Dear Dr Romance:
I recently met a divorced Russian woman with her teenage old son while on vacation, we spent a lot of time together. I enjoyed their company very much. We keep seeing each other and I recently spent 4 days at her lavish home in the United States. I was really suprised to see that I had to pay for pretty well everything we did while a guest at her home...groceries, gas for her car, restaurant etc...at one point I went to a kitchen store to get her better cooking ware and saw that when it was time to pay she moved away form the cashier, I called her in to pay for "her" items...she told me later that the fact I did not pay for her cooking ware had upset her very much.She tells me that in Russia men pay for everything for their wives (or woman) and that if I cared for her I would not be asking questions about paying...she is the "queen" and expect a man to be in charge of her and look after her needs at the utmost, nice gifts, business class travel etc...I explained to her that I too was rather befuddled by this and felt used, (I thought she was broke!) that I was a guest at her home and not in any obligations such as being committed in a commun law relationship or being married to her, (I paid for everything with my ex and it never bothered me) but this case, because it is expected so much and at the delicate beginning of our relationship, it confused me a lot...she pointed out her ex was always counting and avoiding paying for their expenses...don't know what to do!
This is probably a case of cultural differences. This woman expects men to pay for everything, no matter the differences in wealth. I am not an expert on Russian culture, but when she says "in Russia men pay for everything" that's how she views her culture. So, she's doing what she thinks is "the thing to do" -- not intending to rip you off. But, understand that if you continue to date her, you'll probably pay. She should be making an effort to reciprocate in other ways, like cooking, sex, doing nice things for you. If there's no attempt on her part to give back to you, then she is probably just being selfish. If you do decide to continue on, and get more serious, you two should have a talk about the difference in your cultures. Read "When Love is Kind: Mutuality in Relationships" and "Asking for What You Want" will show you how to accomplish this. Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences