10 things I learned from dating in Luxembourg for two years

Dating and trying to find love

All the places you have been trying to find a love supreme

Two years ago, I ended a long relationship and found myself on the dating market “scene” after almost a decade of being in a couple. I know that it’s actually a sort of “market” with buy and sells and value and all but let’s use the euphemism “scene”.

I was feeling like in one of those comedies where the character is thrown in the skin of someone else, or in an unknown place and has to learn quickly what takes years of practice.  And unfortunately, I’ve never been one of those connecting people who walk in a bar without knowing anyone and get out leading a group of strangers towards the next pub. At the beginning, I was also extremely shy and lacked any sort of confidence. So I did what most people do these days when they find themselves in a similar situation, I went first on meetic, then on badoo, then finally on Tinder.
I like to think that I’ve learned (and I’m still learning) some things. In fact I learned enough to write a few books on human relationships, but to resume here are just some of my conclusions about Luxembourg dating market scene.

1. Men, women, gay, bisexual, transgenres… We are all lost here, it’s not a competition!
This does not apply only to Luxembourg, but the fact that there are so many expats and foreigners makes things a little more complicated.
Each generation has their own struggle. Ours has new challenges like balance between security and freedom, or between exposure and privacy. In my opinion the current state of the world of relationships is ironically resumed in the lyrics of this old song from Robbie William Love supreme:
When there’s no love in town
This new century keeps bringing you down
All the places you have been
Trying to find a love supreme

Everybody is looking for love. But then, everybody is looking for other things as well: money, sex, security, comfort, excitement, something to show off with, etc. etc.
What I’ve learned while looking for love in Luxembourg is that most people don’t know what they are looking for. They all (ALL those whom I’ve met) have a great ideal of love and want to find LOVE, but most of them get lost in the way distracted by too much choice (of people, of option), and in the end many settle for less than they even worth.

2. Look and you shall find… something
Looking for love is like having a blind date. Don’t expect to be exactly like in the picture.
One time, when I was in a holly place where everyone was throwing coins I put a wish: Please God, or the Universe, help me find love! And my wish was granted. In the following years, I’ve found lots of love.
In the course of the process of “searching for love” I’ve become closer to some friends and I discovered the real meaning of the word “friendship”. It’s a form of love too!
I’ve also met people whom are not close close friends but who supported me, helped me or simply offered time and kind words of encouragement. That is also a form of love.
And I’ve also became closer to my family, which made me understand how you can love and hate someone at the same time.
Not to mention the people that I’ve met while attending speed networking or social events at which I went to the hidden agenda of finding a boyfriend.
Love is all around. I found many forms, except the one I was looking for. But again… we are all lost, and we don’t know what we’re looking for.

3. Never say “I don’t  want to see you again!”
Honestly. Not in Luxembourg! If you really don’t want not to see someone ever again, then move out or pray that they would move out.
This place is too small, there is a limited number of bars and restaurants where you can go. Once, for a concert, I bumped into 3 men I had dated in the course of half of hour.
Another time, I was trying to forget someone and just when I thought I had him out of the system, I opened City magazine exactly at the page with his smiling picture. And to add injury to insult, his new girlfriend popped out in Femmes magazine, while I was in my gynaecologist waiting room.
What I learned from this was to get over people and accept the fact that I’m not living in a big City like Berlin and I just have to deal with the fact that the only way of forgetting someone is to mentally letting go.
As my gynaecologist says: if you relax the experience can be close to enjoyable.

4. Did someone order a cocktail? A language cocktail?
If someone says in French “Je peux te baiser?” and you’re a beginner in French, don’t go for the dictionary. It says there “I want to kiss you”, but in French, the steps of flirting hug, kiss, fuck are just a little bit displaced. Or it’s just that French is a language that has a “formal” written version, and an informal “oral” version.

In the formal you have the below verbs:
embrasser = hug ; baiser = kiss ; faire du sex = fuck
That’s in theory. In practice is more like this:
embrasser = kiss; baiser = fuck. How about hug? you may ask. Simple: they don’t hug, they kiss directly. Two times at least. On both cheeks. Or on all four.

Don’t bother waiting for your Luxembourgish boyfriend to say “I love you”. This ain’t going to happen. Be happy if you receive a bretzel on Bretzel Sondeg. That’s their way of saying it. Prepare to give chocolate back for Easter, or he’ll ask for the bretzel back.
And pay attention to the leap years (like 2016): that’s when giving the bretzel becomes the woman’s duty.

If he’s from the Great Britain remember that shag means fuck, a nob is a dick and you will be confronted with some very bizarre idioms and some sounds that will make wonder if is English you’re hearing.  Despite the Dutch, things that disturb them are rarely expressed in a direct way, My advice (of course if you’re not accustomed with) is to keep your Google translator close and to sharpen your brain to distinguish sarcasm.

If it’s not a main proposition, the verb always comes at the end, after all the meaningless details and words that are glued together to seem a longer unique word. If it starts with “I was thinking …” and that’s how it usually starts, be patient.
Example: “I was thinking … in a week, after work, hopefully on good weather, on August, 5…, 25th at 8. p. m., or at 7 p.m. around a roundmetaltable, on the woodenterraceofthatbar in the city centre, surrounded by people, but alone, maybe with you, maybe without you, depending on your will of joining me, a white unfiltered beer shall I have.”

If you’re Spanish girlfriend says “Soy constipada”, try not to feel shocked by such a gross comment for a woman. Give her a second chance, though sex might still be out of question.  It means she has a cold.

These are just examples. As we all know that communication is the key in everything, the only advice I can give you is this:
BE PREPARED and DOCUMENT yourself before most dates.

5. Rejection hurts. Especially when you’re the one initiating it
Rejection is something that is very probable to happen when you’re on the dating scene. However I’ve learned that for the normal person (who has a minimum of common sense) it hurts more when you’re the one rejecting.
I know, being rejected is like getting a slap in your face. Ok, ok. First time is like being slapped with a big bible. In comparison, rejecting is like a paper cut: it doesn’t seem like a big deal but it provokes a very very uncomfortable feeling.
But the simple truth is that the more rejections you get, the less they hurt. Instead, the more you reject, the more you start fearing the paper cut.
So this make it that most people chose instead of rejecting to go on hiding or just disappear.
This is, in my humble opinion, the worse situation ever because of the arguments explained in point 3 and secondly, because when someone who used to be more or less present just disappears, it feels like getting a door in the face when you thought that you were almost in. It not only hurts, but it leaves marks.

What I learned from dating in Luxembourg is that you need to learn how to take rejections with grace, and you need to learn how to reject with grace. It’s not an easy way but it’s the only way.

6. The only person who annoyingly gets in the way of your dream relationship is you.
Our generation has a problem of self esteem, besides the issues enumerated at the beginning. Listen to me people, this is a big issue, and it will grow in importance in the years to come, you’ll see!!
A few decades ago, the family was important for survival and the entire society was pressuring for it. Now the roles have changed and everyone craves for freedom, but we still live with the false believe that a relationship is suppose to limit your freedom, and to make you behave as society does.
In this we are missing an important point: there can be a better way! We are not made to live alone. There are people who are made for this, but the majority still has an ideal of love (see point 1). We can have healthier relationships, but this requires to find a partner with the same values, independent enough to not rely on you, but willing to have a companion. And here’s where self esteem comes into place: because if you don’t have it, you’ll always fear any commitment. And if you’re too high, and you’ll always fear that someone better will come along.
And if you’re not, if you’re sure that you found your dream partner and you’re ready to jump in the pool of a happy intimate long-lasting, enriching love, then remember that for your dream partner the above is also true.

 7. Tinder and other dating websites are just tools

             1. Go on Tinder.
2. Find a fling.
3. Screw it up if he/she doesn’t screw you first.
4. Curse Tinder for being a superficial environment.
5. Go out of Tinder for a few month / weeks.
6. Find out that real life is as superficial as Tinder is.
7. Go back on Tinder and dislike all the people you met before.
8. Complain that there is not enough choice in Luxembourg.

 Dating applications and websites are just tools, and they can be used for multiple purposes according to the creativity or the ethical principles of the user. There are and will always be scams, people who will take advantage of vulnerability, or misunderstandings. Some will like you, some will hate you, some will pretend to like you. It’s your responsibility to protect yourself, to weight wisely what is dangerous or not.

 8. Share your worst experiences with your best friends
I found it very useful to share the knowledge. I remember once when I met a guy who seemed nice on Tinder and it turned out that a friend of mine had dated him before. She predicted with high precision how the interaction was going to end.
In the same way, one time, a man I’ had met on Tinder introduced me to who is now one of my best female friends.
Also be aware that women talk (I don’t know about men, but I think is similar) and here the market scene is not so big. Speaking of big… that’s the type of information that can be very helpful and time saving for your friends, but careful: it can also be very misleading.
However, if you screw it up completely, be aware that in Luxembourg your reputation might precede you.

9. You’ll never walk alone
Some time ago, when I was in long term relationship, living with someone, I was terrified by the idea of being alone. Probably, without this fear I would have stepped out of it sooner. However, as soon as I did make that step out, I discovered that it’s not so difficult to have a social life outside the couple, especially in Luxembourg.
In the last two years I don’t remember to manage to spend one day alone. I was lucky to have cultivated a handful of friendships that came in handy in times of trouble and I earned new ones on the way. Turns out, nothing brings two women closer together than talking about their exes.

Plus, there was always someone with me and I used to forget that she will always be there for me: myself. And that’s the one we should always, always love first…

10. Don’t take it too seriously

Really, don’t  ;-)!