Blognik Beat

Russians and Americans, Differences in Dating

By Rashel Noginsky

  • Print
  • Share Share
Rashel Noginsky

Love and relationships are a complicated part of our lives. Many of us see relationships in a subjective way; biased and based on how we were raised and the relationships we are surrounded by. Yet there is a clear cross-cultural difference in how individuals communicate with each other, and the expectations that are upheld between one another in relationships. Born into a Russian-Jewish household, I was raised differently from the average American girl, which has made dating outside of my culture interesting. When I share stories with my mother about certain “male friends,” she is always a bit surprised by the differences she finds in what she knows as dating and what I have experienced.

For one, Americans have an open form of communication in relationships, where much more is discussed. Perhaps the way people lived in the Soviet days, where everything was a secret, translated into relationships and lack of communication. Sure, feelings and ideas were discussed, but how much was really talked about when problems and difficulties arose? In today’s American society, if a couple is having issues, they are urged to seek professional help through couples therapy. It is very unlikely that a Russian couple would seek help or talk about their relationship anywhere outside the walls of their own private home.

A second difference that strikes me as comical, is the expectation in Russian culture, perhaps more so than others, that the wife stay home to take charge of domestic duties and child-rearing. It is very common among Russian families to place that burden on the girls of the family. In the Brighton Beach-based show “Russian Dolls”, a mother tells her 23 year-old daughter, who has prioritized finding herself a Russian husband and starting a family before her perfectly plump, tattooed lips thin out, that she needs to learn how to make borscht in order to find a husband. I believe that among American families, these duties fall more equally on both parents. It is not unheard of to have a stay-at-home dad in an American culture, but would be completely ridiculed among Russians.

Another distinct characteristic of dating between the two cultures is the classification of relationship status. With Russians, if you are dating someone, you are officially dating. There is no concept of “seeing each other,” “hooking up,” or “hanging out,” like there is in the American dating scene. With that, it may be argued which culture has more respect for women. My mother says it is Americans and I say it is Russians. I believe some Russian-Jewish men were raised with a certain degree of respect for the women in their lives, while my mom thinks that American men are not as spoiled and do not expect to have women cowering at their feet. Maybe the divergent opinions leads us to believe that finding respect from a man in any relationship, regardless of culture, is hard to come by.

Rashel Noginsky, 22, whose family emigrated from St. Petersburg, Russia, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and is studying Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Russian Dolls, Relationships, Love, Dating

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.