why-russian-ukrainian-women-seek-menI often receive media requests about American, Australian, or European men who date Ukrainian or Russian women. A few months ago a TV researcher from the ABC production team wanted to know in her preparing for a talk show why Ukrainian women strive to marry Australians.

I have been telling the same thing to reporters for already 15 years (my first interview to Cosmopolitan was in 1999) but somehow it seems that the answer to this question is still not crystal clear, or maybe my version doesn’t fit the official interpretation.

So, allow me to put it concisely once again, circa 2015.

Why Ukrainian, Russian, or post USSR women desire to marry foreign men

She short answer: Because they are indoctrinated that they NEED a husband to be happy, and they cannot find a husband at home.

The whole cultural notion in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus is: A woman’s happiness is in her family.

She is not supposed to feel fulfilled making a career or pursuing her creative passions, but only once she is married with children. Politically, this approach allows the male minority to keep the female majority under control, restricting respectable women’s interests to household duties and self-maintenance (keeping themselves looking beautiful for their husbands). Females are underrepresented in governing bodies, with male chauvinism being an officially acceptable social attitude.


EM couple: Erik and Victoria (USA & Ukraine)

Single women are constantly told by people around them that they should find a husband. Even if they do not want one, they are relentlessly pointed out that their social value is low because they haven’t managed to snap a man.

  • By the age of 22 a woman is considered deficient if she is not married.
  • By the age of 25 a woman giving birth to her first child is considered “an old mother” in the official medical terms.
  • By the age of 30 a woman is considered a spinster.

The cultural and social standard for women in Russia and Ukraine is to find a man to marry, and then bear children and take care of her family. A man is expected to provide for the family. Even if a woman is educated and has a great career, she feels deficient not having a husband, as she is living in a society that looks down upon unmarried women over a certain age.

Women are taught that anything goes to get a husband, and many believe that they have to hide their intelligence, talents, and abilities, and try not to earn too much money, or they will not find a husband or won’t be able to keep one, because he will feel insecure if she is smarter or earns more money than him. (Feel free to read comments from real Russian and Ukrainian women on my blog, you can easily translate them via an online translator.)

In a way, marriage to a foreigner is a step to a greater freedom, which allows a Russian or Ukrainian woman to escape this restrictive social structure and develop her abilities and talents, even though her primary motivation in seeking a partner abroad is to realize herself as a wife and a mother, and not to build a professional career.

How demographics contribute to the situation

Demographically, from about the age of 30 there are more women than men. Total males to females ratio is 86/100 in Russia and 85/100 in Ukraine. You don’t need to be an expert to see why it’s hard for a woman who hasn’t found a partner by the age of 30 to get married.


EM couple: Damon and Vika (USA & Ukraine)

Early deaths in males are the major reason for significant demographic imbalances. At birth there are 106/100 males to females both in Russia and Ukraine. (See Ratio of males to females by country, Wikipedia)

One of the prevalent reasons of early deaths in men is alcohol abuse, causing fatal accidents and health issues. An average life expectancy is only 62 years for Russian males, and 63 years for Ukrainian males.

In comparison:

  • in Australia life expectancy for males is 81 years, nearly 20 years or 30% longer
  • in the USA males live on average 76 years, which is 14 years or 23% longer
  • in UK a man is likely to reach the age of 79, 17 years or 27% longer

(See Life expectancy by country)

Compared to figures from 10 years ago, life expectancy in males decreased in both Russia and Ukraine, and the overall sex ratio imbalances increased. It’s not getting easier for Russian and Ukrainian women to fulfil their Destiny.

What marriage means for women from Russia and Ukraine

The reason why Slavic ladies seek to marry men from other countries is the same as for western females: to be together in sickness and health, love and cherish, care for each other. The preferred notion in Eastern Europe is still for a lifetime marriage, and divorce is considered a failure.

However, the meaning of marriage for a woman is not only partnership but also gathering a respectable social status. A married lady will value herself higher than her unmarried friends, because she managed to get a man to commit to her. An unmarried woman over 25 is looked down upon, as she was unable to find a man who would put a ring on her finger. In a way, women are brainwashed that it is their purpose in life to find a husband.


Jerad and Ekaterina (USA & Russia)

A woman commented on my Russian blog:

“Everyone knows what the meaning of life is. For women it’s mostly their family and children, and who doesn’t have them, then it’s men and work. For men its work and women. Thats it. Simple and clear.”

Another lady wrote:

“I believe that the meaning of life is family. A woman should find a worthy husband and give birth to a child. And all her life she should look after her children… A woman is a woman for a reason, so that others love her and she is loved. And even though some may say it means the same, but that’s exactly how it is.”

Another young woman chimed in:

“The meaning of life, as I see it. To give birth to a child, to find a beloved man and live with him happily for the rest of my life.”

Why Russian and Ukrainian ladies don’t want to marry men from their own countries

They do. Russian and Ukrainian girls have relationships and marry local guys every day of the week. However, some women, due to reasons of personal nature (involvement in studies or career, high requirements, insecurities, poor communication skills etc.) are unable to find a man to get married. As they mature, the demographical profile of their age group changes, and women outnumber men, making it difficult for single females to find a partner for a committed relationship.


Simon and Tatsiana (Australia & Belarus)

Russian and Ukrainian women decide to join international dating sites only when they have run out of options at home. Very few people ever have a dream, “I only want to marry a foreigner.” They date at home, aren’t successful in finding a lasting relationship that could potentially lead to a marriage, and then they look around and try other options, which they believe could give them what they want — a good husband.

After reaching the age of 25 a single woman becomes rather desperate to get married. Many girls who hastily jumped into marriage at 18-20, get divorced within 1-5 years, and often left to bring up a child on their own. Father’s participation in kids’ upbringing is usually limited to paying alimonies and rare visits. Sharing custody is a foreign idea for Russians and Ukrainians, and children usually live with their mothers. A woman with a child is considered “damaged goods”, and has fewer chances of remarrying.

What makes foreigners attractive to Slavic ladies

The common notion to believe that Russian or Ukrainian women only marry western men to immigrate is totally wrong. If this was true, foreign men wouldn’t need to make several trips to Ukraine trying to find a bride; ladies would take any foreigner and wed on the spot. But it’s not so.

Truth is, living in a better country does make western men more attractive to Slavic ladies, but only because foreign guys have the traits that Ukrainian and Russian women value in their partners: fidelity, ability to provide for a family, a respectful attitude towards women. However, girls also have other requirements such as age difference, education, desire to have children in a marriage, and others.

The major difference here is the level of requirements. Just like with average salaries, what you consider basic in your country, may be “a dream come true” for someone in Ukraine or Russia.

For example:

  • Australia’s minimum salary for casual employees is $16.87/hour, plus 9.5% pension fund contribution by the employer on top of that, effectively $18.47/hour.
  • Ukraine’s government employees earn today $200/month. That’s less than the lowest paid Australian employee will earn in 3 days.

Martin and Elena (Canada & Russia)

Social differences:

  • Most western men don’t cheat on their wives. Most Russian and Ukrainian men cheat on their wives regularly or from time to time; it’s a husband who never cheated on his wife who is extraordinary.
  • A woman who is the only one taking care of the household without any help from her husband is rare in western countries but it’s a norm in Russia and Ukraine.
  • Most men in Russia and Ukraine abuse alcohol, which is one of primary causes of early deaths in males. While it’s a problem in other countries as well, the scale of it differs dramatically.
  • Domestic violence is a huge issue in post-USSR countries. Only in Russia 14 thousand women die every year due to injuries inflicted by their partners or family members. Police prefers to stay away from family disputes, and there is no system of protection orders and quick actions on acts of domestic violence. Most Russian and Ukrainian women either suffered themselves from gender violence, or know someone who is in an abusive relationship. Cultural norms encourage controlling behaviours in men. For example, the vast majority or Russian and Ukrainian women see jealousy as a sign that their partners really love them, and believe that a man who wouldn’t take “No” for an answer is genuinely attracted to them.

If you think of living conditions and social norms for a woman in Russia/Ukraine, western women lived like this in 1950’s. As American and European women had fewer rights back then, Russian and Ukrainian women in today’s societies are brought up to bow to men, even though on paper they are equal.


Marcus and Oksana (USA & Russia)

Although people in Eastern European countries have all the modern gadgets, computers, mobile phones, unlimited Internet etc., most of them live in small apartments and use public transportation to get to work. The recent economic crisis where both Russian rouble and Ukrainian hryvnia lost 1/2 of their value, only made the situation worse, with price hikes in all sectors, and family incomes remaining the same. Current salaries of Ukrainian government employees are only $200-300/month.

In this situation, where a single woman’s biggest concern is to find a “worthy” husband, a candidate from a western country with a yearly income of $30,000 looks like a prince on a white horse.

  • He can provide stability for a future family, which most Ukrainian candidates cannot.
  • He is less aggressive and more polite in general.
  • He is ready to get married, while most local candidates prefer simply to live together.
  • He doesn’t think she is too old if she is 25-30, and doesn’t see her children as a problem.
  • He doesn’t abuse alcohol.

Is it any wonder he seems amazing to Russian and Ukrainian women, no matter how he looks? As long as he is of an appropriate age group, he is likely to be accepted.


ElenaAbout the author: Elena Petrova is a qualified philosopher and a Certified Life Coach. She has been working in the industry of online relationships since 1999, and is the original founder of the international dating site Elena’s Models.


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Nelson Usoro
Dear Elena, I enjoy this article but I will add points in some areas. To start with,Russian women are very polite,cozy and respectful.The reason for them to behave this way is good family upbringing.Again, the former USSR countries do not involve in narcotics-hard drug peddling,which makes the Russians(both men and women) more decent in behavior than their western counterpart. The major reason that there are fewer men than women in the former USSR is that from history,they have being fighting series of war. The first was with Britain when the British wanted to colonize them.Although Britain defeated Russia in the… Read more »
John Cassidy

American men will marry not to have fun but for love and companionship andhave no problem marry women who have children from previous relationships. I married a woman who has a child and we’re very happy.


so sweet


It’s very entertaining. I can tell that a lot of my friends were married to men from Germany and Austria. But I always wondered why is it so? And only now, thanks to you, I understood why girls choose a foreign-man. I understand foreign men, because we have the most beautiful girls. But I can say with confidence, our men – are the best men of the world.

Theodor Gleancy

Hm.. Intresting. I always ask why our women marry Americans, German, and so on. And only now i learned it. In my mind It is not bad but today our counrty has one problem. It is decreasing the number of people in Russia. What do you think of this ?

My opinion – we are loosing our future. And this is our fault. Males in Russia, flushing their happiness down the toilet and pour it by any kind of a hooch instead of trying to move on. Ofcourse, our ladies didn’t want to be with such a man like this. But also, i don’t think that running through the border is the way. Problems need to be solved, not abandoned. There’s a numer of my friends have a beautufull family with two or more children. That’s means that all is not lost. Ladies! Love your men and they will turn… Read more »

There is no doubt that Ukrainian and Russian women think about foreigners as about something special, unknown and at the same time as about men who do care. This care concerns future family. It seems that men from their own country don’t pay much attention to this. So, they have less chance to get married. Should have been more provident!


Some of my Ukrainian girl friends wasted lots of time trying to build relationship with foreign men. The scripts were the same in different girls. At first a foreigner was like an amorous prince. He wrote exciting romantic e-mails, messeges and came to Ukraine several times, told about future marriage. And then is nothing but promises to come once more and deep feelings left in his heart. Building of relationships and a family is not an entertainmen for Ukrainian girls. Do not forget about it!


I think this is a very important and discussing theme nowadays. And really why russian women always want to marry a men from other countries. I think the answer is right here- women need stability in life and faith in the future. Men from european countries or from America can give it to them, but russians… Maybe it’s because of the character. On the other hands, not important which nationallity is your husband – it is important who he is.

Speaking on behalf of russian girls of 20something, I can say that nowadays there is a clear social disbalance. While there are a lot of beautiful and interesting women living in Russia, the situation with men is rather sad. Most of them lack musculanity (basically due to the reason stated above – demografic fall in last century due to the wars and repressions). As the result, those who were lucky to be born attractive and well-built become very demanding and arrogant when it comes to relations. Therefore, russian wmen tend to underestimate themselves, but as soon as they go abroad,… Read more »

I need a woman to marry


Thanks for this such interesting material! I’ve never thought before why Slavic women want to marry foreign men. By the way, I agree with you, Elena, that domestic violence and abuse alcohol are most huge problems in Russia. Hope that it will disappear in the future.


I think our women go abroad in search of a better life. Americans, Canadians and the rest of them seem to be better off than our men. + They are not sure they can do to improve the quality of life in their own country, so go all made.

Mark L
From my communication with Russian and Ukrainian I have learned that they seem to be attracted to the fact that even though I live in the US I am originally from a Slavic country myself. This does seem to support Elana’s points that these girls would rather have a man that is from their own country. Reasons why they are looking to foreign men seems to be different from girl to girl but obviously they all have a reason. Interesting point brought up by Alexandra about lack masculinity in Russian men. I find that notion surprising because this exactly same… Read more »
Dear Elena Hmmm, I have read your account and analysis of why Slavic women might prefer to look for a husband overseas. I agree with the demographics and leading causes of male mortality etc. But my personal experiences and having visited Ukraine several times is rather different. First of all, I am professionally qualified and with a reasonable income. I have travelled extensively in my work and for personal reasons. Am used to living in multicultural/foreign locations, usually have a hire car when I visit and remain mobile. I dress appropriately and smartly and always pay at the end of… Read more »
In reply Elena I never give money to the girl I am dating, this money was given to the translator as advance payments for the English lessons. But of course with the third example the funds were released by the teacher/translator (to a woman from this site by the way), in the second example the payments for lessons were also made to the teacher but the girl never bothered to take them up or turn up for many lessons. Despite the fact that her profile stated advanced level English, it clearly wasn’t the case but at the time she was… Read more »
Thank you for writing this, as an American male I was skeptical as to what Slavic women’s true intentions were with dating foreign. This has cleared the issue up for me in helping me decide that this is how I will find a wife at some point. Another interesting article/blog would be why Western men don’t want Western women. For me, I constantly ran into the same issues: Career was more important to them than family. If they were going to have a family at all it would be small, maximum of one to two. Divorce rates are laughed about… Read more »

I live in Ukraine. And in my opinion, women want to marry a foreigner because they dream of their fairy tale, the respectful attitude towards them. They dream about men which could support their families. Abroad the family is very much appreciated. And in our country to marry and to divorce doesn’t mean anything to most men. Family values are not available.

Dear Elena Thank you for this informative article. It is sad to learn the facts of such early deaths of Slavic men, ……many times I find on this site a young 40’s lady shows she is widowed…with child.. It is alarming to discover so many women die at the hands of domestic abuse of their husbands. As a man who truly desires a lady who is sincerely ready to find his best friend , final lover and beloved wife to treasure and adore forever…..your site is by far the best in the world in my opinion. And these articles which… Read more »

As for me, I think Russian women want to build relationship with foreigners, because there is the opinion that men from other countries value women more than Russian. By stereotypes Russian men are rude, aggressive and variant. Women want to live in confidence that they won’t be back on.

I have a woman friend in Ukraine who was seeking for a men from abroad and she succeed in this! She was not so happy in her life. her husband died several years ago, she has, bad education, low-paid job, adult daughter, small miserable flat, etc., and she desired to start the life from very beginning. She was (and still is!) pretty attractive, a bit thoughtless, not selfish and very friendly. Her husband is a man from Switzerland who is well educated, speaks several languages and has a good remote job in IT industry but was too rational thinking, skeptical… Read more »

In my opinion, men from other countries seem to look more interesting and kind of mysterious for Russian women. There are a lot of international couples where there is a Russian woman and other European man. And these unions are successful most of the time because for Russian women it’s easier to understand European men’s lifestyle than, for example, Asian men’s lyfestyle.

Love Live

Usually foreign men much better and are gentler to women! Some girls go for foreigners not because of love but because of money and well-being of his future offspring. It is a pity that women who do not want to get married, society oppresses and despises. Stop doing it! Any woman, married or not, the beautiful!


There is a huge competition among beautiful women in our country. Most of slavic men spoiled by extra attention and with the fact that many women ready to start intimate relationship after a couple of dates. With such temptation they can not stop only in one person and for years are looking for the best.

Men that goes from another country to find love, wimen always think that they are loosers and they using them in a short or long term plan to get away from bad circumstances to a get to better country, with better jobs, better living conditions, better salary, more men with higher standard to choose between, Looks will take them all the way (men are visual idiots) so they put all effort to look good and you will allways find them pamper them self i shoppings, spa, gym for this reason and of course unsecurity as the live in a mens… Read more »
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