A look at International Romance from both sides
Here's an account of how an international romance developed from the perspective of both the American man (Davis) and the Russian Woman (Nadia).
I had been looking around for a relationship for a while, and posted a personal listing on a few singles sites. Some of these sites catered to international relationships. My ancestors (great-great grand parents) are from Eastern Europe: areas that are today known as Ukraine, Poland, and Germany. So I had a kind of curiosity around meeting ladies in this part of the world.
On many of the singles sites, there are nearly as many ads posted by Russian Women as by American women. Some of them are from scammers, but most of them are legitimate. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to tell which is which without a certain amount of research and some correspondence. Whatever you do, do NOT send them money until AFTER you've visited them and met with them personally! Not for ANY reason! (The scammers have the most convincing and sad stories
don't fall for them.)
One piece of advice I'd offer to anybody posting an ad on any singles site is this: say what you want in a woman! Far too many ads contain stuff that people think the opposite sex wants to hear, and thus there is a common reputation that "everybody lies about themselves". Be honest and straight about yourself and what you want in a woman.
For instance, Russian women have a very different mental picture of what constitutes "the ideal man" than most America women. So, if you try to slant your ad to fit what you think an American woman is looking for, there are not many Russian women who will find you interesting! Guys that most American women think are "nerdy" and "overweight" are actually rather attractive to Russian Women . Being too thin or "buffed" is a sign of illness to them. Also, as I explain a little later, "older is better" in many ways, so don't go posting 10-year old photos of yourself just so you can appear younger and more attractive. It's a lie, and eventually she'll find out anyway. Honesty is always the best policy. Also, consider that there is somebody out there looking for YOU! If you're honest about yourself and your desires, you are more likely to find her than if you lie.
After a year or more of searching around the singles sites and a bit of "trial-and-error" episodes, I began corresponding with a Russian lady, Nadia, whom I met through one of the singles sites on which I had an ad posted. One thing I asked her early on was whether it would be easier for her to correspond with me through email, regular mail, or some other means. She was surprised that I even asked! (Guys, this is a HINT!) She replied that email would be most convenient for her.
We began sending emails back and forth. Hotmail.com and Mail.ru are very common free email services that many people have; however, their limitations are legion. One day I sent Nadia an email with ten photos attached. It came back as undeliverable, saying it was basically "too big". (She was using a free Hotmail account.) So I broke it up into ten separate emails, and then I got three of them back because now her mailbox was full. I sent a small text email to tell her, and it bounced back as well. I'm sure this never happens to anybody else, but ... being the clever guy I am, I came up with an idea!
Why not set up an area on my web site where we could post messages for each other? And a photo gallery, private chat board, etc. Well, it turned out that this was pretty simple for me to do, so I did. Over time, we've each posted several hundred photos for each other (most taken while we visited together in Russia and Prague), as well as hundreds of messages, and other stuff.
One thing led to another, and I added a few other features, and before long we found our little spot to be more like a private meeting room than a spotlight in a crowded nightclub like so many other web-based options that might be available. We still send emails now and then, but they are very rare.
Nadia loves to write, and told me she has always wanted to write children's stories. With my encouragement, she wrote a dozen short children's stories during the time we were waiting for her Fiancee Visa paperwork to get processed. After she arrived in America, she began working on the artwork, and now we have a children's book nearly ready for promoting to publishers!
It turned out that two factors conspired to make this scenario work. The first thing is that, unlike the majority of Russian Women, Nadia happens to be fluent in the English language. I don't expect that everybody will be lucky enough to find a foreign lady who's fluent in their own native language, but I did. It made things WAY easier.
(A brief note on language barriers: if a Russian Women is interested in a foreign man, it will make things MUCH easier if she starts learning his language BEFORE starting the search process. It might seem romantic to think about finding a foreigner you're attracted to, but having to go through an interpreter for even basic communication needs gets very old, very fast. If you're a foreign woman interested in finding an American man, LEARN ENGLISH SOONER RATHER THAN LATER! It not only demonstrates your desire and commitment, it also helps ensure that you're able to communicate enough to keep the relationship from turning into a short-term disaster instead of a long-term success. If you're a man corresponding with a foreign woman who can't speak or read English, copy this paragraph and include it in your next letter to the translator.)
The second thing that made this approach work is that Nadia visited an Internet cafe on a regular basis, i.e. almost daily. For us Americans, it's helpful to understand that it's not very common for people in Russia and many Eastern European countries to have computers and internet connections right in their homes, like we have here in America. Internet cafes are becoming increasingly popular in Russia and across Europe overall, making Internet access far easier for more and more foreign ladies. Still, the language barriers can be a problem.
Internet cafes in St. Petersburg and where Nadia lives (outside of St. Petersburg) charge 25-100 rubles an hour. The closer to Nyevsky Blvd. and the "downtown" areas you are in St. Petersburg, the higher the prices become (for everything). However, and this is the important point, Internet cafes are sprouting up all over the place!
I can't imagine developing a solid long-term relationship with someone who doesn't speak my language by writing letters that go through translators and take two or three weeks to wend their way through the snail-mail each way. The fact that Nadia was fluent in English was a HUGE plus to me. She also demonstrated her desire and commitment to building a relationship by visiting an Internet cafe almost every day where we exchanged messages. She enjoyed answering my questions, talking about herself and what she wanted, and she had lots of questions for me as well. Our relationship developed much like if I had met an American woman who lives in a city across the country and we had to wait a year for some reason until we could be together.
I hear many stories of men who meet foreign women who cannot speak English, who don't want to respond to mail and don't want to use interpreters, and take many days to reply to what's sent, only to ignore the questions the man asks. If a woman wants a relationship, she should be willing to put forth the effort needed to ignite it and keep it alive. I fear that too many men are willing to put too much effort into situations where the women are lazy and only need to put forth minimal effort to keep the man interested. I prefer to strive for balance in all my activities.
Looking for a husband is a good option, a real possibility! Here is something that helped me understand: HE is THE RIGHT ONE for me!
I don't remember exactly what I wrote in my ad, which I placed in a singles agency, something like: A pretty Russian young woman is looking for a kind reliable man for serious relationship. Age, looks not important, it's your heart that counts." And I added a couple of pictures.
I didn't have a computer at home. I rented one every day for an hour in a nearby Internet Cafe. I got a free e-mail box at hotmail.com and soon began getting replies from men who liked my pictures. The replies were so different, serious and not, many with pictures. Now I had to choose that one who seemed most kind, reliable and fun to be with!
Everyday, during one hour, I had to do a big job: check my e-mail, read the messages, download files with photos, compose replies and mail the pictures of myself. I was lucky to be fluent in English and able to type pretty fast! But anyway it was a challenge: some pictures that the men sent were too big and my poor e-mail box was unable to hold them all, so I always had to delete part of the old messages to get more storage area to get the new ones!
As my approach to corresponding was rather serious, I had to copy some facts from men's messages into a pad before deleting them, such as addresses, names and numbers... You may smile reading this, but some messages or pictures were really nice and it was a pity to delete them! But I had no other way out! The abilities of my e-mail box were rather limited. Besides, I was receiving lots of junk mail, which I had to sort out from the messages of my interest. What a waste of time and money!
One day, I got a message from a man from Arizona, USA. He was asking me how I'd prefer to correspond: by mail, e-mail or other means. He was the first one who bothered to ask! "He really cares of my comfort!" I thought and replied: "By e-mail!"
Then he invited me to visit -- no, not Arizona yet, but his private little web site, which he promised, I would enjoy...
As I discovered later, the site was not that little. It was like a virtual home with rooms of pages: one for messages, one for pictures, there was even a page with weather forecasts in Phoenix, Arizona, and the town where I lived. But the most wonderful thing I discovered there was a private chat board, just for two of us! It was great!
Davis is a programmer, and I'm not, but I found the site very easy for me to use! Davis and I agreed about the times we would both visit the chat and started to enjoy talking "live", getting to know each other better. We made our photo gallery and left lots of messages, and they were all kept there in the site safely! There was nothing I'd have waste time deleting any more. It was really very convenient and a lot of fun!
After four months if corresponding like this, Davis and I met in person in St. Petersburg, Russia. We spent two wonderful weeks together, getting to know more about each other, talking and sharing opinions, and it felt so easy to be with Davis, I felt I could trust him, I felt his kind attitude towards me, his support, his real and sincere interest and desire to be my partner, my friend and my lover, his wonderful, warm, respectful attitude towards my family (parents), so when he proposed me marriage, I said YES.
The next step to do was to collect papers to apply for the Fiancee Visa for me to enter the USA. One of the things the American authorities demanded was to give them evidence of our relationship. Having a private site like we used made it the easiest thing! You just print out any message, with the date it was sent on it, any picture... wow!
Later on, while the Fiancee Visa issue was in process, Davis and I met in person again in Prague, Czech Republic, and spent three unforgettable weeks in that romantic, beautiful city.
We took hundreds of wonderful photos of that gorgeous city. Guess what we did? We placed them on our site so that our friends in America and Russia could view them too! They all told us it was a wonderful idea!
Our communication and my relationship with Davis, the fact that he cared about the ease of our communications, that he was supportive and friendly, loving and devoted, open-hearted and sincere, and that he had a bright personality, all helped me understand that he IS the RIGHT man for me!