approach to parenting.