Length of courtship

by Doug
(Nyack, NY)

I understand with courting a woman from Eastern Europe that it isn't like dating here in the states. It's probably not feasible to date for 2, 3 or 4 years and really get to know each other naturally. If it goes that long, the woman will probably think you're not serious about marriage even if you have met her one or more times.

I realize it depends on the circumstances but, as a general rule, what is a realistic timeline to follow? Would it work something like this:

- 1-3 months, hunt for ladies, narrow to top 5-10

- 1-3 months, converse/Skype, decide on the best one

- within 1-2 months, fly to meet the best one

Does this sound reasonable? If we really click when we meet in person the first time, is it a good idea to propose at that time? Or do I continue to Skype, pay her another visit (or visits)... or maybe visit her in a Western European country for a vacation of sorts... and propose the second time?

What would be the woman's expectation and, from your experience, how would you do it if you were starting over again? I don't want to propose too soon (maybe she's mentally ill but good at hiding it!!!). However, I understand the realities of the situation, too.

Bob's Answer:

Great questions! And I AM "starting over again" (divorced from Russian ex a few years ago).

Obviously there is no truly hard and fast rule on these things, but your timetable sounds very realistic to me, and is almost exactly what I did when I married my Russian ex.

We emailed and Skyped for four months before our first meeting in her city. We HIT IT OFF in person, and so four months after that we met in Dominican Republic where I proposed and she accepted, and we started the fiancee visa process. Four months after the D.R. trip I visited her again in her city. And six months after that she arrived here.

On the other hand, I personally know a guy who went on an Individual Tour to Russia and did something like a "playoff" algorithm and came back engaged. The "playoff" approach means that he selected a number of women from the agency's clientele and the agency set up dates for him to meet the girls who accepted the meeting request. They basically set him up on almost back-to-back dates for the first 3-4 days. Let's call that the "regular season" (NFL) :) After his 3-4 day dating marathon he requested 2nd dates with the women who interested him the most and the agency set up those dates. After round 2, he picked the best of that round, etc.

He communicated with none of the girls prior to his trip, and by the end of his 2.5 week visit he proposed to a girl (THROUGH AN INTERPRETER - the girl spoke NO English), she accepted, and they are still happily married almost 15 years later! I've heard other stories like this too, so although it may be rare, it's happened more than once. Nevertheless, I have a hard time imagining that I could ever pull that off.

The one thing I would adjust to your described timetable is step 1. That one really should be more like "Hunt and narrow until you find one that clicks (both ways) then visit her". There's really no time frame on that step.

Also, if all of your exposure to the world of Russian/Ukrainian women has been via the web, it would be easy to sense that most of them would be eager for your proposal. On that front things aren't really THAT different there... If you propose too quickly, besides the risk to you of getting too much "unknown", another risk is that you could scare the girl to death and ruin a potentially good prospect.

So when do you propose? You really would need to play that by ear. Propose after you sense that you're really connecting and that she's completely on board. I think it would rarely be the case that this would be on your first visit.

Does that help? Please post any follow up questions or comments as a comment on this post.

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