The first signs that our cultures were different was for example, I wasn't allowed over to the house. Everyone is different so this may not apply to every Russian family but this is what happened to me. I was only allowed when there was plenty of time before hand for the home to be cleaned and perfect for "guests". There was a couple of occasions I had to wait outside the house for Stas to come back out. The first time I was allowed into the house, what I thought was no big thing, became a huge ordeal. They sat me down on the couch and while I waited for Stas to come downstairs, his mother asked me if I'd like some tea. In my experience I should never say no when offered something from someone who is originally from another country. It's rude when guests refuse host's offerings! So I agreed to a cup of tea.
This cup of tea, actually translates in Russian to BUFFET! Just kidding, but when she called me over for tea, there before me on the table was a feast! Multiple cheeses were sliced, salamis, fresh fruit, salads, different types of bread and jams, cream cheeses.
There was so much food, I tried my best to have a little bit of everything. A word of warning: Russians will try to fatten you up! Watch out! They just will push you to eat and eat, us Americans we eat till we are full, and then they push more on you! Just be firm, say thank you and give a sincere compliment on something you liked, and tell them you are too full! They will eventually lay off! I learned the hard way!
I liked Stas, I was really into him so I wanted our relationship to continue so I felt like I needed to do some research so he and his family would accept me and I'd become part of their community. I started googling, "Russian Life, How to date Russians, Russian Customs...." I could find plenty on their culture, but dating was different. Well first when you type How to Date a Russian.... it comes up with WOMAN! Russian Mail Order Bride, Sexy Hot Russian Women.... So there was plenty on getting a Russian women, let's face it Russian women they have goddess features and are all super models so there's plenty on catching one of them! But I could never find anything on learning Russian men.
So here's after almost 4 years of experience,
my TOP 10 List of How to Date a Russian Man!
1. Learn some of the Language! He will be so impressed when you start trying to learn his language. I used to go home and learn a new phrase and on our date use it in some way. It's so exciting to him because coming from an American it's the last thing he expects to hear! The first thing I learned how to say was, "Patsi looy menya" translates to Kiss Me. Let's just say I got a kiss after he heard that!
ALSO this is super big with family and friends! His family will be so impressed and admire you for attempting to learn their language, you have no reason to try to learn their language so they will be over the moon when you start trying to converse with them! Most of the time you won't be saying ANYTHING correctly but they will think it's so adorable you're trying they don't even care!
2. Stand up for yourself! Russian women are fierce! They are tigers! They will say whatever they want, and people listen to them! It doesn't matter what culture you're from, men always respect a woman when she's giving her honest opinion and being herself! Don't be a doormat or else you won't last very long! For Russian men they love a woman who is strong and a WOMAN! Don't be a meek little girl.
3. Keep up appearacnes! This is a hard one to understand coming from an American society but Russian men expect their women to look good 24/7. It's taken 4 years for my bf to back off of this subject and let me be! But when you're first dating get used to dressing up and looking your best ALL THE TIME! Russian women, like I said earlier they look like super models, they never go anywhere not dressed to the Nines and in their high heels. So expect a weird look/disgusted face should you ever see him when you're not right off the runway. He'll get used to it over time, just explain to him you don't feel the need, but he will give you a very sexist speech on how "Women's JOB is to look beautiful" hahaha as you can see things were not always easy for this Americanka and the Russki!
4. Expect to be taken Care of! Chivalry still exists in Russian culture! Independent women have a hard time when a Russian man opens the door for her or pays for dinner. But expect this! He does this because he respects you and he wants to take care of you. Don't argue with him over any of this, it will make him feel you don't trust his capabilities.
5. Lack of Personal Space! As I learned from first meeting Stas, Russians do not understand the "bubble". In their culture it is very normal to be standing very closely to one another. Don't think that it's because he likes you, he is just interacting with you.
6. RUSSIAN BLOOD! Oh man this has been a hard one, but I've learned it's just the Russian blood! Russians are a very vibrant people, they talk with so much emotion in their sentences! I've come from a very quiet home, so I have always spoken softly. When a Russian starts going off on their opinions, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT take it personally! They are not attacking you, they are just speaking passionately! They are very intense when they speak and mean every word at that moment so they throw so much emotion and vigor into their sentences. This took me years to get used to, I used to joke it was the vodka in his blood!
7. Traditional Roles! As I touched on before Russian men believe they are the bread winners, and women are the stay at home, cooks, and cleaners. They will take care of their women but they still want their women in return to take care of them when they are in the home. Soo... that being said don't date a Russian unless you want a full size child. Thankfully this child has a job! I believe most women have this problem with men in general, men want to be taken care of, heck everyone wants to be taken care of! So if you want a Russian man to help around the house, talk it over with him what is to be expected of each other.
8. Learn how to cook more than Top Ramen! I was one of those headstrong young girls who, "Mom I don't have time to cook, I'd rather be playing!" And now at 24 am having to teach myself via the internet how to cook. This goes along with #7, men want a woman to make dinner. Hopefully unlike me you already learned how to cook when you were growing up. But a man will appreciate you SO MUCH when you appease his stomach! They say the way to a man's heart is through his stomach! If you are able to, try and learn some traditional Russian dishes, maybe if his Mom is able to have her teach you a recipe or two. He will be so happy when you start making his Motherland's meals!
9. Respect! Russians are very traditional! Never ever ever make a joke about their families! ALWAYS treat them with respect like they were your own family. He will respect you when you understand how important family is. Russian are a very tight knit culture, most young adults don't move out of their parents home till they are married. And older generations will move in with younger families so everyone is taken care of. See how important it is since they are all so closely connected, imagine how compounded the effect would be should you hurt one person's feelings. BOOM you're out!
10. Passionate Lovers! Russians have this vigor for life! They are extremely passionate and when they fall in love with you they want to give you the world! Every date they will want to know more and more about you and want to spend all the time in the world with you because they believe you are the most magical creature ever to be born! Prepare to be loved. They will sacrifice much to be in your life if they truly are smitten by you!
I learned all of these through my own personal experiences. You have to remember, every person, every family, every culture is different. Not all of these will apply, maybe none will. But when you start trying to learn and show that you care enough to want to be apart of their family and culture, they will love and respect you. I love my Stas, it has been hard to understand and I don't always follow these protocols because I am a woman of the West but we have compromised and worked together so we both are happy. You have to communicate in relationships, no matter what the culture, always be open and talk to each other so there are never misunderstandings. If you do those few things your relationship will be beautiful!