Dating on his terms

Zoo If you play your cards right, that's exactly where you could be taking your Italian grandchildren in 40 years time...

He told me that he’s not emotionally in a place in his life for a serious relationship (due to ex baggage, etc), but he really cares for me and would like to keep seeing me.

He admitted that he didn’t know where he’d be in the future, but right now, this is all he has to give. I’ve dated people who I liked but didn’t want to lose, but went out to parties seeing if I could trade up. So listen to this man of integrity and take his sage advice. If he follows, you’ll know you’ll have yourself a boyfriend who values you and will follow you to the end of the earth. If he doesn’t, then he’s not all that serious about keeping you in his life, is he?

No ' No' means 'no' in both English and Italian - men, take note. But if you're buying flowers for your Italian girlfriend or boyfriend, they should be given in an odd number, for superstitious reasons.

That said, a bunch of 12 is perfectly fine on your wedding day. Linger over your dinner, have a philosophical chat. Ragazzo/a The Italian word for boyfriend or girlfriend, but it is generally used in the early stages of a relationship before things get too serious.

Aperitivo Photo: Ardo Beltz Let's start at the beginning.

The informal Italian aperitivo is a great way to get to know your new love interest on a first date, without breaking the bank. You need to conquer an Italian woman, so be prepared to put the hours in and dedicate yourself to some serious romance.

Punctuality is obviously appreciated, but it's perfectly normal for Italians to turn up ten to 15 minutes late for a date. Be warned - the turning point is normally when you go to dinner at their parents' house.

Gender roles Generally speaking, there is a more defined division of gender roles in Italy, which could cause problems for the first-time Italian dater.

Dutch dates The general convention in Italy is that the guy will pay for your date, so gentlemen should make sure they bring enough money to cover the bill in case she doesn't offer to chip in.

Early As in, 'don't bother being on time'. Fidanzato literally means “betrothed”, so when your Italian boyfriend or girlfriend starts referring to you as their findanzato/a it's a sign that things are getting serious.

In the UK and US, yellow flowers are a symbol of friendship.