August 31, 2009 3:25:22 PM CEST
I'll try my best to answer, but I was never a part of the Dutch dating scene. I moved here to be in a relationship with a Dutch man, so I can only speak in terms of my relationship, which is not necessarily anything like Dutch relationships or dating at all.
What do you think is the biggest challenge of a marriage or partnership with a Dutch man?
Biggest challenges have revolved around the direct nature of conversations and emotional unavailability. He struggles to say what he feels without hurting my feelings or being what I would consider rude or abrasive, and I struggle to try not to be offended at the way he says things and look more towards the intentions or meanings in them. He used to be very matter of fact and say things like: "You must do this..." or "A Dutch person does it this way..." or "You should do it like this, not that." It always upset me. He's worked on phrasing things better so that I can understand that he is trying to be helpful, not judgmental, and I have learned to better understand that he says those things because he cares and wants me to succeed here.
Emotional unavailability might just be him, or maybe it's a Dutch man thing. It used to be very difficult to get him to speak about how he felt about things, not just what he thinks about them. We could talk for hours about politics, religion, art, whatever, but he would never tell me how he felt. Like, he would tell me the way he was brought up as a child, but not how it made him feel. I've learned to ask very direct questions pertaining to how he feels about things to get him to open up about it, and he has grown to trust me enough to open up much easier. We still make it a point to talk at least once a week about how we feel about the week, not just blow through it and not look back. If I don't ask how he feels about something, he often won't mention it, but he's getting better at it too.
What are the characteristics of a Dutch guy that you find hardest to understand or to adjust to? And what do you find are most likeable?
The things I mentioned above have been the most difficult adjustments for both of us. The most likeable things are that he is very direct and open, so if he tells me he loves me, I know he means it. If he tells me he loves my body, it's not just a line. I always know where we stand and I trust him to always be honest about things. One of the best things is also this "polder model" style. He is always willing to hear me out, discuss, and compromise accordingly. We both feel adamantly that our relationship is most successful because we bring everything to the table all the time, and approach all problems with the intentions of finding a workable solution for both of us.
How long did it take you to adjust to an intercultural relationship with a Dutch guy
I will always be adjusting to an intercultural relationship with a Dutch man. The learning and compromising and adjusting is never complete for either of us.
How are Dutch men in bed (like are they aggressive, passive, etc )
I am very happy with our bedroom life. That is all.
What do you think is the secret to have a lasting relationship with a Dutch man?
I don't think I have the answers to that. I know what works for us is a lot of compromise, a lot of love and understanding, and a lot of regular maintenance. But I also think that's how it is in all relationships, multicultural or not. We've worked a lot on expectation management. It's not fair to call it rude if he doesn't open the door for me because his experience with Dutch women is that it is considered rude and demeaning to them to do so. So we talked about it, I explained that it makes me feel good to have him hold the door for me, and because of that, he does it. Sometimes he forgets, but it's not because he is rude, and then it's my job to understand his perspective and not freak out at him. We work because we understand that we have different perspectives, and neither is completely right or wrong, we just have to find a place where it will work for both of us.