90 Day Fiance is a new reality series on TLC that follows and documents the life of several couples during their engagement. What makes this series unique is that the engaged couples consist of an American engaged to a foreigner. The series derives its namesake from visa regulations in the US mandating that an immigrant to the US on a fiance visa (aka K1 Visa) must marry within 90 days or he or she must leave the US.
The series just started its second season so I’m a little behind in discussing it. All I have to say is that it’s about friggin’ time! There’s been some documentaries done before about the foreign bride phenomenon but such documentaries tended to be poorly done, heavily slanted hack-jobs that tended to depict the American men as losers who couldn’t score a wife in his own country and the women as green card opportunists. It was degrading to say the least.
There was a documentary done by National Geographic some time ago that was pretty fair in its content, but it was only a one episode deal. 90 Day Fiance is probably the first series of its kind an fills a gaping void in a genre that is long overdue.
The first season of the series followed four couples:
Russ (age 27) and Paola (age 26)
Russ met Paola in Colombia. I found them to be a very cute looking couple and found Paola’s adjustment to life in rural Oklahoma to be amusing, but she took it in stride and handled potentially awkward situations with grace. This amazed me considering how attractive she is (I would rate her an 8 on a scale of 1-10). The important thing is she tries. American women with her looks wouldn’t be as graceful or accommodating.
At the age of 27, Russ is still living with his parents and has his bedroom decorated with mementos from his childhood which is cramping their style. In all fairness, Russ’ job takes him away from home quite frequently so he may have seen little point in buying or renting his own place to only have it stay empty. But Paola helps him see the light and they find their own place. I sense a lot of good chemistry with this couple.
Alan (age 29) and Kirlyam (age 21)
Alan met Kirylam in Brazil while he was doing missionary work for the Mormons, which leads me to believe that Kirylam is a convert. Their religious views don’t permit sex before marriage but since Kirylam came from a rural area in Brazil that seemed quite conservative, the abstinence pledge didn’t put a huge strain on the relationship. Alan and Kirylam is the couple that seems to illustrate how important it is to make sure you and your partner share the same values.
The possibility of Kirlyam becoming a model seems to open her eyes to new possibilities in the US but can make things rocky due to the Mormons’ adherence to the virtue of modesty. One has to know what is truly important and hope that your partner feels the same way.
Mike (age 31) and Aziza (age 21)
Mike is the stereotypical nice guy that you often think about in America. He made contact with Aziza from Russia when he joined a website that allowed you to learn and practice foreign languages with native speakers while they learn and practice English from Americans and other English speakers.
I think that watching Mike and Aziza’s relationship in the series would be the most informative for American bride seekers. One reason is that most of us can relate to Mike. He’s a nice guy that seems to have had difficulty with women in his native country and sought his romantic future overseas. In his case he used learning a foreign language as an alibi for seeking a wife, but a bride seeker can simply say that he’s on vacation. I highly recommend this tactic because it takes some of the pressure off of you and you won’t be to emotionally invested in success to make a bad decision by picking the wrong woman. Also, your friends and colleagues won’t understand. Despite Mike believing he has found a sure thing in Aziza, he still endures skepticism from his family and coworkers. It’s as if they disapprove of a nice guy breaking rank and trying to find happiness.
Of all the foreign fiances featured in the series, it seems like Aziza had the hardest time fitting in and adapting to her new surroundings and serves as a powerful reminder that your foreign bride’s adjustments to her new country may be difficult and people may not understand. One key scene showed Aziza and Mike at a barbecue at his family’s home. She obviously wasn’t used to the type of food we eat in America on such occasions and became introverted causing some offense to her hosts and perhaps she didn’t know enough English to explain herself. I thought Mike could have been more supportive in this case and it illustrates the adjustments that the couple would need to make.
It was remarkable that some principles of game that are taught by the pick-up artist community can still work, even on foreign girls. Aziza is an introverted girl and it is apparent in the series that they haven’t had sex yet despite them sleeping together. Aziza doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal, but Mike really wants it to happen. It wasn’t until Aziza observed Mike socializing with some other girls during a night out that she was eager to sexually close the deal later that night. In game parlance, Mike was demonstrating high value (DHV). Mike’s social standing had improved in Aziza’s eyes and she became concerned that she might not be the only girl that has his attention. Mike became more attractive to her as a result and she became in the mood for sex. Mike seemed to have been clueless about this, but in case he wasn’t, this was well-played.
Louis (age 33) and Aya (age 30)
Like many men who seek foreign brides, Louis is divorced with children. He met Aya in the Philippines who has never been married before and childless. Throw in an overbearing ex-wife and the series writes itself.
This relationship seems to be the most likely to fail. The fact that Louis has children from a previous marriage means that he will still be in contact with his ex-wife, but unfortunately the ex doesn’t know where the line is drawn because Louis hasn’t been clear about boundaries in regards to his new relationship. Louis’ ex strikes me as bossy and meddling. Plus it seems like she’s been hit with the ugly stick a little too hard. I would rank her at about a 3 on a scale of 1-10. It’s not clear who filed for divorce, but if it was Louis, then it was the smartest thing he’s ever done in his life. Aya is definitely a step up in terms of attitude and looks.
Louis just needs to stick up for his new wife. His ex has been sticking her nose into everything while claiming it’s all for the children’s sake which is BS, and Aya doesn’t look like she’ll tolerate it for too long. Louis looks like he can’t keep his own life in order and he somehow has to negotiate all this drama? This makes me very concerned about their future. I really hope that foreign bride seekers with children watch Louis and Aya and take notes.
In general, this is a great series. It can be very informative for men looking overseas for a wife as well as inform and educate other viewers that international relationships and marriages are simply another lifestyle choice and not something to be scorned. So these are huge pluses.
I also couldn’t help but notice how young these four couples are. And they seem to be very comparable in terms of attractiveness. There aren’t any ugly guys trying to put a ring on a supermodel. Traditionally, men looking for foreign brides are typically forty years old, at least, and usually divorced. If they find their wives, they are often 10-20 years younger than them which is well beyond a 3-5 year difference in age that we typically see with domestic relationships. It’s probably due to the economics of this endeavor. It costs more than you think and men usually need to be at least 40 to have the financial resources to attempt to find a foreign bride. With so much money being invested, he typically aims for someone a little more beautiful than he can get back home in the US, which means she will probably be much younger than him since beauty and youth correlate.
But these four couples suggest that times are changing and that young guys are getting in on the action. Louis may have been married before, but it wouldn’t surprise me if this was Mike, Russ, and Alan’s first real relationship. If I were an American woman, this would make me very concerned about my prospects. American men might be hopping overseas as soon as they come of age and not even give the American woman a chance. Food for thought!