I want to talk about love and transnational relationships. What do I know? Well, I’ve been with a Belgian for seven years, married for three. After years of navigating our cultural differences, I have come to some general conclusions. Although these are my personal observations, my other foreign friends who also happen to love a Belgian can attest to some of these attributes!
Dating and being in an international relationship has always fascinated me. After all, love dynamics can be tricky even if you come from the same country. As an American from Texas, I realize the cultural contrast on paper seems stark. Texans are often proud and a bit boisterous; Belgians are reserved and modest, the complete opposite of braggadocio. But despite what you might think, this Belgian-American pairing turns out to be a solid match. Our relationship was sparked by chance, but don’t be fooled, understanding each other and ironing out cultural kinks took some work.
Let’s take a step back. These are seven characteristics about Belgian – especially Flemish men – that make them good partners, maybe even the best in Europe. Dependable, handsome, reserved, hard-working, loyal; these are all words I can use to describe Belgian men in general, and especially the Belgian man in my life. No, not all of Belgium is homogeneous, and neither are their men. Here are seven things I’ve noticed about loving a Belgian!
1. Romantic, in a way that counts.
Some people might say that Belgians aren’t the most passionate or romantic people at face value, and they might be right. But when I first arrived in Belgium, I realized something. My husband didn’t have many single friends and upon closer inspection, I found out that most of his friends had been in relationships for several years, even up to a decade. That seems to be the case for so many twenty-somethings I met here. This was the first place I saw such high value placed on long-term relationships at a young age. So, leave the cheesy gestures for other partners – commitment and loyalty rank high up on the list of their swoon-worthy qualities.
As for numerous flings and serial casual dating? You probably won’t find much of it in Belgium!
2. Understated, always.
Too much arrogance and ego can really do a number on a relationship. Luckily, Belgian leave their egos at the door and almost always err on the side of modesty. In fact, Belgians don’t find it attractive to brag about things or to be too over-the-top about yourself. This down-to-earth mentality and aversion to arrogance make it easier to navigate trouble in paradise and right wrongs with your Belgian partner.
3. Deep family connections.
Belgians have a strong sense of family ingrained in them. For instance, spending time with immediate family isn’t just reserved for big holidays. Weekend brunches and long lunches with the family are a very common past time. This connection to their family speaks to the value they place on deep and close relationships. In this same vein, it might be this same sense of family that drives Belgians to buy houses at a relatively young age, to find a partner and strive for a settled, happy life themselves.
4. Smart is sexy, duh.
Belgians, on average, are highly educated and well-versed on a range of interesting subjects. As a small country sandwiched between different countries, cultures, and languages it’s to be expected! Belgian partners understand the goings-on around the world, can talk about almost anything, and to top it off, usually speak multiple languages. I can’t forget to mention that for such a small country, Belgium is a pretty progressive one with equally progressive people. What’s more attractive than being with someone who’s open-minded, a critical thinker and always ready for a good debate?
5. Solid and stable wins the race.
No, Belgian partners aren’t usually naturally hot-headed or impulsive like their Southern neighbors, but by the same token, their level-headed and calm disposition means they’re dependable in matters of love. Belgians have a reputation of being very loyal; they may not be the first to act on crazy ideas or propose something out of the blue, but you can count on them to come through when you need them most.
What Belgian men might lack in spontaneity, they make up for with a great sense of personal direction and self-assurance. Once the green light goes off in their minds about someone they see a future with, they’ll go after it with swift confidence that is very attractive. When it comes to relationships, they’ll put in the work and effort to get what they’re after without all that wishy-washy back and forth.
7. here’s to handsome!
There’s something rugged and handsome about Belgian men, a quality I didn’t see as much in countries like France, Spain, or Italy. Thanks to Belgium’s proximity to The Netherlands, the men are also quite tall! The second tallest in the world, coming in at 5’9 (1.82 meters) on average.
What do you think? Have you loved a Belgian? Do you agree with some or these characteristics? I’m dying to know! Let me know below!