LearnRussianwith Us!Start Learning!
One of the reasons you may be learning Russian is because you are dating or are married to a Russian. While it is hard to generalize Russian expectations of a romantic partner, there are some common threads that you may want to know about. Naturally, they will not apply to everyone.
While every relationship (отношения, always plural in this sense) is different, you will find that romance is very much alive for Russian partners. At least for the first few dates (свидания), there is an expectation that you will do something meaningful. This may include eating out (поход в ресторан), a concert (концерт), or seeing a film (поход в кино). One of my favorite dates was ice-skating (катание на коньках)!
This means that you will need to put a little bit of planning into the time you spend with a Russian partner. Just chilling in front of the TV in your pajamas may not cut it, at least, not initially.
Traditionally, the expectation has been that young people will date (встречаться) with the ultimate goal of finding a partner for life. In other words, you would see if this person worked for you as a prospective spouse (супруг/супруга) and either get married or move on to try your luck elsewhere. You may hear people say that a man who is dating a woman for a long time without proposing (делать предложение) does not take her seriously and is taking advantage of her.
Once again, younger people, especially in large cities, are gradually moving away from this thinking. However, if you are hoping to take things slow and enjoy a more casual relationship, you may find that there is pressure — if not from your partner, then from their family — to take things to the next level.
There is some disagreement as to who pays (платит) for the meal (tickets, trips, etc.) when two people go on a date, but you may find that many women will expect the man to pay. His willingness to pay is taken as a token of his interest in the relationship. For non-romantic outings or couples/groups of the same gender, the person extending the invitation (приглашение) is expected to pay.
This being said, younger couples, like today’s university students (студенты) may split the bill. If you would prefer to split the bill, it’s best to ask the waiter (официант) to bring separate checks (отдельный счёт). It is considered rude to be arguing about the bill in front of waitstaff.
Finally, your Russian significant other will probably display concern and care (забота) for you. If you hurt yourself or need anything, they will likely tend to your needs and make sure you’re happy. It may come off as overbearing if you are not used to it, but they also expect you to show the same level of care towards them.
That means, for example, waiting for your partner if they are walking behind you and taking care of them if they are sick (болеет). If you just say “Are you OK?” and go on with your day, it may be seen as callous.
Of course, not everyone will share these traits, but it’s useful to be aware of them to understand your Russian partner better. You may also want to read our post on the phrases you will need for expressing love and affection.
What is your experience dating Russians like? What would you add to this list?