Can Russian-American Relationships Work?

From the view of an American, trying to understand your Russian lover can be difficult


American men often times find the first few years of marriage with their Russian love confusing to no end. Understanding Russian women and their upbringing is a good start to keeping the culture clashes at a minimum. Russian women have a beauty and way about them that is not only alluring to men, but also makes them very different to what American men are use to. These differences can cause major problems in a relationship. Read on to understand some of the differences you may encounter.

Russian American relationships can be difficult especially when it comes to money

There is a big difference in how Americans view money and how Russians view money. It is often hard to understand Russian mentality, especially when it comes to money, and Russian relationships but I will try to do my best to explain their attitudes towards it.

Russian – American couple

There is truth behind the saying that if you marry a Russian woman you also marry her family

Not just her child or children, but her parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles. So if they run into any financial difficulties, it means you do as well. No one is going to force you to support your wife’s relatives if there is a need, but since Russians have very strong family ties, it is usually expected that family members which are more fortunate help out those who are in trouble. It is all a part of Russian relationships and caring about a Russian woman.

Russian culture looks at life a little different than in America. Where Americans praise individualism, Russian often discourage it. It is considered to be “natural” and “human” to help each other with money and you can be sure that if you were the one in need, you will not be left alone with your problems.

The same goes for friends (“friends” in Russian definition of course). In Russia it is a natural thing to give out money and allow someone to pay you back interest free. A Russian friend of mine was shocked when her husband’s wealthy cousin (who was also a friend) gave them 2 thousands of dollars and charged interest. The money was borrowed to cover some medical bill, not to go to Vegas and get wild. “How can a relative be so cruel,” my friend said. “is money more important than family and friendship?”. She couldn’t understand it and what was even more shocking for her is her husband praising his friend for being “so helpful’ during the hard times.

In Russia, there is no difference between the word “borrow or “lend”

If you are having dinner with Russians, even the ones you just met, don’t be surprised if they ask you how much money you make on your job and how much you paid for your house. It is socially acceptable in Russian culture to ask about each other’s salary and Russians don’t understand why their American acquaintances change the subject of the conversation or give a vague answer about their earnings.

Russians don’t understand why many Americans don’t travel and don’t enjoy life until they retire. “I don’t know if I live this long”,- they often say. “And I don’t think traveling when you are old with a bunch of medical conditions is a good idea. When you are old you are supposed to watch your grandkids, not travel.”

Russian try to go on vacation once a year. They are hard workers, but they also know how to enjoy life.Even if money is tight, they will find an affordable place to vacation. “Why make money at a job if you don’t have a chance to enjoy your life and spend the money you make?” This is something that Russian often think about.

Russians are not terribly worried about retirement, since the cost of living is not as high and medical care is free. Besides, in Russian culture children are expected to help their parents out when they get old, and nursing homes are not really popular.

Russians are very afraid of debt and though they cannot comprehend why Americans are putting money away for their retirement accounts which they cannot touch for 20-30 years when they are in debt (yes, mortgage is debt too) up to their ears right now.

These are not the only money related issues which may pop up, but these seem to be the most frequent. Eventually you will start understanding Russian mentality even if you may not agree with it, but I bet that in the beginning of your relationship you both will raise your eyebrows quite a few times.

MORE: Are Russia-American RelationshipsHappy?

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2 Replies to “Can Russian-American Relationships Work?”

  1. Hello there. Assuming this to be generally true, and as an American, I have to say I agree 100% with the Russian point of view as outlined here. XD Especially considering I know how much it annoys me that my half-aunt is very rich but refuses to help any of the other family members out. It’s really disturbing.

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