I’ve been asked by one of my male readers why I am not addressing the risks that men face in a mail-order bride situation. I do not address men’s risks because they are not the ones who end up in a foreign country with no means of support, fully depending financially and emotionally on their spouse.
I chose to speak from a women’s perspective for two reasons. One is pretty obvious. I based my previous posts on my own experience. Second, while I have lived in the United States I’ve met a few women who were mail-order brides. Just like my mother. However, their stories differ significantly. What I saw, heard and learned horrified me, proving that my mother’s story was an exception to the rule.
When my mother arrived to the United States, she did not speak English, she did not drive a car and she did not know what rights she had in this country. She did not know what to expect. She was not alone. Many women who move to the United States as mail-order brides find themselves completely dependent on their husbands. Those women are also unaware of the financial risks, hardly realizing the implications those risks lead to.
Women might find themselves in extremely vulnerable situations. They are unaware of the immigration laws and, most importantly, the local laws. A majority of mail-order brides do not know how the financial system works in the United States.
What kind of men look for a foreign bride in the economically less developed countries? Really, what do you think?
From my own personal experience, I observed a few types, and discussed them in my previous posts. However, I have to admit that the most common type of men are those men who believe that women in less developed countries can be domesticated much easier. These men like the idea of being breadwinners, and their spouses being homemakers. There is nothing wrong with this. Right?
When women arrive to the United States, for one reason or another, some men tend to forget that their mail-order brides want love and romantic commitment first. Financial stability and health care comes in second. Men often start to obsess with the thought that all their new wife wants is their money.
What happens then is that the men ultimately start viewing money as a control tool that they can use against their foreign better halves. Some of them use it well, successfully creating an unequal power dynamic. Women end up asking (if not begging) their men for money to pay for trivial things such as phone calls back home, feminine hygiene products, makeup, and clothes.
Imagine yourself asking your spouse for money every time you needed to buy something, and reporting back on how you spent every penny.
Humiliation becomes a part of life. There is nowhere to look for help, and soon the hope of a better life with a man, whom they thought was an ideal partner, disappears.
Some men figure out quickly that besides money, a readily available tool of control is their partner’s inability to speak English. As long as their mail-order brides do not learn English well enough to find a job and earn money, they will stay dependent on them.
Some men go as far as to claim that they cannot afford expensive English lessons. What women might not know is that some learning centers offer free ESL (English as a Second Language) classes.
As I said before in my posts, some men in the position of power can manipulate what they cannot dominate, and belittle what they cannot understand. Women end up feeling wrenched out, living a hollow life.
If you don’t know how to drive and you don’t have a car, you cannot go places, meet people, and find out what lies beyond the walls of your new house. Some men avoid teaching their foreign wives how to drive, and delay buying a car as long as they can. Why? I am sure you know the answer.
I met a girl who did not have a car for the first four years of her marriage. She had two children with a man who used to tell her that they did not have enough money to afford a second car. Every time one of her kids got sick, she had to ask her neighbors to help take her children to the doctor.
Is the cost of a presumably better life in the promised land really worth the price? For some, the answer is “no.”