From Mail Order Brides to International Dating – Has the Niche Really Developed?

Many mail-order marriages that few of us know about occurred between the 1880s and the 1910s; however, these types of marriages have been documented into the 1920s.

During the 1990s, the mail-order-bride industry boomed again, and today, this prominent industry has developed into international online dating.

What do we know and should we know about these industries, and is there a direct link between mail-order-bride services and online dating?

Additionally, what new threats do online dating poses for those who dare try it?

TOP3 Sites For Russian & Ukraine Dating

The Rise of Mail Order Bride Dating at the end of 90s

It was during the 1990s that the mail-order-bride industry underwent a drastic change. The business was usually conducted using printed catalogs and mail correspondence. While the nature of the industry remained the same, it migrated onto the newest and best invention known by humanity at the time – the internet.

By now, we know how fast things spread on the net, and by the late 1990s, the US Department of Immigration estimated that about 100,000 women were advertising themselves as foreign brides on hundreds of websites in the US. 

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By the 1990s, the term mail-order bride had negative connotations due to strong feminist movements and possibly because US women thought they were being replaced. Many US societies judged men and women engaging in the practice.

During the mail-order-bride era, women who were listed on these marriage websites lived in poor or newly developed countries in areas like Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, South America and also Africa.
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Areas that were especially popular were Eastern European countries like Russia and Ukraine.

The men who were seeking these women were almost always men from developed or first-world countries like the US, Australia, Canada, and countries in Western Europe. For example, only during 1995, more than 19,000 men residing in Japan married women from these areas, including the Philippines, Korea, Brazil, China, and Peru.

When mail-order-bride catalogs went online in the late 1990s, it was evident that the demographics were almost equally split between Asian women, Eastern European women, and Latin American women. When it came to Asia alone, the vast majority of women featured were from the Philippines. 

During this era, men and women saw this arrangement as an attractive option for different reasons. Women that advertised themselves as mail-order brides often viewed it as a “way out” of their own poor socio-economic situations. On the other hand, men were looking for a partner who still had traditional family-oriented values and could be a wife in a more traditional sense as a mother and housewife.

Of course, the reason men were specifically interested in women from these areas is that their social environment was not influenced by modern-day feminism, which shifted the focus away from traditional family life and more towards a career-oriented one for women.

However, this is only a generalization, and men seeking mail-order brides were not always as financially capable just as women could use the transaction to reach goals unrelated to this arranged relationship, like getting out of the country they were currently living in.

Online catalogs also focused more on the looks of these women, and their age was an important role-playing factor. Apart from choosing a bride from an online catalog, some companies also introduced tours so men can travel to meet eligible women in person.

International Dating - The Current Status

The current status of international dating is as good as 100% online, and the approach has moved towards getting to know the other person online instead of just whisking them to another country.

In 2019, three out of ten U.S. adults said they had ever used an online dating site or app – including 11% who have done so in the past year, according to a new survey from October 16 to 28, 2019 by the Pew Research Center.

Even before the social restrictions caused by the pandemic, online dating platforms played a notable role in connecting US residents, with some (12%) developing meaningful relationships that even resulted in marriage. 

From a broader perspective, the study also indicated that individuals who participated in online dating users were also more likely to describe their experience as good rather than bad. The reasons these individuals provided was that it was easy for them to find someone with mutual interests that they also found attractive, and that was very much the same as someone they would connect with in person and would like to meet in person.

On the other hand, there were also individuals from the study who pointed out an important component of online dating profiles, which is that individuals often portray themselves in a false and more attractive manner instead of being more honest about who they are. Some of them will go as far as lying about who they are. This ultimately leads to a negative outcome and an unsuccessful connection between two online daters and is a clear downside of online dating that still exists today. 

Finally, the study conducted by PEW also found that false pretenses on dating apps and sites left 45% of individuals more frustrated and 28% less hopeful about using online dating sites.

This study was conducted almost three years ago, and not much has changed, except for the scam factor going way up in the online dating industry — whether it’s the dating site itself or a lack of security and verification on the site.

PPL Scam as the biggest risk of International dating

While online dating sites have become one of the most popular ways to meet new people from around the world, they also opened Pandora’s Box to some nasty scams that online sites have yet to address in a sufficient manner.

This is absolutely saddening as most people who sign up at online dating sites do so out of loneliness or the need to connect with someone special, and instead, they become the targets of online fraud and romance scammers.

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Romance scammers will usually create fake profiles, seek out vulnerable individuals and establish a fake romantic relationship they then use to get money from their victim. Worst of all, the victim realizes this at a later stage, but usually not after they’ve already given the scammer money.

Being suspicious about every person you meet online may cause you to miss the opportunity of meeting someone who is right for you, so it’s great to have some knowledge and skills on how to identify a romance scammer.

How to Identify a Romance Scammer

Don’t underestimate a romance scammer! They’ll come across as very convincing from the start, but there will be some cracks in their façade that you can look out for.

If this behavior looks familiar to you, especially if there are more than two of them you can identify, cut the chord immediately! Online scammers can cause you financial loss and a lot of grief you don’t deserve.

Expectations of users towards modern International dating

In modern international online dating, there is definitely a list of expectations that will get you accepted into the dating site crowd.

Here are some pointers:

Does International dating differ from the Mail Order Bride Industry?

It definitely does!

In essence, it’s the same — men are looking for women who have the type of traditional family values (and beauty) they would like to marry and start a family with. However, a lot has been added to the mix since the 90s.

  1. Anderson, Monica, et al. “The Virtues and Downsides of Online Dating.” Pew Research Center:
  2. Internet, Science & Tech, Pew Research Center, 6 Feb. 2020,
  3. Constable, Nicole. 2003. Romance on a Global Stage: Pen Pals, Virtual Ethnography, and “Mail Order” Marriages. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  4. Schubert, Cindy. “How to Detect (and Avoid) an Online Romance Scam.” Security National Bank, 14 Feb. 2022,
You want to learn how to find a great foreign woman and experience exciting International dating adventure, but you have no clue of where to start. Not to worry, we are here to help! ☝️ Ask Krystyna
Krystyna Dating Blogger
About the editor: Krystyna is the author of three dating ebooks, including  ‘International Dating Digest For Men: Finding Love Overseas’.
As the leading dating blogger Krystyna is a consultant for many dating services and is involved in a wide variety of different areas, such as personal dating coaching and romance scam.
With decades of experience, Krystyna is the authority on the international dating scene, and it’s her passion to help people sustain relationships that bridge cultures and countries.

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