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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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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Elena
Guest
Thanks for sharing such interesting material! Among my friends there are many girls who were married American men. I can confidently say that they are fully happy! Of course, not everybody are so lucky, because every girl who decides to find a husband abroad meets many problems. I thought a lot about why girls are trying to find a husband abroad? I think the main reason is that the girls are disappointed in finding their love in their own country. And now they are looking for their love overseas. They are full of hope that the man of their dreams… Read more »
Kerry (Jules)
Guest

Regarding financial stability, while Ukrainian and Russian women may see a man who earns a salary of $30,000.00 per year as a prince on a white horse offering stability, keep in mind this level of income is low in comparison to the cost of living in the USA or Canada. If a woman moves to be with a man in USA or Canada, this income will not offer a whole lot of lifestyle choices. Absolutely, $30,000 per year in Ukraine would be a dream income.

Archibald
Guest

In my opinion women in Russia and Ukraine are tired of native unlucky men. They want to live happily and do not worry about anything. I think that only americans not russian can provide this life for women from post-USSR.

Starlight
Guest

That’s an issue for Russian women, as for they feel there are no nice candidates around. Russian men are so cold and closed! Women are seeking a person whom they can surround with love – that”‘s true, they really lack understanding and coziness.

Laura
Guest

For me, the main reason why Slavic women seek foreign males with a purpose of marriage is that thing: the more intelligent, educated and good-looking Russian or Ukrainian woman is, the harder for her is to find a match when it comes to marriage. Because local men who knows why don’t want to take responsibility and look forward in their lifes, they just lay on the sofa whole day and watch TV etc.

Geoff
Guest

I would love to find a bride this way

Nicole
Guest

I also heard that Russian women want to leave their country and use men from United states to get freedom. And build relationships. But in united states people cheat also. What makes a Russian woman think that a american man won’t cheat!?

Juliette
Guest

About a year ago and a half I was trying to find somebody special abroad. Dating sites, skype, emails… I had it all a lot. Reasons? Yes, I couldn’t find anyone here in Russia and most russian guys seemed boring to me while europeans… hmm, different languages, different manners.. I could learn the man of my life for ages. One of the most significant reasons was siberian climat as well.

Nate
Guest
Dear Elena, I have been writing to a girl from Orsk and she seems to be getting really hung up on me. It started out on Match and I thought that it would be a good way to keep each other positive in looking for love. Now it has turned into her wanting to move here to the states only after a few months. I think she is a great person, she works teaching music and dance to kids, until her boss made horrible advances toward her. Still I don’t know her really and I’m not sure if this is… Read more »
DPRK
Guest

Idk if this is true. Must be very elderly women. If alcoholism kills men by 60 then its women 60 and up who cant find men?

ElviraN
Guest

In my opinion, foreigners were always more attractive than men in your own country. The reason is probably in different attitude to women and life generally. Problem may occur in speaking different languages, but sometimes you don’t even need words to express the feelings.

Ludmila
Guest

In my opinion, the process of mutual penetration of cultures occurring in the world. Intercultural and inter-ethnic marriages solve mutual problems. Whatever we talked about taking care, about national traits of human nature, about the country, etc.

James
Guest
I totally agree with Elena. Once I discovered the difference between a Slavic woman and Western woman I knew I would marry a Slavic lady. The difference is startling. And western women are so against Slavic women for the old fashioned values they hold. Don’t be fooled; Slavic women are not easy to date or marry. But once you show and prove your sincere and honesty toward a genuine marriage they are the best woman to marry. I married a Russian woman who is highly educated, classy, very polite, has very keen manners, and loves me for who I am.… Read more »
Rebbe
Guest
Never ever married an old American man. As soon as the 3 months goes by, some men begin chasing younger college girls. Some of them are alcoholics. If you ladies from Russia or wherever you are If you are looking for a man with the Idea of taking care of each other. Some men do not look for that. They just want money beers fun and sex. Foreign ladies bring good and strength family oriented values We are like a diamond for them. But here in the Unite States, those values are lost, a lot less some college young girls… Read more »
Fan Wu
Guest

Hi,Elena!My parents and I live in Brisbane for 6 years.Generally speaking, I love this article!But some “big” questions still raised in my mind…
Does most Ukrainian and Russian man CANNOT or very incapable and inexperienced of doing any housework?(As the Grandfather Lenin promoted and encouraged Labor so much) or they can do housework quite well but just hate it?or they spend more than 10 hours in their workplace and TOO TIRED to do anything after they back home?or others…
Thanks!

ludwig
Guest

hi elena you know what i like todo with a women i treat them with respect understanding care and love that is the way how you must handel with a women they have the rigth on happyness

Cleetus Farragamo
Guest

Being from the “west” i have a hard time believing that a “young,beautiful woman” of say 30 would ever show interest in a 54 year old male.That’s almost totally unheard of here…!!!

anestikaaripova
Guest

In my opinion,it comes from childhood,when we see a nice cartoon as Barby,we all dream of handsome husband like Ken,big house with a large swimming pool,expensive cars and clothes.Almost all young girls think that if they go to America, they would have the same life,and many of them really trust in this fairytale.

splooge
Guest
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 well at least they arent lying. There is no 30 is the new 20. Kids are more healthy born south of 30 then north, where health defects such as autism increase. Remember we evolved at a time when we dropped dead at 40 so we procreated asap. Humans are still primitive… Read more »
John
Guest

There have been lots of Ukrainian brides dating sites,I read most of them are scams and just want to charge credits to chat or email?2. Is Ukrainian, Russia young girl do not care about men’s age? thanks.

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