There are so many articles on the Internet about Russian-American marriages, usually where the husband is American and the wife is Russian. Can you really make any generalizations about the relationship differences between the two cultures or does it really boil down to individual differences? Well, several authors have tried to sort it out.

First, there’s the now sort-of-out-of-date book by Lynn Visson called Wedded Strangers. Apparently, Dr Visson has expanded this book with new material, including a chapter on marriages resulting from the phenomenal growth of agencies and Internet sites which introduce American men to Russian women. I haven’t read this book since it first came out in 1998 so I can’t say for sure, but it was an interesting read at the time.

In terms of American women dating Russian men, there is less written. Maybe because it’s a less successful endeavor? Kristen Blyth’s article makes it sound like a really hard slog for non-Russian women in general, and Western women in particular. Blyth’s article states that, “One common refrain concerns gender roles: Russian men expect to be dominant in relationships. The woman’s career and personal independence come secondary, while the male is the provider.” It seems this cultural role may be in conflict with Western women’s emphasis of independence and professional interests.

Then there’s the “cyber guide” to Russian women and relationships. In this guide, the author, a Russian woman herself, explains one cultural difference between Russian and American women: grooming. “The old proverb says: intelligence of a girl depends on her current hairstyle and dress. I can say the same about woman’s beauty. You will meet very beautiful women all over the world, Russian women just make special efforts to look their best. The bad news is: it will come over soon after you beautiful Russian wife is here. First months after leaving Russia I looked like a model from a magazine picture, now my usual clothes are jeans and a T-shirt. It’s much more convenient, less time consuming, and I look exactly the same as all women around. In Russia I would never step away from home without proper make-up, now I don’t touch my cosmetics bag for weeks.” The rest of the site has list of positive and negative myths and how these can play out in reality.

Then there’s this website, which is apparently a blog about intercultural and interracial marriages. The author, an American woman, married a Russian man. She discusses the stereotypes of this kind of relationship and emphasizes that selfishness is really to blame for many of the conflicts in a marriage, particularly an intercultural one.

Finally, I found an academic article concerning how Russian women adapt to the United States after relocating to be with their American husbands. It seems that various issues of inequality can often cause conflict. The article, by Igor Ryabov, is here.