There’s a really simple way to determine if a man is not telling you everything: when he travels or lives abroad but fails to mention anything about dating foreign women. The fact of the matter is that dating, sex, and women are one of the top reasons that a single man chooses to travel and/or live abroad. If not the most important reason of them all.
While I’ve always been a fan of foreign cultures and languages and exploring the narrow streets of some old town, I can’t deny that a big part of my travels has been the chance to date foreign women, especially when they just happen to be much more feminine and pleasant in some third-world country than back in America.
That is certainly one of the reasons—but not the only one—that I’m currently living in Ukraine and not in Dubai, Belgium or Belize.
Latin America has also fitted this pattern perfectly. Although I’ve met many expats who have great jobs in various industries, many of them were gushing at the dating paradise countries such as Brazil or Colombia are for finding that ideal girlfriend or even wife. (For a list of some great cities for single men, check out this article.)
All men are in on it. Even the guys that have innocent travel blogs and never mention anything about dating. Even the guys that are only talking about diversifying their income streams and starting businesses abroad. Even the location-independent nomads that switch countries more often than people switch underwear.
The real deal
So, what’s it really like? Is going abroad and dating foreign women as great as they say? The answer is yes and no. I’ve spent ten years of my life living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, and I can’t tell you what a culture shock it was when I first flew to Brazil and started interacting with the opposite sex.
While it’s mostly common knowledge that San Francisco is one of the most liberal cities in America (and maybe even the world), and where gender norms aren’t really the “norm,” it still was quite an experience to actually live and breath in a country where men are unapologetically men and women are unapologetically feminine. It’s one thing discussing and philosophizing it, but quite another to actually experience.
It was like I was unleashed as a man and didn’t know what to do with my newfound powers. Brazilian women are very feminine and they appreciate masculine men. Unfortunately, after living in San Francisco for a decade, I forgot what masculinity was all about.
Over time, I rediscovered my masculinity to such an extent that returning back to America was like landing on some distant planet. It was an insanely weird feeling.
Culture and language
The biggest barrier foreigners face when dating local women is the combination of cultural and language differences. First, culture is insanely different. If you’re an American who grew up in California and, one day, decide to move to Brazil, you will have to relearn how things really work. It's like starting to walk all over again.
While some guys will adapt, others will not. Eastern Europe is the perfect example. Many foreign guys are able to grasp the cutthroat culture and adapt, while others languish in the permanent state of confusion and end up packing their bags after a month or so and catching a flight to another destination.
That’s because Western culture has all but neutered masculinity with all kinds of women’s movements (e.g., feminism, etc) but once you land in Brazil or Russia, you realize that masculinity is super alive and well and hits you like a semi at full speed. It’s pretty much in your face. And if you don’t man up real quick, your woman will think you’re some confused dork that forgot how to be a man.
The second biggest problem is the language. Language is the gateway to culture. When it comes to knowing the local language, you either know it or you don’t. And you either make an effort to learn it, or you surrender and stick mainly to English.
Personally, I’ve always made an effort to learn the local language and it has made an immense difference in allowing me to connect with the locals in general as well as the local women specifically.
Think about it: how the hell can you connect with a woman when you’re speaking another language than the one she has used all her life? Even if the woman knows a few English words, she still doesn’t understand the cultural context behind those words. She doesn’t understand the jokes, the humor, the innuendos, etc. That is unless she has lived in the US for ten years or something.
Of course, I’m not saying it’s impossible to build a deep connection with a local woman using just English, but it’s almost like taking a beautiful picture of the beach and the turquoise sea and converting all the vibrant colors to grayscale. While you can still understand what the picture represents, it's a far cry from the original. It’s just not the same.
Male and female dynamics
Apart from cultural differences, one of the biggest challenges you will face when dating local women is understanding male and female dynamics, and what foreign women find attractive.
In the US, relationships are usually 50/50 to some extent. Masculinity and femininity don’t really exist in the traditional sense and are mostly just buzzwords that are being reinvented and redefined every day.
But that’s certainly not the case in Latin America and—especially—Eastern Europe. In the latter especially, masculinity is something that defines the man and his success with women. Correspondingly, femininity is something that defines the woman and her success with attracting quality men. These aren’t just buzzwords to be forever debated and understood. They’re real, genuine characteristics of the person.
More importantly, though, they can’t be easily faked. Masculinity is something that you learn through experience and life and is not something that can be “learned” by reading a book.
Women seek masculine men and are able to successfully weed out those who don’t make the cut via surgically-engineered tests that test a man’s ability to respond in various situations.
A man who flinches and takes one of these tests a tad too seriously chiefly because they threaten his ego will be easily weeded out as incompetent and not masculine enough. After all, real masculine men don’t take anything a woman says seriously.
Additionally, what works in one culture doesn’t necessarily work in another. The hard masculine and feminine dynamic that exists in Ukraine or Russia would be considered weird in Brazil and “strangely unnatural” in America.
As an international man of love, your primary objective is to quickly grasp the local dynamic and duly adjust to it.
Foreigner vs. Local
Even if you make the effort to learn the local language, you still have another problem: you will never be a local.
Unfortunately, that is something that you cannot change. When I lived in Brazil, I had dreams that I was Brazilian, but no matter how much I wanted it, I was still some Ukrainian-born American guy. Even after mastering Portuguese and mimicking the local accent, I still couldn't become a true Brazilian.
But why was I even trying so hard to become Brazilian?
Because after living in Brazil for two years, I realized that Brazilian men had much better success with women than foreigners (gringos). As it happened, Brazilian women actually preferred their own men.
This meant that, as a foreigner, I was mostly limited to women who liked Brazilian men and were also open to foreign men. This included women, who for one reason or another, may have had bad experiences with their own men and were open to the less macho and more sensitive foreign guy.
The same is true in Eastern Europe. Sure, Ukrainian or Russian women complain about their local men, but when women say things like, “All men are pigs,” that should immediately raise red flags and fail basic logic tests in your mind. All of “anything” can’t be just one thing. After all, all men are different just like all women are different. Not all men are exactly the same, but a woman who says is probably exhibiting the fact that she can't find a decent man out of a huge sample size.
Many local women do end up marrying local guys and are able to build healthy and successful relationships.
I can also tell you that as a local guy living in Ukraine, things have never been this good. There’s not a single moment where I wished that I was a foreigner. Never. After visiting over 80 countries and living in 15, it’s truly great to finally be a local.
The importance of status
It’s true that women are attracted to status and value. Many guys may scoff at this and call women “materialistic” or “transactional.” But women don’t like to spend time with losers, so if she has an opportunity to spend time with an interesting and successful man, she would always do that instead of being with some deadbeat who is still living in his mom's basement.
As a foreigner, you have a certain level of built-in status. This is especially true in countries where a typical monthly salary is equal to a maxed-out cable bill.
Even if you’re broke or only have a few grand in your bank account, being a foreigner carries a certain cachet. Even before you open your mouth, you’re automatically placed higher in value than the average local guy.
Of course, just like in any country, there are wealthy locals that have millions or billions of dollars that will destroy you in status, but they’re so far removed from society and beyond the reach of ordinary local women.
Your status solidifies even higher if you rent an apartment in a nice part of the city, frequently visit more expensive than average restaurants and dress better than the average local.
All of this isn’t terribly hard to do if you have decent savings or are earning a salary in hard currency thanks to your location-independent hustle or providing various services to Western clients.
Here in Ukraine, I’m living right in the center of the capital (Kiev) in a very nice, newly remodeled apartment. The rent is several times the average monthly salary. Most local men simply can't pull that off. Most women I’m meeting are living on the edge of the city in some shitty Soviet building.
Since I’m making a living online (creating products aimed at consumers and services for clients), my income is several times higher than the average salary in Ukraine.
As a result, this gives me an instant status that will cost thousands upon thousands of dollars in a month to match in a place like NYC. Here, I can have the same status for a fraction of the price.
Not bad at all.
The importance of age
Age is one of those things that can be a serious advantage or an irreconcilable disadvantage. Of course, younger women are drawn to younger guys—in their 20s and 30s—as opposed to older guys in their 50s and 60s. Unless the woman has some daddy issues, a young woman will always prefer a younger man.
Having said that, things get a bit more complicated once you venture outside the West. For example in Eastern Europe, it’s very common to have a relatively big age difference between men and women.
Ten years is not uncommon. Twenty years is also possible. I have known guys in their late 40s who dated girls in the early 20s. I have also known guys in their late 40s dating women in their late teens. One caveat is that many of these men are lucky enough to look younger, so they can, for the most part, get away with it. Not all men are this lucky.
As someone who lived in Ukraine throughout his 30s, I was going out and enjoying women in the prime of my life. While I've mostly stuck to women over the age of 25, I still had access to a wide array of women that were fairly young, in shape, and zealous about life, unlike older single women who were usually jaded because they failed to secure a quality guy in time.
While the fact that having a big age difference may give you a sense of confidence, don’t let that fool you; age is one of those things that, sooner or later, begins to work against you. It’s like a two-edged sword. Once it turns on you, there’s pretty much nothing else you can do to stop the passage of time.
Even if you have all your other ducks in the row: lots of money, be in awesome shape, dress well, have a great game, drive a nice car and live in a lavish apartment, once you reach a certain age, your sexual market value starts to irreversibly decline.
I’m not really sure when that happens, but if I had to guess, it would start to happen somewhere around early to mid-40s. Initially, I thought that something like 35 was old, but, judging by my own experience, the mid 30s to late 30s is actually when the man is in his prime (I'm fortunate enough to be spending these years in Ukraine). After the early 40s, things certainly don’t improve from thereon.
After the age of 50, you can’t really expect 20-something women to take your flirts and dirty innuendos seriously. They may still be curious about you, but a typical 20-something girl’s motive will mostly be financial rather than sexual. I fail to see how a 20-something girl would be more primally attracted to a 50-year-old man as compared to some 20- or 30-year-old guy.
Age is just one of those things you can’t fight or prevent. It's real. After a certain point, it will start to erode the value of everything that you’ve built and worked so hard for. Later on, it will conquer you.
When I lived in Brazil, I used to frequent this one club that I felt a man in any age range can truly enjoy. Of course, I was only 28 at that time, but I knew that I could be 55 and still enjoy the club while meeting older and still very sexy women.
I certainly can’t say the same for enjoying Brazil as a whole. There’s no way I would’ve had the same experience if, instead of being 28 or so, I happened to be 43 or 55 or 65. Those experiences would've been vastly different and definitely not as exciting, no matter how lavish my apartment was or how big my biceps were.
Here in Ukraine, I've met expats in their mid to late 40s, and for many of them, Ukraine is their first venture abroad. While being 45 isn't exactly “over the hill,” it just can't match the experience compared to someone who is in Ukraine at 30 or 35. The expats know this as demonstrated by their visible regret that they didn't begin this lifestyle earlier.
The older you get, the more status and money you need to compensate. There's nothing wrong with being a 30-year-old guy, living in some tiny studio and having no money in your pocket. But if you're over 40 or 45, that would just seem strange and weird. By that point, you better have your shit in order.
Although the whole “become 50 and move to Thailand” strategy is still well alive and kicking, you'll have much more fun and energy if you embark on this lifestyle when you're still in your 30s (or even 20s).
So, there you have it. The good, the bad and the ugly (mostly good) of what it's like to really date abroad.
So, is it all worth it?
Let me put it to you this way: few things in life are as rewarding as coming back in the evening to your cozy centrally-located apartment in some beautiful city, opening the front door and being greeted by a beautiful Ukrainian or Russian or Lithuanian or Brazilian or Colombian girl or [insert your favorite nationality here] girl with a gorgeous smile that made a delicious dinner for both of you to enjoy.
This alone makes all the sacrifices more than worth it.