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Contest: "Personal Experiences"


E-groups: A Gold Mine of Information and Help
by Stephan Wanzek


According to the number of marriages and the men involved, the number of members participating in e-groups is very low. Much more men should join them, so let me try to convince you, because they are BY FAR THE BEST PLACE you can find for everything you need to know regarding a relationship to a woman from the Former Soviet Union (FSUW).

But let me first congratulate you. The fact you are reading this right now proves that you have found one of the best sources for information about FSUW available for men, the Russian Bride Cyber Guide (RBCG). The information - free, and quite a lot - you can read on Elena's side, is a good background collection of what you should know before you start. So, I hope you are not as unprepared as many other men who start this adventure.

Like many others I found the RBCG through a search machine and it was my starting point months ago when I thought about a FSUW as an alternative to German women. In the following time I read a lot of interesting material on websites and in books on- and off the internet and learned quite a lot.

But all these sources - despite their informational value - have a big disadvantage. Usually they don't fit well enough into your own situation. They are too slow to represent changing situations accordingly and normally there is no dialogue possible. So - like myself a few month ago - you may get the feeling that something important is missing.  

Besides your FSUW adventure ... think about what you normally do in such a situation, i.e. when you want to buy something, look for a holiday destination or something else and need help. Normally you would ask someone you know or think who knows: a relative, a friend, a neighbor or people at work.

But here is the problem: Who can you ask? Where can you go when you just need someone to talk to about what you are doing?

  • The agency owners are also interested in their business and are actually not inside this process themselves. How can you know how accurate their answers really are?
  • Relatives and friends are in most cases not the ones you can easily ask - you may get (good or bad) discussions, but no answers which can really help you.
  • Very often, what you are doing is seen as negative, the men doing this are 'losers' and TV shows, magazines, ... are 'proving' this all the time. Nobody is really interested in the truth behind this phenomena and you can't expect support from people who don't like what you're doing.
  • Normally good service/information goes from mouth to mouth, but with only a few men and women of the population involved, where can you find the next one? In your street, town... and how? 

The answer to all these questions is very easy: An e-group!

There you find a lot of men, young and old, with a wide range of attitudes and many suggestions to problems from different viewpoints. You'll find men in exactly the same situation as you,

  • men who are thinking if this is a possibility for themselves, who want to know what will come onto them,
  • men who are already writing letters to women and preparing a visit,
  • men who are stuck within the bureaucracy,
  • men who have just married and are still fighting through all the trouble which occurs in daily life when the woman arrives, and
  • men who have had the experience of being married to a FSUW and are divorced now.

They all know what you are talking about and should know. They have the information you are craving for, instead of "colored views" and "mainstream opinions". 

The different e-groups related to the FSUW topic are a gold mine of "first hand" personal experience and you can get everything you need. You have someone to talk to about your own thoughts and problems - not only in public but also in private after you made the contact through a group. The members of these groups can give you advice to everything you may be in, because normally you are not the first one in a certain situation and the predecessors can support you. 

What can you expect from an e-group

I want you to get an impression about what you can expect from such a group. Therefore I'll give you a short overview about the wide range of themes discussed there. You may even get new information for yourself now, but the important thing here is to show you samples about what is going on there day by day.  

A lot of agencies make the whole thing sound easier than it really is. Nearly on no agency side can you find something about the pitfalls and the requirements for a western man. They don't give them the important information they should know, because some possible customers might not like it and reject it. It's sad, because in the end the man and the woman have to pay the price, and this can be very high. 

In an e-group you can read what you should know upfront regarding yourself, i.e. not to underestimate the costs and the necessary emotional strength, the lifestyle suitability, the influence of your living area and the time consuming support when the woman arrives.

Learn, what is true about what the agencies are writing about FSUW on their website and what's agency hype to tell the men what they want to hear, like that they are fond of 20+ aged men. Through the ongoing discussions you'll find out that FSUW's are no exception - they are women just like other women. So, getting such a girl is one thing, keeping her is another one. You can hear what others think about age differences - not only the usual theoretical observations and meanings you can read everywhere, but live reports from couples living it day by day.

You can read testimonials regarding the agency you want to use and get not only their own website. You are able to talk to former customers before you spend a lot of money, i.e. regarding agency tours, matchmaking services, etc. and you can read how successful many of the keyboard- and one-week Romeo's really are. 

Some agencies cite an INS report which claims how successful relationships with FSUW are. But, there is no own INS material to prove it. In fact, the INS is even not able to say how many of the K-1 visas really lead to marriage. How will they add anything valuable to this question? You must read the report very carefully - or you just find a related discussion on an e-group - to find out that this is only biased agency material. Now you can face the worth of this report for yourself. On the other hand, there is a private MOB study in progress observing real relationships instead of "agency numbers" by questioning the involved FSUW and AM. The team posted a preview of the data for criticism and suggestions for additional investigation on one of the best e-group sites I know. To make it short, it was controversial and a real eye-opener. The final results will be published next year.

I don't want to paint a black picture here (in fact, contrary to the USA, Germany has a very good database and according to that a foreign wife is the first choice for a German man), but I want you to open your eyes and don't believe anything you are told. When you hear something first exchange your information with other men involved and then draw your own conclusions. The e-groups are the best places for doing that. 

You can find a lot of information in many personal trip reports published in e-groups, much more than on all the agency sites. And, most importantly, they are not censored by agency owners - or do you think agencies would publish trip reports containing problems which might keep a man from using them? Here you can read a lot of real stories - successful ones and failures - and learn from them.

Sometimes related things are changing rapidly, only think of visa requirements of her country and so on. Asking questions of the groups get you the most recent and up to date travel information you need.

You can get in contact with people living in the FSU who can be helpful in renting an apartment, pick you up at the airport, work as your guide and translator and although you never met them personally, you have some (often many) members which can prove that it is a good deal because they have been there and know them personally.

You can find out and avoid scammers through online discussions. If the information the men and women exchange there, were given to every guy who started this process the scammers/bad agencies would be out of business.

You can discuss books you read and/or get references to a lot of useful material online and offline. Get hints about what to read and what is a waste of time and why.

You'll learn that there are no shortcuts in this process if you want to be successful, but there are plenty if you don't mind falling. See, what the men who are successful did and what you should avoid. Their personal experience is invaluable for you. 

In a good e-group you'll not only meet western men, you'll also find fiancees and their wives and even men and women still living in the FSU. Through them you can gain a bit of an understanding of the cultural differences and the needs and expectations of your future partner.

It is not unusual that you get new friends through such an e-group. Sometimes there are meetings between members in the FSU or at home. And, if you need help to carry important documents, letters or little packages you'll find someone online. 

All in all you'll learn what works and what doesn't, from men who have done or are doing it. You'll get first hand answers to many questions you have - and even answers to a lot of important questions you haven't thought of yet. The only thing you must do is to use them: read the postings, search through the archives and ask questions. There is no better source than people who are involved, period! 

My personal experience with e-groups

I'm a member of some e-groups since a few months ago. At the beginning their daily digests became like a newspaper to me. Nowadays, after I've got a wide background, I'm more picky in choosing what I read depending on my own situation. Let me only share a few personal experiences I had through my membership - maybe you'll also find yourself or learn a little bit.  

In the beginning I read sites claiming that their women are traditional. They draw a picture saying that the women only wants a husband, a family and to be housewife (cook, sew, knit and make a cozy home), that's all. I was nearly at the point of dropping the whole thing because I didn't want a German housewife, so why should I look for a Russian one? Through the groups and some other sources I found there, I saw that this is only agency hype and real life with a FSUW is a lot different. They are traditional, but with a different meaning than we are used to here in the west. They are also - different from what you often hear in the west - emancipated, but it is a totally different kind of feminism there (did you know that feminism in the east started much earlier than in the west?).

It was surprising for me to see that most of the relationships fail because of the men, and why. Very often the men simply don't have the money and/or the time they need for a FSUW. I found a lot of hints to prove if my own attitude in searching for a FSUW is will help me to succeed or cause problems.

Before I read the e-groups I would have never considered going to the FSU on my own. Now, I have so much information and potential contacts that I sometimes think of just buying a plane ticket and going. After speaking with people who live and/or lived there for a long time, I'm working on the possibility of living there a few months - with a potential partner - too. Maybe even part time, living in both countries, if possible. 

All in all my personal impression is that most of the men contribute to the e-groups in a positive productive way for those who are new or not so experienced to the Russian Women dating scene. There are men in successful relationships to help to do the right thing and those from failed relationships to help to avoid some of the intercultural pitfalls and scammer tactics. And, last but not least, there are Russian women on some of these e-groups with their input, which is a very positive thing too. Who can better help us to understand what all our future brides are going through. 

What you should do if you really want to succeed and think it is intelligent to learn from your own faults, but wise to learn from the faults of others, then I can just advise you to join the e-groups - the sooner the better! It is free of charge, will give you a lot and probably save you money and headaches.

One of the most read sentences on the e-groups from a new member is, "I wish I had found this group earlier. It would have saved me a lot of problems and money, but I started searching for assistance only when the problems occurred.' This should make you think.

Beyond it, most of the participating men come to the conclusion that the e-groups supported them in a good way and give a positive judgment ... so many men can't be wrong!

Of course, like everywhere, there are e-groups and e-groups, good ones and bad ones. You don't know the people behind the names and tastes are different too. But when you spend a little time there (or read the archives) you can get a picture, i.e., when you only read the pros of FSUW, or on a special agency, you should be careful because that's possibly too good to be true. Be aware that there are also agency owners (and some good friends) who want to create a certain picture, which isn't the truth. Read the guidelines (yes, there are e-groups where cons about agencies are not allowed) and more than one list at a time and it will be no problem to find out which information is accurate and which is not (or less).

You can find the e-groups through a search machine or just use the link to the RWL on RBCG (hosted under yahoogroups.com - you can find a lot more there). If you need help to find more and/or are interested in my opinion about the ones I use (5 at the moment), just send an email to st.wanzek@online.de  and I'll send you my personal e-group-list with comments.

BTW, that you were able to read this advertisement for e-groups here is other proof of the reliability of the RBCG. If Elena has to fear "bad press" then she would be silly to publish what I wrote, but she can easily do this ... I didn't find anything.

Oh, and before I forget ... the private investigation group I mentioned above found out that list-participants have a higher marriage success rate than non-participants. If this is not THE REASON for you to join then I don't know. 

Anyway, Good luck in your search ... hope to see you soon.


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