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Why Ukrainian Women Marry Foreigners?

Elena PetrovaBy Elena Petrova (Elena's Models)

I came across this question on the Internet today, "Why Ukrainian women marry foreigners?" 

I am also often asked this question by reporters and journalists, so it's probably the time I answer it here.

I would say the major reason for Ukrainian women to seek foreign men for marriage is because they can.

Think about it, 20 years ago we had no Internet nor email, and no ability to instantly communicate with people living on the other side of the globe. Now we can.

We also know much more about the world, people from western countries can easily travel to Ukraine, and Ukrainians can travel to Europe and America. During the Soviet times, it was nearly impossible.

When travel became possible, westerners started to travel to Ukraine and Ukrainians travel overseas, and of course in the course of travel people would meet locals, talk to them and sometimes develop feelings and fall in love, which resulted in mixed-intercultural couples between westerners and Ukrainians. 

These couples had experiences, good or bad, which were conveyed to their families, friends and co-workers, reported in media and so on. You probably know someone from Ukraine and could develop your own ideas about Ukrainian people.

In short, after Perestroyka started (1987) and Soviet Union ceased to exist (1991), Ukraine became an independent country and soon people could learn more about the world and travel more freely. The expansion of the Internet and email gave us cheap long-distance communication.

I am pretty sure more American marry Canadians or Mexicans than Ukrainians, simply because these countries are more accessible. For as long as there is international travel, there will be international marriages.

Most Ukrainian women marry local (Ukrainian) men. 

Only a very small percentage (less than 0.1%) marry foreign men. It is an absolute improbability for a Ukrainian woman to seek marriage to a foreign man without ever dating or being in a relationship with a local man. Usually, women will date locally and only when their local relationships do not result in their desired outcome (marriage), would a woman ever consider seeking someone abroad.

The same is true for foreign men who marry Ukrainian women: they try to find a match locally first and only come to the idea of seeking someone abroad when they are not successful.

No one starts seeking a partner for marriage abroad if they can find an acceptable partner at home.

I often compare search for a marriage partner with search for a job: if you could earn twice as much overseas than you earn doing the same job at home, would you consider the position overseas? This is what a lot of people do, taking a job overseas and being compensated highly for the inconvenience. It's not everyone's cup of tea but some people do it. The law of supply and demand.

Here in Australia for example, we have a mining boom: any worker working at mines earns minimum $120,000/year, simply driving a track or being a health and safety officer. Miners going into mines earn even more. However, mines have a permanent lack of workers because most people don't want to work in remote areas where mines are. Even though Australia has the unemployment rate of about 5%, we now have to bring foreign workers to work in mines - because, apparently, we don't have Australians who can do it!

A Ukrainian woman can get a much better life in a western country married to a western man than she would in Ukraine - still, most Ukrainian women don't consider it as an option and would never even attempt seeking a husband abroad. Just like most Australians earning $37,000/year don't want to swap their city jobs for jobs in mines.

A western man can find a much younger and more educated woman for marriage in Ukraine than he can locally - still, most western men will never even think of trying to find a Ukrainian bride.

There are stigmas attached to such marriages, both in Ukraine and in the west, as they are considered somewhat dubious, although I must say the acceptance of such marriages improves with every year.

One of our former Ukrainian clients who married an American man (of Asian origin) appeared on American Idol; another Ukrainian contestant appeared on Australian TV in yet another singing competition. Children of Ukrainian women married to Americans become actresses, models, doctors and lawyers in America, Australia and Europe.

The western world as a whole becomes more and more international and intercultural. We are not only looking for jobs overseas, we also shop online for goods seeking a better deal. I am buying books from UK and America that I cannot find here - and get a better price, too!

It was inevitable that people would realize they could also get a better deal seeking a marriage partner overseas, and Ukraine is one of the top destinations for western men seeking a wife. It has a welcoming visa regime (Americans and Europeans do not need a visa to visit Ukraine), huge demographic disproportions with women outnumbering men (and therefore huge demand for husbands) and predominantly Caucasian population (with wide acceptance of interracial marriages most people still marry someone of their own race). 

A former Ukrainian president (2005-2010) Viktor Yushchenko had an American wife born in Chicago. This marriage obviously helped Ukraine to open its borders, as well as make the idea of an international marriage more acceptable to Ukrainian people. 

Ukrainian women may be more open to the idea of marrying a foreigner because there was less anti-foreign marriage propaganda than there is in Russia (Russia has a constant media campaign promoting problems in marriages of Russian women to foreign men, in order to stop the "genes drain" where best women leave the country to marry foreigners, similar to the "brain drain" where highly skilled professionals leave the country for better jobs overseas).

If you read information in forums, there will be a lot of sentiments from Ukrainian women how western men make better husbands (which is true). Still, if she could find a good man in Ukraine without too much trouble, she would - but it's hard. First women date locally, then nationally, then they start looking internationally. 

This is how it happens that some Ukrainian women start looking for foreign men to marry.

For foreign men, they browse Internet and come across websites with pretty Ukrainian women wanting to meet men, and these women are much more accepting of age difference, men's kids and not that much concerned with a man's appearance. They just want "a good man".

And this is how Ukrainian-Western marriages happen!


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