American women dating German men

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I am American woman and have been dating a German (actually, Bavarian) man for over a year now. We are struggling with some issues, and he believes that our differences are purely cultural. I find his humor to be very cutting and harsh and sarcastic. (lots of personal put-downs towards me that he finds funny) He also tells me that it's typical for the man and woman to split everything evenly. (even on a date) I would love to get some opinions of other couples out there. What has your experience been? Is the humor that different between cultures and I shouldn't take it personally? Should I really be splitting all the bills, or is he just cheap? Help!

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There is a long thread or two on this already. Yes, there are cultural differences, but and that is a big BUT, your culture matters too. Tell him to shape up or ship out. This of course will require that you tell him everything that you would like to expect and then be a bit patient as he will obviously fail at first to live up to it. Gentle reminders will help and so will writing it all down so that he can refer back to it as often as he needs. He should do the same for you.

Problem identified, course made, solution depends on you both.

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I think he's just making excuses, it's not right to put you down. I'm also seeing a German guy he has a 'different' sense of humor to me but it doesn't involve putting me down! I also think the 'splitting everything on dates' is a bit mean, can't you both just take it in turns to pay, you're a couple FFS!

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As eurovol said there are a few threads on exactly this topic already but the bottom line is that German guys do like to go Dutch when going out and, in general terms, have the humour capabilities of a small stone in a rock pool.

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50% split is for the beginning of a relationship seems to be the norm in Germany.

 

BUT even before I got married we split things on earning power as that is the fairest. Okay we don't get he calculator out every meal - evey shopping trip but since I earn more I pay more and would invite my then girlfriend moreso. Good example is when we went on holiday I paid the greater share even though my then Girlfriend said no. The reason was/is we were and are a team and it is not fair having either to go for a lesser holiday to suit her budget or having her struggle to enjoy herself because things are too expensive. So in a serious relationshiip the split should be nearer to earning power.

 

1 year in my book is becoming a serious relationship (especially if you are in your late 20s and 30s). So how things develop now are an indication of your future relationship to come...

 

So do you guys earn the same amount or does he earn substantially more than you???

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generally I think the cultural differences issue can be a huge problem. Two of our friends (American Woman/German Man) are getting divorced because he can't handle the cultural differences anymore. She didn't know there was a problem until he told here that he filed for divorce.

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Well, there is also that whole Mars Venus thing. That is an even bigger problem.

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The cultural gap problem will in my estimate come into play moreso if you marry someone who is less experienced or exposed to other ways of "thinking" and "doing" or someone who is less relaxed about differences. Men and women are different enough put in the cultural gap as well and then you can potentially have more problems.

 

However, I would still not allow my partner to excuse disrespectful, boorish, rude, childish behaviour with the refrain - it's my culture...

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I married a German, and though culturally they do the splitting money while dating thing, I put the kabash on that from the start. It is really tacky to an American (culturally speaking). So he would pay one time and then I would. At the time I earned 40% of what he did, so where we went depended on what that person could afford. Once we got married however, we became full partners, and what's mine is his and his is mine, which despite cultures, to me is the only way to be. My earning power now equals or can exceed his, but due to OUR CHOICE of living in Germany, and thus having had to work at a job that didn't allow for what would be my full earnings potential in the States, he does pay more. But, as was said, we are a team.

 

As to the humor, NOPE, I don't think Germans are particularly sarcastic or mean...in fact I really don't think they are very funny. It was one of the expectations I had to lower with my own hubby. Simply sounds like your guy can be mean and cruel. Cutting one's partner down is hardly a positive thing...and can be controlling and abusive.

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Surely you can't classify all Germans as the same as my boyfriends likes to pay and when I do (I like paying my own way) says he feels weird.

The humour difference gets on my nerves sometimes as he will giggle non-stop through a film that is really lame, although at least he watches them in English for me :)

 

Talking about EVERYTHING defiantly makes things a lot easier though and helps smooth out all the misunderstandings before they cause to much of a problem.

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Generally I'm with eurovol here. I am a german man, btw.

 

 

German (actually, Bavarian) man

Never underestimate the difference ;)

I'm prussian, so take what i say with a grain of salt :D

 

 

I find his humor to be very cutting and harsh and sarcastic. (lots of personal put-downs towards me that he finds funny)

Thats definetly not culture but personality. Dont take any of his shit. It is not a german cultural thing to put down your woman, quite the contrary. Its plain bad manners and very probably a deep rooted insecurity on his part. Difficult relationship with his Mother?

 

 

He also tells me that it's typical for the man and woman to split everything evenly. (even on a date)

Well, its not exactly ttypical, depending on just how close together you are. Generally its correct to say that in germany its much more common to split evenly than it is in the US. I even know a number of women who feel they are being bribed or driven into a guilt thing when the guy constantly pays.

 

 

Is the humor that different between cultures and I shouldn't take it personally?

It is quite different, but not in that way. generally there is three kinds of german humor: the cheap one a la TV Total/Stefan Raab. Bulldozer Humor. Thats probably the closest to American humor. Then there is very fine sarcasm, only indicated by the tone of voice and choice of deliberatly highbrow words, probably hard to spot for a foreigner. Lastly theres, hmmm i dont think there is even a word for it, Word-humor, although that is quite a regional thing. The Berliner/Brandeburger are well known for their love of Word-humor.

However, German humor is probably less cruel then american, and its definetly not a cultural trait to be mean to your woman. Theres been women who loved me for making fun of them, but i am pretty certain that it was never cruel or downputting.

 

Executive Summary: face the possibility that you're just not made for each other.

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Don't worry about it too much - it's the cultural difference. Also, don't bother changing him - it doesn't work. :)

 

As for the bills, in my experience, German guys liked paying for things. I think doing so makes them feel manly. Having said that, it is normal for German guys to split things up. I like the system that they've got goin' on. If it really bothers you though, you could always talk to your man about it and work something out together.

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First off, welcome to TT!

And now back to the matter in hand:

 

German (actually, Bavarian) man

Where in Bavaria? If he's from BGL/Bad Reichenhall run to the airport and get the hell out. ;)

 

he believes that our differences are purely cultural. I find his humor to be very cutting and harsh and sarcastic. (lots of personal put-downs towards me that he finds funny)

No, this isn't a Bavarian thing per se, it could well be the workings of an insecure person clipping your heels and finding an excuse for his behaviour.

Teasing would be fine if you both did it, and teasing can be an art form - just watch someone like Harald Schmidt interviewing someone, but the fact is that you are not comfortable, he knows you are not comfortable and yet he keeps on doing it. Would you put up with this if he wasn't German/Bavarian? What does your stomach tell you? Do you feel that you are overly sensitive?

 

He also tells me that it's typical for the man and woman to split everything evenly. (even on a date)

Taking turns is more usual than splitting every bill. Actually I'd be uncomfortable for that to be different, he's a boyfriend not a meal ticket and I'd feel kind of grasping to expect someone to pay for me all the time. So that could be a cultural expectation on your part.

Frankly, to be honest - why are you with this guy? Is he worth the hassle?

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Where is Bavaria? If he's from BGL/Bad Reichenhall run to the airport and get the hell out.

hmmm. i would rather argue that if the guy is from the country side, he would not ask for splitting bills and rather be more old school.

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The former Herr Indoors was from Bad Reichenhall.

He's finally got a new girlfriend, she's an Erzieherin - that quite amused me.

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At the risk of stepping into a minefield I'd say that there are greater cultural differences

between US/German and US/UK than there are between UK/German...

 

I'm from Uk married almost 19 years to a Northern German girl...

She had never been to UK before we met but she had worked several years at an

international research lab & so was used to having idiot furriners around...

 

From friendships (nothing more) with US girls I can say there were great cultural

gaps there which I didnt find with my Hamburg girl...

She says she sticks with me because she doesnt understand my jokes...

At least I know when to stop telling jokes in contrast to my brother...

 

Its difficult to remember back that far but I believe when we went out we took turns to

pay for the meal - rather like Standord tells.

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I find his humor to be very cutting and harsh and sarcastic. (lots of personal put-downs towards me that he finds funny)

I know several German guys that behave that way, both towards their friends and their gf (though I also wouldn't call it "typical behavior" of German men, certainly not). All of them are very decent and kind people at heart (which is probably why their gfs put up with it, even though they certainly seem to dislike this particular trait). I think that in the end, it depends on your assessment of his personality, i.e. if you think his behavior is indicative of certain personality traits that you can't stand. It also depends on how he behaves towards you when is not trying to be "funny". Have you tried talking to him about it? :unsure:

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Thats definetly not culture but personality. Dont take any of his shit. It is not a german cultural thing to put down your woman, quite the contrary. Its plain bad manners and very probably a deep rooted insecurity on his part. Difficult relationship with his Mother?

Strange to find myself agreeing with PB but he hit the proverbial nail on its proverbial head. My Bavarian ex-husband realized that I was earning more than he was, had more friends and a better relationship with our children so he used every opportunity available to call me stupid for no good reason. He did it just once too often.

So tell your boyfriend to shape up or ship out, regardless of the split dating costs.

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