If you are a big fan of the Porsche 911 and dream of one day buying one, there are plenty of places online that allow you to mingle with fellow dreamers and lucky owners. You can discuss models, prices, editions and become part of the 911 community – a far more rewarding experience than the old fashion practice of gazing at a catalogue.
But car enthusiasts aren’t the only people with forums on the internet. If you’re partial to women from Eastern Europe and dream of one day marrying one, possibly for a modest fee, there’s a thriving online community waiting for you, too.
One of these sites is the Russian Ukrainian Adventures discussion forum, which claims to be the busiest information and discussion forum on the internet about Russian women. It’s the starting place for many hymeneal adventures. The site was started by Stuart Smith, an English man married to a Russian woman.
He describes his reasoning for acquiring a Russian bride succinctly. “I was fed up with my local overweight feminists… Slim, white, educated, non-feminist women were to be found in the FSU.
“Men want women who look, smell, dress and act like a woman. Increasingly, they must go abroad to find them. Gender roles have become blurred in Western society. Men want women who are feminine, not feminist.”
Men want women who look, smell, dress and act like a woman. Increasingly, they must go abroad to find them.
The perception of Former Soviet Union women being both “not feminist” and “open to foreign relationships” are the core reasons many members give for their bridal search, but not the only ones. Donhollio from Canada described the reason for his search like this: “Because all the local hotties I had I let them slip by me.
“And now they aren’t so hot, or they got married…. I can go to the FSU and maintain my level of girl that I once had here.”
It’s an opinion shared by another site member called 1msmoby. “Realised I could still find an attractive, intelligent, well educated ( and sexy !) woman in her late thirties / early forties – whose kids were nearly grown up …a lady who was ready to marry, again.”
Others, like user tolstoy55, simply have a type. “I continue to find the the Russian-type woman – native or an immigrant – to be quite adorable.”
And some men, like Locally57, are convinced looking East is the best way of finding true love. “I have gone through a bad divorce… What I am seeking is a souls mate [sic]. It appears by all I have read and those that I have met, that Ukrainian ladies are true romantics, so am I.”
Definitely not mail order
Users of the forum are keen to point at that they are not participating in the “mail order bride” business, a label which the media uses “unfairly”. In a discussion on the subject, a user called fireeater from Canada suggested a rebrand.
“To me this term [mail order bride] is antiquated, International Dating is more appropriate today. You have local internet dating today in so many forms, international dating is just as extension of that.”
Paul, a member from the US, was also keen to banish the term. “Why do so many agencies need to use the term/phrase? I know, I know,… because a bunch of desperate guys like sitting at home and typing ‘mail order brides’ into search engines, who wants to be associated with them?”
It is almost certainly for this reason that site is called “Russian Ukrainian Adventures” instead of a variation on the insulting term “mail order brides”.
Scams and the apparent Russian bride scam industry are a frequent topic of conversation on the site, with members such as commongander from the USA soliciting opinions on the validity of relationships they are pursuing.
“I joined Dream Marriage a year ago, and have been talking to one girl for almost that entire time… Anna is 23, finishes her Master’s Degree in Psychology in November and also owns a salon/spa. I am 43, an industrial electrician and divorced…
“I have given her flowers and a webcam via Dream Marriage, but she has never asked me for money or a gift. I do not think that she is in any way dishonest or trying to scam me.”
This immediately rang alarm bells for seasoned pro Stuart, the site owner. “Her age, coupled with a twenty year age gap, and a very long communication period that involves no direct contact would tell most here that this is going nowhere fast.”
Another member, Mikeav8r from the US also gave a warning. “Move off the site and go to a free site or pay for membership only site.
“Avoid the PPL and PPM (Pay per letter and Pay per minute) sites as they are jam-packed with fraud. Start over now before it is too emotionally and financially draining and it places a bitter taste in your mouth so you can give this FSU adventure a fair shot.”
The fear of being taken advantage of is constant, and users such as shakespear frequently implore wet behind the ears members to exercise caution when pursuing the best “bang for buck”.
Clearly the Ukraine possesses the highest “bang for your buck” in finding an economically disadvantaged “blonde” lady
“Ukraine. While Iceland may have suffered the worst financial collapse of the global recession, Ukraine has also received a dubious honor: It had the priciest sovereign credit-default swaps for the first quarter of the year…
“Is it any wonder why western men are flocking to Ukraine? Clearly it possesses the highest “bang for your buck” in finding an economically disadvantaged “blonde” lady willing to trade her youth and beauty in exchange for the potential of a better life in the west.
“But is she REALLY doing it because she loves you? Or are you setting yourself up to be yet another Day 731 failure statistic?”
Another frequent topic of conversation on the site is sex. As one popular thread puts it: “Intimacy at a first visit, yes or no?” The thread was started by Randy who had a delicate question.
“I met a Ukrainian lady and we have hit it off exceptionally well with emails for 4 months. I will be visiting her in another month and staying with her. I am 60 she is 48. I have read many times that sex discussions are taboo to these women so I have not mentioned it.
My question is when I get there what should I do? I do not want to offend her by not showing interest if she is expecting me to and I don’t want to offend her by showing interest to early in our relationship.”
Members are always keen to help and Randy was given fifty five pages of advice. The best of which probably came from a user called mendeleyev, who suggested Randy and his love interest take a personality test and compare notes.
“Here is a new idea – both of you go to POF.com and take the extensive free POF chemistry “personality” tests http://www.plentyoffish.com/poftest.aspx and relationship needs tests – there is an extensive section about physical needs and desires and once you both take the full tests – you could compare notes as a reasonably discreet ice breaker and might discover some things about each other that you may wish to ‘explore’ further”
Unsurprisingly, the topic of age difference is frequently brought up in the forums and lively debate is had on the thorny issue of appropriate age gaps. Men who have been successful in acquiring a younger bride such as DonA often seek to reassure those worried about large age differences.
“A couple of years ago Yulia [twenty-five years DonA’s junior] and I were having a discussion about her Mom and how her Mom needed to change the way she was doing some things. Yulia said to me that I needed to understand that her Mom is a lot older then me and it would be difficult for her to change things at her age.
“I told her ;Yulia your mother is only 7 years older then me :o Yulia, while bug eyed said…oh yeah I forgot about that
“Women in my age group do not do a dang thing for me. Why go with someone who you aren’t attracted too?”
Jinx, another user, is more cautious and offers some sage advice based on his experience.
“Nataly and I have a 17 year age difference, she is 23 and I am 39. The only problem I have with this kind of gap is that she is of course at a different time in her life right now, figuring out what she wants to do with her life, going to University, looking for a good job…all the kind of stuff you do in your early 20′s…
“it’s also a very emotional time in your life, if you guys can remember back that far :P Remember when everything was such a big deal? When it seemed like the world would end because you didn’t get the job you wanted, or your car broke down?
“Dating a younger woman takes LOTS of patience and understanding, and part of the reason these women date us old guys is because we have been through it all, and can help with our infinite wisdom! ;D Russian women do like their men to be “like wall” and to be their rock during these emotional times, this is where our experience and wisdom comes in, and why these type of relationships work so well.”
Finding a Russian bride isn’t cheap and many users join the site in order to learn more about the financial outlay involved. As member JimSavage put it bluntly: “How Much Can You Expect To Spend Pursuing This Endeavor”
He was not short-changed by the amount of advice given. shakespear, a veteran of over 20 trips to Russia, was the first to warn of under-calculating. “Many people underestimate the cost of getting started in this process or seem reluctant to commit even small amounts of money in order to build their own personal learning curve.”
Like many others, Larry urged JimSavage to rationalise the outlay involved by considering how much money is required to obtain a Western wife. “It’s true that this search is not inexpensive. But then neither is dating in my country. My annualized dating expenses when I dated here totalled more half of my annualized FSU search expenses.
“I’m pushing $20,000 in my two-year search and I’m still not finished. Well, I’m fairly sure I’ve finished searching but she is not here in the US yet, so I will incur more expenses for my next visits to her and later her one-way trip here.”
AvHdB from the Netherlands recommended not viewing the outlay in monetary terms. “The expense can be seen in all sorts of ways. But one way is what is a pearl of great value worth?”
Stirring words, but perhaps not enough to soften the news of how much the process could end up costing: Turboguy from the USA made clear the damage done to his bank balance. “I was probably on the high end of expenses and trips and did about 25 trips stretching over around 15 years. I figure somewhere between $125,000 and $150,000.”
Communicating with women, let alone foreign women, can be tricky and members often ask for advice on how to broach topics with tact. rhayes026 was seeking guidance on a particularly delicate matter: “Hello again everyone. A woman has contacted me and seems genuinely interested. I like her profile a lot. But she is overweight by 10-15 kg.
“I would like to know how to politely ask her if she will go to the gym with me to lose weight (I could lose 10kg myself)… Would it insult her if I mention this?”
Wild Orchid, an Eastern European woman who has happily married to an Australian was quick to warn rhayes026 of the dangers. “I would be very insulted especially if it was coming from a man with extra weight. I would be more acceptable to the request from some one very slim.”
Stirlitz, a Ukraine based guide/marriage-agent also weighed in with advice borne of experience. “Why not find another woman. There are plenty of thin ones.”
Deep and meaningful
Surprisingly, topics on the site can be deeply philosophical, such as the thread “Tiger Woods And What Lessons He Can Teach To All Men Seeking A Bride In The FSU”. Here’s an extended quote.
“Some years ago, I had a wise friend who told me, “No matter how beautiful the woman, I’ll show you a man who is tired of having sex with her.”
“Such appears to be the case with world-class golfer Tiger Woods. He’s married to one of the former top fashion models in the world, Elin Nordegren, yet he was compelled for some reason to have an affair with with cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs and possibly with sleazy night club promoter Rachel Uchitel.
“What can the western man seeking a bride in the FSU learn from this tragedy? Plenty!
“When courting in the FSU, MOST MEN will have the opportunity to socialize, date and have sex with quite probably, the most physically beautiful women they’ve ever been exposed to in their lifetimes. During the courtship process, it’s easy to get carried away with the short-term gratification you get by having sex with the most physically attractive woman you’ve been with in your entire life.
“However you need to remember that this is not the foundation you want to build a relationship upon. Successful marriages are built upon the solid foundation of emotional commitment, common goals and mutual trust and support. Beauty fades as the years roll by, but the traits listed above become stronger with the passage of time.”
For men new to the game, the forums offer many strategies for maximising the chance of a successful outcome that they might never have thought of. For instance, shakespear is big proponent of targeting single mothers.
In the FSU any unmarried lady over 33-35 is in serious trouble finding a husband.
“In my opinion, men who are REALLY serious would do well to look in Russia, specifically women in the 25-35 age group with one child. These women are very unlikely to remarry in their own country and they are seeking a nice man to provide them emotional support, love, companionship and a solid father-figure for their child. Did I forget to mention the majority are very attractive as well?”
Another user, mendeleyev from Russia confirms the theory. “Call me crazy but this is the safest strategy for a man over age 39. My Dad always said that the way to a woman’s heart is to love her children.
“In the FSU any unmarried lady over 33-35 is in serious trouble finding a husband. Society discounts her prospects and local men understand this fact. As there are many beautiful single ladies over their mid 30s the chances for success for a typical Western male is really quite good.”
And as TomT points out a child is a useful bulwark against getting ripped off. “It is the epitome of foolishness to avoid women who have the best possible reason for wanting a stable relationship: a child.”
Love wins the day
The world of “international dating” is a complex one and often attracts negative commentary. The industry has even been accused of being “a softer version of human trafficking”. But perhaps it’s unfair to judge the male and female parties taking consensual part in it.
The men might be looking for younger, better-looking women with “traditional values”. The women might be influenced by factors other than the men’s exotic western charms. Nevertheless, most of the men on the forum seem sincere in wanting to find love. If by studying their options, and spending time and money, they can find a bride and make her happy, one has to ask: why judge?