My first post. I've read forums on various websites and I think I can contribute. I'm originally Polish, travelled a lot around the world and settled down in the UK. I remember first scam letters good few years ago, but got easily discouraged when I didn't receive answers to any of my questions. No matter scam or not, why would I continue with someone who isn't in a dialogue with me
Then, one day, a Russian girl (19) chatted me up on ICQ. Wanted to improve her English as she was a student. She was a lovely girl, much younger who didn't mind I was divorced and had 2 daughters with 2 women (yes, I know I sound bad myself - I've had a fair share of sh*t in my life). I loved that, despite young age, she was very mature, knew what she wanted unlike British chicks whom I couldn't have an intelligent conversation with (e.g. Hitler apparently was executed on live TV, "I've been to Italy 10 times and didn't realise it is in Europe" kind of intelligence). As I spoke Russian as a kid, it was easier to learn that (actually when I got into dating a lot of Ukrainian girls while staying in Kiev or via Skype - I have mastered it in 3 months - and think how much you'd have to pay for meetings with native speaker to learn the language lol). Yes, there are lots of nice girls whom you can meet with without fear of being scammed. Nobody's perfect and my first relationship in Ukraine didn't end up as I hoped, but now I'm happily engaged and will marry soon. I currently have well over 100 female friends in Ukraine, we've been hanging out and travelling together. I've never been scammed over there. To be honest I am surprised people lose so much money to find love.
So here's my two cents (feel free to comment or ask, I've probably forgotten about some stuff):
1) I think, learning Russian is a good start. Even if you speak very little, it is appreciated in a way a French waiter will serve you much better even if you speak with broken French.
2) Forget that lots of girls will throw themselves at you just because you live in the States or Western Europe. These times are long gone. I have well over 100 female friends in Ukraine and Russia and some make much better money than me over in the UK as a Finance Manager. The ones who earn a little, have good enough life over there, there's family, friends, opera, gym etc. all very affordable. Some will leave, but only if they are really in love. You have to make an effort! My missus doesn't give a damn about me living in Britain. She has a job (even if it pays little, she's happy), friends, family over there. She's learning English for her OWN money. I've offered help, doesn't want a penny which might show you who's honest and who is not.
3) MAKE AN EFFORT, BUT MAKING AN EFFORT DOESN’T MEAN SENDING MONEY! Women in Russia and Ukraine are very romantic, I found out they just love hearing these few nice words. You will quickly become perceived as a guy with a good heart! At some point I started sending my friends nice SMSes with some Good morning/evening/night poem or some heartwarming words. They absolutely love it. I did it just to make them smile as I am a nice bloke, but got myself into trouble as a few thought I was in love and started falling for me too… Just remember to ask how they feel, how their day was etc. – it really means a lot to them because their guys just don’t care. Most want only sex. If you give attention, show appreciation, they are yours believe me. Also, there is a mystery expression they really fall for every single time “I miss you.” I’ve been on good few dates in Ukraine; some cost me as little as two coffees at McDonald’s. Not because I’m tight, but because the time was flying and we had such a great time, we didn’t care where we were. Real girls don’t need you to take them for a $1000 dinner. Remember that!
4) You don't have to spend a penny or cent on online dating. I've tried various websites where I'd have to pay for reading messages (never bothered as felt fishy) and even before you could google images on Google, it was failry easy to verify some girls. Create a profile on VK, which is Russian equivalent of Facebook. It is in English and many other languages. Even on scam dating sites, they do put real names and real date of birth!!! Unlike on Facebook, it is easy to look for someone choosing sex, country, city, date of birth etc. That's how I found out some girls who were in love, were in fact engaged! What’s more, my first Ukrainian girlfriend told me her friend (actually a girl) who studied in the USA was working in such a place (very good command of English), where they would offer free photoshoots to girls in turn for the right to use their images and some data on a dating website. After that, their profiles would be created and her friends would respond to all blokes writing and paying to see the messages! Even my gf had a profile there. I don’t know the website address, only remember the agency was operating in Donetsk.
I became an unofficial ambassador of Ukrainian girls in Wales. Some of my mates flew with me to Ukraine and meet nice girls, most speak English.
You can use 100% free websites like fdating.com (all girls I’ve met there are real)
You can install an app called Topface (iPhone/Android/one of apps on Facebook, also website), just put your location in a destination city (e.g. Kiev). You can see all girls around, start chatting. Costs you nothing.
I have also used Badoo (the same as Topface). Here it is a bit more complicated as app gets your location from mobile network or GPS so you might need to use fake GPS app and place yourself in Moscow.
You can advertise youself on Slando.com. It is a general website for selling stuff with romance section. It’s a sister site of popular across Europe Gumtree.com
It was the first place I advertised myself and got over 150 responses! Yes, that many, not joking. With some girls I’ve been good friend for a few years now, some I've dated. About 20 looked drop dead gorgeous, so gorgeous that I felt bad about myself
Oh, the site is in Russian so you might need to get it translated, but ad in English.
4) It is true that even taxi drivers want to screw you. Not only foreigners! All of my friends use ONLY the call service and the taxis already waiting ONLY if there is no other choice (and then negotiate hard!) The taxi system in Ukraine is pretty good though. You call the service, give collection and destination and get sms with make, model and reg of a car together with the amount! You just need to get the number. The agencies providing serviced accommodation are aplenty. But don’t expect cheap prices. For example. My friend could find me an apartment which wasn’t in the centre, but not far from metro (subway) for equivalent of about $25 a day, agencies in just a little bit better location wanted $55. Yes, the standard was better, but then you pay twice as much. Also, if you do speak some Russian, there are lots of women in front of main railway stations who have apartments for rent (in Russia/Ukraine even more popular than staying in a hotel). When I was driving around with my girlfriend around Crimea, she had a list of properties from some websites and was basically calling even at 20:00 asking for an apartment and we never paid more than 200UAH (22 bucks) per night.
5) I know only a few girls in Sankt Petersburg and Moscow, but I know Kiev, Lviv, Dnepropetrovsk very well. If anyone thinks he’s being scammed, I am happy to help as much as I can. Also, I do know well over 30 girls (no, not all look like Mila Kunis) who are well educated (MA/PhD), single and feel they are not needed. If you feel like meeting someone in mid 20s-mid30s, I can get you in touch with them over Facebook/Skype/Viber/Whatsapp. They are all honest girls, some gorgeous with good hearts… But, not all speak good English.