International dating catches a lot of flak from a lot of people. Negative stereotypes, though grounded in a grain a truth, are often blown way out of proportion until they are considered as fact.
In this post we'll look at five of the most common myths surrounding international dating and begin to unpack them.
1) Foreign women only marry western men to get... green card/passport/money
When I first told my family I was spending some time in Ukraine they quickly warned to me to "Watch out for the girls. They'll go after your passport". The stereotype of the green card/passport hunter runs deep. If you plan on dating internationally you're going to have to put up with a slew of off hand comments and jokes about it.
There's an arrogant assumption in the US that everyone on the planet is dying to get into our country. Don't get me wrong, we have a lot of things other parts of the world don't; and there are many who'd jump at the chance to immigrate. But contrary to what I was raised to believe, there are pros to living in countries other than the good ol' USA.
The reasons a foreign woman may consider a relationship with a man from another country vary from person to person. Perhaps she feels she can't find a local man with traditional family values. Maybe she has a friend who is happily married to a foreigner. It could be that she simply wants to try something different.
There are some women in desperate situations who might bite at the chance to move to another country for purely economic reasons, but when compared to the general population of eligible women they are very few and far between.
People and the media alike love to share stories of scams and green card hunters, but no one is quick to share a story about an international couple who met, got married, and are living a happy life. It's simply not as juicy or entertaining.
Which story do you think is more likely to receive press?
It's important to recognize that there are foreign women out there who will pull a scam if they get the chance (this we have a entire section of this site dedicated to avoiding scams?); but to say that all or even the majority of foreign women have a dishonest and insincere agenda is a gross overstatement. Also if the signs of an insincere woman are usually pretty obvious and easy to avoid if you use common sense.
2) Foreign women who marry western men are doormats
Mail order bride and PPL sites are quick to perpetuate the notion that foreign women are beautiful, feminine, and completely compliant to a man's demands. It's a sort of "don't speak unless spoken to" sort of idea. If you've walked God's good earth long enough you've probably realized no woman worth her salt is going to completely comply with a man simply because he is a man.
Never mind the fact that complete and unquestioned complicity is closer to having a robot rather than relationship with a woman. Foreign women may be more feminine than their western counterparts, and they may be more willing to fit into traditional gender roles, but a good woman will only follow a good man who shows himself to be trustworthy.
If anyone tells you that women from x country will keep pretty, keep house, and make love out the gate, with no pretext of a loving or faithful relationship; they're just selling something.
Because asian women are quiet and submissive right?
3) Foreign women are easy
Foreign women are unlikely to fall at your feet simply because you're from the West. Being from the west can still give you a big leg up in the dating market depending on where you go, but remember that it's one attribute among many that women consider.
Even international pick up artists, who are in no way targeting women who want a serious relationship, recognize that even though their nationality maybe an advantage; it isn't enough in and of itself to woo a foreign lady.
You'll need more than just a passport to win her heart.
4) All western men who date overseas are losers
When negative stereo types don't strike at the women in international relationships they strike at the men. Many assume that if a man goes abroad to date it is because he is undesirable in his own country. Perhaps he is too old, out of shape, ugly, has a low income (by western standards), or simply isn't very good with the opposite sex. Thus he is forced to look overseas for a mate.
The murky waters of PPL sites and shady international romance tours have done a lot to perpetuate this image of a middle aged frumpy man looking for a 20 something supermodel in country most have never heard of. Rest assured these types of men do exist and do find their way to places like Kiev or Manila. But much like the scam stories of myth #1, you can't apply this fact to all men who look overseas.
You're not likely to hear about guys like him going abroad to find a wife..
Again that story is juicer than the story of a guy who is in shape, confident, has a succesful career, and purposely decides to date abroad. In fact that kind of guy can even feel threatening to western culture (especially western women), and thus be consciously or unconsciously suppressed....but that's a topic for a separate post.
There are honest and successful men who look for and find love in other countries. You're just not likely to hear about them. One of the reasons I started this site was to share such stories.
5) International marriages are less likely to be successful than domestic ones
Cultural differences, language barriers, different nationalities...it should all make a successful relationship more difficult than it has to be right? The more a couple has in common the more likely their success... so the logic goes. To a certain extent that's completely right.
Honest men and women in any dating scene look for someone who shares their values and beliefs about life, marriage, family, etc., and the international dating scene is no different. When a man and woman share those things other stuff like culture and language become ancillary.
There was actually a study done by the US department of Citizenship and immigration services which states that 80% of marriages which result from "mail-order services" are successful and don't end in divorce.
"The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reports that “…marriages arranged through [mail order bride] services would appear to have a lower divorce rate than the nation as a whole, fully 80 percent of these marriages have lasted over the years for which reports are available.” The USCIS also reports that “… mail-order bride and e-mail correspondence services result in 4,000 to 6,000 marriages between U.S. men and foreign brides each year.”
Study listed (but not posted) here
The official study used to be on the net, but has since been taken down. It's locked away somewhere in a DC library (I hope to dig it up one of these days). It was quoted a lot on the web before it was removed.
..But yeah an 80% success rate among international marriages? What was the divorce rate in the US again?...seems like an international relationship might actually have a better chance of success than a domestic one.