Global Love Stories: Russian Speaking Men’s Partners Share Their Journeys

You’ve heard about the Russian superwoman stereotype, but what about Russian and Russian speaking men?

I was very lucky to connect with three incredible spouses of Russian and Russian speaking men. They shared their stories about love, communication, and cultural bonds. The rich tapestry of cross-cultural bonds is absolutely magical. These three interviews give an opportunity to enhance your understanding of Russian traditions and the language. Thank you, Carey, Rianna, and Rowena!

Carey Oakes | Canada

Describe your husband using three adjectives and one noun.

My partner. He is my empathetic, authentic, intelligent Angel.

How did you meet your love? Where is he from? 

We met through a mutual friend; it was a few days after Christmas and my friend called me. He was feeling low and suicidal after the holidays so I told him I would go see him.

He offered to come pick me up from my house, that is when I met Max. I remember getting in the back seat of Max’s car, Prodigy was playing, and my friend introduced us. I could not take my eyes off him for some reason.

We went back to Max’s house (that’s where my friend spent all his time). My friend liked to play videogames on Max’s big screen tv. I mostly sat on the couch watching my friend play video games. Max said if I wanted, I could come upstairs and listen to music if the video game watching was not fun. So, I did.

He is from Novokuznetsk, Siberia, Russia.

What are some of the most admirable qualities you appreciate in your husband?

I appreciate everything he does for me, and everything he does in general. My past relationships with Canadian men have been traumatic and going into another relationship I was nervous. Somehow, I don’t know how he does it, he seems to understand some things that even I don’t quite understand about myself. ould be luck, could be his ability to read my mind, whatever it is, I find often he will just walk in and say or do the right thing to bring me out of my internal darkness. Or his cat will.

He is kind, patient, and understanding. My family loves him, I have never seen my grandmother so happy. He got us going to see my grandparents every Sunday for dinner. He can fix ANYTHING, and if he can’t fix something – he will figure it out very quickly. He’s funny, in fact I think my motivation for learning Russian started with him saying “there are no words in English, ha-ha.” as he laughs trying to explain a joke, he found funny. He has shown me that not all men are cruel and violent.

How has your Russian husband brought unique cultural perspectives into your married life? Can you share any heartwarming experiences or traditions that you’ve embraced together?

There are many new things culturally I have learned, like Christmas is celebrated in January! My grandfather loves Christmas. However, my grandmother makes him take down all the decorations on January 1st. He was excited to hear that now his Christmas is extended a whole week to accommodate the new member of the family.

Max has shown me old coins, movies, and even Dominic’s pedigree papers which are all in Russian. I learned about Faberge eggs (the favored gift of the tsar to family and friend), I have learned about life pre- and post- Soviet Union. He told me stories of growing up, what school was like, and music. He plays a lot of Viktor Tsoi. I also do a lot of online research on my own, checking for Russian holidays, customs and culturally offensive actions and gestures to avoid doing something rude or upsetting.

What misconceptions or stereotypes have you encountered about Russian men, and how have your experiences with your husband debunked them?

Here are Russian male stereotypes he has completely shattered:

Russians are unfriendly, humourless and never smile.

If you believe this, then you never had one as a friend. Once he warmed up, he was friendly, funny and was almost always laughing or smiling. I actually like the hard outer shell; I know when he is comfortable with people and when he is not.

Russians drink vodka like water

Actually, he prefers whiskey, probably because Canadian vodka is made with wheat or corn. I have tried potato vodka and it truly is superior.

Russians have a distrust of the law, and many have mafia connections.

I think all people have some sort of distrust for authority (nothing new). I think people from Russia have certain reasons if police make them uncomfortable and I have yet to be present for any “mafia” dealings, we spend too much time together to say he has any connections. I highly doubt he does.

Russians wear “Russian hats” and fur coats

Max prefers something he calls (jokingly) a Russian tuxedo. This is usually a brand name matching tracksuit, most likely because it’s comfortable. 🙂

Russians are immune to the cold.

No, he is not. You will however not hear him complain about it and often make fun of me when I say its cold. (“you think this is cold, try living in Siberia”)

All I have to say is, my Russian man is a little strange at times, kind, and the first man in my life to care. I would not trade him for the world. I am more than happy to have him in my life….and his funny cat. I don’t like all other cats; I am usually a dog person.

Carey’s website: www.careyoakesofficial.com | Instagram @svggarden | TikTok @svggarden | Twitter @CareyOakesActor

Rianna | Canada

Describe your husband using three adjectives and one noun.

Generous: He insists on paying for everything; the grocery store, at the restaurant, bills, rent; it’s a less common trait here in the West and still a bit of a culture shock to me – I show him gratitude and my very best in return. 

Clever: He excels at analysing and extrapolating data from curious situations, but also manages to remember the most fascinating details and tidbits about historical events, geography, and culture. 

Patient: I’ve never met someone able to exercise so much tolerance and fortitude when it comes to everyday life. Things that bother me or make me upset, he’s able to patiently work through without getting angry or overreacting.Especially when it comes to our child, he has the patience and understanding of a saint. 

Муж/husband: Honestly never in my life thought I wanted to or would ever get married until I met him. 

How did you meet your love? Where is he from? 

I met my husband through work. He’s from the Urals/Chelyabinsk region of Russia. 

Ural Mountains | Unsplash

What are some of the most admirable qualities you appreciate in your husband?

Aside from the three adjectives and a noun already described above, I might also add that has shown a lot of courage, positivity, and resilience moving to Canada. He had never lived outside of his hometown until he moved here, the application process to get PR was painful and tedious, and he is now quite separated from his friends and family who are still there. I never once heard him complain. 

How has your Russian husband brought unique cultural perspectives into your married life? Can you share any heartwarming experiences or traditions that you’ve embraced together?

Well, for one; we were married in Russia, and at the time I had no idea what a Russian wedding would entail. I was quite delighted by what unfolded and my experience, but the marriage and wedding ceremony turned out to be a bit different from what we have in the west. During the ceremony and afterwards, it was as though I had become deeply absorbed and accepted into his family, which was surprising to me. I was the only child of a single mother and didn’t grow up close to extended relatives, but when I married into his family, I got to witness the closeness and vastness of his relations. This was extremely special and meaningful for me to be a part of. 

Also, it’s worth noting that I’ve also grown quite fond of a lot of the music, literature, and Russian culture that he’s introduced me to. There’s a certain sadness or tragedy to it sometimes, but I suppose that just adds depth and character. 

What misconceptions or stereotypes have you encountered about Russian men, and how have your experiences with your husband debunked them?

Some common western misconceptions about Russian men include being overly serious/not having a sense of humor, alcoholic, aggressive, or something to do with bears. However, my husband doesn’t fit this stereotype at all. It makes me chuckle just thinking about it.  Some examples of how he doesn’t fit the bill:

  • He only drinks when pressured in social situations and can’t tolerate vodka. 
  • Conjures up very silly puns, comparisons, and “dad jokes” on a daily basis. 
  • Is kind, gentle, and sensitive in nature. 
  • Never saw a bear in his life outside of the zoo until he came to Canada.

I can say the same about many of his friends and relatives – except maybe that they definitely like vodka.

Rowena Brykin | Canada

Describe your husband using three adjectives and one noun.

My husband is genuine in his connections with people. He is diligent in organizing administrative tasks. He is definitely trustworthy and very adventurous.

How did you meet your love? Where is he from?

Alexei is from Belarus and I am from South Africa. We met each other soon after moving to Abu Dhabi for work in 2009. We shared an instant attraction that grew into a deep and endearing friendship. Before long, we traveled home to introduce each other to our families, and we were married in 2012. We were blessed with 4 adorable boys including triplets. In 2022 we moved to British Columbia Canada.

What are some of the most admirable qualities you appreciate in your husband?

Alexei is peaceful and loving. I feel very safe with him. He genuinely considers himself as my life partner and he contributes to every aspect of our family life without hesitation. He enjoys spending time with us on the many wonderful adventures he carefully creates. Alex has a beautiful mind; he is interesting to talk to and his sharp wit means that we laugh everyday.

How has your Russian speaking husband brought unique cultural perspectives into your married life? Can you share any heartwarming experiences or traditions that you’ve embraced together?

Our Belarus + South African heritage is precious to our family, and we have taken our children to visit many cultural and historical heritage sites. These visits are always fulfilling. When it comes to traditions, we generally keep it simple, but our boys do love receiving two winter gifts from both Santa Klaus and Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost). They have been steadily learning Russian language online and I’ve picked up a good few phrases along the way too.

Discovering Russian food has been a fun adventure and although I’m not yet making pelmeni from scratch, I have successfully created my very own Borodinsky sour dough bread that never sees the light of the next day.

What misconceptions or stereotypes have you encountered about Russian / Russian speaking men, and how have your experiences with your husband debunked them?

Before I met Alex, my only exposure to “Russian speaking men” had been the villainous characters depicted in action movies, but Alex’s calm and caring nature is a complete contrast to those silly stereotypes.

Regardless of this, I have found that people are often surprised to learn that Alexei and I do not enjoy alcohol at all and that neither of us have had a drink in years.

Traveling with Alexei, I’ve seen the beautiful spectrum of culture within Russian speaking communities. I can now appreciate how diverse and unique the people are in each country. This historic diversity is true of most language groups in the world. Understanding these differences makes it completely unrealistic to lump any man into a limiting stereotype.

Since Alexei and I met abroad, we had already been surrounded by multiple international cultures and we were already open-minded about exploring new ways of doing life. What makes us work so well is just that… we choose to do the WORK that love and marriage requires to grow and thrive, regardless of any limiting beliefs.

Rowena’s socials | Instagram @mama_brykin and @uniquorns_t2s

6 thoughts on “Global Love Stories: Russian Speaking Men’s Partners Share Their Journeys”

  1. I loved reading the other interviews, you all have such an amazing perspective on your partners and I can feel the love you have through the words you have chosen to use. Thank you Galina, you are a wonderful person and I wish nothing but great happiness.

  2. I love the stereotypes we grew up with.
    As a child in the UK I remember Russian/Soviet women only portrayed as driving tractors.
    I was convinced that they drove tractors to go shopping etc.

  3. Absolutely amazing love stories. You ladies rock. Changing the mind sets and doing life for yourselves. God bless your marriages for many more years. Yea who finds a wife finds a good thing and had favour with God and man.
    Great love stories.

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