here is my new interview with a Ukrainian matchmaker. Naina was so kind to answer all my questions, so we could learn more about the marriage and matchmaking industry in Ukraine. Naina Yusupova is a leading matchmaker and dating coach of Realdate Studio, psychologist-counselor of interpersonal communication and virtual interaction, as well as a member of the Ukrainian Union of Psychotherapists.
In our interview, we will discuss a range of topics related to her services, stories to share and a look into the future of Ukrainian dating and marriage industry.
Krystyna: Hi Naina. Thank you so much to finding time to reply my difficult questions. Could you introduce yourself and tell us how you started your business as a matchmaker?
Naina: Hello Krystyna! First of all, I want to thank you for the invitation and great job you do for the Ukrainian dating business and western men. My name is Naina Yusupova and I am an owner and leading matchmaker of realdatestudio.com.
My main profession is a psychologist and I provide private counseling in interpersonal relationship, virtual communication and interaction. I am a current member of the Ukrainian Union of Psychotherapists, right now I am studying problem-oriented consulting in psychodrama and transactional analysis (both are psychotherapy directions).
You can ask me, Krystyna, why I am talking about psychology? The answer is because my way as a matchmaker I started from my interest to online dating and psychology. In 2002-2003 I worked in Internet-café for international students and at the same time I was getting my first degree in linguistics.
I found a lot of Ukrainian women who tried to find foreign men online, same time a lot of foreign students married our ladies and took them away. That was curious to me! I was curious why our women want to find men abroad?! I started to research this subject and help our ladies to register on international dating sites (mostly European).
Most of ladies didn’t know foreign languages and had no computers at home, so they often used Internet-cafés and spent hours on translating their letters, writing their profiles, and communicating with men, etc. And most of foreign students who discovered beauty of Ukrainian women asked me some tips and advices on how to date Ukrainian ladies.
I started from searching secure dating sites and read a lot of reviews, registered ladies online and helped with translation. After all several men came on meetings to ladies and some of them matched well. One of these ladies was my best friend; she is currently living with her daughter abroad 🙂
I liked to help people find each other and decided to make it to my profession! Later, when I decided get psychology degree, it became a part of my research on the problem of interpersonal aspects of adult people’s virtual interaction (which I am going to continue in future with my foreign clients :).
For a long time I have been studying the psychological compatibility of couples and virtual interaction, examined the effectiveness of the registration on the leading international dating sites, worked in the private matchmaking and dating coaching field, as well as worked at local marriage agencies in Poltava. And finally, I decided that it is the right time to open an own matchmaking agency in Poltava.
I must admit that before opening our studio in Poltava, I have gained my personal experience with international dating but I found my soul mate not overseas, but here in Poltava 🙂 So sometimes there is no need to look your happiness too far from your homeland.
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Krystyna: Thank you, Naina, for this very detailed reply. My next question. How many men and women are currently looking for a match through your agency, and how many couples were formed through your matchmaking services?
Naina: Oh, we are a young small agency, Krystyna 🙂 Honestly, we are running our business only 1,5 years and we have not yet managed to attract a large number of clients, especially men as there are a lot of stereotypes and fears about Ukrainian dating.
But we don’t need “eternal” clients and we are not a “matchmaking factory”; we are working result-only, namely: creating couples and involving emotionally each time, so our aim is to attract only those men and women who definitely know what they want and are ready to cooperate with us.
All at once, we value the quality of service so we need to spend a lot of time on every single client in order to provide a really personal approach. For us, our studio is not a business yet, but a small family 🙂 I know each of our customers personally and most of our women come by recommendation.
I am hoping that in the nearest future we will get the trust by more marriage-minded clients. Currently, we do not have more than 30 ladies. However, our main rules are meeting our customers’ requirements and expectations and trying find a match for each of our ladies.
Talking about RealdateStudio results… Last year we formed two couples, one of the couples is making K1 visa right now. They are planning to marry this summer )
Krystyna: Why should Western men who want to find a Ukrainian wife use your specific marriage agency? Do you believe that men have a real chance to find a foreign wife by using an online dating site, not a matchmaking service?
Naina: The specificity of my matchmaking studio service is an individual approach, psychological selection based on compatibility of partners, as well as on a meeting-oriented approach.
We can offer some old-fashioned services as two-way correspondence and Skype-sessions to prove the genuineness of our ladies and give two people an opportunity to exchange more information about each other, but we advise our clients meet as soon as possible.
I have often heard from western men that they would rather spend once on a ticket and come to Ukraine to meet a Ukrainian woman in person than spend on long-term correspondence and chats. So here we are! Our ladies would gladly meet men they like and men would finally understand if they found a real soul mate or not.
Yes, it is hard to understand if a person will fit your criteria and if you will like her when meeting offline. But you can use a matchmaking service, too. As for me, matchmaking is a much more deep process than just mating people; I don’t stop on forming a couple but go far more.
During my work with couples as a unit I analyze a level of its mental health, define troublesome behaviors, beliefs, compulsions, thoughts, or emotions in the couple, and if necessary try to improve relationships and social skills.
Let’s think, people don’t deal with matchmaking in real life, most of them don’t 🙂 they deal basically with dating! Dating means an interaction with different aims, so online dating sites are not different from the reality. People do the same mistakes in online dating as in real one:
So, yes, I believe that real dating, online dating and matchmaking have equal chances to bring a person to a happy and strong relationship. The question is not which approach will win, but how to use each one in a clever way!
At least, we know that western men reading your blog and using your pieces of advice carefully, Krystyna, have more chances to succeed in Ukrainian online dating too! 🙂
Krystyna: Let’s talk about romance scam. As you know, it is a big issue to discuss. There are so many tips and advice out there but nothing helps. The statistics issued by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) show a 33% increase in online dating fraud cases in compared to the previous years.
Romance fraudsters often take place through Russian and Ukrainian online dating websites, but scammers may also use marriage and matchmaking agencies to make contact with potential victims.
Do you have any special anti-scam policy in your agency? Do you have any scam stories to share?
Naina: Oh, yes! Krystyna, we both know that who wants to be deceived, will be deceived anyway) and doesn’t matter at all will it be an online dating site, a marriage agency or a matchmaking agency.
Everywhere you can meet scam, everybody can be a scammer, nobody can guarantee you anti-scam policy – as “everybody can lie” (I modified a little bit a quote of M.D. Gregory House, hope his fans will not throw tomatoes in me).
You’re looking at the traffic light, crossing the road, aren’t you? You don’t walk at night in forest, do you? You don’t go into the office naked, right?
So why then we don’t care about our emotional safety? Why we don’t know some easy safety rules in communication and trust scammer? Because we want to trust, we want to be heard, to be understood, to be needed and that is our weakness and weapon same time.
We need to trust, but know to whom trust. Critical and independent thinking and excessive suspiciousness is not the same. We both know, Krystyna, main steps to recognize scammer and how to escape scamming. But they are useless if person don’t have some skills of critical thinking and then all those advises will just enlarge excessive suspiciousness. Sad, but true!
Main part of my anti-scam policy is real interaction with all my clients, personal interviews and checking documents of each client, additional questions if I have any doubts in honesty of the client. Both men and women have to fill same profile with photos and scans of documents, I check all the clients in scam-lists and black-lists.
We don’t sell contact information of clients, so privacy of both men and women is protected until meeting in person. I don’t have tolerance to scammers, web-models, and any other fraud that uses fictive identity, expects expensive gifts etc and easy for me check all the details on a personal interview.
Yes, one story happened to me at the beginning of my way when I was hoping to find my charming western prince 🙂 That was a typical funny scenario, used by African men usually, when you are getting template letters step by step with words of love from the second one. And after all you are getting the gift which you have to pick up, just only paying for delivery. As I am too pedant I always ask too many questions and when I am not getting answers on them I just quite communication.
Another story happened to one of my male clients who came to Poltava on a date with one lady from another agency to meet her in person after several months of correspondence and video-chats. She gave him a wrong address and stopped answering emails and switched off her cell-phone as soon as he wrote he landed and going to Poltava to see her!
He got her contacts through the online dating site, bought of course. He saw her online on a video, sent her some gifts through the site. He didn’t expect that the information he bought could be wrong or the lady can be a scammer, she insured him that she would wait him and be in the city.
He was pretty disappointed and lost a hope to meet a nice lady. Good that he found a lady interested in his person from our agency and invited her on a date.
Krystyna: Ukraine’s online romance and marriage industry is booming – despite the bad image and scam reviews. Western men hope to find a wife with an attractive appearance and traditional family values. A kind of dream woman…
However, I have noticed that modern Ukrainian women differ from the “mail order” brides looking for foreign husbands in the 1990s. In my opinion, modern women of Ukraine are more confident, educated, smart and know exactly what they expect and want to achieve in their life. Women have a choice to build their own life as they wish. Women also have high demands on men with whom they want to build a happy and lasting relationship.
In your opinion, what is the future of Ukrainian dating in 5-10 years? Are there any challenges and transformations to expect?
Naina: Krystyna, I am sure that we are making our own future! I mean that Ukrainian marriage agencies and matchmaking services do it, of course. It all depends on how soon most of Ukrainian “businessmen” will understand that they are forcing Ukrainian dating to a huge hole!
First of all, there are a lot of ignorant people who work in this field, who think that this business is a lottery, they spoil trust of potential clients and make an awful image of Ukrainian women! I mean the agencies dealing with web-models or just making fake profiles.
I hope we will not wait for 5-10 years to change this situation. I hope that in the nearest years the marriage business in Ukraine will finally get legal regulatory framework and most of agencies will provide a matchmaking service, hiring psychologists instead of self-made “dating gurus” or just-made “short-ripe matchmakers”.
Each profession must be regulated by law. If there is no regulation, there is no personal responsibility! I also hope that in some years Ukraine will have an own matchmaking association helping talented matchmakers to manage their business and helping each other to satisfy needs of clients in the best way.
We do not need to orient on West! We don’t need to depend on western dating or matchmaking associations, unions or educational establishments who teach how to be matchmakers or dating coaches in three months! We do not need to copy western style of dating and matchmaking business.
We are living in Ukraine. We know this country and our women are much better than any western dating organization. So I hope that in future, a real matchmaking and communication will survive and online dating with its fake communication (in most cases) will drown!
Yes, Krystyna, times changes and needs of our women too! They don’t want any more to wait for a prince and are not ready to satisfy all needs of foreign men and depend on their husbands. Ukrainian women are more independent and confident right now, they are more demanding.
They have their own aims and interests. I see only a positive side of these changes) Women should evaluate their own skills and be an interesting person. If I say “independent”, I mean mind-independent. It doesn’t matter how close Ukrainian women are to emancipation as this process started since 2000, but it is slow.
The only thing which matters is that Ukrainian women are always REAL! They are always sincere, honest in their wishes, needs, and feelings. Ukrainian women are emotional, feminine and sensitive because they had no history and experience of emancipation in past. Ukrainian women cherish and value their men now and will do it in 5-10 years for sure!
Krystyna: Which Ukrainian online dating tips do you have for Western men looking actively for a wife from Ukraine? Any anti-scam tips to share?
Naina: I have a lot of tips for those who listen to, Krystyna! I will be glad to share some of main dating tips with your readers. Not so long time ago I posted an article “7 dating tips or what should you remember before meeting Ukrainian lady”, in which I named main problems which can face foreigners dating Ukrainian ladies (Krystyna’s note: you can read Naina’s article on Ukranian dating tips)
Here they are:
My main tips how to avoid them and avoid scam are following:
More tips are published in in my blog on realdatestudio.com and in our groups in Google+ and Facebook.
Krystyna: Naina, anything helpful else you’d like to share with our readers?
Naina: I have a lot of ideas to share. Maybe that is subject for next article. Thank you, Krystyna, for this opportunity to share my thoughts, ideas and hopes with you and your readers.
I would like to add that we can change our destiny only by making efforts and by understanding our real intentions and needs. I wish all your readers to find their destiny and be happy!
As the only happiness in life is long-lasting relationships with people we love. If you will not find love, love will find you! So, don’t worry and be happy. 🙂