Advice Please – Advice Summary
By Not So Ugly American
Let me thank everyone out there for their feedback.
After reviewing the various e-mails I have received in regard to my submission (Advice Please 23/7/2004) it has become crystal clear that I should expect to encounter numerous requests for money in the future and there is very little that I can do to prevent this from happening. So basically accept this as part of life and move on.
One thing that also became quite clear is that there are a lot of guys out there giving money to the family (as well as those that refuse to give the family money), and that everyone has there own idea of what is an “acceptable” amount to give the family. This goes for both the dowry (sin sot), as well as any kind of regular payments. It appears that how much is “acceptable” to give is more related to how much I feel is “acceptable” than anything else.
It appears that I have four basic alternatives:
I Get divorced now and stay away from Thai women (or at least do not marry another Thai woman).
II Lay down the law now that no money will be given to the family and NEVER deviate from that law (not one baht, now or ever).
III Accept that giving money to the family is a fact of life and give how much I want when I want to give.
IV Give as much money as the family expects (empty my bank account – give all to family – who really needs money in the bank anyway)
Because I am who I am (maybe that translates into a sucker), I know that I will go with option III. I love my wife and have every intention of making this marriage work. So option I is out of the question (at least for now).
I also value family. I have in the past offered quite a bit of assistance to other members of my family in the US. Because they are family and I have the ability to help. So I do want to help my wife’s family. Because now they are my family and I have the ability to help. This eliminates option II.
I may be a sucker, but I am not a fool (at least not yet). This eliminates option IV.
This leaves me with one alternative option III – and the problems associated with this alternative. These problems for me being: acceptance and appreciation.
Acceptance – it has also become quite clear based upon the responses to my earlier submission that I have little to no chance of being accepted by my wife’s family. I am Farang and I will always be Farang. Get over it and move on (if it were only that easy).
Appreciation – it has also become quite clear that I place a different value on money than my wife’s family places on money. Since we value money differently I have little hope of being appreciated for the assistance I will at times provide. Accept that and move on (if it were only that easy).
So at this time I am pretty clear on my future path and how I plan to proceed. If I can personally accept the realities of my new relationship with my wife’s family then things may actually work out fine. Only the future will determine if I can deal with the realities of my situation.
One note in regard to the placing different value to money: It is quite interesting to me that one of the things I find so appealing about Thai people also appears to be one of the reasons for potential future problems in my relationship. I have always been amazed at the ability of the average Thai to be very happy and content even if they have very little money and no real idea where their next paycheck will come. Most Farangs on the other hand work our entire lives to make sure we have enough money to retire, and we are continually working towards, and worrying about the future. Therefore a great deal of concern / stress in our lives is in regard to money. While the average Thai seems to be very content if they have enough money to pay for the next meal. I have always been amazed with this. Because I know that if I could adapt even some of that mentality I could eliminate a great deal of the stress I will encounter in my life.
In parting I would like to make one personal comment on acceptance. I would have to say that this has been the biggest disappointment in regard to my Thai / Farang relationship, and the feedback that I have received to my original post. It has become clear that I will probably never really be accepted by my wife’s family – because I am Farang. And my wife has also encountered her share of acceptance issues because she is Thai. You can see the doubt in some people’s eyes when I tell them my wife is from Thailand. The world has come quite a way in regard to racial/cultural issues (especially over the last 50-100 years), but it is very clear that we have such a long way yet to go. It is such a shame that in a world as advanced as we live in today race/culture need to have such a big impact on relationships.
Nice summation, but I would have to disagree here a little over the acceptance thing. While I acknowledge that it is not easy, I am sure that many farangs ARE accepted into the Thai family. Maybe not 100% accepted, but 90 – 95%. I think it is a combination of the way one conducts themselves, the Thai family themselves and not a shot amount of luck. But don’t think it is impossible, because that is wrong.