The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

“In the USA you will always be a foreigner”: Ukrainians talked about difficulties in marriage with Americans


Source: Voice of America

Love is one of the most beautiful feelings that a person experiences in his life. However, sometimes even it can be clouded by daily problems, especially if life needs to be built from scratch. This happens when the object of your love is a foreigner and you start a family in a foreign country. How it happens, says Yarina Matviychuk for VOA.

Photo: Shutterstock

What are these issues and are they common or exclusive to marriage with Americans? I asked my immigrant friends who married in the United States to share the experiences and challenges they faced there. Since I am also married to an American, I also share my own experience.

I hope readers will not perceive this as a sociological survey - this article is definitely not one, but they will be able to find useful advice or just interesting facts and food for thought.

Loneliness and homesickness

Immediately after marrying a foreigner, your life changes radically. Interest in a new country and euphoria will not replace longing for family, friends, jokes, or, in the end, for native streets.

“Moving to another country / culture is very stressful,” Tatiana from Lviv region shares her reflections, she got married in Idaho. "All the girls who have been in the role of a foreign bride in the United States will say that loneliness is a very big problem."

“In moments of extreme longing for family, it is tempting to direct your anger at loved ones,” says Elizabeth, who came to the United States from Germany. “You may be tempted to look for someone responsible for your loss. And who is easier to blame in this case? Of course, the one who took you out of your native country. "

“Unfortunately, I blamed my husband. It took about a year after the move, until I realized that here with him I actually gained, and not lost, - says Elizabeth, who now lives in Maryland. "I am very grateful to my American husband for his patience."

For those experiencing such emotions, she advises to remember that the decision to move to another country is your decision. In addition, there is a husband next to you to support you.

On the subject: Marry a Foreigner: 7 Best Countries for International Marriages

Foreigner status forever

After moving to the US, you will forever (with extremely rare exceptions) remain a "person with an accent." Be prepared for the fact that sometimes you will be perceived not by character, but by origin. Americans often start a conversation with the question: "Where are you from?"

Elizabeth also shares her experience: “I have a German accent. I often notice that at the beginning a person smiles at me, starts talking to me until he realizes that I am a foreigner. After that, there are two options: some end the conversation, others, on the contrary, want to know more about me. "

A similar experience was with Anastasia from Poltava. The woman moved to Colorado 10 years ago and admits that in the beginning not all Americans believed in her true intentions.

“Some of his friends didn't believe in our long-term relationship. They told my then-future husband that I was only interested in immigration papers, ”Anastasia recalls.

Natalia from Volyn, who now lives in New Jersey, was also forced to prove to the Americans that “not all Ukrainian girls are impudent and dishonest, not all of them are“ users ”,” looking only for benefits in everything. “I was self-reliant financially, with a positive approach to life; was easy to communicate, but not easily accessible, ”explains Natalia.

Tatiana from Kiev (now she lives in Virginia) even developed a recipe for such cases.

“Sometimes in a new company I come across the fact that Americans have developed a stereotypical attitude towards me as an immigrant wife from Eastern Europe. They automatically assume that I am a poorly educated housewife who was almost discharged by mail.

In this case, my husband and I have prepared a reception: we start a conversation about who and how met our spouses. Since we met when I was doing an internship on CNN while studying at an American university, their attitude changes instantly: they look at me differently, they talk to me differently, and I immediately become one of them. "

Women recommend: it is worthwhile to understand for yourself that a foreign accent and origin is in fact your greatest advantage.

Difficulties with humor

The real challenge for many post-Soviet immigrants is to understand American humor.

"Misunderstanding of American humor is due to ignorance of American culture and films, comedians who speak out about local celebrities or past events," Natalia from New Jersey shares her experience.

She admits that she still (after 19 years of living in the USA) does not understand the so-called “toilet humor” or “when people of different nationalities make fun of each other:“ I think that some of these jokes are either obscene or racist, I personally I'm not used to that. "

In addition, Natalia’s husband motivated her to get rid of some, as she says, “Soviet habits”.

“I had to smile more here (this is good), say more“ thank you ”,“ please ”,“ love ”(earlier I was more closed and cold). I learned not to be afraid to be the first to meet, to start a conversation. I also stopped wearing fur, because my then boyfriend said that he would not allow his friends to see that I was wearing a dead animal, ”said a Ukrainian woman from Volyn.

And Tatiana from Idaho “had a hard time getting used to the individualistic culture in communication:“ People here like to talk a lot about themselves. It seems to me that this is not quite decent for us. "

On the subject: Personal experience: how to marry a foreigner and not be disappointed

Find your place in society and a new family

Nobody knows you in another country. All your achievements of the past - "gold medalist", "her mother has a restaurant", "grandfather was a famous artist" - all this does not matter in a new country. You need to build your reputation from scratch.

It can be good or bad - everyone has their own way. Many are helped by active participation in the life of the community - by volunteering, going to church, or simply communicating with neighbors.

“What advice would I give myself if I go back in time? Set up work online at a distance. And also check if the future husband has good relations with friends and family. To have options in case something suddenly goes wrong, that is, plan B. And to feel more confident, because there is always a way out, ”comments Tatiana, who divorced her American husband a few years after her marriage, and is now successfully building independent life.

The Kiev woman Natalia married a man in North Carolina, whose mother “completely fell within the definition of the so-called mother-hen”. The woman actually married a "man and his mother."

“From the first minutes of our married life, my mother lived with us, and moving to another city did not change the situation. Sometimes we marry not only one person - sometimes we get a set in the form of a mom, dad or other unexpected relatives, ”explains Natalya.

How to understand a Ukrainian

Tatyana moved from Soviet Ternopol to Oregon at the age of 20. She was educated here. She got married when they were completely assimilated. However, the woman says, the cultural difference in the family was still noticeable. Therefore, her American husband felt the need to better understand his Ukrainian wife.

“My husband needed to adjust more. After meeting me, he took a class on Ukrainian culture, then Yale University offered a program of Ukrainian studios, ”the woman shares her experience.

“He was interested to learn more about me, about my country, especially since he was interested in a serious relationship,” Tatiana said.

Natalia's bagpipe husband was born and raised in Brooklyn (New York).

“His parents are immigrants from Guyana (South America). We are Ukrainians. Neither he nor I knew anything about the countries where we were from. And it didn't make any difference. Subsequently, my husband became a great patriot of Ukraine, and I learned to communicate with his friends of different nationalities and religions. "

On the subject: How I married an American soldier

Life from scratch

When you move to a new country, you start life anew. Much of what you learned at home may never be useful again. However, what must be done in a new country is to deal with finances and education.

In the US, every single person must create a credit history for themselves (if you want to someday buy a car or your own home). You need to learn to insure everything you have, including your health and life.

Ukrainian education, most likely, will need to be converted into American. To do this, you need to finish your studies and pay the American price for it.

Be prepared for the fact that your Ukrainian diploma in the United States may not be recognized at all, ia. may have to attend an American college first.

Svetlana from Illinois received her law degree in Ukraine. However, after immigrating to the United States, she was forced to study again for several years in order to receive a law degree.

The respondents and I have compiled a list of questions that it is advisable to discuss with the future foreign husband before marriage:

  • How do you see your family - with or without children.
  • What languages ​​will your child learn, what language will you speak with your child at home, what language will you buy children's books.
  • Will your child go to Ukrainian school (this requires additional efforts and finances from parents).
  • What religion your children will profess, how his family relates to this.
  • Will it be possible to baptize your children (my Ukrainian friend has not been able to baptize her two children for 8 years, because her husband is against).
  • What foods are prohibited in your home? (Be sure to find out before marriage, you may be surprised).
  • Will your husband allow children to be taken out of the country without him?
  • Is your man ready to start studying the Ukrainian language, which would help him and your future children understand you, your culture, simplify travels to your homeland.

Marrying a foreign man was one of the best decisions of my entire life for me. But living with a foreigner is hard.

He will never understand what it is like to dig potatoes as a child in the village. Or why that brown briefcase at school was so special when my mother, in an era of widespread scarcity, received it "by big pull" at the base. Or why, in Soviet times, you kept two slices of tangerine in your pocket all day to bring them to your brother after school.

You can feel nostalgic about this with your family when you visit them at home. And abroad you have a new life. From scratch.

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