I have tried to recall he hundreds of conversations that I have had with many men who have attempted to find a Russian Bride through methods other than my own and I have come up with a comprehensive list of the most common mistakes that most men make when searching for a Russian Bride. These are the things that I have seen and heard over and over again. These are the things that don't work for most men or are at the very least extremely inconsistent. These are the mistakes and assumptions that are not only due to the misinformation and myths perpetuated on most "Russian Bride" sites, but also due to the "denial" factor.
I have found that many of the men that I have talked to have completely bought in to the all of the myths and blanket statements that they have read on the internet on sites that are marketing machines, just because the company putting out this information looks professional or has a forum on which anyone can claim to be an expert. Despite having actually made the trip over to Russian or Ukraine, in some cases several times, having been disappointed in each instance, many men that I have spoken with continue to believe that their half super model / half Martha Stuart is just waiting over there for him to come and rescue her from small insignificant life and that she is dying to go with him to a foreign land. Despite my telling them of my own experiences and successes, those of my clients and friends not to mention the warnings of other experienced men and actual Ukrainian women, many of these men continue to believe the myths. They want it to be true. They need it to be true. Unfortunately, many of these men cannot or will not listen to reason and experience. They will continue to make the same mistakes over and over. Hopefully this list that I have put together will help some men to see the light. Keep in mind that some men have been successful and lucky at some of the things that I will talk about as being ineffective or inconsistent, as there is an exception to every rule, but most men have found these things to be ineffective and disappointing. The idea is to tell you what has not worked for the majority of men and to keep you from repeating their mistakes. No one is the "burning bush" so to speak on this subject, but I can share with you things that I know don't work the majority of the time and help you to keep your guard up.
1) Believing that finding a Russian Bride is Easy
This is the most common mistake that most men make, but it's very understandable considering the amount of misinformation that is out there. The majority of "Russian Bride" sites out there perpetuate the myth that they are giving away brides and the airport in your nearest Russian or Ukrainian city. They make it seem like you must rush right out and get one before they are all gone. The fact is that most men, myself included, are taken in by the glitter and glamour of many of these sites even though they probably know deep down inside that it may not be as easy as it seems. You would think that common sense and a bit of good old fashioned skepticism would come into play at some point, but I talk to men every day that are down right shocked to hear that its not as easy as they have been led to believe, they are shocked by the tales of insincerity, dishonesty, miscommunication, indecision and even the length of time and the amount of money that it takes to get this done. Most men, believe it or not, think that they will go over and get engaged on the first trip and that it will work out for a life long commitment. The biggest problem with this is that it makes the fall twice as hard when reality sets in.
When I went on my first tour, even though I approached the whole thing with guarded optimism, I was still very disappointed when I found out the site I had put so much faith in turned out to be less than advertised so I can imagine how a man who has bought in to all of the propaganda out there might feel. The reality of the situation is that almost every man that tries to find his Russian lady will run into frustrating problems at one time or another that will make him question if this is really worth all of the effort. It is anything but easy. There are a myriad of problems, confusion and other issues that can arise with correspondence, socials, dishonest or incompetent agencies, travel, and visas, not to mention the ladies themselves. If you are thinking about doing this, know upfront that there will be problems and setbacks, that's a given. The important thing is to realize that and approach this whole thing from an intelligent and cautious standpoint. If you are realistic and use some common sense you will eventually find what you are looking for, but if you believe everything that you read on most Russian Bride sites, then you are more than likely in for a big disappointment.
2) Believing that because they are American that they can get any woman that they want.
It's very interesting to me the mindset of some of the men that call me. It is clear that they have no concept of how the rest of the world views us. Some of them have even traveled quite a bit and still they can't seem to get past their U.S.A. rose-colored goggles. I can't tell you how many times I've heard people say "there are more people trying to get into the U.S. than all other countries combined." Yes, that may be true, but from a global perspective that number still represents a very small percentage of the entire world's population. Heck, many of the people that immigrate here don't necessarily like Americans.
NEWSFLASH: Most of the world hates Americans! Yes, whether it is jealousy, fear or just good old fashioned hatred, being American can bring out the worst in some of the people that you meet abroad.
Another NEWSFLASH: Until about 15 years ago, America was the Soviet Union's most feared and hated foe. That perception doesn't just go away in a decade and a half.
That being said, many of the women that are seeking foreign husbands do realize that the standard of living in the U. S. is significantly higher than that of most of the rest of the world. In addition, many of them realize that America is on the short list of countries to which they might eventually be asked to move. However, that doesn't mean that they will go with a man whom they are not attracted to simply because he is American. Being American may not hurt your chances, but it probably won't enhance them either. It most certainly won't turn you into Don Juan over night or make you appear more desirable to a woman who is really not attracted to you. I talk with men on weekly bases who think that they will go over to the former Soviet Union and suddenly "morph" into Lancelot simply because they are an American. Most think that they are going over to rescue some poor Russian woman from her meaningless, dreary, insignificant existence. Although in many cases life in the former Soviet Union can be difficult it is all these women have ever known and in many cases they are extremely happy and love their homeland very much. I know my wife was very happy with her life in Ukraine and she misses it dearly. Being American can be a positive for you, but don't expect women to swoon over you simply because you are from the states. If you go over thinking otherwise, you'll probably be disappointed. Confidence, sincerity and stability will help a great deal more than being from the United States.
3) Choosing whom they will meet before their trip based on profiles, pictures, letters and phone calls.
One of the things that seem most natural and logical is to write someone over the Internet, get to know them and then go over to meet them. Its only human nature to want to know or at least have an idea who you will meet or be considering before you make the trip over. Although some men get lucky and live out the fairy tale correspondence and meeting, this happens for very few men. The chances that you will pick someone from the Internet out the thousands of sites and hundreds of thousands profiles, based purely on their profile information and pictures are extremely slim. It does happen for some, but for most it is just something that has happened to someone else.
Choosing whether or not you are interested in someone or not based simply on a few pictures is not wise for several reasons. First of all, unless you have some special insight or unless the woman in question is a friend of a friend, etc. you have no way of knowing if the woman in the profile is really seeking a husband, if she is really the one doing the corresponding, if her pictures are recent, what her motives are or most importantly if you will have any chemistry whatsoever once you meet. Another thing that you should consider is putting the shoe on the other foot.
Do you want a woman in whom you think you are really interested making a decision on whether or not she is interested in you based only on your profile, pictures or something you may or may not have said in a letter? Think about it.
The best way to decide whom to meet is to visit a real local marriage agency and ask questions about their ladies. Gain some practical insight into the woman from people who know her and the other ladies in the agency. Choose ladies whom it makes sense for you to meet based on something more than a pretty face in a profile and some seemingly compatible information. Of course you must make sure the agency is honest and sincere first, but that is another discussion.
4) Believing that you have developed a real relationship through correspondence
This is one of the most heart-wrenching parts of correspondence. Those who throw their hearts into the written word and believe that the person on the other side is an honest and sincere reciprocator do so at their own risk. Even if the girl is real and truly looking for a husband the chances that the two of will be meant-to-be is remote. I often feel bad when I have to explain to guys that there is a chance that the woman with whom they are corresponding might not be the one who is pictured in the profile and if she is, the only way that he will truly know if they are right for one another is to meet her face to face.
Until you meet and validate all of the emotions and feelings that were revealed in correspondence THERE IS NO REAL RELATIONSHIP. And the problem with that is that probably 8 times out of 10 there is no spark or chemistry between the two who were doing the corresponding and all of that expectation culminates in a real downer. It's kind of like being told how great a movie is and going to see it expecting it to be the next blockbuster and then finding out that it's just another flick destined for DVD! It's usually anti-climactic at best and that's assuming that you actually get to meet the lady with whom you've been corresponding at all.
Many men poor their heart into their letters only to find out that the girl didn't know anything about his correspondence and isn't really interested in him at all. Some are stood up by the lady in letters even though she claimed that she would love him forever if he would only make the trip to visit her. It's a nice idea and some men do actually realize the fairy-tale of writing to a lady and then traveling to meet her, their correspondence culminating in love at first site and a lifetime of happiness, but it happens too seldom to give it serious consideration.
5) Believing they can tell if a woman is real, sincere and interested or not based on her letters or even phone calls
This one is very easy to get sucked into. We all believe that we are intelligent and perceptive and that we can tell when someone is trying to pull a fast one. We all believe that we are excellent judges of character. Almost every guy that I have ever talked to who was in the middle of correspondence with a lady over the Internet has told me that they were extremely confident that their lady was really seeking a husband, aware of their correspondence and interested specifically in him. The mindset that makes us all believe this is part arrogance, part wishful thinking and part naiveté. It's the same thing that makes us believe that a girl who has cheated on a previous partner "would never do that to me!"
The truth is that some of the girls with whom you are corresponding are really looking for a husband. Some of them are even really corresponding with you. Some of them would even show up for a meeting if you were to travel to Ukraine or Russia… but which ones? It's very difficult to tell. I have yet to see a practical, full proof method of determining if your girl is truly the one doing the writing and actually interested in you short of traveling to Ukraine and trying to meet her and presenting her with your correspondence. Sometimes she is even an active and cooperative participant in the scam and that makes it even harder to tell. Even the suggestions I make in my chapter entitled "How to Tell if She is Interested or Not" are not fool proof. I myself have been fooled several times. I have presented my correspondence to ladies whom I was 99% sure were real, some of whom I had even talked to on the phone, allegedly, only to find that this girl had only found out about my existence the day of or the day before our meeting. I can't tell you how many times I have heard this story. It's a very sinking feeling to think that you are faithfully writing to someone and then, if you actually do get to meet them, to find out that you have been conned. Remember, the art of a good con is detail.
Some of these folks who depend solely on your letters for their livelihood are very good at their craft. They have done these thousands of times and they know what buttons to push to keep you writing. They are experts in what we call the "Subtle Scam." They con you out of 2-3 dollars each letter so they must keep you on the hook to keep the money train rolling. Some are much more obvious and less skilled at it, but still many men who want the fantasy to be true are taken in by it. Men send me letters on a regular basis filled with what I would consider to be "textbook" "Red Flags," but still many overlook even the most obvious. You must pay attention to the "Red Flags." If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck… etc. That being said, even the Red Flags can be misleading. Red Flags are not always an indication. Sometimes the girl is real and just doesn't communicate well or her interpreter is doing a poor job. You just never know. Don't be so foolish as to think that it can't happen to you because you are too smart and perceptive. It doesn't just happen to someone else.
6) Not being cognizant of scams
Every week I speak with unwitting men who have been taken advantage of in some way by a scammer. This is not surprising because there are some very clever folks out there perpetrating these scams. The surprising thing is that most of these men had no clue that they were being scammed until it was too late. The problem is that most men get caught up in the romance and the mystique of it all before they take the time to educate themselves. Many of the men that I speak with have already purchased airplane tickets, sent money over etc, before they finally decided to ask someone if they think that this is a good idea. When I begin to tell them about the different kinds of scams that go on there is often disbelief in their voices, as most had never heard of these scams before. Even with all of the information available I guess the message has not penetrated deep enough that everyone is aware of them. This is further evidenced in the fact that it is the same scams over and over again.
Unfortunately for many men, their heart and ego are their worst enemies. Many men want so badly to believe that the woman with whom they are corresponding is real and that they are perceptive enough to be able to tell if a woman is legitimate or not that's when they ignore obvious warning signs. At least once a week I receive an email or a phone call from a man who has been taken by the oft-perpetrated "visa" scam. I've gotten to where I can finish the story once they begin.
For those of you who are not aware, the visa scam is one in which a lady will write to a man for a while and then begin to profess feelings of love or something similar to him. Soon afterward she will say that she wants to come to America to meet him, but that she doesn't have the money. After the man agrees to pay her way here, a fictitious travel agent or some other official sounding person will contact the man and tell him that they can get a visa for the lady as well as an airplane ticket, in some cases, if the man will send over a certain amount of money. I can't tell you how many guys have fallen for this. A little investigation into U. S. visa requirements or a call to the USCIS would have more than likely clued the man in that this is a scam.
Unfortunately other scams are not quite so obvious. The subtle scam of keeping a man corresponding is one that is perpetrated every day on thousands of sites. You can't always know for sure when you are being scammed. Again the mark of a good con is detail and keeping someone who really wants to believe that everything is real, writing for a long time, on a per-letter or monthly pay basis, is really not that difficult. I talk to men every week who are completely oblivious to the fact the person that is actually writing to them may or may not be the beautiful lady in the profile and that actually meeting her may be easier said that done. Again, it's easy to let your heart, hopes and dreams overrule your common sense. After all, you're only human and you want to believe and hope for the best, but don't be so desperate and anxious to find a woman that you end up finding the very thing that you were hoping to avoid by seeking a Russian lady, dishonesty. The point is to be aware of scams, they do exist and when something is obviously suspicious, not to ignore it, seek advice when you don't know and whatever you do, don't send money to someone you have never met for any reason.
7) Thinking that large correspondence sites are actually marriage agencies
The uninitiated really don't know the difference between a site that specializes in virtually unregulated tours and correspondence and those that are actually "marriage agencies." How can they? Most of the sites look similar and offer similar services. The presentation is similar so it's completely understandable that one who is new to this whole thing wouldn't know the difference.
The reality is that many of the sites that specialize in correspondence simply buy their pictures and profiles from smaller agencies, many of which are actual marriage agencies, but many of them are not. Therefore, if the local agency from which the pictures and information are purchased is an honest, actual marriage agency then in turn the ladies presented on the large correspondence site will be genuine. If not then the converse will be true. Many of these sites will not vouch for the validity or motives of the ladies posted on the site, nor are they able or inclined to verify them. Also, keep in mind, setting up a long distance phone call for you to a lady in no way validates a lady's authenticity, any more than her letters do.
An actual marriage agency will be able to tell you something about each woman because they know them personally and they will be able to set up controlled, individual meetings with each of their ladies. A local agency will be able to give you some practical information on which ladies to choose for meetings once you are in their office and if they make their living setting up actual introductions rather than from selling pictures and profiles to correspondence sites and interpreting letters, they will also try to make sure that they are not infiltrated by dishonest ladies, as this would destroy their business.
Most of the time the large site doesn't actually know of any impropriety until someone complains or informs them that one of the girls on their site isn't real or isn't actually doing the writing. They act in a reactionary fashion instead of a proactive fashion in policing the women posted on their site, not by choice, but because that's really all the system allows for. I have an entire file full of profiles of women that I have taken off of many of the most popular and widely used unregulated and semi-regulated correspondence sites, some of whom are not even Russian, some who are prostitutes featured on escort sites or who are Internet porn queens, models, etc. In each case these ladies were eventually removed from the site in question, but the fact that they were able to stay there for some time means that someone was writing to them and being deceived.
Most large correspondence sites are really just a roll of the dice, not a legitimate way to find a wife. Some will come up winners, but most will go home losers. Do your homework and make sure that the site through which you are corresponding is an actual marriage agency or has solid relationships with the marriage agencies from whence their ladies come, with some legitimate way to verify that your letters are actually being received by the lady in the profile and not simply an unregulated or semi-regulated site filled with beautiful women from all over the former Soviet Union supplied by unverified sources. There is a huge difference.
8) Writing to Women via Unregulated or Semi-Regulated Correspondence Sites
What do I mean by regulated? Usually the word regulated denotes some official connotation. In this instance I am not talking about some governing body that checks sites, their ladies and correspondence for legitimacy. I am referring to how sites regulate themselves or in many cases, how they don't.
Correspondence can already be fraught with uncertainty, but adding an unregulated source to the mix is a recipe for disaster. What is an unregulated site? An unregulated site is one in which anyone with an email address can join and there is little or no monitoring of the content of the letters that are being written. Also, unregulated sites make no effort and provide no way to verify the legitimacy of the persons corresponding. Some of the most popular correspondence sites fit into the "unregulated" category. Is the site that you are currently using unregulated? If so you might want to look into finding a safer way to correspond.
What is a semi-regulated site? While recognizing an unregulated site is fairly easy, identifying a semi-regulated site is a little more difficult because they straddle the line between regulated and unregulated. By this I mean that they make some effort to "police" their members and monitor correspondence, but it is typically done in an inconsistent, "spot-check" and reactionary fashion. Semi-regulated sites may have some profiles and members that come from legitimate sources, but they also allow profiles to infiltrate their site from unverified sources. They also "spot-check" the content of the correspondence, but do not read, translate and monitor all of the letters themselves. They enlist the help of some of these outside sources, both verified and unverified, from whence the profile originated, to help them in the correspondence translation task. Semi-regulated sites also offer no real way to verify the legitimacy of the ladies featured in their profiles. They may be able to do it with some of the ladies on their site, but it is usually out of the question since many of the ladies are from unverified sources. Most of them will offer phone translation services, but this is really not a legitimate way to tell if the lady in the profile is actually the one you are speaking to or that she is really the one doing the writing. Semi-regulated sites are also hard to recognize because they give the appearance of being a legitimate "source" for finding quality Russian ladies, but in reality most semi-regulated correspondence sites are just the "middle man" that purchases their pictures and profiles from other sources. Many of the largest, most well known and widely used Russian Bride sites fall into this category.
Buying profiles and information from other sources in and of itself does not make the site semi-regulated. There are many other factors involved. If the site buys from well known, respected and legitimate marriage agencies with which it has some personal relationship and a solid verification agreement then this is an acceptable situation. The key is to have some process by which they can verify for you that the lady in the profile has actually received your letters, is legitimately the one responding and that she and knows about you. Typically, getting ladies for your site via real local "marriage agencies" is a much more effective way to go than just allowing anyone with an email address to sign up on their own. However, my years of experience in this field have taught me that the phrase "marriage agency" is a fairly loose term with most large correspondence sites.
Many large correspondence sites allow a source to become an "agency" simply by filling out a registration form on-line. As long as the applicant says that they meet the criteria for becoming an agency as set forth by the on-line registration agreement and they have a certain number of ladies, they can become an on-line agency. If this is how the site screens their agencies then it is really no different than allowing the ladies to sign up themselves on-line and then there will certainly be no process for verifying a lady's legitimacy. The lady will be as much a stranger to the "site" as to you.
Although some large correspondence sites do have trusted and verifiable sources from which they purchase their lady's pictures and profiles and some even own several of their own local agencies, it is usually a mixture of those sources and other less credible ones that make up the final tally of ladies, thus making them semi-regulated. Some of these sites even allow individual sign-ups from ladies on-line, in addition to their "agency" source, which in my mind takes us back to the "unregulated" category.
The key to whether or not a site is regulated begins with where they get the ladies in the profiles, however it does not end there. Even reputable sources and good agencies turn out a "bad apple" every now and again. If a site is only going to "spot-check" correspondence or leave the translation and forwarding of letters completely up to the local agencies that provided the profile to the site, then they are still semi-regulated. Allow me to elaborate.
When a site buys pictures and profiles from sources that they do not own, it is common that they will act in an email-forwarding capacity. In other words, they will trust the agency that sold them the pictures and the profile to also do the translation and delivery of the letters. If the agency is honest and reputable then more than likely so will the correspondence be. If not then we are back to it being a crapshoot as to whether the lady and the correspondence are legitimate or not. Again, some sites are a mixture of doing the translation for the agencies that they own and allowing others to do the translation and forwarding for those that they do not. If they are not doing the translation for all letters themselves, then they have no way to check the content of every letter. Thus, semi-regulated.
The same thing basically applies for verifying the legitimacy of the lady in the profile. No agency can truly know or prove to you that a particular lady is honestly interested in you. No one will know that until you meet. However, an agency should at least be able to prove to you that the lady in the profile has received your letter and that she knows about you. Since many of the ladies on semi-regulated sites are from questionable sources, these types of sites will usually only offer "phone translation" and not a more legitimate way to prove to you that the lady is real. Which brings us to regulated sites?
A regulated site is one in which only ladies from bonafide; verifiable sources make it to the pages of their site. Only the site or one of their trusted agency affiliates is allowed to submit profiles for approval to the site. A regulated site will be one that knows their ladies personally or has personal relationships with their agency affiliates, thus enabling them to verify the legitimacy of each and every lady on their site. A regulated site should be one whose staff handles personally the monitoring and translation of all letters that come through their site. A regulated site should also offer some legitimate way of proving to you that the lady in the profile knows about you and your correspondence and that she is actually the one doing the writing. Only such a site will be able to arrange picture, video or web cam verification of a lady's receipt of your letter. Only such a site will be able to head off any "scams" by monitoring and translating each and every letter that comes through their system and accepting only legitimate ladies from verified sources. A regulated source should be able to easily arrange a meeting between the two people involved in the correspondence, provided both parties are interested such a meeting. After all, that is the goal isn't it? That is the problem with unregulated and semi-regulated sites. Since many of their ladies are from unverifiable sources, actual meetings with the ladies with whom you have been corresponding are much more difficult to arrange than they should be, while the goal of a regulated site must be for you to actually meet the ladies on their site.
9) Sending money to the women with whom they are corresponding.
This one pretty much speaks for itself. Never send a woman whom you have never met money of any amount for any reason. An honest and sincere Russian woman would never dream of asking a stranger for money. If she even hints around about having money problems or being too poor to afford something she is more than likely baiting you. But don't take my word for it. I have been told by every Russian woman that I have met who was sincere about finding a husband that they would never dream of asking a man whom they know only through correspondence for money, not even to continue the correspondence. Most reputable agencies don't charge the woman a penny to correspond with you anyway and let you know up front that there is a charge for corresponding through their site. They don't let you exchange a handful of letters and then send you an email asking for money if you wish to continue the correspondence. The bottom line here is that if you send girl money you are more than likely going to lose it with no return on your investment.
10) Believing that all of the girls at socials are truly looking for a foreign husband
Yes, I believed the hype. When I first started looking for my wife I too attended socials thinking that all of the women that attended them were actually looking for husbands. After all why else would these women be there? Surely they were all honestly seeking the same things that I was, right? Well some of them were anyway. The truth is that it is possible to find a woman to marry at one of these socials. I attended a wedding last fall of a man who met his match in just such a way, but even he conceded that he had to weed through a lot of dishonesty, deceit and uncertainty before he found his lovely bride. He got lucky through perseverance and persistence. He just wouldn't give up. He was convinced that he could find his lady at one of these socials and after many trips and thousands of dollars spent he finally did. He was one of the lucky few that was able to make the "social" system work for him, but if you think that all of the girls who attend socials are looking for a husband or have any intention of leaving their hometown to start a new life with you, think again. I have outlined the challenges and problems with socials in my chapter, "The Reality of Socials."
There are many different types of women at the socials. There is the small percentage that is actually looking for a husband and then there is the majority that for whatever their reason, will never marry a foreign man. Some are working girls looking to work the crowd if you know what I mean. They offer their consolation for those men who didn't find what they were looking for that day… at a price of course. But even though I have seen them they are usually few. More are what we call "Serial Socialites," women who are just looking for a good time or to spend time with a nice man who will spend money on them or buy them and their friend's dinners and gifts.
Serial Socialites are the worst because in many cases they will spend a great deal of time with the same man and that man will think that he has found someone, only to find that when he returns home she disappears or can't be contacted, or worse yet begins to ask him for money. The girls in the big cities such as Odessa, Kiev, St. Petersburg, Moscow etc. have a regular flow of men attending socials and spending money on them. Some of them make a living this way. It's kind of like when we were in college and we never worried about our next date because we knew that every semester there would be a new crop of freshman coming in. Now do you see where I am going with this? Some women will have the man send them a small amount of money each month so that she can correspond with him or for some other seemingly legitimate reason. In reality she will have many men doing the same thing and she can make a living this way. Just think, if a girl has 25-50 men sending her $25-$50 each month she can make a decent living out of that, not to mention if she is being paid to correspond with men, but that is another issue. If one man drops off there will be plenty more coming in at the next social. All she has to do is "reel one in!"
Other girls are there to help the local agency meet their quota so that they can keep the big correspondence sites that sponsor these events happy. You see in order to be able to continue working as a translating agency and to continue being able to make money off of correspondence, the local agencies are required to have so many girls at each function. They will do what they can to meet these quotas, even compensate the girls to be there.
Still many girls that attend these socials are not trying to scam anyone and are not prostitutes. Many girls are just plain old young and naïve. They don't realize what they are getting into and it's a bit of a fantasy or a game for them. Many girls are there at the request of a friend or sister who is a member of the agency. I met just such a girl at my sixth social. She was accompanying her sister. She had no idea what she was in for because she had never even considered marrying a foreign man, but when we met we hit it off. We spent the rest of the tour together and I even went back to see her on a second trip, only to find that in the end she had lied about her age and that she had no concept of the seriousness of her promises to me. Needless to say it was a case of a naïve girl who had no business being at a social where there were men seeking wives for a lifetime commitment. It suffices to say that, like correspondence, socials are a roll of the dice.
continued in part 2...