Here is another question regarding Thai culture and the willingness of Thai women to meet and marry significantly older western men. I find this a particularly good subject because it is exactly the question that Golf asked me when we first met on a Thai dating website. I think her question went something like “Why do so many old guys try to chat the young girl on here”. Needless to say I took this a bit personally and felt it necessary to explain. The rest is history.
Question about age differences: Let’s face the facts, I am a 55 year old guy talking with a 30 year old Thai woman. I am well aware that I could produce children. But I may not be still around past age 75, who knows? And I could have ten year old kids when I reach retirement age. I do not want to put a woman and kids at risk, and can certainly make provisions for their support after I am gone. I’d be interested in any success or failure stories you have encountered regarding this. Of course, here in the US, this degree of age difference in marriage is relatively rare, and perhaps even somewhat scandalous. Not that I am ungrateful, but why is a large age span seemingly so acceptable for many Thai women?
Stories regarding Thai women and western men meeting and dating or marrying are very common on the internet and will run the gamut from wildly successful to depressing failures. Do a Google search for Thai women + foreign men and you’ll find hours of reading material. For success stories go to the testimonials of ThaiLoveLinks (where Golf and I met) or simply read about Golf and I. The International Herald has a good story about this subject as well. For failure stories you’ll find plenty, but most of them involve Thai bar girls. By meeting a good Thai girl you can avoid a lot of the common pitfalls you find on the internet.
The reason a large age span is acceptable is often very personal to the girls and I hate to generalize, but if I have to do so then there are several commonly accepted reasons that Thai girls date and/or marry foreigners so much older than themselves.
First, many Thai girls are looking for stability, both financial and in the relationship, and older foreign men are typically able to provide both. They are in general financially well off, especially by Thai standards and this is viewed as a definite positive. They are also more settled and less prone to wander than their Thai counterparts. Add to that the western cultural ideal of monogamy and they become even more attractive to Thai women who are used to seeing Thai men that are promiscuous and prone to having mistresses.
Thai’s also value white skin very much and in fact those with darker skin are perceived to be of a lower class in Thai society. Typically children of Thai/western marriages tend to be much lighter skinned and thus more accepted in society. The Thai’s even have a name for such children of mixed parentage which is ‘Luk Kreung’ and literally means ‘child half”. You’ll find many famous Thai actors and models are luk kreung including pop singers Tata Young and Lanna Cumming.
One aspect that is often overlooked by westerners is that traditionally Thai marriages were often arranged by parents, not on the basis of love, but for mutual benefits between the families such as a property tie up or business merger. Westerners don’t understand this type of arranged marriage and often don’t consider this aspect of Thai culture yet it is very ingrained and accepted in Thailand. Because of this Thai women can sometimes view their bodies as property (Thai men view them this way as well which is a reason Thai women don’t care for Thai men) and as such have no problem using it to gain a better social or financial standing.
In the beginning the Thai girl may not even like her husband much, but over time a love and mutual respect grows. As the two get to know each other better an assimilation of each others culture begins to occur and the bonds between a Thai woman and her foreign husband can grow very strong. It’s good to understand these dynamics better, but I think we older western guys should just be thankful for our beautiful Thai ladies and not question too much. After all, it sure beats the alternative.
Anyone who lives in Thailand for a while hears stories about western men (or farang as we are known here) and the bizarre behaviour of their Thai wives and girlfriends. To those looking from the outside it is often a source of amusement. Sometimes it is just strange behaviour. Other times it is a shocking willingness to totally screw over their farang partners.
Some of the things these women do just make you laugh but there are other times they take your breath away with the sheer audacity of their actions; their ability to put aside any semblance of morals and just scheme away to their own ends. There are other times when it is just their plain stupidity that takes the breath away.
The following four stories all happened around my own little housing estate in Phuket where there are quite a few farang-Thai couples. These stories are just a small sample of the things Thai women can get up to.
A young European guy and his Thai girlfriend have lived in the house opposite me for the last three months. They are both very sociable and quickly introduced themselves. We sometimes share a few drinks in the garden He seems like an easy-going guy. She is very chatty and usually happy. She doesn’t drink, smoke, gamble or take drugs which is a promising start for Thai girlfriend material.
The problem is she regularly goes completely off the rails. Every two or three days they have a huge argument. I say argument, but in fact it is usually only her voice you can hear screaming abuse. She throws things, windows get broken and then there are tears and drama in the street.
The upshot is usually that she packs her bags and declares she is leaving for good. A big show is made of this. She comes to say goodbye to us because she is never going to see us again. She calls a taxi and then stands outside her house shouting to her boyfriend that she is leaving for good.
He quietly stays inside and ignores the whole charade. The thing is we all know she isn’t leaving. She may be back the same day. If not, she will return the next day somehow looking triumphant. In fact, this pretence of leaving has become so shallow that instead of taking her packed bags, she now makes a habit of hiding them in our house so she doesn’t have the hassle of carrying them.
What are the arguments about? Some of them are the usual accusation that he is playing around with other women. Often, it is that he has spent money on something she thinks is wasteful. But it is HIS money! He pays her a generous allowance. When Thai women do this routine of trying to stop their farang boyfriends spending their money, it is not because they want to save him money. There is a simpler motive. The more the boyfriend spends, the less there is leftover for her to squeeze out of him.
This girl has already told my wife she has three other farang boyfriends. This is one of the things us westerners just don’t get. It is not only that they play these games and deceive their boyfriends. They think it is something to boast about and if they can boast about it right under their boyfriend’s nose, all the better. Why she thought my wife wouldn’t tell me, I don’t know. She probably assumes all Thai women deceive their farang partners and that my wife would be impressed at her cunning.
I wouldn’t get involved in other people’s relationships so I will not be telling this guy about the other boyfriends. Anyway, I don’t think he is such a fool. He is returning to Europe this week and I doubt if he will be continuing his relationship with this particular Thai girl – but you never know.
The previous occupants of this same house were a European guy and his Thai wife. He worked in Europe for six months a year and lived in Phuket for the other six months. He had been doing this for years and when he was in Phuket, they always seemed to have a good relationship. The problem was that for the six months he was away, his wife had to entertain herself and her vice was gambling.
Gambling really does seem to be a major problem for some Thai women. I know several of the Thai wives on our estate play a regular card game. They all say the same thing. It is just a bit of fun for small money. I have seen them play and it is not for fun. They get very intense, there is little conversation and although the stakes start small, they quickly grow. I have heard of women winning or losing as much as 30,000 baht in these ‘fun’ games.
There seems to be something in the Thai mentality that leaves them very open to gambling addiction. Perhaps it is their belief in lucky numbers and fate. Whatever it is, there is good reason why gambling is illegal in Thailand. It is an endless source of problems, especially for Thai women with money and time on their hands such as wives of farang.
So every morning this Thai woman set off for her local card game. Sometimes she would be gone for two or three days – they really can play that long. She had been doing this for years and I guess she wasn’t losing too much. But then the problems started.
The first sign was when she started asking to borrow money. At first, it was only small sums that we were happy to give her. But then she wanted 10,000 baht. I knew this was a sign of a serious problem. She was chasing her losses. The only way she could repay the money was if she got lucky at cards so I refused her the loan.
Of course, there are other ways to borrow money in Thailand. Once one of these girls is on the slope she will keep sliding. Soon there were rough looking Thai men appearing on her doorstep demanding repayment. She sold her motorbike and started renting one instead. She sold jewelry and furniture but used the money to chase her losses and the loan sharks kept appearing. She started disappearing for a week at a time. It was obvious her situation was out of control. Then she was gone.
I don’t think the loan sharks got her. She packed her bags in the middle of the night and ran. There were rumours about how much she owed and for those sorts of sums she would have to do a good job of disappearing. There were calls from her husband asking why he could not contact his wife. When he returned to Phuket, there was no sign of her. She had not returned to her family, or at least not that they would admit. She just ran away from it all, the debts and the marriage.
A good friend of mine was very pleased that his wife was expecting their first child. His wife’s sister was also pleased but for slightly different reasons. She wanted copies of the ultrasound scans of the foetus. She had an Australian boyfriend who she was siphoning like an old banger. She had already twice convinced him she was pregnant and needed medical expenses. Then of course, she had two miscarriages and so needed more medical expenses.
Now she was trying the same routine for a third time but he was proving a little harder to convince. He wanted to see the ultrasound scans. So what good fortune that her sister just happened to be pregnant.
My friend absolutely put his foot down. No way would he let his child be used as a tool in a Thai bargirl scam. It is one thing to stand back and watch these girls rip off their farang boyfriends. It is a totally different thing to play an active role in the deception.
Without a copy of an ultrasound scan, her bluff was called and she was caught out. The Aussie boyfriend dumped her. All kinds of drama followed. She had a Thai boyfriend and together they were living the high life. Without her benefactor, she quickly ran up huge debts. The Thai boyfriend left her. She got her mother to take out a loan. She defaulted on the loan and her mother spent two days in prison until my friend paid her bail – after all, she is also the mother of his wife.
So much drama and heartache that you think she might actually learn her lesson. And then would you believe it – the Aussie boyfriend decided to give her another chance. Now she is spending his money like water again and convinced that everything she did has worked out for the best.
Oh yeah, one other thing she hasn’t told the Aussie boyfriend. He is very keen to start a family but she cannot have children. She is infertile.
All these previous stories fade in significance compared to what happened to this guy. I don’t know him personally but I know his neighbours. He worked in Bangkok and came to Phuket at weekends to see his wife. Their relationship was already rocky and they were working towards agreeing an amicable split. They owned the house but there was still an outstanding mortgage.
One weekend he returned home to find it deserted. Everything of value was gone. He was confused and started looking for an explanation. He was soon given one by a bank representative who arrived shortly afterwards. The bank has repossessed the house.
“That cannot be,” said this guy. “I pay the mortgage every month.” The
bank guy explained – “that mortgage is with a different bank. Your wife took a second mortgage on the property and she has not paid.”
The farang guy realised he was totally screwed. He started looking for a way out but there was none. Can I take over the payments? It is too late. I will get a lawyer! It is too late. We have been taking action for months. It is finished now.
In a blind fury, this farang guy started smashing up the house. The bank called the police and they arrested him. The house was no longer his property so he would have to pay for the damages.
Over the next few days, the full extent of his wife’s treachery became apparent. She had not only taken a second mortgage on the property but also she had used it as collateral for a loan from the local mafia. She had taken the money and disappeared. There were now two banks and the local mafia arguing over who had claim to his house.
I had met his wife only once a few weeks before. She came around our house asking for a 100,000-baht loan. She said she would write up a contract and pay back 110,000 baht the very next week. Naturally, we refused this generous offer. She must have known even then that she had no intention of paying. She carried on doing the rounds until she found a sucker willing to give the loan. It was actually a local Thai guy she fleeced.
It is a small world. Another friend of mine recently met this farang guy working offshore. He was working all the hours he could get to pay off his debts. The bank with the original mortgage has insisted he must pay it off or they will have him blacklisted from Thailand. He still loves Thailand and his life here and does not want to be blacklisted.
I certainly don’t want to generalise and say all Thai women are scheming or crazy. All four of these women had one thing in common; they had all worked in the sex industry. That is not to say that all Thai girls from the sex industry are bad. It is not even that all Thai girls who have never worked in the sex industry are good. However, on the whole this sort of behaviour is much more likely to come from women who have worked in the sex industry.
The tourist sector of the sex industry is all about extracting as much money as possible from the customers. The girls learn to lie, scheme and play their customers like a fiddle. They can take the same mentality into their long-term relationships. They are still playing the game and unfortunately, the basis of their relationship is how much money they can squeeze from their farang.
I do know plenty of guys who have great Thai wives. I would go as far as to say that the sort of stories above are the minority and most men who settle in Thailand find a great woman. The cultural differences will always cause a few difficulties and Thai women certainly do a few things we find strange. As long as both sides are willing to compromise then it can all work out fine.
This is not a purely Thai phenomenon. I know men who have been fleeced by women in their own countries. And the divorce rates in the west are so high that there is really no point in harping on about the number of failed farang-Thai relationships. This devious side of the Thai female is not a universal truth. However, these stories do seem to be more common here than elsewhere. I think it is mostly a by-product of the way many of these relationships started.
Thai women are some of the most beautiful women in the world. But it hasn’t always been that way. Long ago, Thai woman had short cropped hairstyles, chewed betel nut and were shorter than their modern counterparts. Here are a few images showing the changing styles – and faces – of Thai women. 50 -100 years ago.