Well, more about me then.
I will write a brief summary of the trip later. I wrote a full trip report on another site, and I'm not up to re-typing it all.
I was looking for more information and discussions about FSU relationships and found this site. As a guest I browsed the train wreck stories to check if my relationship had any similar red flags. Soon I got hooked and read most of them - I was fascinated and couldn't look away. Seems the running theme to most is the classical tragedy archetype - the hero/antihero never learning from his experiences and never developing.
It all started when I was a twinkle in my father's eye. Actually, it's probably more accurate to say I was a twinkle in my mother's eye. My mom wore the pants in the house, even though my father was 30 years US army, sergeant major. She was a traditional housewife, but she always won all arguments and ran the house and finances her way. Perhaps surviving and growing up alone starting at age 13 during the Korean War had hardened her a bit...
Perhaps I should write their story - mine is boring compared to theirs. One day.
Anyway, fast forward 18 years, I meet and date my soon-to-be wife in high school. She is the first and only girl I ever dated back then. After college we got married, two years later we separated, then two years after that we divorced. She took the furniture and the car (we rented) and I took the cat. No kids, no alimony.
Then the years of post-marriage debauchery began. Oddly enough, a lot of it occurred in a small town in Kentucky called Ashland. An ambitious single mom who didn't have time for me (full time night shift job, army reserve duty and full time student at a local college), another wild single mom who had me mesmerized for a while, another single mom who saw me as a sugar daddy (even though I was younger by a couple of years), a waitress who moonlighted as a stripper, an older woman from work who's son just left for college, and a few others.
Then came a temporary post in Arizona with my company, where I met and fell hard for a young woman from Montreal. It started as a non-committal summer fling, but I really fell for her.
And then my first experience with a FSUW. That project in Arizona involved equipment to be sent to an oil field in Kazakhstan. A few Russian engineers came over to inspect and test the equipment. One was an attractive single woman - A. I was the project lead and was told to entertain them. I took them to the Grand Canyon and to Tuscon. For the Tuscon trip only A went - the other engineers were hung over from partying the night before. Spending time alone with her we developed some mutual attraction, but I was with the girl from Montreal at the time. When A invited me to her hotel and join her at the jacuzzi, I made a lame excuse and bowed out. That was the last I saw A, but it had me wondering about what could have been.
Next I went through some tough transitional years. I joined a company to be a sales engineer, but realized I did not like it at all. It sapped me and made me introverted, which is not a good trait for such a job. Odd. I was extremely outgoing when I didn't have to meet and schmooze people, but having to do it as a job just caused me to shut down.
Then my parents passed away one after the other, four years apart. All these events removed any desire for me to date or be with someone. I went back to engineering and am successful at it, but I never dated anyone or even wanted to.
Recently my friends set me up with a woman who broke up with her fiance. This was my first date in about 15 years. We hit it off right away, and within a week talked about having children, buy a house at a good school district, and the style of diamond solitaire she liked. A week later she broke it off, saying everything was going too fast and that she was having panic attacks, that I reminded her too much of her fiance who left her.
I was devastated for three days, not sleeping for two of them. Three or 4 more days later I was simply morose. A week later I was ok but still not fully myself. A week after that I completed most of the grieving process and decided that although the last one sucked, I should start dating again.
I decided to join a couple of online dating sites and had no success. Maybe I didn't do it right - I only sent a dozen or so messages a week and only had 1 response - she thought my photos of my dogs were awesome but didn't think we were a match. On a second dating site I successfully contacted two women. The first asked for my Linkedin and Facebook contact - I thought she wanted to verify me. Instead she kept messaging me about her business website and if I had any suggestions on improving it or if I had any suggestions in general about her business. No talk about personal interests (other than work) or even a desire to meet for coffee.
The second contact went well for a few days, but when I suggested we should meet she disappeared. Very odd.
Then one day someone contacted me and asked me to contact her directly by email (yahoo account). She was an email scammer from central Russia - somewhere north of Omsk (Tara?). I knew it was a scam after the 2nd email, but went along communicating out of curiosity. She was a 29 year old doctor and fell in love with me after the 5th email or so.
On the 7th email she said her boss made an improper proposition to her - sleep with him to get a promotion or some such. She was outraged and upset and quit her job, and then feared she would not get another job and would soon run out of money. I told her about the Me Too movement.
A couple of emails later, when I didn't offer her anything other than suggestions of reporting her boss to the police or to the press, she said she found another job at a hospital. And then she lost interest in me.
Anyway, the event caused me to remember A, and I searched to see if there are genuine women in the FSU who are looking for a relationship. After a while I joined a couple of PPC sites (pay per chat), pulled in by all the pretty pictures. I would like to say I did not sign up for the paid membership, but I did join for 1 month on one of them out of curiosity. $29.99 wasted.
Then I joined a site with a flat 3 month membership fee - slightly cheaper than the 3 months I paid for the US dating site. There I met several woman, who actually wrote back and wasn't interested on how I could improve their business. Out of about 20 or so of genuine contacts I kept communications with about 6. One was a girl from Tomsk, with whom I got along so well that I planned to meet her in St. Pete. I proceeded all the way to getting a 3 year visitor's visa, pre-paid flight and hotel reservations, before I called it off. After six weeks of chatting she started getting jealous that I was communicating with other women on the dating site. She already removed her profile and stated that she found her partner, and wanted me to do the same. I said it was too soon - that we haven't even met yet. I moved on.
I was down to communicating with 3 women - a 42 year old in Moscow, a 37 year old in Kaliningrad, and a 39 year old in Ukraine.
With the three I skyped and whatsapped. I really liked T the best, from Ukraine. I thought she was out of my league and thought she liked me only for a casual relationship. I didn't mind - I was rusty and a casual fling was fine with me. We made plans to meet in June. I flew over and met her in Kiev, and it went better than expected. As many of you have mentioned, you know when a FSU woman likes you. Boy howdy. After two weeks we decided to be committed to each other. I met her sister and her family, spoke with her mom over the phone (Zdrastvutye mom!), and had a wonderful time together in Kiev, Odessa and Lviv. I liked Lviv the best.
T is intelligent, whitty, calm, silly, practical and domestic. She is also very womanly (looks, styles and mannerisms). She has an easy way of talking to people, getting information and advise from strangers, and making them open up. She keeps an eye out for old ladies on the street, keeping small bills on hand to give to them. We enjoy being in each other's company. I am not sure if there was a time we didn't hold hands unless we were carrying luggage or groceries.
So, now we are engaged and I have filed a K1 visa. It may be too soon - perhaps I should spend more time with her. I agree. I will meet her in Greece in the next two weeks for a holiday, and then I will travel to spend 2 months with her at the end of the year, at her place. There is an average 6 month processing time for the K1. If things go south between us by the end of the year, I can cancel the application.
We chat every day, basically from when I get up to when she goes to bed. We occasionally talk over the phone, but she is more comfortable with texting than talking in English. My sister mentioned the other day "do you know you smile when you text T?"