Jealousy in the Ukrainian culture


Question: My fiancée doesn’t want anyone to know that she is going to marry a Canadian and leave for Canada. Only her family and a few very close friends know about it. Is this strange or what?

Answer: When you live in an impoverished country where nobody has anything worth while in their lives, jealously of others who stumble upon good fortune is a serious problem. A life in Canada is certainly something that most Ukrainian would be jealous of. One of our ladies clients experienced this behavior from many acquaintances. At work, her salary was cut in half because the boss felt that she didn’t need the money since she had a Canadian boyfriend.
 

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It may seem extreme to say that Ukrainian people can only find joy in another’s misery, but sadly this is what things have come to in their culture. Ukrainians hate to see anyone with something better than they have. While Canadian usually express jealousy towards the success of others by attempting to out do them, Ukrainians are more likely to try pull them back down to the same level of general misery as everyone else. Whenever one Ukrainian comes across some good fortune, everyone but family and the best of friends will go around bad mouthing him/her or go out of their way to do this person harm. In regards to your fiancée, nothing could make people happier than to see her engagement cut off. This is one reason why she is not telling many people about her situation.

Another reason is because Ukrainians are very superstitious people and one such superstition is that if you talk about something, then it won’t happen. This is at the heart of one Ukrainian trait that drives me crazy - lack of planning ahead. They just don’t do it. Canadians plan elaborate vacations six months ahead of time. Many Ukrainians don’t do this because they feel that if they start thinking about it that it will not happen. Another our woman client from Kiev who on a Thursday evening couldn’t tell us whether or not she was going to Odessa on Friday. A trip to Odessa is an undertaking, yet there was absolutely no advanced planning. Thus, many Ukrainian women are reluctant to talk about future plans such as marriage or moving to Canada.
 

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