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Thread: Russian conception of romantic relationships

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    Russian conception of romantic relationships

    Hello everyone,

    I am from Italy and I registered on this forum for two reasons.

    Firstly, I decided to invest a great amount of my time to study Russian.

    Secondly, I would like to better understand the perceptions and norms about (love) relationships in Russia. My questions are in no way related to commercial dating, but rather to what is generally common within the society of modern Russia.

    I have already seen 4-5 Russian films in which infidelity and affairs are condoned as something positive, and also one of my best friends (a daughter of Russian immigrants) says that she will "love/marry only one person, but can have many lovers" - and she is one of the most religious people I have ever met (in the sense of good qualities).
    I once even dated a Russian girl for a week until she admitted to me that I am just her "lover" and her true boyfriend is in Russia.................... that was outrageous! But somehow for them it is normal.

    So alltogether I got the impression that in Russia it is normal/positive/accepted to fall in love with other people while being in a fixed relationship. Am I right?

    Are Russians generally more promiscuous/"open-minded" about relationships (open relationships)?

    I am asking these questions because, should I ever go and live in Russia any time in my life and/or develop any relationships there, I wouldn't want to end up neither someone's secondary lover nor be cheated on...
    ...or simply I would like to be prepared what to expect.

    Thanks

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    Re: Russian conception of romantic relationships

    Quote Originally Posted by ItaloFandorin
    I have already seen 4-5 Russian films in which infidelity and affairs are condoned as something positive
    Could you please tell us these films' titles? I am really interested.

    So alltogether I got the impression that in Russia it is normal/positive/accepted to fall in love with other people while being in a fixed relationship. Am I right?
    I don't think so. What you've described is outrageous for me too.

    Are Russians generally more promiscuous/"open-minded" about relationships (open relationships)?
    I don't think so either. I only think that modern youth really is promiscuous in this question, but in any country. But there is no cult of "having many lovers" in Russia at all, at least so far, thanks God. But modern TV depraves people.
    In Russian, all nationalities and their corresponding languages start with a lower-case letter.

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    Re: Russian conception of romantic relationships

    Quote Originally Posted by Оля
    Could you please tell us these films' titles? I am really interested.
    I remember "Admiral", in which Admiral Kolchak develops an extramarital love story while the wife really does everything to love him and maintain the family. Even the woman he falls in love with is already married and leaves her husband for this admiral. The husband is of a lower rank, less attractive and does everything to love her but fails. The affair between the cheaters is portrayed under a highly positive and romantic light.

    In "A Driver for Vera" the protagonist, a young man, has an affair with a more beautiful woman, and returns to her after his fiancée perishes in a gunfight.

    In "The Turkish Gambit", an engaged woman falls in love with the protagonist while in the presence of her fiancée who sincerely loves her. She seems to love him too, but more in a fraternal way, and not in the passionate sense of love. The film really emphasized this idea of the division between fraternal love and passionate love, that the two forms can be found in two different people...

    There were one or two more Russian films I saw not so recently whence I don't recall them exactly. What I do remember is that they were all filled with affairs and intrigue - and they were not soap operas!

    What is interesting is that all these films are set in historic times, which is the reason why I thought the behavior is somehow rooted in tradition/culture and not just a phenomenon of the modern youth.

    But there is no cult of "having many lovers" in Russia at all, at least so far, thanks God. But modern TV depraves people.
    It is not the "many" that I'm so worried about, but this division of love forms, i.e. that the two love forms may not be found in the same person and it is right to pursue the latter.
    "One man for family life, the other man (or men) for passion/'true love'."

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    Re: Russian conception of romantic relationships

    The "love triangle" theme is very popular in any fiction movie (or in literature, theatre). Probably, it's more popular in Russian culture, than in European or American. We could discuss it, but that wasn't your question, right?

    But real life differs. If your want to learn some about Russian conception of romantic relationship beforehand , than what about choosing non-fiction sources? But I think, good Russian is mandatory in such a research.

    As for your acquaintance with Russian background, that's a single case, that's not enough for a judgement. From my personal experience, extra-marital relationships aren't something usual.

    This LJ user http://milla-nepal.livejournal.com/profile is a Russian woman who had a marriage with an Italian man. Probably, she'll answer you letter.
    Please correct my English

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    Re: Russian conception of romantic relationships

    Quote Originally Posted by Ленивец
    The "love triangle" theme is very popular in any fiction movie (or in literature, theatre). Probably, it's more popular in Russian culture, than in European or American. We could discuss it, but that wasn't your question, right?
    Aren't the French supposed to be the most promiscuous nation? You open any French book, and there are lovers and extramarital affairs galore. Seriously though, I do think it's universal. Human nature is what it is - things happen, people fall in love... But cheating is cheating, and being with more than one partner at a time is cheating, all right. It is not a norm in Russian society, I think... mind you, I haven't conducted any polls.

    Quote Originally Posted by ItaloFandorin
    So alltogether I got the impression that in Russia it is normal/positive/accepted to fall in love with other people while being in a fixed relationship. Am I right?
    No, it is not normal or socially accepted in the sense that your friend talks about it. With all due respect, I would definitely question her morals and you can't possibly judge the whole nation just by one representative. BUT Russian culture tends to be very forgiving and understanding of human foibles, I think. That's why Russian lit/cinema portrays human flaws with compassion - it is not Hollywood-esque "black and white" scheme of morality.

    In the "Admiral" - I haven't seen it yet, actually, but I've read about it. It is my understanding that Anna falls in love with Kolchak and leaves her husband - she doesn't exactly cheat on him for years. I know that some naval officers critised Kolchak's behaviour or his portrayal in the film. Apparently, they said that an officer's honour consists not only in defending his motherland but also in not falling in love with a friend's wife. But the film was based on real-life events, so that's what happened...
    Alice: One can't believe impossible things.
    The Queen: I dare say you haven't had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

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    Re: Russian conception of romantic relationships

    Quote Originally Posted by ItaloFandorin
    also one of my best friends (a daughter of Russian immigrants) says that she will "love/marry only one person, but can have many lovers" - and she is one of the most religious people I have ever met (in the sense of good qualities).
    I once even dated a Russian girl for a week until she admitted to me that I am just her "lover" and her true boyfriend is in Russia.................... that was outrageous! But somehow for them it is normal.
    I would simple call such girls "бл...".
    Please, correct my mistakes, except for the cases I misspell something on purpose!

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    Re: Russian conception of romantic relationships

    Quote Originally Posted by Basil77
    Quote Originally Posted by ItaloFandorin
    also one of my best friends (a daughter of Russian immigrants) says that she will "love/marry only one person, but can have many lovers" - and she is one of the most religious people I have ever met (in the sense of good qualities).
    I once even dated a Russian girl for a week until she admitted to me that I am just her "lover" and her true boyfriend is in Russia.................... that was outrageous! But somehow for them it is normal.
    I would simple call such girls "бл...".
    100% agree. She - free prostitute
    someday.....

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    Re: Russian conception of romantic relationships

    Quote Originally Posted by ItaloFandorin
    Hello everyone,

    I am from Italy and I registered on this forum for two reasons.

    Firstly, I decided to invest a great amount of my time to study Russian.

    Secondly, I would like to better understand the perceptions and norms about (love) relationships in Russia. My questions are in no way related to commercial dating, but rather to what is generally common within the society of modern Russia.

    I have already seen 4-5 Russian films in which infidelity and affairs are condoned as something positive, and also one of my best friends (a daughter of Russian immigrants) says that she will "love/marry only one person, but can have many lovers" - and she is one of the most religious people I have ever met (in the sense of good qualities).
    I once even dated a Russian girl for a week until she admitted to me that I am just her "lover" and her true boyfriend is in Russia.................... that was outrageous! But somehow for them it is normal.

    So alltogether I got the impression that in Russia it is normal/positive/accepted to fall in love with other people while being in a fixed relationship. Am I right?

    Are Russians generally more promiscuous/"open-minded" about relationships (open relationships)?

    I am asking these questions because, should I ever go and live in Russia any time in my life and/or develop any relationships there, I wouldn't want to end up neither someone's secondary lover nor be cheated on...
    ...or simply I would like to be prepared what to expect.

    Thanks
    Ciao,
    I think it is not about what nationality of a person you love is. Russian, Italian, German, English etc. there are a lot of nationalities but love is THE ONLY. And if a girl loves you she will not be with you only for a week. Maybe she wanted some fun? And such girls who are not serious about relationships are all over - not only in Russia. Must mention that there is a great number of such men as well. And if you do not like Russian girls and think they are shallow just look for a good Italian woman who will cook pasta for you

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    Re: Russian conception of romantic relationships

    Это обсуждение очень интересно.

    I am from the West Coast of the US and over the last couple of years, several of my friends and I have discussed this point several times. I remember when people told me that this kind of promiscuity was America's fault - and, considering the history of modern media and the less-than-chaste history of the US, I can understand that thought.

    But when I read your experiences, mio amico Fandorin, they seemed similar to the ones my friends have had out here.

    Maybe it's the sign of a global change, a societal/moral shift over the course of several years. Maybe not, I'm no authority. But in my experience, religion does not seem to serve as a barrier for promiscuity, not like it once did - not like, as some might say, it was expected to do in days gone by. It can even serve the opposite purpose - it's kind of a running joke in America that a young woman raised in a strict church/scholastic combinatory environment is prone to act wildly promiscuous as soon as she escapes the school. (Of course, that's just one of many stereotypes that America has that are basically worthless and short-sighted, so I don't mean to offend anyone by mentioning it.)

    I hope I don't offend anyone with this opinion, but I personally am not so bothered by the concept of increased promiscuity as I am by what SEEMS to be (and I leave this totally open to debate) an accompanying increase in materialism. By this I mean, the factors by which people choose their partners and the factors by which they decide to stay or not stay with their partners, these factors used to be less about money and things of physical worth, and more about the people themselves.. It unnerves me to watch, at least here in the US, these factors become less 'human'.. Anyway sorry for resurrecting a dead thread but I would like to know also what non-Americans think of my ranting. =)
    luck/life/kidkboom
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    Re: Russian conception of romantic relationships

    Rather good photographer's work. Wedding: http://vimeo.com/6021183
    А так романтичнее? http://4x4video.ru/index.php?act=viewfoto&id=551

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    Re: Russian conception of romantic relationships

    Quote Originally Posted by YelenaT
    Ciao,
    I think it is not about what nationality of a person you love is. Russian, Italian, German, English etc. there are a lot of nationalities but love is THE ONLY. And if a girl loves you she will not be with you only for a week. Maybe she wanted some fun? And such girls who are not serious about relationships are all over - not only in Russia. Must mention that there is a great number of such men as well. And if you do not like Russian girls and think they are shallow just look for a good Italian woman who will cook pasta for you
    Most probably she did - but I somehow got the impression, after watching films and increased exposure - that this was something more commonly accepted in Russia.

    I don't judge a country or a nationality based on their behavior, but simply would like to understand more, you know, in order to avoid misunderstandings. In Italy if a girl wants to have "only fun" it is quite straightforward and they don't behave like they are your soulmates and want to marry you forever...

    But yeah, I may be just heartbroken and not able to think clearly, that could also be the problem

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    Re: Russian conception of romantic relationships

    Quote Originally Posted by kidkboom
    I hope I don't offend anyone with this opinion, but I personally am not so bothered by the concept of increased promiscuity as I am by what SEEMS to be (and I leave this totally open to debate) an accompanying increase in materialism. By this I mean, the factors by which people choose their partners and the factors by which they decide to stay or not stay with their partners, these factors used to be less about money and things of physical worth, and more about the people themselves.. It unnerves me to watch, at least here in the US, these factors become less 'human'.. Anyway sorry for resurrecting a dead thread but I would like to know also what non-Americans think of my ranting. =)
    Well, whatever country, both phenomena are indeed quite sad to witness.
    I think it is important that there is freedom in a social/historical sense = not being forced to love someone by one's parents or due to marriage arrangements, but at the same time it is also important to uphold something called effort, and not hop on to another partner just because of a little dissatisfaction.

    I see promiscuity as a transformation of relationships into a kind of market: shop, consume, throw away, get a new one. Some are "good" enough not to throw away their old toys
    Whether it is for money or other human/psychological factors, I think that people thereby put less weight on love and more on individual satisfaction. For me, love is also about crossing borders; not just geographical, but also ideological. Devoting time. Working on the other person's growth like it is one's own. Building trust, friendship, and all other things that nowadays people might consider boring and "not fun". And requires lots of effort, like the project of a lifetime.

    Nowadays the only people who give us that kind of "love" are our parents, but maybe in the future also that will disappear...

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    Re: Russian conception of romantic relationships

    If I am not mistaken the greatest dramatic love story occured during when the Nomads and the Scythians were invading cities or towns which were ruled by civilized and decent people. It was also the era when the city Constanipole was found. I love Russian history. I keep on reading and reading them from the era of the Scythians to the present. I am going to take Russian history courses next semester and improve on my Russian and who knows I might be a Canadian diplomat in the future eagerly 'awaiting Putin's arrival in Canada'.

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