The Learning Channel (TLC) has capitalized on their success of 90 Day Fiance and launched another season documenting the lives of 6 couples in which one of them has immigrated from a foreign country to marry an American citizen. I’m pleased to hear that this series is drawing some interest. The foreign bride phenomenon has been with us for a while and it’s good to raise some awareness on the issue.
This season features 6 couples and they seem to be a much more diverse group. Here are some of my impressions and what we can possibly learn from them during our own search for love abroad.
Danny (23) and Amy (21)
Danny is from Pennsylvania while Amy is from South Africa but they actually met in Australia on a bible study so they already seem to be well seasoned travelers despite their young age. Their religious beliefs preclude sex before marriage so Amy ends up living with one of Danny’s family members in a very rural area which Amy isn’t used to. She also very quickly gets introduced to Danny’s large family to the point that it’s obviously overwhelming for her.
I come from a very large family myself and have already thought about the day where I may have to introduce my fiance to them. I think that for her sake, family introductions should happen gradually. So, try to introduce her a few members at a time so she has an easier time getting acclimated. She’s already trying to get used to the new culture and throwing a large family at her may be a sensory overload. Amy seemed to deal with it very well which is a blessing. It’s probably because Amy comes from a large family herself and, as we see, they come to American in force! This couple seems to be getting off to a great start. They really seem to love each other and they married with the full support of both of their families and had a fantastic wedding.
Things were going so well that producers seemed to be looking for a source of drama and focused on Danny’s father who was skeptical about his son marrying a woman from another race. Amy has a little bit of an accent, but from outward appearances, she appears to be very caucasian. It didn’t seem to be that big of an issue and Danny’s father seemed to not dwell on it for very long before accepting Amy. How could he not? Amy is a beautiful girl with a warm personality, something that is missing in a lot of American women.
Justin (34) and Evelin (29)
Justin from San Jose, California met Evelin from Columbia during a rugby match at the World Games. It seemed to be love at first sight so it was a big surprise to Justin’s family when he announces to his family that he is engaged to a foreign woman. First, Justin’s family always knew Justin as a partying bachelor so many of his family were skeptical about this engagement being for real and regarding Evelin as a green card girl. Second, Justin didn’t seem to be handling the introductions very well. He pretty much ambushed them with the news at a family barbecue. Things weren’t off to a good start and Justin suggests to Evelin that they elope.
It’s at this point that Evelin begins to shine. Family is important to her and she insists that Justin’s family be included in their wedding, but she doesn’t do this in a confrontational way like an American woman would. She uses a lot of charm and finesse to convince him and her actions to, not only win over Justin to her point of view, but his entire family! Bravo! Would a green card girl care about family in this fashion if it was only about trying to get into the country? Immigrating to another country doesn’t just build character, it reveals it.
I hope Justin is thanking his lucky stars. I think this marriage will make it and it will be because of Evelin for the most part. Justin made a lot of mistakes when dealing with his family. You have to at least prepare them for the experience. Let them know that you are serious about a foreign girl so that it isn’t a huge shock when you introduce her to them. Danny might have overwhelmed Amy with his family but Justin went to far in the other extreme. There has to be a happy medium so that both families and fiance can adjust. I have written about not telling people that you are looking for a foreign bride because of the backlash you might have to endure, and I still believe this. But once you get serious with a girl and want to bring her to your country, you might want to give your friends and family a clue.
Chelsea (25) and Yamir (28)
In this case TLC flips the script and selects a couple where the foreign fiance is actually the guy who is marrying an American woman. They met at a concert in Nicaragua but it was Yamir that was the performer. He is the member of a popular boy group in Nicaragua called Myla Vox and gave up on his success to emigrate to America and marry Chelsea.
Yamir seems to have still planned on working with Myla Vox in some capacity while living in America, so he seems crushed when the group disbands and his manager and co-stars move on. He’s trying to go get a career in America started in Chicago which takes Chelsea out of her comfort zone and she begins to protest as American women tend to do when things don’t go their way. Chelsea needed to be reminded by her mother about how much Yamir gave up to be with her. I think this is the salient point that I need to make to foreign bride seekers. Your bride may not be a successful pop star like Yamir was but this doesn’t mean that she won’t be giving up a lot to be with you, so treat this decision she is making with respect.
Also, be mindful of language barriers. Yamir is probably the first fiance on this series who doesn’t speak very good English. Fortunately, Chelsea can speak fluent Spanish so it isn’t as big of an issue. But, for your fiance it may be a different story. How many of us Americans know a second language? Your fiance not knowing English is a very realistic possibility so be prepared for this.
Brett (31) and Daya (29)
Brett’s search online for a wife of traditional values takes him to the Philippines to meet Daya. Brett is your typical nice guy who was married and divorced but doesn’t seem to have many friends his own age. He ends up hanging around a group of older women and they share a home which seems very odd. Daya comes off a little spoiled initially, making Brett’s mother and friends a little suspicious that she is marrying him for the right reasons.
It was Brett’s daughter that seemed to turn things around. After a rough initial meeting, Daya begins bonding with Brett’s daughter and they become very attached. However, as the wedding day draws near, Brett’s mother still isn’t on board and it creates an argument between her and Daya that Brett has a difficult time mediating. The wedding ceremony goes ahead but Brett’s mother refuses to attend.
Brett is a nice guy but needs to show a little backbone. He seems to let events get out of control and puts up with a little too much when it comes to conflicts. The foreign bride search is harder than it looks and just because she finally arrives in America doesn’t mean your work is done. The relationship between Brett’s daughter and Daya may hold the marriage together for a time, but Brett really needs to step into his role as the man.
Jason (38) and Cassia (23)
Jason and Cassia met on Facebook which resulted in Jason flying to Brazil to meet her. There seemed to be enough chemistry for them to go through with the visa and immigration process, but frankly, I have difficulty seeing it half of the time. They both seem to be in their own little worlds and it might be due to the age difference–15 years!
That’s not to say that large age differences will doom a relationship, but it doesn’t always help. A lot of it is that it seems like they are in different stages in life. Cassia is a free spirit who seems like she hasn’t grown up yet. She speaks very directly and, if left alone for any length of time or doesn’t receive any attention, becomes very pouty and moody. In other words, she acts like a typical American woman. Jason, on the other hand, doesn’t have a personality that meshes very well with Cassia’s, he has a very traditional mind-set and probably sees himself as a father figure which causes him to look down on Cassia.
Jason also isn’t on a solid career path despite being almost 40 years old! He and his father live together and make money by going to estate sales and buying and selling goods and wares on the internet. This is going to create a lot of trouble ahead as he tries to make time for the attention-seeking Cassia. The search for a foreign bride costs more than you think so you need to have a solid career or employment in order to be successful in this search. Jason doesn’t have this which makes me skeptical that they are going to make it. Does he even have health insurance?
Jason’s friends give him some good advice and talk some sense into him during the bachelor party, but Jason strikes me as a type that does things his own way and I suspect that Cassia will bust his balls if she doesn’t get what she wants. This marriage might make it but there will be many ups and downs and Cassia may need to show more respect to Jason if this is to be successful. Guys, choose your brides wisely!
Danielle (41) and Mohamed (26)
Not a chance! This is the most mismatched couple I have seen in a long time. Mohamed makes the trip from his home in Tunisia to marry Danielle in Ohio. Once again we have a large age difference that may make things rocky, but this is the least of their problems. Danielle is a train-wreck. She has four children (where’s the father of these children, by the way?) living with her in an apartment. She loses her job as a social worker (how is that possible?) and things seem to spiral downwards from there.
Mohamed has to cope with a lot of skeptical family and friends of Danielle, and for a lot of good reasons. For one thing, Mohamed is an 8 on a scale of 1-10. He’s so good-looking that women in public are hitting on him. Women in the US won’t approach a guy unless he’s at least an 8 which puts him in the category of movie star looks. Danielle, on the other hand, is only a 2 on the looks scale. This discrepancy in looks is much too large for a relationship to work without compensating factors and these factors often boil down to money, which Danielle doesn’t have. In fact, Danielle needs Mohamed to start working as soon as possible just so she can keep the lights on in her apartment.
None of Danielle’s family and friends think the marriage is going to last, but the wedding goes ahead on a shoestring budget. Mohamed disappears for two weeks shortly afterwards, a time frame that surprises even me! A foreign spouse has to remain married to an American for about three years to get a green card, but it doesn’t seem like Mohamed has any intention of living with Danielle for any longer than he has to. When confronted by the producers, Mohamed pretty much declares that he will do what he wants. He’s probably counting down the days for his green card.
Let this be the lesson: Get your act together financially. Don’t think that a foreign bride will make all your problems disappear. In fact, it’ll get worse and break your heart. Second, have realistic expectations. If you’re lacking in the looks department like Danielle is, you’re not going to end up with a super model. Aim lower. You’ll still find a decent looking foreign girl who will be more than happy to meet you.
The second season of 90 Day Fiance is even better in my opinion. There were more couples with a lot more diversity with a couple of the couples showing how much things can go wrong in this process. You need to be careful and exercise caution. Danny and Amy and Justin and Evelin show how great the experience can be if you pick the right woman. Danielle and Mohamed can show how miserable things will be if you aren’t prepared and make the wrong choice. Choose wisely!