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Immigration scams: ARE YOU AT RISK?

By Elena Petrova

Any - and I mean it! - ANY MAN who even remotely considers the idea of marrying a Russian woman will face the question of immigration scams. By "facing the question of immigration scams" I mean worrying about the possibility that a woman will marry him with the only purpose of gaining residence to his country, and will divorce him soon after the marriage.

How grounded is this worry? General opinion is that the danger of an immigration scam is high in marriages with foreign women. Try to share the idea of finding a marriage partner abroad with your family and friends, and everyone will think you are nuts and are setting yourself up to become an immigration vehicle for a cunning Russian girl.

Is it true that there are many Russian women that will marry a man only for the purpose of immigration? Why does such an opinion persist among the general public? How common are immigration scams in marriages with Russian women?

First of all, let's find out where one gets all those ideas about scams in marriages with foreign women. Did you have any friends, family members or colleagues that married Russian women and fell victims of immigration scams? Most likely, NO! So your ideas about high probability of immigration scams in marriages with foreign women are, most often, based on what you have read, heard or seen in the Media - and of course you know what makes the news and what's not: When was the last time you have seen a "happily ever after" fairy tale on the front page of a newspaper? Scandals, murders, and scams make the news; happy marriages don't. In the USA alone it's about four to six thousand men that marry foreign women every year; how many scandal stories you hear for the same period of time? Apparently, if immigration scams in marriages with foreign women were indeed such a problem, you would have heard horror stories much more often, and, eventually, your government would do something about it.

In fact, it is NOT so many Russian women that seek somebody abroad with the only purpose to use marriage as the means to immigrate to the USA or any other country. It is only women who are absolutely desperate that would contemplate such a marriage, and those women are seldom objects of desire for any man.

A woman that is desired by a foreign man is usually a woman who can exercise some choice among her suitors, and she would rather select a mate who is suitable for her than just marry anybody: once she is in a foreign country, and divorced from her husband, what will she do? Live a lonely life of an immigrant - a person of "second sort", struggling to make ends meet, without any connections, family and friends, having to look for a new love partner - does this prospective looks any brighter to you than a prospective of having a loving happy marriage and stable life? Apparently, finding a suitable mate will take much less time for a woman in Russia than the process of going through marriage to an unsuitable mate, following immigration and divorce, and settling in her new single life. Do you think Russian women are all crazy masochists? Any reasonable human being would prefer to receive "the full package" including love and stability, without the need to go through unnecessary pain and change. It is simply unrealistic to think many Russian women would prefer to contemplate an immigration scam, i.e. marrying a man with the only purpose of immigration and subsequent divorce, rather than marrying for love and receiving "the full package". All human beings are made in the same way: we all want to be happy and do not want to suffer. Russian women are no different.

So the cases of real immigration scams should be rare among Russian women marrying foreign men, I mean the cases where women initially intended to divorce their husbands after the immigration, before even being married to them. Try to picture yourself in a relationship with somebody you don't like, and spending 1-2-3 years of your life in such a situation, would you willingly select such a fate, when you could be involved with somebody you really like and receive the same benefits? This is why I say that it is only a desperate person who would decide on an immigration scam, the person who cannot exercise any choice. And the reason why she does not have any choice is because no one wants her. So, by selecting an attractive woman to start a relationship with and competing for their attention with other suitors, men in a great extent secure themselves against desperate persons. Therefore, the explicit type of immigration scams where a person starts a relationship with somebody only to gain permanent residence to a western country is not that common in marriages with Russian women.

But if people do not know each other well enough, problems in a marriage can occur, and in such a case men often feel they were just "used" for the purpose of immigration. The initial intent of a woman was not an immigration scam but if the couple do not stay together for long, a man may decide he was "scammed".

For example, if a man marries a local woman and their marriage doesn't work out, and they discover their interests or pace of life are incompatible, and divorce soon, the man would not think he was "scammed", just because a woman would not gain anything from such a marriage, rather lose, just like him.

But if such a thing happens in a marriage of a local man and a foreign woman, the woman appears to have gained something she did not have before the marriage - the residence to a western country, which is perceived as very desirable for foreigners - and therefore a man can conclude he fell a victim of an "immigration scam".

It is the belief that life in Russia is a complete misery and there is nothing for women to lose when they immigrate, that drives people to think that a Russian woman would go to any lengths just to gain residence into countries of Northern America, Australia or Western Europe. This perception is nothing but a myth. Russian people do not consider their life miserable, and most of them would not contemplate immigration by any means, even the people who are well traveled and perfectly aware of the differences in the life style between Russia and the west. The real reason why so many Russian women advertise for partners abroad is not their desire to immigrate but their inability to find a suitable partner in Russia, mainly caused by demographic discrepancies (according to the latest census, there are 10 million more women than men in Russia).

Talking about scams, in reality, it is nearly impossible to fake attraction to a mate that will be convincing enough for a possible husband to proceed with marriage. There are very clear indications if the person is or is not attracted to a potential mate, such as sexual attraction (in the case where a woman fakes attraction, she prefers to have as little sexual communication as possible), personal acceptance (if a woman fakes attraction, she is often irritated with minor things), and body language (if a woman fakes attraction, she tries to "close" herself to the man, by crossing her hands and legs when the two are together, making herself "inaccessible" for him, moving back when he moves towards her, etc). Such cues in a woman's behavior can seldom go unnoticed by a man, even if on the subconscious level, he will have the feeling that "something's not right", and will usually back up from a marriage.

What happens in reality most often is that when two people who do not know each other well decide to marry, they might, at a later stage, discover some personal incompatibilities, such as hygienic or sexual incompatibilities, which can be the most repulsive, or less stressful but nevertheless important in a marriage differences in educational or cultural level, pace of life, circle of social interaction, etc. For example, for a woman who lived all her life in a large city and was attending theatrical or musical performances on a weekly to monthly basis, the fact that her husband lives in a small town and never attends live performances can be significant enough to feel inadequate in a marriage, if these cultural activities were important for her.

Therefore, it is extremely important to know each other's daily routine, background and interests in great detail before deciding on marriage.

Other important things will be the person's reactions in critical situations; for example, one person is used to solving problems through an immediate discussion in raised voices, and the other is used to backing up if a problem arises and removing himself from the situation altogether. With the time, such modus operandi are likely to cause repulsive feelings in both, unless the couple discuss their way of handling problems and find a mutually acceptable way of solving the problems - which is highly unlikely, since people seldom realize their differences on the behavioral level and the very fact that another person might have a different set of behavioral patterns, since our own behavioral patterns seem "natural" to us and we cannot even imagine they might be "unnatural" for somebody else.

In real life such incompatibilities are checked in a natural way, and couples that do not have compatible behavioral patterns seldom get to the stage of marriage decisions. In the long distance dating, couples prefer to concentrate on their common points and overlook their differences, or possible differences, and a couple can be forced into a marriage decision before they are actually ready to approach such a decision.

The only remedy to a potential "immigration scam" situation is to take the time and effort to really get to know the person you are intending to marry. What is especially important for men, they should disclose as much personal information as possible to a potential partner, since it will be the woman who moves to an unknown country and needs to adjust to the new life style. Daily routine, earnings and expenses, entertainment, hobbies, health problems, desire for children and how soon such a desire can be fulfilled, should be discussed in detail. If those aspects were not discussed in advance, there is a great risk for a marriage to survive, should significant incompatibilities be discovered later in a marriage.

Copyright © 2008 Elena Petrova

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: The author of this article, Elena Petrova, is the creator of Russian Brides Cyber Guide, the first website about Russian women seeking foreign men for marriage, designed by a Russian woman.

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