Russian Woman Journal
Point of view

Friday  29 October  2008

DOUG R. (England)

Simple Misunderstandings


How and why do British men marry Russian women?

This is about how and why British men and Russian women decide to marry.
How such relationships succeed or fail. Which particular matters create trouble.

Sometimes each person has a different ideas of what they mean by the words they use.
Simple misunderstandings may spoil or perhaps ruin an otherwise good relationship.
I hope to identify such traps.

First impression- Don’t forget, there will only be one.

As explained in other articles, Russian women present themselves in public to their best advantage. They take great care to display their pride in themselves.

For some British men, accustomed to a diet of sloppy uncaring British women, this Russian feast has immediate attractions.
It can overwhelm the average ‘starved’ British man.
A better phrase to describe their impact is stunning.

Russian women have natural physical advantages, to which they add or enhance to produce those stunning results.
So there is an immediate strong but superficial, sexual attraction.

Misunderstanding number one: She will always look like that.

For those wishing to take matters further, several problems soon arise.

Misunderstanding number two: Language.

Few British men speak Russian.
Some Russian women speak English. More seem able to write English.
In my experience, English teaching in Russia has room for improvement.
Many Russian women think they can speak English, but they can’t.

But ‘love will find a way’ as someone said.
Language difficulties can be overcome, given time.

Misunderstanding number three:
Intellectual and Educational Compatibility

How do the couple’s intellectual capacities compare? After the initial excitement, realism needs to emerge. A relationship between a British road sweeper and a Russian brain surgeon will not last long.

I hope it is not condescending to say how surprised I was at the high standard of Russian education.

Social Standing
Every society has levels of income, standards of life, and general hierarchy within which citizens live work and play. These remain in balance unless threatened by some exterior force.

But look! Here comes the internet- an exterior force with considerable power and influence.
What effect does this have on us? It breaks down the barriers.

This disturbs the status quo. Nobody enjoys being disturbed. This ruffles our feathers, it upsets our comfortable life.
Our worlds are suddenly much larger. It offers many inviting possibilities for each one of us.
But it also makes some of us uncomfortable. Not everyone likes change.

Misunderstanding number four
Reality Please.

The intellectual and social standards of Russian women displayed on internet are higher than those of the average British man looking.
The women were younger and better educated than a man would normally attract.

This seems not necessarily the case these days. Perhaps the internet is becoming a more acceptable way of meeting potential partners.
Maybe it is losing its old shadiness. But women need to be very much on guard.
Things have not changed that much, neither has human nature.
The internet hides many problems.

Social standing is important in any society.
How can a Russian woman form a judgement on such an important matter as a potential life partner? She has little to guide her. She cannot take advice from friends who probably know less than she does.
How can the relative social standings of British men and Russian women be assessed?
One way is to define their income levels, and professional status.

Misunderstanding number five
If seriously considering marriage, an all-important matter in Britain is family income.

They will both need to work to produce an income.

British entry visa regulations specifically forbid  fiancée to take on any work of any kind.

Most British establishments will not accept Russian professional qualifications.
It is unlikely a Russian graduate would be able to establish a suitable income level according to her Russian qualifications.

It is not impossible to obtain British acceptance of some qualifications to allow work in her own name. But it will take time, cost money and be impossible in the early years.
The income of the husband will be essential to a happy marriage.

Misunderstanding number six
Is he serious?

I was reading an article written by a happily married young wife.
She was worried about a friend of hers, more or less the same age.

They had grown up together, attended the same schools and universities.
But this friend was not married, had no prospects of even attracting a suitable boyfriend.
In fact she couldn’t remember a time when there was a boyfriend around her.
At University she had put her efforts into gaining a good degree.

On the surface all seemed well. She is now leading a successful modern woman’s life. She has a good interesting well paid job.
She always wears smart clothes. For her job she needs to be well turned out without being flashy.
She owns her own flat and car. She is an attractive competent person, full of fun and vitality, good company, nice to have around. She is a good cook. Her flat is tastefully decorated.

From her female point of view she would be a desirable catch as a wife.
No man seems interested. None wanted marriage with her.
What is wrong with her?
I don’t know. I have never met her. Does it help you to know about her?

Misunderstanding number seven
Some Fundamentals of Human Nature

It’s the men who compete, and the women who make their choice.
If not, you’re doing something wrong.

Attractive features are well known to women.
In a man confidence is attractive, cockiness not.
I imagine both are preferable to massive insecurity.
Stupidity is not a great ‘turn on’, unless you are stupid yourself which could make such a person attractive to you.

We like people who like us.
Receiving attention must be a strong aphrodisiac. It probably outranks all those other items that literature tells us is so important, such as ego, humour, looks, even lust.
Many outsiders try to analyse why some couples remain happily married and others not.
Is there anything more distressing to witness than an unhappy marriage?

Misunderstanding number eight
An article in Forbes magazine about two years ago claimed men should not marry career women.

They are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat and less likely to have children.
This opinion does fit in with common sense.

Having children will interrupt any mother’s career, more than that of an equivalent man.
If her husband turns out to be useless, such a woman can dump him and resume a lucrative income with a better independent life.

In contrast, Boston University published research claiming that such women have more stable and long lasting marriages.
Why? Because they married later in life and chose more carefully?

Strangers into friends.
Most cities can be lonely places. It is easier to socialise when some shared activity is involved. Self preservation barriers soon vanish when some shared experience is enjoyed.

Most cities have seen greatly increased interest in many special interest clubs and societies. London has over 700 ‘meet’ clubs, where singles can mingle without any implications or expectations.

Even belly dancing courses are busy.
I am not sure how useful such techniques would be considered by the average British husband.

But it shows what lengths single women will go to.

Other Traps
I mentioned various traps to happy marriages crossing this frontier.

Money Talks
As anywhere else I imagine family income must be top of the desirability list.
As poverty walks into a marriage so romance walks out.

Britain is a very expensive place. The husbands’ income will define the family’s living standards. Russian women should not allow any self-delusion on this point, either by her or her new husband.
Optimism is a fine thing but……
A willing wife can find her attempts to help her husband thwarted by bureaucracy and customs. There is very little she will be able to do, financially.

While you are both at the planning stage, do not ask the husband the question; what is your income?
Ask ‘what will we have available to live on?’
This must be a realistic figure. Life in Britain has many hidden costs, taxes and minor financial charges which can be easily overlooked in the excited enthusiasm.
Let the husband work them out based on his experience.

A Russian wife only needs to know: What is left for us to live on?

Misunderstanding number nine
British Social Structure
Russian wives are accustomed to friendly neighbours who enjoy a good gossip.
They happily share tasks and time with each other.
British wives do the same, but do not accept newcomers easily. These have to be accepted first. The famous British reserve is real. It is not personal. Do not be offended, be prepared.
I explained in an earlier article how such barriers can be breached, especially if children are involved.

Britain has two education systems running in parallel; private and public. Please read my earlier articles on this subject.

This famous fact of British life is almost impossible to explain with any clarity to foreigners. It is best absorbed over time. Worry about it after you arrive. Foreigners are given wide latitude for mistakes. So much depends on the social level a family expects to maintain. Just be aware of its existence.

Successful relationships between British men and Russian women are a well established fact of many marriages.
It does seem to be a situation where the total adds up to more than the individual pieces.
Both have much to bring to the marriage. These different cultures mix and match very well.

Planning may not be the most romantic obstacle course, but realism matters. You must make a serious careful well thought out plan. There are too many practicalities. They must not be ignored. But it has been done.

Many couples have shown it can be done, with care and common sense.
The winners have taken their time. They checked out the many pitfalls.

Children probably gain the most, benefiting from both cultures, the sort of access denied to their parents. They grow up knowing two modern useful languages. They learn tolerance of others’ point of view.

They are lucky kids.
Their parents will have learned what misunderstandings are, and how to overcome them.


DOUG R. (England)


Recent articles of Doug R.:


Published in Woman's Magazine Russian Woman Journal  www.russianwomanjournal.com - 3 October 2008

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