Marriage with an American: Expectations and Reality - ForumDaily
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Marriage with an American: expectations and reality

Marriage with an American is a cherished dream of many girls dreaming of a happy life abroad. In this case, this is not about a fictitious marriage: many residents of the post-Soviet space sincerely believe that you can at the same time find a new life and true love. At the same time, completely different stories are often published in newspapers and forums: about the indefinable difference of mentalities, the unfortunate fate of powerless Russian women abroad and the frightening statistics of divorces.

Фото: Depositphotos

We talked to two women, each of whom was or remains married to a foreigner. As one would expect, their experience is deeply individual, and it cannot be defined within the framework of either beautiful fairy tales about Cinderella or “scary stories” common in the network.

It all started so well ...

Alisa Cherkesova from Yekaterinburg met her future husband David via the Internet, on a dating site. She assures: it was like a fairy tale, and she had never met such a level of care and understanding in her life.

Photos from the personal archive of Alice Cherkessova

“We immediately started having common topics, and after a daily two-month Skype chat, he called me to meet in Sharm el-Sheikh. Moreover, when I said that now I have no money for a long journey, he replied: "I am not the one who expects to get to know you at your expense, but I am the one who offers you to share your vacation with me and get to know me better." He invited me to a villa he had taken for two weeks, to a separate bedroom, having discussed in advance that he could control himself, and in any case he would be a gentleman. He paid for an electronic air ticket from his bank card, and praised me very much for having found a direct and inexpensive flight ... By the time we met at the airport, I was so warmed by his souliness that I really wanted his tenderness and intimacy. He stood so bright, with a bouquet of burgundy roses; he poured into my heart like a life-giving rain, ”recalls Alice.

The first meeting of the couple went surprisingly well. Sharm el-Sheikh seemed to Alice "a man-made oriental fairy tale in the middle of a rocky desert", and a chic complex of hundreds of villas on the Red Sea was ideally designed. The American bridegroom organized for his Russian girlfriend an excursion to Jerusalem, where he was struck by how accurately he remembered all of her interests, hobbies and wishes that she had once written to him in letters. David’s special gift was Alice’s birthday party.

Photos from the personal archive of Alice Cherkessova

“He agreed with the owner of the coastal restaurant, and a table for the two of us was laid right at the water’s edge, so that the wave would caress bare feet. In Egypt, it is forbidden to swim after sunset, so we were alone on the shore: only the splashing of waves and lights in the distance ... Occasionally a girl came up in an Italian sundress and changed dishes ... - Alice tells.

David constantly admired Alice's depth and soulfulness, asserting that such a woman is found only once in her life. Shortly after the trip, in July 2012, the couple registered a marriage in Cyprus. From the wedding day to the day of reunion in the United States, a whole year of long paperwork has passed.

“We talked skype every day and discussed our future life. In particular, we agreed that we would take decisions together and look for a compromise in every situation, ”recalls Alice.

Finally, she arrived in the United States, and soon after, the character of the American spouse began to manifest itself from a completely different angle.

“Despite the tenderness of the first days, Dave began to overwhelm the desire to command, first in small things: don’t put it on, but wear it ... Actually, he started my questions pretty soon, already at the beginning of the third month of our life together, and often instead of the necessary information he pronounced I did not expect that I would have to explain everything as a child. It turned out that he also treated his 8-year-old daughter: he simply ignored her questions and requests. ”

In the following months, strangeness in David's behavior intensified.

“At first, I was very cold in the apartment, I even went out to warm myself outside, in the heat of August. And when he asked how to change the mode of the room air conditioner, he angrily convinced that this could not be done in any case, since switching modes would greatly increase the electricity charge. I described the situation to my friend from Columbas: she and her husband were very surprised by this argument, calling it nonsense. Then I began to do it secretly when my husband left for work. And once forgot to switch the air conditioner back before his return, and got a scandal, ”shared Alice.

As befits a “Russian wife,” Alice did all the housework: cleaning, washing, washing dishes, however, according to her, instead of praise, she was increasingly confronted with discontent and scandals. The main fix-idea of ​​David was that Alice would certainly find a job, and earn more than him. But it turned out that finding a job in a small American town for an 50-year-old woman after just a couple of months in the US was not so easy. In the end, Alice found a way out by starting to give English lessons on Skype. The money came at the expense of David and, according to Alice, were sufficient at least for the purchase of products. However, the American reasoned differently.

“I couldn’t even imagine that the day would come when he would say that he no longer has money for my food. It happened in January, that is, six months after my arrival. I had to urgently learn to withdraw my earnings to my own bank account. How did he rage when he learned that I decided to manage my money myself! Then, for the first time in a rage, he threw at me everything that came to hand. This led to talk, as we now have with finances, and after several scenes he told me that I have to pay him 400 dollars a week to have the right to live in his house, ”Alice admits.

Photos from the personal archive of Alice Cherkessova

At first, Alice hoped: after the first quarrels, reconciliation will come, and everything will be settled sooner or later. But her husband seemed to like to humiliate and insult her. There was no longer any talk of a “single and sophisticated” woman who “changed his life”. “Restricted Chicken,” “Mentally Retarded,” are just some of the epithets that David awarded to his Russian wife. He began to present her bills for the money he spent on their relationship before her arrival in the United States. When Alice reminded David that he promised to give her time to get used to her new life, he replied: “Why are you so naive? Didn’t they teach you in Russia that when a man wants to marry, he promises anything; and when a woman is married, does she have to obey her husband? ”

After five months of living together, David’s antics did become sadistic.

“Once, on a cold December morning, I came out in one T-shirt on the balcony to remove fallen leaves. For five minutes I froze pretty badly, I want to return, but the door does not open, and my husband is sitting on the couch and looking with a smile as I thrum through the locked door. He opened only when I raised a cry, and he was afraid that the neighbors would complain ... Once, pointing a gun at me, he said: “And you know that the conditions of our insurance are such that in case of death of one of the spouses, the other receives 100 one thousand dollars? Such a sum now would solve my problems ... ”. After that, I only thought about how to escape from there, ”recalls Alice.

After several more scandals, accompanied by David throwing things and threats, the woman realized that she couldn’t bear psychological tyranny any longer, and returned to Russia. Now she sees her task in warning other women: you shouldn’t believe too much in a beautiful fairy tale, and people often turn out to be completely different from what they seem at first.

At the same time immigration lawyer Ekaterina Muratova notes: for women like Alice, it is possible to completely legally stay in the United States, and for this it is not at all necessary to try to save a painful marriage.

Immigration lawyer Ekaterina Muratova. Photos from the personal archive of Catherine Muratova

“Nowadays, people often meet on the Internet, or during short visits abroad. As a result, when relationships begin and couples want to be together, the question of immigration status arises. In their own country, they could meet for years, but, not having the right to permanently reside in the country of their beloved, they are forced to make a decision about marriage much faster. And it happens that when a relationship does not add up, one of the parties may begin to use the temporary immigration status of the other party for pressure or even blackmail, putting the other side into dependence on themselves and further treating it with this, ”Catherine refers to practical examples.

In this case, the lawyer emphasizes: the concept of ill-treatment (abuse) in the United States does not necessarily include only physical violence.

“It can be psychological and emotional pressure that occurs regularly. However, it is necessary to distinguish abuse and ordinary family quarrels. Differences occur in all families, but not all quarrels can be considered emotional or psychological violence. Abuse distinguishes regularity and degree of cruelty. In addition, in cases of violence, elements of blackmail or control are often used. This may be material control, control of freedom of movement, communication with friends and relatives, constant accusations and so on. The goal of all these actions is either to ensure full control over the other half, or, roughly speaking, to turn his or her life into hell, ”says Catherine.

In practice, most people, like Alice, try to tolerate spouses who scold them, hoping to wait for 2 for the year of marriage of a permanent green card instead of a temporary one. However, Ekaterina Muratova assures: in order to receive immigration documents it is not at all necessary to suffer for years.

"A law was passed in the USA"Violence Against Women Act"- The law to combat violence against women. It applies to both men and children and the parents of a US citizen or a green card holder. This is an immigration program that allows victims of domestic violence to apply for immigration, regardless of their abuser, who will not even be notified about it, ”explains the immigration lawyer.

In order to fall under the action of the program, it is necessary, first, to be married. In this case, the duration of marriage does not matter. Secondly, spouses must live together for some time. Thirdly, it is important to prove the very fact of psychological violence.

“This is proved, first of all, by written testimony of the victims. It is necessary to describe in detail how the relationship developed, what exactly happened. In addition, written testimony of people who knew about this relationship can be collected. These may be friends who have complained to the victim, or neighbors who could hear quarrels. Evidence may be cases of contacting the police or organizations that assist victims of domestic violence. However, it is important to understand that this is not a mandatory item. People are often afraid or shy to go to the police, trying to “not wash the dirty linen in public” or simply fearing revenge from the offender, therefore the absence of such treatment does not preclude consideration of the case. It is also important to prove that people were married with the intention to start a family, in other words, the marriage was not originally fictitious. At the same time, there is enough evidence provided by one party, and the other party is not addressed in such cases, ”the lawyer explains.

Ekaterina Muratova notes: victims have the right to dissolve the marriage even before filing a petition for immigration under the program - with the only condition that the petition can be submitted no later than two years after the divorce. In addition to the dissolution of the marriage, victims can also obtain a court decision prohibiting offenders from approaching them.

“As a result, a fairly extensive package of documents is being submitted to the immigration service. The immigration officer may decide on the basis of the documents or invite the applicant for an interview. Such an interview takes place, as a rule, in a friendly atmosphere, ”says Ekaterina.

The lawyer is sure that in cases where violence did occur, a positive decision is made.

“If a person has really experienced tyranny, it can be seen at the stage when he writes testimony. In fact, for all the uniqueness of each case, there are common patterns in the actions of rapists, and immigration officers, who have been working with such cases for a long time, know these patterns, ”says Ekaterina Muratova.

"Love affair at work

Natalia Arno (Budaeva) worked in a large international organization dedicated to promoting democracy in Russia, and once, back in 2005, she met a political strategist Michael Arno who was interested in her country at an international conference. For a long time, they maintained exclusively business relations: they met in person during Michael's visits to Russia, resolved work issues. One of these business dinners was delayed, colleagues talked, got to know each other better, and then began to communicate more often, including via Skype. Natalia explains: this is how, gradually, in the process of communication and teamwork, they began to show feelings.

“It was just interesting for us to discuss all sorts of questions: politics, literature, history,” she recalls.

Photos from the personal archive of Natalia Arno

Natalia already a few years before actually broke up with her ex-husband. Soon, family life did not work out with Michael. There was a divorce. Meanwhile, in Moscow, pressure on Natalia and her organization intensified with each passing year. Due to the constant threats from the special services and the emergence of legislation on "foreign agents", Natalia, along with her assistants, was forced to leave Russia. Her new refuge has become Europe.

“In 2013, he came to my place in Poland, and we already started talking about marriage. When that year I came to my mother for Christmas, he also came, brought me a ring and made an offer, ”says Natalia.

In February, 2014, Natalie, moved to Michael in California, and in May, the couple signed.

“Our wedding was in Santa Barbara. It was in a sense symbolic: our relations also developed for a very long time, over the years, as in the Santa Barbara series, and with its extreme difficulties. Therefore, I said that I want to marry him in this particular city. It is interesting that at my wedding with the first husband there were many guests, half of whom I did not know at all. On the second, on the contrary, only the closest circle of people was present. As a witness, Michael called his old school friend. We talked with the judge who was holding the ceremony, and I invited her to celebrate with us. At first she refused, citing her official status, but then she joined. By the way, we are still friends with her and her family, ”shared Natalia.

Photos from the personal archive of Natalia Arno

Natalia Arnaud emphasizes: for her in a person the main thing is intelligence and how interesting her partner will be for her. This factor overlaps the difference in age and culture.

“I am very interested with him today. We are constantly discovering something new to each other. Michael strongly supported me when I quit after ten years of work in a large organization, and did not know what to do next. I was lost, I was not sure of myself, but Michael convinced me that I could create my own foundation. He believed in me, and still supports him with advice, as I try to give him some advice on business. He has a great sense of humor, which is simply indispensable in my work, when you are constantly confronted with tremendous stress, and your partners in Russia are in grave danger. Without a sense of humor, it would be impossible to withstand such psychological stress. Michael loves to travel, he has already visited eighty countries. Sometimes we ride together. Sometimes we do joint projects, such as trainings for Russian opposition activists on political campaigns. We observed various campaigns in the European Union countries, and Michael, being a political consultant, himself conducted some trainings, and I helped him. In a word, we are interested both personally and professionally, ”says Natalia.

According to her, sometimes the difference between cultures can be felt, but both spouses relate to this, rather, as an opportunity to discover something new and interesting for themselves.

“Of course, it happens that he does not like some kind of Russian food, but then he simply will not eat it. This does not interfere with our relations, on the contrary, our differences enrich them, ”says Natalia.

Photos from the personal archive of Natalia Arno

She is sure: spiritual and intellectual similarity can overcome any difference in mentalities, and the ability to love and support your soul mate does not depend on nationality.

Immigration lawyer Ekaterina Muratova notes that sometimes people who marry to obtain immigration documents are better prepared to submit an immigration petition than a real family, since genuine spouses often live and develop their relationships without thinking about their documentary confirmation. However, when receiving a green card for an immigrant spouse, it is extremely important to competently prove that the marriage is real.

“If not much time passes from the moment of marriage to the interview, people may not have a lot of joint photos or documents. Problems may arise in another case, when a person tries to do too much. For example, some people buy a small amount of life insurance for a spouse in order to acquire additional proof of kinship, and at the same time not to make large monthly payments for such insurance. The immigration officer knows this technique and immediately realizes that this was done “for the cause,” the lawyer gives an example.

Ekaterina Muratova also advises: do not get out if you do not know the answer to any questions. For example, there is nothing wrong with not remembering the exact date of birth of mother-in-law or mother-in-law. However, if a person begins to get nervous and invent improbable explanations, it is suspicious.

“An interview is a dialogue, not a monologue. It is necessary to listen to the officer’s questions to the end, and to clearly answer the question posed. The fact is that the officer should only ask you about the marriage, but if the person himself communicates some additional information about himself, the interviewer can grab onto it and ask additional questions. This is called "open window". This happens when, for example, some relatives are mentioned by chance, who the speaker does not know much. In short, the most problems arise precisely when a person begins to get nervous and does what the law does not require from him, trying to increase his chances, in his opinion, ”the immigration lawyer summed up Ekaterina Muratova.

Your question to Ekaterina Muratova

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