Of course, you must make the decision for yourself as to who you communicate with and how you approach a relationship with someone over a long distance or over the internet. Based upon my experience, these are some of the guidelines for meeting an Eastern woman (or man) over the internet in the quest to find a good partner for a happy marriage:

Join a message board or forum and read what is being written about Eastern-Western relationships. If you have questions or thoughts or ideas, contribute them to the Russian or Ukraine matchmaking group. There is a wealth of knowledge and resources in the feedback of other people who are going through or have gone through a similar experience. Don’t feel afraid or shy or hesitant about asking any question. We encourage users of our message boards to ask any question that they would like, and we moderate the forums so that everyone’s right to share their ideas are respected.

If someone asks you for money, take it as a major warning sign that needs evaluation. If a person asks for money, be very cautious about continuing the relationship with them. If you do want to help them with internet expenses, for instance, then you can find out from a third party approximately how much internet costs are, and only send what is needed for those costs in her particular city and country. And if you are sending them money, make sure that you believe that they are writing you the approximate number of emails that would be covered by the money you are sending them, and that they are not using the money for other purchases, or even worst, in communicating with one or more other people.

Do not send anyone you are communicating with money, unless you are engaged to the person and trust them. Again, never send anyone money. If you do not send anyone money, then you take money out of the equation, and if someone was corresponding with you just to make money, they will most likely not continue corresponding with you and waste their time if they do not feel that they will receive money from you. Keep money out of the equation. If you have communicated with them for a few months by both phone and email, and even better, after having visited them in person, then consider send them money. If you feel comfortable about them after this point and you feel that you have a committed relationship that feels good to you, then send them money for things that they need.

Never send anyone money for an airplane ticket or visa. These are common fraudulent requests, because they normally involve what the average Russian or Ukraine person would consider large amounts of money. If necessary, buy an airplane or train ticket for the person yourself (if, for example, you are going to be meeting in a third country or they will need to travel from their city to meet you). It is wise to ask other’s advice and feedback before sending any money for necessary fees for a visa. Understand whether there are any visa fees needed for a Russian person to travel to your meeting place. Again, these two requests for money are common pretexts for people who are not sincere and honest in wanting to develop a relationship with you and who are mainly interested in money. Be cautious and consider the circumstances carefully if someone you are communicating with asks you money for these things.

Getting to know someone through the internet takes longer and is different than getting to know someone who lives in your local area. Realize that getting to know someone over the internet is different than getting to know someone in person. This may seem obvious, but when you are caught up in emotional and intimate communication with another person through writing words and thoughts and expressing emotions to one another, it is easy to develop what feels like a profound intimacy that is similar to what you would develop with someone who you meet in person. The advantage to long distance communication is that the two of you can focus on sending and receiving words and ideas to one another, and being less obscured by physical attraction. On the other hand, because you do not spend hours at a time with someone in the same room, and cannot witness and observe their actions and facial expressions, etc., realize that you can learn a different and consistent side of a person by being able to observe their reactions and physical presence and interaction in person and over time while in the same place. To learn about who a person is, you must listen to their words, but also observe their behaviors and actions.

See your prospective Russian or Ukraine wife NOT as a stereotype, but as a unique individual, just like you and others you know. Russian women are NOT subservient desperate women who want nothing and will give everything. Would you want to be with someone who has a underappreciated and devalued sense of themselves? Russian women are unique just as every man or woman is unique. They will have desires, wishes, bad days, feel stress just like you do. With a Russian woman, expect to have a relationship that needs the attention, time and thoughtfulness and compassion that any relationship requires. Remember, women from Eastern Europe are individual people just like your past girlfriends, your sister, your friends and yourself. Every person, including Russian women, have imperfections and human qualities just like any other woman or man. Don’t accept the general stereotypes that the general public and media has created about “Russian women.” Instead, have realistic expectations about the person you are communicating with, and about Russian women in general. Just as there are no perfect Russian women, there are no perfect Western men.

Begin communicating with more than one person. While still acting responsibly, communicate with more than one person in the initial stages of looking for a partner. Be honest about this with all the people you are communicating with, and then narrow down your choices within a few weeks. I believe that it is better to be able to choose between a number of people so that you can understand the different facets of the Russian personality, as well so that you can have a real choice as to who would be best suited for you. Sometimes it is intriguing to be communicating with and dating a foreign woman (and a European or Russian woman). Initially corresponding with a small number of women will keep your mind more realistically on differences in INDIVUDUALS, rather than fascination in a Russian accent and on a Russian woman’s cultural attributes. By communicating with a few Russian women, you can have a real choice between individual traits of these women, and you will be able to better compare these women’s individual characteristics.

Speak with the person on the telephone or skype as soon as possible because: 1) you can receive greater assurance early on whether a person is real or not (or if some man in Moscow is actually writing the emails to you); 2) you can learn so much more about a person (how they react to your questions, etc.) by speaking with them on skype is a great way to better understand whether the two of you are compatible;

Be careful if someone tells you that they love you and wants to marry you after a few days or few weeks of communication. This could mean that 1) they are unrealistic in understanding that it takes time to really get to know someone, or 2) it might mean that they are not being honest with you, or, 3) it might mean that they have a special instinct that tells them that you are the right person for them. But, I would take this as a warning sign that it could possibly mean that the first 2 instances are true. In any of these 3 cases, it is important that YOU take the time needed to understand whether you believe that you and your correspondee are right for one another, even if they are showering you with warm sultry words and promises of kisses and lifetime devotion. Be careful and cautious and scrutinizing if someone tells you that they are in love with you and that they want to marry you after a few letters, or even a few weeks. Although you can establish a connection with someone by writing and speaking on the phone, to be able to make a lifetime commitment with someone, it is wise to meet in person and confirm whether the other person is genuine, and whether you compatible emotionally, psychologically, psychologically, and in other ways.

Don’t consider marrying someone before meeting them. This is another suggestion that seems obvious, but it is easy to become idealistically hopeful about a new correspondence, and start to fantasize about where you will go for your honeymoon before you have even met your new love. Realize that you really need to visit someone and spend time with them in person before understanding whether they would be a right person to marry or not. This may sound simple and obvious, but there are many people who feel that they have fallen in love and that they have met their “soul mate” without having even met the person and spent time in person with them. Although you can learn some things about a person through the internet and by skype and through messages, you learn about a person in far more depth by spending days with them at a time in person and observing their mannerisms and how they react and relate to you, etc…

Spend time in your prospective partner’s city or town so that you can get to know more about how they live and what they are like. A person naturally shows more of themselves in their home environment as opposed to when they are on vacation and outside of their natural element.

Meet their friends and family. A good adage is that you can know a lot about a person from meeting their friends and family, and by seeing what kinds of people they associate with. The kinds of friends that a person chooses says a lot about that person, and the kind of family environment that a person grew up in is a great influence in their lives.

Understand your partner’s past relationships so that you can understand how they might behave in a relationship with you. Try to understand what this person’s past relationships were like, because the kinds of romantic relationships that a person has had in the past is a good reflection of how they will behave and what they will create in their relationship with you. If you notice a pattern in a person’s past relationships that bother you, then really think about whether this pattern or behavior might repeat itself in a relationship with you.

Listen to your hunches or intuition. Stay aware of and listen to your hunches and intuition that you have about a person or the relationship. If you feel uncomfortable about something or someone, pay attention to your discomfort and reflect upon why you feel uncomfortable or have doubts about that person.

If something doesn’t seem right to you, ask questions, whether you ask these questions to yourself or to the person you are communicating with. Seek resolutions to questions and doubts that you have in your mind. Don’t ignore something or a thought or observation that bothers you. Getting married is one of the most important decisions in life, so you deserve to feel comfortable and happy and at peace with your decision.

Only do what feels comfortable to you, and pay attention to what you feel comfortable with, and what you don’t feel comfortable with. Again, trust your feelings and instincts.

Observe and pay attention to a person’s actions and behavior as well as their words. Do their behaviors match their words and what they say or have written to you? Do any of their behaviors seem suspicious to you or are you uncomfortable with any of their behaviors (or lack of behaviors?) For example, does a person write very short emails to you without answering your specific questions?

Pay attention to the quality of emails that someone writes to you… Are they answering your specific questions? Are they avoiding certain questions or issues that you wrote in your emails? If some issues or topics or questions are important to you, please feel free to express or write them to the person who may be your lifetime partner someday. Do they not seem to be spending a lot of time on their emails? (Which may be an indication that they are either writing one or more other people, or…. they are not that involved or interested in corresponding with you or getting to know you).

Think into the future and imagine what it would be like to marry and live with your prospective partner. Once you get to know them, try to imagine yourself living with them and being married to them, living your daily life, going shopping at the store, preparing for and spending holidays together, raising children together, doing the bills together, exercising with one another, laying next together every night for the rest of your life. Imagine all of these things. When you imagine this, can you truthfully see yourself being happy together? Would both you and your prospective partner be happy in a lifetime marriage and partnership together?

Be honest and open with the person you are corresponding with. It is better to be honest always so that you can create trust in your relationship, and also so that both you and your intended can understand early whether you are right for each other…  You want the other person to love you for who you are, and not for a false image of you, because they will be disappointed and even hurt and angry later if you gave them a false impression of yourself.

Ask your intended future partner questions… During your correspondence with the person you are interested in, ask that person questions so that you can really learn what kind of person they are. Although Russians are less used to being asked personal questions than Americans and Westerners are, I believe that it is important that you ask respectful but open questions (and be willing to answer them yourselves) so that you can really learn who the other person is and whether the two of you are really suited for a relationship and future marriage together. Just be very open with them…

Talk to one another about and establish realistic expectations for your future life together. Early on in your relationship, create and talk about realistic expectations about your intended spouse moving to your country and life together. Have open and frank discussions about what life would be like with your fiancé moving to your country and living with you. Be honest with him or her (and yourself) about as many of the realistic circumstances as possible. It is better to understand what life would be like living with and being married to a person BEFORE you both invest the time and money for the fiancé visa, traveling and marriage process for your fiancé to live with you, than after. It is possible that after reflecting upon this, you might feel that you would may not be happy together or well-suited for one another. Again, it is better to understand this sooner than later, before you have invested your heart, money and time in the relationship.

Realize that marriage is hard work, and that you both must be willing to work through challenges in your relationship. Marriage, especially a multi-cultural one, takes time, effort, a willingness to communicate, patience and understanding.

Have patience for your foreign spouse and her or his transition. Be patient with your foreign spouse’s transition to her new life and country. Even if you think that you have some understanding about how challenging it is to move to a new culture and adjust to a new way of life, understand that you need to offer more patience and understanding. Imagine if you were to move to a completely new culture and country (like China), and you and you had to start from scratch and learn a new language, go to school in a different language, find a job, etc… You might feel lonely for your own language, for having a conversation with people who understood the same assumptions, who share the same cultural heritage and references. Imagine that you were all by yourself, and had to rely almost completely on your foreign spouse (and you and to speak with them in their language…  If we can imagine this, then we can have some understanding of what our foreign spouses feel.

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