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International Dating 101 (The Basics of Finding a Foreign Bride)

By JD / January 26, 2018

What is international dating?

Defining international

Technically speaking you're dating internationally when you go out with someone in or from a different country. So for all intensive purposes a date with the cute Canadian girl from the office could be considered an international date.

However on this site when we use the term, we're typically referring to dating in foreign countries, especially ones that are somewhat removed (both culturally and physically) from the nations of the West.

Defining dating

Dating means different things to different people. Both the man who is meeting women in order to find a long-term partner, and the man trying to pick up women for one off romances can be considered to be "dating". For the purposes of this site when we say dating we tend to err on the side of looking for a serious long-term relationship. 

We don't discuss the international pick up and game type of interaction that is chronicled so well on a plethora of other blogs. This shouldn't come as a surprise though. I mean the name of this site is Foreign Wife Happy Life. 

What international dating is not

So we know that here on FWHL international dating means dating in a foreign country in hopes of finding a serious relationship. Now lets look at some things that international dating is not:

It's not a transaction

One of the biggest misconceptions of international dating is that men pay for their dates, or even their foreign bride to be (ever heard of the term mail-order bride?).  This simply isn't the case, and if it was international dating would be described better as international prostitution. 

No you can't actually purchase a mail order bride

The truth is you can't buy a wife, even in a foreign country. You can certainly buy a prostitute in some parts of the world, but again that's not what this site is about. I think some people get confused when they hear about dating sites and introduction/romance agencies whom men pay to meet or connect with women in other countries.

 In these instances the men are only guaranteed the chance to connect with women (via the internet or in person). They aren't guaranteed a single date. The women don't have to go out with the men if they don't want to. In the case of dating sites the platform for communication is the product they sell. In the case of agencies, the introduction/meeting is the product being sold; not the women.  

It's not a virtual romance

I've run into countless stories of guys who "dated" a woman overseas without meeting her face to face. They spend months or even a year corresponding via messages and video chats without ever stepping foot on a plane to meet the lady. Nine times out of ten when this happens the the man is being scammed as he pays money for each message or minute of chat (this is called a PPL scam).

In our book that's not international dating. Our goal is to meet women in the real world as soon as possible. We're big fans of writing women no more than we have to before an initial meeting (and we don't recommend sites that charge you per message or chat!).

Again the name of this site is not Virtual Wife Happy Life. 

It's not pickup or sex tourism

I've already said it, but it bears repeating. This is not a site for pick artist or sex tourists. This site is for those looking for serious relationships. 

Why international dating?

So now we know what international dating is, why exactly would anyone want to do it? Aren't there plenty of decent men and women in people's respective home countries?

International travel is easier and more affordable

One huge contributing factor as to why people date internationally is because...well, they can. International travel is easier and more affordable than at any point in history. The world keeps getting smaller and smaller. International tourism has gone a long way toward making distant parts of the world more accessible to foreigners than they otherwise would be.

Different strokes for different folks

As far the personal reasons behind why people date internationally, it varies from person to person.

Some people are curious/just want something different

Some people (both men and women) want to try something different. If you've dated in your local state or town, why not try dating in another country? For some the leap from different city to different country isn't all that huge. 

Traditional (family values)

Traditional (aka family) values are a huge factor for many men from the west and women from other parts of the world. Men in the west often feel that finding a desirable women who values home and family is hard to come by. Women in other parts of the world (usually in developing nations) often feel that local men generally have little to no interest in marriage or creating a strong family.

For these individuals international dating is a way to find people who value the same things in life that they themselves value. 

Some people love the culture/adventure

Some people genuinely have an affinity for another culture. Maybe a man has learned Spanish as a foreign language and is in love with everything about Latin America. Maybe a woman grew up in Ukraine and has always been attracted to American culture.  

Personal reasons

These are just a few examples. Honestly there could be a plethora of reasons why someone might want to look for love overseas. Again, it really does vary from person to person.

Who dates internationally?


Are they losers?

One of the first negative assumptions that come to mine when you broach the topic of international dating is that the men who do it are in someway undesirable in their own country.  

Socially inept/no game

Men who look abroad are often painted as socially inept or simply not good with the ladies. They are often portrayed as middle aged, sloppy, obese, with little to no ambition in life.  I'm not going to pretend that these kind of guys don't exist, because they do, and sometimes they find themselves on the international scene. 

You only  need to book a trip with a run of the mill romance tour agency to find them (or you can always watch a mail-order bride documentary). However not all guys on romance tours are like this, and definitely not all men who travel overseas are like this. 

Are they creeps?

You're also likely to here tales of elderly men looking to bring home a girl young enough to be their granddaughter. If you're a man older than 35  and you're looking to date overseas you may be pigeonholed in this category by someone. 

Arthur here sort of typifies the stereotypical international dating creep

They just want the upper hand/chauvinist 

This next assumption is probably the most interesting. Some assume that men who look abroad for a partner do so because they want the upper-hand or power-seat in the relationship.  The idea here is that these men don't like women with opinions who are used to having rights, so they look in a country where women are more servile.

You'll never hear stories about the good men

If ten men date overseas and one of them is a creep, loser, etc; guess which man you're likely to hear about? People and the media love a sensational story, and there's nothing sensational about a simple honest guy going abroad and meeting a simple honest lady. That story doesn't sell and it's not that interesting. 

Unfortunately when it comes to international dating it's only the creeps and freaks you here about. But don't let that discourage you from the idea if it's something you're considering. A huge reason I made this site was to share the stories of real and sincere men and women who have successful international relationships. Such couples do exist and there are probably more out there than you think.

An example of genuinely happy international couple (they do exist!)


Men aren't the only ones who catch flak for international dating. The women catch it too. Here's some common misconceptions about the women abroad who date men from the west.

Do they just want money or green card?

The most common stereotype about foreign women who marry and date western men is that they simply want cash or a green card. Again, there certainly are desperate people in this world who do desperate things, but don't think for a minute that a woman is after your wallet or your citizenship simply because she is from another country. 

Just like everyone enjoys the scandal of the western loser, so to are they entertained by the foreign gold-digger. Much like their  western male counterparts, you're not likely to here stories of sincere foreign women. 

A Ukrainian girl emphasizes that Ukrainian women aren't desperate

Where do people date internationally?

International dating can happen anytime someone crosses an international border, but there are a few specific parts of the world where it's most popular. Typically western men who look overseas for a woman with serious relationship have traditional values and are looking for a women who also shares them. Thus are list reflects that.

Asia (especially SE)

Asia is the most popular destination for men looking for a long-term relationship overseas. This isn't that surprising given that Asian women are the most sought after demographic of women across all dating apps (both international and domestic). 

The most popular country in Asia (and the world) for Western men looking overseas for a long-term partner is the Philippines. Genuine Filipino women are known to be kind and very family oriented. In fact Filipino culture in general is non-confrontational and very communal.  But the biggest draw is probably the ease of entry for foreigners and (most importantly) the high level of English in the country. 

Other notable destinations include Thailand, China, and Vietnam. 

Eastern Europe (especially FSU)

Eastern Europe is probably the second most popular region for international dating. After the fall of the Soviet Union, and the advent of the internet, there was an explosion of agencies and dating sites in the mid to late nineties. 

While it may or may not have started innocently enough, this industry quickly mangled itself into a rats nest of scams and shady business practices. It's the horror stories from this era that popularized the term "mail-order bride". 

While there's still a plethora of unscrupulous sites and agencies in the region, a new wave of honest and legitimate businesses have emerged in the past 10 years. From agencies to dating sites there are more honest options for serious men looking toward Eastern Europe than ever before. 

Currently the most popular country in the area is Ukraine. Ukrainian women, like other Slavic women, are often lauded for their femininity and family values. But in the end the draw of Ukraine is probably more practical. The cost of living is cheap compared to the West and Ukraine has a visa free entry program for most Western nations.

Second to Ukraine is probably Russia, followed by other less known destinations like Belarus, and Poland.

Latin America

Latin America is probably the most unique of the international dating hotspots. In many ways it's the least foreign. Don't get me wrong Latin culture is distinct from the West, but over the years Latin culture has become increasingly mainstream. 

Generally people from the West know much more about the culture and region of Latin America than Asia or Europe. It's close proximity to the USA make it prime stomping grounds for men looking for a long-term partner overseas. 

Western men are increasingly looking to Colombia to find a romantic partner

 Popular destinations include Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic. 

How to date internationally?

Dating women in a foreign country sounds well and good, but how do you actually go about doing it? Theoretically it could be as simple as catching a flight and talking to women on the street of the capital of whichever country you visit. But we all know that approach is wildly impractical (depending on where you go it could also be unsafe). 

Here are the most common ways men are crossing international borders to find serious relationships. 

There's no one way

On your own (dating sites)

Unless you live abroad the main avenue for connecting with international singles is the same one used by many singles in your hometown: the internet. As recently as 2013 1/3 of all married couples in the US met online. So in this regard international dating is similar to modern domestic dating. 

The basic idea behind online international dating is this: meet and connect with women through a dating site. Correspond with her via messages and video chat. If you both feel there's a certain level of compatibility then you schedule a trip to visit her in her country. 

Granted it doesn't always work that way. Most men don't usually start a relationship with the first woman they contact or visit. There's also a plethora of scam sites and fake profiles that must be avoided. 

Common ways men use international dating sites

Planning multiple trips

Serious men often organize several trips. They connect with and message multiple women on dating sites, being upfront with the ladies that they're doing so. They narrow down their contacts to the women they feel they have a better chance of personal chemistry/connection. 

Then they plan a trip and meet these women face to face. The one they click with the most is the one they continue to pursue. If they don't find a woman they're comfortable pursing on their first trip they start the process again. 

One hit one kill approach

It's probably not the best idea to use a shooting analogy for dating, but alas...I just did. Guys who use this approach do all of their narrowing down before they ever buy a plane ticket. They correspond with many ladies, and filter them out over time. When they find a single lady they feel strongly about they communicate with her as much as possible until the man feels that a trip to meet her is warranted. 

The challenge with dating sites

Dishonest scam sites

Granted it's not always that simple. There are entire sites built around scamming western men out of their money. Many sites promise communication with gorgeous, feminine, and willing foreign women; but while you're looking at the glossy profile pictures and paying for every message you send, the company is laughing all the way to the bank. The profiles aren't real and you've actually been messaging a site employee named Boris. This is a common scheme known as a PPL (pay per letter) scam.

Dishonest profiles

Even if the site is legitimate, that doesn't mean all of its users are. International and domestic dating sites alike have problems with romance scammers. These people pose as a man or woman with a fake profile and picture. They pretend to fall madly in love with the victim over messages. Then they shoot for the score as they ask for some sort of financial assistance (plane ticket, visa sponsorship, medical bills, English classes, etc).  


If you use an international dating site it falls on you to arrange the travel and meetings with women in their home country. If you're well traveled or know the local language this won't be as much of an issue. However if you're not comfortable traveling on your own in your chosen country it could seem daunting.



Avoiding the challenges 

The challenges of using international dating sites can easily be avoided by being informed and following some form of action plan.

Half the battle is knowing which sites are safe to use and which ones to avoid. Another significant part is recognizing the common red flags of scammers and fakes. Once you have these it's just a matter of planning out how you want to go about meeting the women you connect with online.

Click below for a list of reputable sites and services for meeting women overseas:



Latin America


Another common alternative for men looking for love abroad are agencies. These companies go by many names: introduction agencies, marriage agencies, matchmaking agencies, etc. Whatever their title, these businesses are a sort of a go between western men and local foreign women. 

How agencies work

Agencies are typically based in a foreign country (usually in a specific city), and they have two types of clients: male and female. Agencies advertise locally to attract women who might be interested in dating men from abroad.

For women clients

  If a local lady is interested, she registers with the agency and becomes a female client (usually this is free for her). Assuming the agency is reputable and honest it will verify the woman's identity and basic personal info like employment, marital status, etc.  The woman submits some photos and answers some basic questions about herself like personality, interests, the kind of man she's looking for, etc.  Her profile is then added to the database of the agency. 

For men clients

Agencies often advertise online to foreign men. A man who is interested in using the agency typically signs up with the company and pays a service fee. He then goes through a similar process as the female clients, submitting personal info and uploading a profile. 

Depending on the business model of the agency a man may write messages or "letters" to the women who have joined and uploaded their profile. Some agencies also allow video chats and provide online translation services. 

If an agency doesn't allow direct contact before a man's trip they will forward a man's profile and message to their ladies to see if any might be interested in meeting him. 

When a man has adequate interest from the female clients he arranges his trip with the agency. The agency typically supplies transport from the local airport, as well as accommodation, translation services, and other amenities like in country cell phone, dinner arrangements, and things of that sort. 

The men will then meet the women clients and pursue the one with which he feels he has the best connection.

The challenge with agencies

Dishonesty & bad practices

Just as there are scammy dating sites, there are also scammy agencies. Some agencies upload fake profiles and encourage letter writing so that men pay a hefty translation fee. Often the agencies hire full time letter writers who may or may not be the women pictured in a profile. If a man decides he wants to meet a lady in person the agency will call up the actual lady and ask if she's interested (even if she's never read a single one of his letters). 

Many agencies also do a poor job screening their clients. Thus they attract women who are more interested in scamming a foreigner out of money, as well as men who are less than genuine themselves in wanting a relationship. 


An agency's services, inclusive as they may be, are typically expensive (think thousands of dollars). 

A Closer look

Dating Sites vs Introduction Agencies: Which to Use and Why

Romance tours

A common third option for international dating are international romance tours. Typically a tour company attracts local women and foreign men in the same way as an agency. Instead of the individual focus of services though, a tour company will sell a romance tour package to a group of foreign men. 

Each man pays for his seat on the tour. The company then arranges transport and events for a group of men (usually around 20 or maybe even 30). Typically the men are shuttled into a local trendy nightclub where the company has invited 100+ local ladies with allure of free food, prizes, dancing, and of course foreign men. 

Most companies then leave the men to fend for themselves and "work the room" to meet the local women. Often times translators for hire wait in the wings, or are an included service in the tour package.

Challenges of romance tours

little to no screening

Often times these tour companies take any woman off the street and any man who buys a ticket. This results in a high probability of insincere men and women. It also makes fertile ground for scams.

A quick look an international romance tour event

The business of socials versus relationships

A lot of  tour companies aren't too concerned whether or not their tours/events help men and women to form relationships. All too often the company's goal is simply to arrange the tour, travel, and events. After that their job is done. There is little to no effort put into the quality of the experience for the men and women. 

For the women these tours can be humiliating as they are often given a number and men browse through them like a car in a catalog. For the men it can be humiliating in a different way, women date them only to be taken to the most expensive restaurants and shops in the city. 

A new & healthy alternative

Recently a new trend has started where companies are mixing the best aspects of a matchmaking agency and a romance tour into one service. This approach cracks down on disingenuous men and women, and it facilitatess a healthy environment in which to meet new potential romantic partners.  

Some tour companies make an effort screen clients and provide events that are conducive to finding serious relationships


That concludes our rundown of international dating. Hopefully now you have a good idea of what international dating is and how it works. 

If you read this article and feel that you still want to know more on the topic, then I encourage you to click around this site. Foreign Wife Happy Life is designed to provide you all the information you might need on international dating in an honest and organized manner. 

Most of all I hope that you walk away with the sense that international dating isn't a scam or a pie in the sky. If it's something you're interested in doing it's definitely possible!

About the author


Founder of FWHL. When JD's not writing articles he's probably practicing his Russian or trying to play AC/DC on his guitar.

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