You are in love, head over heels with John. You are excited, full of ideas, plans, and fantasies about your future together. He calls you “ honey” and you do melt. You want to marry him, but wonder what it will be like to live with an American man?
Let`s take a moment to review the most prominent differences between Russian and American cultures that may cause conflicts in your relationships. Knowing the differences in advance will help you to smooth out your communication, avoid empty confrontations and build better relationships.
1. Relationships with your family
- American man will consider a family you, him and your kids only.
- The lengthy phone calls with your family back home could be annoying and he may feel isolated since he cannot understand Russian
2. Visiting home
- Let`s be perfectly honest here. Your trips back home will get expensive.
- He may struggle with your home visits for two reasons: cost and trust (will you come back?)
3. No grandparents for your kids
- Here is a naked truth. You will raise your kids on your own. Moreover, it will suck.
- Your kids will have limited relationships with your parents.
- This stuff is real, and yes it will affect your life in more ways you could imagine.
- It is hard to explain what it is like when you still live back home.
- Homesickness is something most immigrants battle with daily, and it will affect you, a lot.
- Most of what consists of your social life will be gone.
- You will need to redesign your life from scratch, that includes your network and connections
6. Definition of a friend
- Russian definition of friend – a person who earned your trust, and will do anything for you
- Americans don’t want to develop close or deep relationships. It scares them.
- The American definition of a friend – a person you can socialize and spend time with
7. Definition of Motherhood
- In the S. the maternity leave is 12 weeks, after which you are expected to go back to work
- American husband may expect you to work and earn income even after the baby`s birth
- Majority of American women do go back to work and leave 2.5 months old baby with a sitter
8. Russian Food vs. Junk Food
- Americans have complicated relationships with food.
- There are no guarantees he will like the food you make or eat it.
- Americans love to eat junk food and indulge in a lot of Pepsi Cola products.
9. Weight Gain
- The United States is known for generous food servings at the restaurants
- Chances are, American food, over time, will make you gain weight
10. Pill Popping
- Americans believe in their medications
- American man will offer you a pill for every ill, and less likely believe in alternative therapies
11. Taboo Topics: Sex and Money
- You may want to discuss your intimate needs with your American spouse, but first, you need to understand that sex is a taboo topic, and you need to be very careful not to hurt his feelings
- Money is a taboo topic, don’t expect to have an open conversation about it until later
12. More space, please
- Your American spouse will expect you to have friends and social life on your own.
- You may want to spend more time together, but he may need more space away from you
13. Home buddy and social light
- Many Americans are home buddies.
- It means, when you will want to go out, he will want to stay home
- American husband may prefer pajamas, couch, beer, and TV to most outings
14. Patriotism and politics
- Surprisingly, Americans are extremely patriotic, and they love their president
- Avoid saying anything offensive about their current political state or leadership
15. Child-centricity and seniors
- America is a very child-centric
- The needs of your husband`s kids from a previous marriage will always take precedence.
- Seniors, in contrast, are placed in nursing homes and long-term treatment facilities.
16. Emotions and vulnerabilities are taboo
- American men do not tolerate emotions and vulnerability in others or themselves.
- It means, if you need to have a good cry, call you mom, not your husband
17. Odd sense of humor
- American men have a weird sense of humor, and they laugh at strange things
18. Wearing shoes in the house
- Yes, you got this one right, your American spouse will wear shoes inside the house
- He might also leave his clothes anywhere he likes
19. Gold digger alert
- American men suspect you are a gold digger.
- He may think the only reason you married him is to immigrate and take his money.
- Be conscious about setting off any red flags, such as asking for money early in relationships
20. Debt and paycheck to paycheck living
- Your American husband is not rich, he has debt, and he does not want to talk about
- He lives paycheck to paycheck, and he has no issues with it
- If a family loses the primary source of income, it could send you into a financial disaster
21. No courting or romantics
- American guy will have no idea on how to court, flirt or seduce you.
- American women tend to be more aggressive than guys in personal relationships.
- In American culture male courting considered stocking and disrespectful toward a woman.
22. No mind games please
- Flirting, hinting, and implying are called mind games and disliked by American males
- Americans prefer direct If you want or need something ask for it.
23. Slow to commit
- American man will prefer to date a while before getting married or start a family.
- He knows, the marital decision will have a long-term financial and legal consequences
24. No flirting
- You might be told to treat men with respect and be nice to them
- However, your American spouse will not understand your need to be liked and admired
- He may think you are too flirty with other males
25. Showing you off
- If this is the second marriage for your American man be ready, he will be showing you off
- Because you are a huge upgrade from the ex-wife, and he feels very proud of you
26. Cultural Ignorance
- Your husband will know very little about your culture
- He may struggle to understand your culture and values
- Yes, he will be working very hard to provide for you
- It means long hours are the office and minimizing time off
28. Language barrier
- When you cannot express yourself to the person you love, it can be challenging
- You can expect to fight over nothing, and I mean nothing due to mutual misunderstandings
Of course, not all American men are the same. As in any culture, there are good ones and bad. That said, in my opinion, there is a vast difference in Slavic and American cultures.
So next time you seems just cannot get each other, trust me, your American husband is not trying to ruin your relationships or to drive you crazy. He is true to who he is, and you are true to who you are, culturally. All I can say, the true love is patient, forgiving and understanding. Don`t let the differences drive you away.
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