In Lithuania, dating is less accentuated than in some Western societies, as the number of lifetime partners (including sexual partners) is much lower among the Lithuanians. However, with no “arranged marriages”, Lithuania has more dating than most Eastern societies.
The majority of Lithuanian couples and families are formed through a rather slow relationship transformation from that of classmates, co-workers, friends or otherwise into that of a boyfriend and girlfriend. However, there is also an active “dating scene” where casual relations are practiced.
Dating practices in Lithuania
Traditionally, nightclubs were the most popular place to purposefully seek for a person to date, especially for one night stands and short-term affairs. However, the majority of families in Lithuania are made by people who met their spouse somewhere in their lives, e.g. school, university or workplace.
Recently, dating somebody met online became a common practice. In the 2000s, this was still something acceptable just to some people, while by 2010s most of the youth (and some middle-aged people) have accepted it as a possible alternative. Initially, the meetings would be arranged through Lithuanian “friend-finding” websites, which were somewhat out-competed by “Tinder” in the mid-2010s. Unlike in some Western countries, such services are often dominated by those seeking long-term or “serious” relationships rather than casual sex (for that, there are special websites).
With a lifetime average of just 3 sexual partners, the majority of Lithuanians actually spend their lives outside the “dating scene” altogether. So much so, that the concept “(s)he is dating somebody” had no translation into the Lithuanian language until some 2000s, when the journalists who translated English articles about the American film and music stars came up with a direct translation susitikinėti su kuo nors.
For those who do date, it is common for a man to pay for the woman during a date. However, the prevalence of such practice decreases as the seriousness of the woman increases. Women who are into one-night stands far more often accept (or even demand) such arrangements (and also gifts) than women who are into serious relationships.
In some cases, this “payment for a woman” is a thinly-veiled form of prostitution. In Lithuanian dating websites, one may find women profiles where sex is listed among the interests and “gifts”, “richness” or “sponsorship” are among the preferred “qualities” of a man. Often, the “price” such women expect is high and, on the higher tiers, may include demands for gifted cars and expensive jewelry. The women who effectively “sell themselves” long-term this way, are known in Lithuanian as “barracudas”, usually a derogatory term. Their boyfriends (and sometimes even husbands) are, typically, rich men who seek a pretty (and often younger) girl beside them. Foreigners are a common target of the barracudas as well, as they are believed to have wages high enough to satisfy their tastes.
If a long-term relationship is a goal and “barracudas” are to be avoided, it may be advisable to avoid the situation where a man pays for a woman altogether.
Foreigner dating in Lithuania
Lithuanian men like to say that Lithuanian girls are the prettiest in the world. Indeed their looks are not that far away from the Hollywood-inspired global ideal: their skin is fair and merely a few are overweight. Furthermore, a significant part of Lithuanian girls and younger women follow the so-called fyfa style that emphasizes their femininity (high heels, heavy makeup even for Saturday shopping).
All this together made Lithuania a popular destination for foreign men to seek dates.
it is no longer the early 1990s when many Lithuanian girls believed every foreigner to be rich and famous. There have been many sad public stories about Lithuanian girls who discovered something very different than they expected after moving abroad (suffering abuse and losing their children after divorce due to laws preferring local citizens in custody battles). While a stereotype of “fiery southerner” (e.g. an Italian or a Spaniard) may have prevailed among Lithuanian women in the 1990s, currently such sad stories have likely outweighed it.
Furthermore, Lithuania itself is now richer (even if lagging behind the West somewhat) thus a British or American working-class salary no longer seems to be miraculous to the Lithuanian girls.
If one would like to date a Lithuanian girl for the aforementioned stereotypes, he would perhaps have more luck somewhere further east instead, where economic conditions are worse (e.g. Ukraine).
For foreign women, dating a Lithuanian man may often be difficult. The expectations for a female beauty, dressing style and attention to girlfriend’s looks a “regular” Lithuanian man would have may be unattainable for somebody overweight or unwilling to regularly dress up. Likewise, to a Western girl, some of the qualities some Lithuanian guys are so proud to possess may seem rather dull. Their “great cars” will likely be “just regular” by the Western standards and the same would go for their salaries. While the overprotectiveness could get to the nerve of a Western girl.
For such reasons, the couples with a foreign man and a Lithuanian woman are much more common than those with a foreign woman and a Lithuanian man.
Of course, all these are just stereotypes that only work for some half of the population (however, this half is disproportionately represented in the dating scene, for example, nightclubs and “Tinder”). If one’s expectations and qualities are different from the stereotypes, finding a right person may be harder, although, if you do, the probability of a successful long-term relationship is higher.
It is my thought notes that are formed as a result of the impressions I have lived and experienced in Lithuania.