Misconceptions about Russian/Ukrainian-Western marriage

False and unrealistic expectations as a road to a failed Russian-Western marriage: a married Russian woman’s thoughts about international marriage.

While browsing through Russian-Western marriage forums, I often run into one curious thing. On the Russian-language part there are always a number of posts written by angry and disappointed Russian and Ukrainian women who are unhappy in their marriage and blame their lazy, stupid loser-husbands. At the same time, on the English-language part, it is not that uncommon to see Western men saying that they married scammers, gold-diggers, psychos, etc., who went from being a sweet fiancée to a witch-wife in no time.

Russian women marriage

First of all, there actually are very happy international marriages. However, there are also not-so-happy ones and those that are simply miserable for both partners. I think it is important to address the issue of why these marriages don’t work out sometimes.

As I see it, one major reason for failed Ukrainian/Russian-Western marriages is unrealistic expectations. It is in nature of a human to think that somewhere there’s a perfect place where he/she can be happy and carefree and that somewhere there’s this perfect partner (usually on the other side of the world) that will turn his/her life into paradise. Such kinds of dreams are usually being vastly exploited by marriage agencies that simply profit from people’s most precious but unrealistic hopes.

Based on what I’ve heard and read, there seem to be two greatest misconceptions that stand in the way of a happy international union.

Misconception Number One about Russian women marriage: (Russian women are different)

First – the belief held by Western men that Russian and Ukrainian women are genuinely different from Western ones, and the belief held by Russian women that Western men are genuinely different from Russian ones. That’s what everybody getting involved in international relationship would like to believe. But what happens when people actually get married? They start living together and discover, often to mutual disappointment, that they are after all just ordinary men and women with all the same imperfections and weaknesses. How many times have I seen posts about horrible, lazy, intellectually and culturally limited, passive and boring French, Italian, Japanese, American and even Mexican husbands! Their houses are always messy, their demands are always unreasonable, their ex’s and kids are from hell, all they do is watch TV, and their best idea of entertainment is going to a football or baseball match. And of course, they can’t get even close to understanding that delicate and mysterious Russian soul. This is all written by women who start off raving with endless excitement about their Western fiancées and their difference from Russian and Ukrainian men. Eventually, they come to conclusion – all men are horrible. On each and every Western-Russian marriage forum, we see so many posts from Western men who praise unique qualities of Russian and Ukrainian women. However, you see hardly any of such posts from men who are already married. I think most of them will say that the differences aren’t that great after all, and they tend to fade even more with time.

In this case, differences in nature between men and women outweigh cultural differences by far. The ability to make a marriage work is something that comes from being a functional partner. It seems like this quality is lacking in Russians as well as Australian, Italian, Americans, etc, or Russia wouldn’t have such a high divorce rate. Blaming it on Russian men doesn’t seem sensible to me. Both Russian men and women are raised in the same environment, by the same parents, in the same culture. Gender roles are not that different, not like in some Arab countries. So how come it is claimed that women grow up to be functional and men do not?

Ukrainian women

Misconception Number Two: (standard of living)

I think when people get involved into international long-distance relationship; the challenge is even greater than with usual dating. You don’t have an opportunity to experience everyday life together, both man and woman are excited and try to impress each other and hide their negative sides. It all seems very exotic. Even if there are warning signs like differences in life philosophy, interests, ideas, and people tend to close their eyes about that, carried away by their heavenly romance. Sadly, often the more heavenly it is, the more difficult and disappointing it is to face the reality.

Your international marriage can actually be a dream

Your international marriage can actually be a dream. However, such a commitment is not to be taken lightly. I think while communicating with your Ukrainian or Russian future bride, it is very important to be who you are. Don’t try to impress her with something if you are not sure you’ll be able to keep it up forever. Don’t limit your encounter to a vacation in the Bahamas or Turkey for example. Try to spend time living “usual” life with her. Go grocery shopping, cook dinners, clean the house/apartment. Make an effort to find out what kind of person is there, behind the generic “Russian woman”.




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