Truth and lies about marrying a Russian woman. Are Russian brides REALLY so honest, faithful, reliable and make excellent wives? What about their family values? Is it true that Russian women are more beautiful, feminine and stylish? And more...

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Your article about myths and Russian women was so absolutely informative
and fantastic. I've never read anything on this subject as excellent as
your article.

William (USA)


Great website. And one that is desperately needed to aid both parties. I have worked in Russia/Kazakstan for many years and can relate to many of the false myths you have clarified. I have been with my beautiful Kazak girlfriend for 3 years now and she is like a "breath of fresh air". We share our time between London and Almaty and I have never been happier. We have so many beautiful Russian/Kazak girl friends that are anything but the gold diggers some people portray. They just want the same as all of us. A chance of Happiness.

Rob (London, England)


It is the first time I have seen your WEB site and I was very impressed with what you said about the 'Myths'. I really do agree with your angle on things and I think you understand the dynamics of the whole situation very well. Not only that but I liked what seemed to be your way of thinking about what it takes to make a successful marriage/relationship. 
It's refreshing to read such things.

Clive, USA


Thank you for the time you've taken to put together a good 'Reality Check' for all the nonsense currently surrounding the notion of a Russian wife. While I think that many American men may be attracted to the fantasy of the Perfect Russian Bride (beautiful, young, easy and eager to please), your essays made clear the simple and wonderful truth:  Russian women are human beings, with all the glory and tragedy that comes with that condition.

Mark W., USA


I just stumbled across your excellent article "Russian Women: Myths and Reality" and I wanted to say Thank You for such an honest and insightful piece of writing! It's so helpful to read an honest and objective opinion. Clearly you have thought about these relationships a lot -- after all you live in one yourself -- and I'm impressed with the clarity of your insight and by the way you very honestly explain all the myths, and do not try to reduce your opinions to simple or easy explanations. Thank you!

Todd (California, USA)


Dear Lena,

I found your site quite by accident, and I must say I enjoyed it immensely. I'm a Russian myself, but have been living abroad for many years now. Loved your 'myth' section, very cleverly done and I must say you're a woman with a common sense (which sadly, I do not find so common these days). I am sure you are providing a great deal of support to our desperate single compatriots as well as to their foreign husbands-to-be. If I was looking for someone, yours is the site I would go to!! Thank you again for the wonderful read,

Yours sincerely
Tatiana

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Russian Women: Myths and Reality


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Marriage is not a word. It's a sentence. Life-long sentence. (Unknown author)


About Russian-Western marriages

Marrying a foreigner became a usual thing in Russia. The number of marriage agencies doubles every year, with a few hundred of them in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and few dozen in any regional city. Almost all people in big cities have a friend or acquaintance they know personally who found a husband abroad.

The position of society towards such marriages is obviously negative both in Russia and in the West. Nevertheless, there is a need for this type of connections from both sides. It looks like the number of Internet dating agencies which specialize on representing Russian women also doubles every 365 days with 5-7 new agencies registered by dating directories every week.

Thus, we have two types of stable representations about marrying Russian women: positive, originated from dating and introduction agencies, and negative, raised by society. In my opinion, they both are far away from the truth. I call these representations "myths", and consider them in pairs. The most common myths are discussed on this page, I've picked out 9 of them.


Myth 1. Positive myth
Russian women are more beautiful, feminine and stylish.
Negative myth
Internet marriage agencies publish photo of models to receive money for the false addresses from lonely Western men.

Myth 2. Positive myth
Russian women are not interested in careers and dream to be housewives.
Negative myth
Russian women are dependent, shy, reserved and don't want to work; you will have to feed a Russian wife for the rest of your life.

Myth 3. Positive myth
Russian women appreciate traditional family values, they are serving and sacrificing.
Negative myth
Half of the women featured by Internet introduction agencies are prostitutes, the others are already married.

Myth 4. Positive myth
Russian women are well educated and intelligent.
Negative myth
Russian women live in a completely different world, they are stupid in the simplest everyday things; it will be very difficult for a Russian woman to study language and adapt.

Myth 5. Positive myth
Russian women are very fond of Western men.
Negative myth
Russian women dislike Russian men. All Russian women are eager to escape Russia for the better life on the West.

Myth 6. Positive myth
Russian women prefer much older husbands. One can easily find a young beautiful Russian woman who will be happy to marry him.
Negative myth
Men, who are looking for Russian wives, are unattractive, old and desperate losers.

Myth 7. Positive myth
Getting in contact with Russian ladies will cost you almost nothing, so why don't you try?
Negative myth
Marrying a Russian woman is a difficult and costly exercise, and rarely will one succeed.

Myth 8. Positive myth
Russian women are not interested in your money or financial situation; a Russian girl will love you as you are.
Negative myth
Corresponding with a Russian woman is just a scam to make you send her money.

Myth 9. Positive myth
It will be a paradise on the earth after I marry a Russian woman.
Negative myth
Russian women are only after passports, and will divorce their husbands as soon as they have the passport.

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Myth 1. Positive myth
Russian women are more beautiful, feminine and stylish.
Negative myth
Internet marriage agencies publish photo of models to receive money for the false addresses from lonely Western men.

When you have a chance to visit Russia, you definitely will be surprised seeing so many beautiful women on the streets. Skirts and mini-skirts are still popular among many Russian ladies, showing their best. Foreigners admit that Russians dress very neat and stylish. It looks like they wear designer clothes for any occasion. Russian women appear to be happy being women. They are charming, and take a good care of themselves.

If you put in line a hundred undressed 18-year-girls from Russia and the West (please don't ask me where you can get such a view), it will be almost impossible to see any difference; but if you take fifty 35-year-old women from Moscow streets and mix them with 50 ladies from LA, you'll never be mistaken who is who. They dress differently; Russian women rarely get overweight with time, and the most noticeable difference - the expression of their faces. Russian women look much warmer and charming. It's difficult to explain; if you are in Russia one day, you will see for yourself.

The old proverb says: intelligence of a girl depends on her current hairstyle and dress. I can say the same about woman's beauty. You will meet very beautiful women all over the world, Russian women just make special efforts to look their best.

The bad news is: it will come over soon after you beautiful Russian wife is here. First months after leaving Russia I looked like a model from a magazine picture, now my usual clothes are jeans and a T-shirt. It's much more convenient, less time consuming, and I look exactly the same as all women around. In Russia I would never step away from home without proper make-up, now I don't touch my cosmetics bag for weeks. 

Russian women look so beautiful on pages of Internet catalogues that you wonder why are such nice ladies are alone and have to look for partners abroad.

The truth is that all women featured by Internet dating agencies were chosen from thousands of applicants. Most photos received by agencies in response to their ads feature ordinary, hardly attractive women, and there are no doubts why they are alone. The average Internet Russian dating agency publishes about 15-20% of the data received. Some agencies select only 1 from 20-40 candidates. The important parameters for publication of a woman's data are:

  • Age.  Agencies seldom publish data of women older 40 years.
  • Beauty. Agencies do not publish photos of ugly or fat women.
  • Children. Agencies prefer to publish data of women who don't have children or have only one child.
  • Language abilities. Agencies prefer women who can speak English.

The reason for all the above mentioned restrictions is obvious: Men do prefer young, good looking women who don't have children and can communicate in English. Because it's men who pay for the addresses, it's only a waste of time and Web space to publish photos of old or unattractive women.

If you look through websites where you can receive women's addresses and send letters for free, or the ones with a system of club membership, you'll easily pick up the difference: girls on the sites where you have to pay seem to be much prettier.

Do agencies publish photos of models or just pretty women who have never been looking for relationships abroad? The answer is: Yes.

It makes me sad; a while ago I answered NO to this question. But things change, and not always change for better.

According to the latest information, there are agencies that deliberately publish photos of beautiful women who never applied to their services. The aim of such "agencies" is to receive money from men for addresses and corresponding with "ladies". Usually such "agencies" do not give real women's addresses, all letters are sent to the agency itself or using its email forwarding service. "Scam" agencies usually do not have a website or host it with one of free services providers. 

Look for services that provide women's postal addresses and phone numbers in addition to email addresses, and you will be in better of even if they appear to be more expensive. Normally, good things aren't cheap or free.

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Myth 2. Positive myth
Russian women are not interested in career and dream to be housewives.
Negative myth
Russian women are dependent, shy, reserved and don't want to work; you will have to feed a Russian wife for the rest of your life.

Please remember: not all Russian women are the same.

The interest in career making depends mostly upon the woman's past. If she has a good education and used to have a challenging job in Russia, she will probably get fed up of staying at home in 3-4 months even if she enjoyed it a lot in the beginning.

For the majority of women in Russia being a housewife is a kind of unaffordable luxury: the economic situation pushes women to work to provide for their families. No wonder, it's considered as a sign of well being when a wife can stay at home, and a social status of a housewife is high in Russia.

At the same time in Russia it's much more difficult for a woman to make career than for a man. Looking for vacancies in Russian newspapers you will notice that 90% of the ads appeal only to male candidates. Pointing the gender as a requirement for a position is not considered to be a discrimination. Women are paid less, and have fewer career opportunities. Salaries in Russia are pretty small, and even a successful career doesn't guarantee good living standards.

All the factors together may explain why Russian women are not as interested in careers as their Western sisters. Family life gives Russian women much more satisfaction and joy. They probably would be happy "to make a career" but never had a chance (if one considers the word "career" in its Western meaning: high position in a stable company, high salary providing high living standards, status and respect). If you never had a chance to try a caviar, how can you say if you like it or not?

Even if a woman has reached a high position, she will never be considered as equal due to predominant men's chauvinism. She will have to prove every day that she is not a "chicken" (very famous old Russian proverb: Chicken is not a bird, woman is not a human being). Making career in Russia is what a reasonable person won't bother about: no money, no respect and to spend  lot of effort on it- what for? Dissatisfaction guaranteed.

Generally, Russian women are used to working. I believe, they like to work. They may be excited by the idea to become a housewife and dedicate themselves to their family, but will be able to provide for the family if they need.

Arriving in a strange country, a Russian woman is at a disadvantage as there are language barriers. The first few month she definitely won't be working but staying at home: she must get used to a different life style, customs and rules. She is not aware if her knowledge and skills are worth anything. When she realizes what she can get having a good job, and is able to get this job - well, you may be surprised.

READ ALSO: "Can a Russian woman find a job in the west"

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Myth 3. Positive myth
Russian women appreciate traditional family values, they are serving and sacrificing.
Negative myth
Half of women featured by Internet introduction agencies are prostitutes, the others are already married.

Both phrases above are of the wildest guesses I've heard in my life.

It may happen that some of women featured by dating agencies are prostitutes, though I have never heard about such a case. To be a prostitute in Russia now - it's a thing a woman in her sound mind will never consider as an option. Russian prostitutes are mostly uneducated girls from small regional towns, who don't even have a place to stay in a big city. Their monthly salary is only about $70-100. High class prostitutes from Moscow or St. Petersburg do get better income but I doubt if they apply to introduction agencies to get rid of this type of life.

If a woman knows English well and has a degree, she can easily find a secretarial work that will be paid better than prostitution. There is also high demand for sales people, who receive considerably good salaries. Being a prostitute is a thing that seems to be completely out of sense for a normal woman without a sexual disorder.

Another thing, a woman will never go into prostitution in her native city, or if she moved with her family. The majority of people in Russia stay in the same city for all their lives, generation by generation. Very seldom a woman moves to a strange city on her own.

What about having married ladies data in databases, it's closer to the truth.

Some of agencies don't remove women's data from their catalogs after the ladies are already engaged or even married. A Russian woman whom I know personally was in the database of a famous respectable agency. She received about 150 letters from the men through this agency, though the agency states that they sell address of a woman no more than 15 times.

After she was engaged, she sent a letter to the agency asking to remove her data. Letters continued to arrive. After she had got married she sent another request. This time the agency removed her photo from its catalogue on the Internet but the lady's parents were still receiving letters. Apparently the agency kept selling her address on requests from printed catalogues. The letters were still arriving 2 years after the lady got married!

My colleagues in Russia reported a few similar cases.

On the other hand, many ladies do not inform agencies when they get engaged or married. Sometimes women don't remember which agencies they have signed with, or simply don't think it's a big deal. Nevertheless, the percentage of the ladies successfully completing their search for a foreign husband is so small (not more than 5-7%), that it can't significantly influence the quality of agencies databases.

Another thing that does have a distinct impact is that even ladies who are not married or engaged may be not available after a while, and agencies are not able to gather this information. If a lady has a few correspondents, she is likely to disregard further letters, though she does not want agencies to remove her from databases. Why? She is not confident that things will work out with the existing correspondents, and doesn't want to start everything from scratch. My estimation is that after being in a database for 2-3 months, most ladies usually will have a few correspondents. They are not married, but they are not available either.

Well, let's discuss the next point. Devotion to traditional family values is the most important factor pushing Western men to look for a Russian wife. Generally, the meaning of "traditional family values" comes to accepting a situation when a husband is busy making a living, and a wife is staying at home taking care of children, making food for the family and so on.

The question of Russian women's interest in making careers was already discussed (see Myth 2). They consider the situation from a different point of view. In Russia women have to do all home work, and at the same time have a full time job to provide for the family. Taking into consideration the fact that in this situation many don't have the simplest utilities such as microwave, automatic washing machine and semi-finished products for cooking, it's clear that being a western housewife is just a peace of cake. If a Russian woman does not work (cannot work), for her it's a natural choice to run a house.

What about being serving and sacrificing, it's definitely not true. Again, all people are different, and Russian women, too. But generally, in my opinion, it's more educated, talented and smart ladies who have managed to find a husband abroad. It's a difficult task that requires serious prolonged efforts, and not any woman can do it. Russian wives are strong and pretty dominating. They know what they want. The only difference between them and their Western sisters is that they do not try to show "who is the boss of the house". They know that the shortest way is not the fastest. I believe, they get better results not showing off their strength but weakness. The man has steering control but the woman keeps the ship on her palm. 

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Myth 4. Positive myth
Russian women are well educated and intelligent.
Negative myth
Russian women live in a completely different world, they are stupid in the simplest everyday things; it will be very difficult for a Russian woman to study language and adapt.

Russian women who try to find a husband abroad are different from the rest of Russian females. They have heightened requirements towards men and living standards. Usually it comes with better education and life experience.

It's correct that people in Russia are better educated. The Soviet educational system was probably the best in the world. One could receive advanced knowledge, education was free and additionally she got scholarship from the government. There were special scholarships for the best students, for example I received a special scholarship, which was equal to the minimum salary.

After Perestroyka things started to fall apart but Russian education is still good enough and quite affordable. Anybody can still receive the best university education for free, all she needs to do is to prove her knowledge by passing entering tests. College education is even more affordable. Most professional schools are free of charge.

First time after arriving in the West a Russian woman can seem stupid because of her ignorance about simple everyday things. She probably doesn't know how to deal with kitchen equipment or an automatic washing machine. She is definitely not aware about payment by check or credit card.

99,9% of Russians use only cash as payment means. After quite a few occasions when money on bank accounts in Russia lost their value in 4-10 times for a few days, Russians do not trust banks and prefer to keep money in cash.

Please understand: she is not stupid, she just never used those facilities. She will get right with the things as well as the language. Russians do not need English or any other foreign language in their daily life. During the Soviet time learning a foreign language was considered as needless and even harmful. Russians received a chance to watch English speaking TV channels just a few years ago, and it's accessible only through cable TV, which is quite expensive.

I studied English in Russia for a long time, and foreigners usually said that my English was very good. Nevertheless, when I arrived here I could not understand people's speech. It was too fast for me. For the first weeks I watched TV almost the whole day long to practice. So don't worry about your Russian fiancée's poor English - she will learn quickly.  

READ ALSO: Russians: culture background, family and daily life

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Myth 5. Positive myth
Russian women are very fond of Western men.
Negative myth
Russian women dislike Russian men. All Russian women are eager to escape Russia for the better life on the West.

All these statements are pure lie. Russian women like Russian men. A Russian woman would prefer to get married to a Russian guy. Russian life is quite an adventure, and Russian men are smart and interesting to be with.

If so, then why the hell Russian women are looking for husbands abroad?

The answer is: they want to have good husbands. Russian men just can't make good husbands. Russian men are nice but Russian traditions of family life are not. When one grows up in a society, he acts according its rules and traditions. (Read more about that in the section Family Life of the page Russians.) It's not because he is bad, it's just natural.

I know a few Russian families that moved from Russia to another countries, and the wives are quite happy about the situation in their families. I believe I am also a different wife than I would be if I married a Russian guy and stayed in Russia. You can't live in a society and be free of its rules and customs.

The objective reasons why Russians can't make good husbands are alcohol abuse, and their poor health conditions. All have their roots in the society life. Women of 18 years old have no problems with finding appropriate partners of their age, and most of them do. The problems start later. The society and life conditions push men towards alcohol addiction, which cause in its turn problems with health. There are, of course, men who are healthy and take good care of their families, but they usually get married early and stay married.

There is also such a reason as demographic disproportion between men and women. Women outnumber men, and though this difference is not really huge (3-7% according to different issues), it gives a big absolute number of lonely women, who have zero chances to find a life partner. The demographic disproportion also does not take place in the age group 18-25 years old, and starts from the age of 30 and up.

The statement that all Russian women would be happy to escape Russia for the better life on the West is also grossly exaggerated. As far as I know, dating agencies have a permanent but limited flow of new applicants. Many women sign with a few agencies. According my estimations, it's not more than 100 000 women who are featured by different agencies, including Russian local marriage agencies. Some of the women have already got married, gave up their search or found a partner in Russia.

The majority of single women don't consider finding a husband abroad as an option. Even if they can't find a partner in their homeland, they would never leave Russia. Many women who signed up with agencies, do not perform an intensive search and have this way only as one of options. It's particularly true towards young women under 25 years old.

Population of Russia is about 150 million people with 77-80 millions women. Thus, the share of women trying to find a foreign husband is not more than 0.13% of the total number, and only about 0.5% of the number of single women. As I already said, for a big part of them signing with agencies is just a try, and they do not consider this opportunity as a real option.

READ ALSO: "What about Russian men? Are they all sexist alcoholics?"

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Myth 6. Positive myth
Russian women prefer much older husbands. One can easily find a young beautiful Russian woman who will be happy to marry him.
Negative myth
Men, who are looking for Russian wives, are unattractive, old and desperate losers.

Contrary to popular belief, most men who are looking for Russian wives, are in their 30's or 40's, good looking and have successful careers. I had a chance to check it on my own experience. The share of men older than 50 years was about 4-5% of the men who tried to contact me, with about the same number of guys who were under 30 years old (I forgot to specify age limit in my application to agencies - a usual mistake of female applicants). This proportion corresponds a normal client structure of any personals or dating agency.

Although Russian ladies usually get married to considerably older Western men, it does not mean that they do prefer older husbands. They just don't mind. Normally in Russia a woman will marry a man of the same age or 2-5 years older.

The reason why women still go for older foreign men is that if a woman has ventured to look for a foreign match, she wants to make sure she will have a stable life and security. Marrying a man who is older than herself she feels more secure than is he was of the same age, even though they would have the same financial security. In Russia it is not uncommon when men divorce after 30 and find younger wives - and this is the last thing that a woman wants to happen to her in a strange country. Women want to make sure their marriage to a foreign man will be stable.

It is true that one can get married to a Russian lady much younger than him, such as 20-30 years younger. It's another story what he can expect of such a marriage. Those marriages are not as stable as the ones where age difference is 5-15 years. If one gets married to a girl 30 years younger than him, he must understand a potential danger of this union as well as the real reasons pushing a young woman towards the decision. 

Even if in the beginning a woman has fair intentions to stay with her older husband for the rest of her life, she may change her attitude with time. It's normal for Russian women to sacrifice themselves for families and children, but one will adapt to the Western life style quickly, and start feeling miserable. She'll want to go to a disco, party, skiing, diving etc - and her older husband won't be able to go out as much as she wants. Once she goes out on her own, divorce is around the corner. 

Certainly, any personal situation is unique. Marriages between older men and young women always took place in real life, with many of them being stable and happy. If you are confident about your and your fiancée's feelings and intentions, nothing should stop you. Still better regret about the things done than about a missed opportunity.

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Myth 7. Positive myth
Making contact with Russian ladies will cost you almost nothing, so why don't you try?
Negative myth
Marrying a Russian woman is a difficult and costly exercise, and one barely will succeed.

When you start thinking about marrying a woman from Russia, you do not realize how much will it cost you. Making contacts with Russian ladies truly costs you almost nothing but to marry a Russian woman you will have to have some spare money.

If all you want is just to entertain yourself and then have a look what can get out of it, it's OK. Just keep in mind that you are also spending the time of a poor Russian girl who has serious intentions to find a life partner. Probably, you'd better join a chat.

The first thing you must decide it's where you are going to look for a potential bride. You may apply to one of numerous Internet introduction agencies and buy addresses of Russian women seeking a partner abroad, place a personal ad, or go for a tour organized by an agency where you will have a chance to meet hundreds of marriage-minded Russian women in person on so called "socials". Buying addresses will cost you about $5-15 per item. Personal listing - from $20 to $750, or you can place your ad at free services (I would not recommend using free services: they do not guarantee anything; and became a paradise for scam artists). The price of the tours varies from $2800 to $9900 including airfare and accommodation.

To marry a Russian woman you will have to have a deal with INS (or another immigration government service in your country, they all are made of the same s...ubstance). The necessary requirement is that you have met each other in person before you apply for a visa for your fiancee. To obtain another type of visa for a single woman in many countries is virtually impossible, and you can spend even more if you try; do not believe ANYBODY who tries to convince you otherwise (applicable to USA, Canada and Australia ONLY; Europe and other countries do grant visitor's visas to single Russian girls). So regardless of which option you have chosen, you will have to visit Russia one day. A standard tour will cost you something in between $1500-2000 + expenses for meals, gifts and entertainment.

Some men prefer to combine both options: they buy addresses and correspond with a few women for a while, then they go for a tour to visit the women before or after they attend "socials" to secure results; in my opinion it is a wise choice.

Regarding "socials", a personal contact is a personal contact, and this way may considerably speed up the process. It also may bring you a knock-out, and you will have to review your decision or strategy, which is why I believe establishing some contacts prior to the tour is essential.

While corresponding with ladies you must also be ready for some expenses. Probably, you would like to send a gift to your lady, or a book about your city/country. If you use a mail forwarding service (delivering a letter to Russia via regular mail can take 2-4 weeks), it will cost you $4-5 per 1 page. Then the necessary visit to Russia, as discussed earlier, it's at least $1500. Then visa application process and fees. When your lady is about to join you, you will have to buy her a ticket and probably supply with some money for her family that she lives behind.

I think you should not expect to spend less than $3,500-4000 (if you are very lucky), with some issues estimating the necessary amount in $10,000-20,000. From this point of view, it's quite stupid to try saving a few backs on the first stage when you just buy addresses from agencies or advertise yourself overseas. I know many cases when men returned empty handed and had to start everything from scratch. Quite expensive failure.

Use all opportunities, buy 20 addresses instead of 2, advertise yourself and choose women who meet your requirements 100% (at least, fit the most important criteria). I believe if you do something it's worth doing it well. If you understand the importance of making the right choice on the first stage, and act consciously, step by step, you will succeed.

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Myth 8. Positive myth
Russian women are not interested in your money or financial situation; a Russian girl will love you as you are.
Negative myth
Corresponding with a Russian woman is just a scam to make you send her money.

Russian women ARE interested in your financial situation, as well as you are interested in their beauty and good character. It's just normal. The other thing is that their understanding of a good financial situation is different. The average western family has living standards, which are accessible only for the top income group in Russia.

A Russian woman is definitely interested if you have a stable secure job to provide for the family, own a house or have another property. She of course will decide in your favor not only because of your money, but your financial security is of great importance for her on the introduction stage.

At the same time any your attempt to impress women with your wealth will receive a negative response. We all usually have at least two reasons for doing something: the real one and the one that sounds good. Russian women genuinely believe that the reasons why they are looking for a husband abroad are the lack of men in Russia and their terrible habits. They will tell you that the wealth of your soul is much more important than the wealth of your bank account.

Yes, it's true, but keep in mind that it's not all the truth.

Russian women are worried about moving to a strange country, and of course they don't want to plunge themselves in a worse situation than they are currently in. They do want to find a better life. It's an absolutely normal aspiration for a human being.

Nevertheless, if you obviously try to show a woman how rich you are, she will feel outraged and probably will reject you as too materialistic.

You could also have heard a lot about scams in connection with Russian brides.

Yes, such a thing exists. Russians are very good in fraud ventures, they can invent things you would never ever think of. No wonder that the matrimonial industry attracted the attention of scam artists too.

Usually it works like this: you correspond with a woman for a while, she is wonderful and perfect in everything, you feel as though you are falling in love with her and decide to meet in person. For some important objective reasons you are supposed to meet somewhere away from her native place: most common scenario is when a "woman" wants to visit you in your country (or in another country, or the capital of her country - but not in the city where she lives) and asks to sponsor her travel arrangements. The next scenario is simple as 2+2: you send her money for travel expenses, and it's the last time you hear from her.

Things like this do happen with Western men from time to time. What can save you from scam artists is a simple caution: do not send lots of money to anybody you have not personally met. Pay for her plane ticket directly to an air company, and only you will be able to receive a refund. If a woman tries to insist that it will be 2 (3,4,5) times cheaper for you if she buys a ticket in Russia herself, or that the "visa agency" requires to make travel arrangements through them, think carefully if you are ready to kiss the money good bye. (And remember, no agency, friend or relative can influence the decision of the Embassy to issue a visa. Do not send money for visas or tickets to USA, Canada or Australia! It is definitely a scam!)

It may be that she honestly tries to save you money, but I would recommend to avoid girls that are too good to be true. If she writes you letters that make you cry and sing, please remember that majority of Russian ladies have huge problems with expressing their feelings in general, and even more problems with English. (I also wrote a detailed manual on the subject of avoiding scammers from day 1 - click here for details.)

The number of people who try to take advantage of inexperienced love seekers is rather insignificant. All agencies are aware of scams, and ask their clients to inform them if a woman asks for money. The agencies remove immediately the data of those women from databases, and usually scammers work independently using Internet personals where anyone is invited to place a free ad with the system of club membership rather than specialized Russian dating agencies where you need to pay per address.

Nevertheless, if it's your first experience with foreign brides, you are likely to pick up a gold digger. Why? Because real Russian women are not perfect. They delay answering their letters and many still don't use email. They are  shy to express their feelings. She will hesitate to tell you how much do you mean for her, and almost never will express her love if you have not met yet. You definitely  cannot expect love confessions after 3-5 brief letters! It is not in their nature. Their letters appeal more to your intelligence than emotions. 

In contrast, gold diggers write beautiful letters that make you emotionally involved very quickly. They talk a lot about honesty and trust, and tell you sensitive stories about their life. They check their mailboxes 5 times a day (no wonder, it's their bread and butter), and you receive responses to your letters very fast. Their letters are very open, and they appreciate you very much. They fall in love with you almost instantly, without asking too many questions, and cannot live without you even though you never met in person. Usually a scammer will be much younger than you, and her attention flatters your ego...

I do not say that a real woman cannot be passionate, young and be honestly interested in you, but when everything is too good, things move too fast, without much effort from your side ("I thought I just got lucky..."),  it usually ends too bad.

Be realistic. Be especially careful if the age difference is more than 15-20 years. A beautiful educated woman without children can receive  10-15 letters every day from well educated successful men 5-15 years her senior. If she has chosen you, there may be a reason - does her reason sounds good enough for you?

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Myth 9. Positive myth
It will be a paradise on the earth after I marry a Russian woman.
Negative myth
Russian women are only after passports, and will divorce their husbands as soon as they have the passport.

An old proverb says that it's very easy to find a suitable partner for marriage: one just must be a suitable partner himself.

Another nice saying is: Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence.

Marrying a Russian woman does not have a principle difference from marrying any other woman: you yourself are responsible for your success. If you are truly in love with each other, nothing can interfere with your life-long happiness.

The only way to get what you want is to not fool yourself. Unfortunately there are some women looking only for foreign passports. If you are 65, have health problems, very average life and dream to get married to a girl of 18 years old, you may meet more than 1 of them.

The overwhelming majority of Russian women seeking husbands abroad are honest in their intentions. They want to have a reliable partner, happy family and stable future. They are not going to marry a guy just to divorce him in a couple of years. But they are also not going to take care of a man with serious handicaps devoting their best years to him. Sorry to tell you that, but if you are in a wheel-chair, your chances with real Russian ladies are slim.

You must not expect too much of your marriage to a Russian woman. It is not nationality which makes a marriage successful. It is honesty, respect, trust and mutual efforts. Russian women do have more experience and skills for developing successful relationships but it can't grow only from one side. If you are open and honest, and don't think that you can get something for nothing, then chances are you will succeed in marriage with a Russian woman.

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The naked truth about marrying a Russian woman

The truth about Russian women seeking love, romance and marriage in the West is that they are not exotic beings who are very different from their Western sisters. They are special in the sense that what you see in the Internet catalogues are only the best, and those best were chosen from a very specific category of women who were brave and intelligent enough to start this adventure. 

The only statement of dating agencies that is close to the truth, is that Russian women make good wives. Brought up in the situation where anybody depends on everybody (see Family Life for the details), they are very flexible and easily adapt to any situation. They are used to compromise.

Russian women seeking partners accept the rules of the game and act according to the representations originated from dating agencies. In some extent both agencies and women believe that all the positive myths considered above are true. Internal intentions stay invisible and sometimes even unconscious.

The nature of Internet acquaintances creates the illusion of personal contact that develops with a time into feeling of intimacy and closeness. Partly it's a result that despite a relatively prolonged communication, a potential couple still acts according to standards of "the first date" diligently demonstrating their best qualities (sometimes even non-existing) and disguising shortcomings. Mediated contacts speed up building atmosphere of honesty and trust, which is initially false in its nature. Partners quickly move into an intimate zone where they can talk about questions rarely discussed even with the closest friends. The duration of acquaintance creates an illusion of a stable relationship.

In reality the partners are still strangers to each other. A personal meeting may confirm that the choice was right, or destroy this conception but still doesn't give a final answer. Marriages between Russian women and Western men are marriages between two people who hardly know each other. Success of those marriages depends on acceptance of the rules of the game for the both parties. An honest player will observe the rules securing the successful final of the game.

Generally this type of marriages have better chances for surviving than the ones entered in a usual way, even if it may seem absurd from the first sight. (According to USCIS (former INS) study, the success rate in international marriages is 80% after 5 years comparing with 50% of "normal" marriages - i.e. 4 international couples out of 5 are still married after 5 years while every second "normal" marriage ends in divorce. Makes you think!), the success rate in international marriages is 80% after 5 years comparing with 50% of "normal" marriages - i.e. 4 international couples out of 5 are still married after 5 years while every second "normal" marriage ends in divorce. Makes you think!)

Marriage through a dating agency gives the partners definite obligations towards each other, which they have to keep. The decision made is always conscious, and there is no room for blaming circumstances or the other people in a possible failure. On the subjective level a couple experiences a negative pressure from the society, which makes the partners stick together.

And you know, when you act in accordance to some role for a while, eventually it becomes natural for you. Generally, we all play roles during our lives, and playing a role of a good wife for some time changes the woman herself. A man has a good wife, but he is not married to the same person that she was in Russia.

The old saying is: "Nobody gets married to his wife. One got married to his fiancee, but it was a completely different person..." In the case of Russian - Western marriages it's suddenly true.

Thus, marriage to a Russian woman has good chances to be successful. Myths created around those marriages do not influence the essential content of life-long partnership, and don't change natural human aspirations. Happiness, fidelity and devotion have always been the most precious values in life, and there is no difference which way makes them work.  

The sun revolves around the earth, or the other way around - does it really matter, as long as it shines?

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