I studied at Lviv National University and finished my bachelor’s degree in foreign languages (English and German) in 2016.
I’m a translator by education, but I have never worked as a translator, actually.
However, I can’t say I wasted my education.
Thanks to my English skills, my life has changed dramatically, but it has nothing to do with a career.
When I was 17, I met a guy from the UK in my city. It was the summer of 2012. There was a European football tournament in Ukraine and Poland, and Lviv was one of the cities that hosted it, so thousands of foreigners were walking down the Rynok Square, a central square in Lviv.
I was young, got all the exams behind me, and it was a fun and carefree summer, so it was natural that I was in a romantic mood, right? We were together for 2 months, we had a, you know, mostly platonic relationship, and there were two things I realized:
- First, I understood Western men were more romantic, thoughtful, and caring than Slavic guys
- And second, I realized that dating men from other countries is much more fun
Basically, this experience shaped all my future relationships. This was the first step to becoming a Ukrainian mail order bride1, even though I didn’t know this at the time.
Navigating the world of online dating: How I became an expert (sort of)
So after that, I pressed pause on my love life, but not in my communication with foreigners. I entered the philological faculty in 2012, so I used any opportunity to chat with Western people.
A few years after that, I started using Instagram, and basically, this was my first experience with online communication with foreign men. We chatted about everything for months, and even though not all those men were real gentlemen, unfortunately, it was a remarkable experience.
In 2017, I was an au pair in Boston and used Tinder there—I wasn’t looking for a relationship at that time, but it turned out that there are lots of people who use Tinder for reasons other than those leading to dating. Many guys just want to chat and find new friends there, and this was a great experience, too.
I first signed up on an international dating site in 2018.
I did not know how this whole mail order brides thing2 worked at the time, so it was something completely new for me: a platform full of men who were genuinely interested in a serious relationship with a Ukrainian girl, wow!
Or, well, that’s what most of them wanted me to think about them because it turned out that a lot of men who pretend to be marriage-minded and family-centered are actually interested in a much more casual type of romantic relationship. I can’t say that 100% of the offers I got there were polite and gentlemanish, you know—but I chatted with different people on different websites for 2 years or so, and it was a very interesting and useful experience, too.
But the best part of that story began when I found.
It’s not like the dating sites I used before were awful, but the improvement was significant—this website had a better design, better communication features, and better-looking profiles.
I spent 1 year on this dating website and chatted with some romantic and very interesting men focused on a serious relationship. On the same site, I met William, who proposed to me in 2021 and became my husband and soulmate.
What drew me to William?
William was 40 when we first met online in 2020, and although there was an age gap between us (I was 25 that year), it was not a problem.
With him, the age gap was not a problem at all.
It was more like the motivation for me to grow and become a better person; honestly, we didn’t even notice this gap. We had similar hobbies (cooking and traveling) and a lot of mutual interests. We were interested in a serious relationship and had similar views regarding the relationship, so it was not a problem at all.
What made me fall for him was his confidence, polite and respectful behavior, sense of humor, and maturity, of course. When a guy keeps his word, when his words actually mean something, when he knows what responsibility is, oh, all these things are extremely important to me.
I can’t speak for all Ukrainian women3, but as far as I know, most girls on dating sites are looking for the same things and character traits:
maturity, confidence, and respect.
But it’s also about romantic things. Again, I can’t say that 100% of Ukrainian women are like this or like that, but I can confidently say that if you’re going to impress your Ukrainian girlfriend with a romantic gesture, you just can’t go wrong.
From flowers to a surprise rooftop date, all these things worked perfectly for me and will work perfectly for you, too. William even sent me a bouquet of 99 roses when we chatted on SofiaDate, and oh, this was impressive.
However, it wasn’t 100% perfect because it can’t be 100% perfect when we’re talking about a long-distance relationship between people from different cultures.
We had to work hard to overcome some challenges:
- Usually, the language barrier is the #1 problem. Communication is crucial in any relationship, and I don’t know if it’s possible to build a relationship if there’s a large language gap between you. Luckily, we didn’t have this problem—my husband doesn’t speak Ukrainian, but I speak pretty decent English.
- There’s always a cultural barrier, of course. However, it’s not like our cultures are too different. Maybe this was a thing a few decades ago, but today, Ukrainians are very Westernized, and I can’t say that we’re too conservative anymore. Yes, it takes a lot of patience to work through all those slight miscommunications, and yes, your values and expectations may be slightly different, but it’s not like modern mail order brides are creatures from another planet or the 18th century. We are more marriage-minded and slightly more feminine than some Western women, but it’s not like we are completely different.
- I also worried about romance scams4, but it turned out that if you choose a trustworthy mail order bride website, there’s nothing to worry about. I personally met no scammers and had no problems with that. But I believe that if you’re a foreign man searching for a bride, you need to be more careful about it.
- And, of course, it’s also about the long-distance relationship. Maintaining the connection and building a strong foundation despite the miles between you is not the easiest task, to be honest. It’s just not the same as dating someone from your city because you can’t go for a walk, go and drink coffee together, or hug your partner if you feel lonely… You’ve got the idea.
The last one was the most common of them and the most serious. We met twice in 6 months, we exchanged gifts, William sent me a large bouquet, and we even sent each other handwritten letters (I believe there’s a special charm to letters and cards). If you want to make it work, you’ll make it work—that’s what I think.
But it’s not about these problems only.
Stereotypes and misconceptions
There’s a lot of them, you know. Stereotypes about international relationships still exist, and there are a lot of people who would love to question the authenticity of your love.
William told me one of his friends sent him links to that 90-Day Fiancé TV series and constantly talked about all those gold-diggers and scammers. Because yeah, right, that’s how it works: if that girl Anfisa was a gold-digger, this surely means all Slavic girls are like this (no, it doesn’t).
They are no longer friends with that person, and that’s the good news. That guy was just impossible to convince—even if I swore on the Bible, he would not believe that we were genuinely in love.
Let’s be honest, we all know some women are gold-diggers.
But it’s not like 1% of American women and 10% of Ukrainian women are like that—no, the ratio is always approximately the same, and the real percentage is much lower than that.
That guy was not the only person in my husband’s social circle with such ideas and views. But the others saw with their eyes that we’re in love and that I’m a real person who behaves and thinks just like them.
They understood I’m not here for money and realized not all mail order brides are focused on money. I believe that’s the only way to convince people who have certain stereotypes—you have to show them that your relationship is real to make them change their minds. It’s like an interview with a USCIS officer.
And, of course, the logistics of visits and all those immigration issues
I have never faced the bureaucratic system before, so going through this process was quite stressful. Collecting the documents and all those certificates, filing the forms like DS-160, proving our relationship is real, experiencing all those frustrating delays…
I had to bring everything, from tickets to printouts of our chats
This process is definitely not simple or fast, so you have to be ready for it.
But after all, we overcame all those challenges. In October 2020, we started chatting online.
In November 2021, I got a K-1 visa, and I moved to Burlington (William is a college professor in this incredibly beautiful small city). We got married 7 days after my arrival, and during that winter, we had the time of our lives.
But then, the war broke out
Russia invaded my country on 24 February 2022, and the horror of this war… I mean, they shoot civilian people, strike residential houses, and kill people with everything, from rifles to missiles.
It’s an unspeakable horror and a tragedy for every Ukrainian, even for those who don’t live in Ukraine anymore. The Russian war affected my life, too—my parents and friends live in Lviv and Kyiv, and what they had to go through, what they experienced, was horrible.
Air raid sirens, missile strikes, and other things
That’s not how people should live in the 21st century. But due to having this cruel, bloodthirsty, and violent country as a neighbor, that’s what we all had to go through.
With this war, I got to know William even better. We married in 2021, and I moved to Burlington the same year, so it’s not like William had enough time to, you know, build a connection with Ukraine. He only visited Lviv 2 times, and he didn’t even know the name of our president before the war, so it’s not like he had any deep ties with Ukraine.
But after the invasion, he supported me even more than I expected. We donate to Caritas and other humanitarian organizations, and, during the last year, we donated around $5,000 to refugees, and it was not like I had to ask him for it. He always supports me and follows the situation closely, and he even wanted to visit Lviv in 2022, but I talked him out of it because it was too dangerous.
I haven’t visited my home city since the beginning of the full-scale war for the same reason—my parents still live there even though we took them to Burlington in March 2022 and offered them to stay with us. They are brave people and proud Ukrainians, and when Ukraine wins the war, I am going to spend a month or so traveling with William and my family in my beautiful country.
I want to inspire others and help them find love abroad
So, now that you know more about me, you probably have one question—why does this 28-year-old Ukrainian woman share her life story here on IWS? Well, the answer is simple:
because I want to help people.
There are thousands of American men who’d like to meet a Ukrainian woman and thousands of ladies who would love to find a decent foreign man, but they often don’t know how to make everything right.
I know what mistakes they can make and what dangers lie ahead of them, and I know that many of them will give up because they just can’t find the right dating site or overcome language/cultural barriers.
And that’s what makes me really, really sad. On the other hand, that’s what makes me act, not sit still and spend days in Burlington parks and restaurants.
I spent 2 years on mail order bride sites5 and 8 years communicating with foreign men—I have a lot of experience, and I believe I can help others with my experience. I want to help, and I want to be inspirational—that’s the idea. And I’m going to do it here on InspirationalWomenSeries.
- Interview with Ukrainian Mail Order Bride ↩︎
- How Do Mail Order Brides Work ↩︎
- Where & How to Meet Ukrainian Woman ↩︎
- How Does Romance Scams Work, Red Flags & Tips to Avoid ↩︎
- Best Legit Mail Order Bride Sites ↩︎