Readers' Submissions

Farang / Thai Relationships

  • Written by Anonymous
  • June 13th, 2005
  • 8 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

There are many posts on this site that refer or allude to difficult relationships/marriages between Thai and Farang couples. There's no getting away from it, in such a culturally unbalanced relationship there are bound to be some problems and some can be very frustrating. A lot of problems relate to money or the attitude towards it but whilst Thais in general and Thai girls in particular have a totally different attitude to money than many westerners, you cannot generalise about some aspects.

In his comments on the post entitled 'Love and Money', Stick stated: 'Money. I don't wish to sound heartless but a 45 year old guy who doesn't have any money is not the top of any girl's list, no matter how good looking he is'. It’s not like you to generalise Stick and whilst I know where you are coming from, I don't totally agree. 'the top of any girl's list' – Let me give an alternative angle. I'm married to a Thai girl who is almost 20 years younger than me; I keep myself pretty much in shape and don't dress like a tramp. Like the poster of 'Love and Money', I was 45 when I met my wife. I think it would be fair to say that when talking about 'upcountry' girls such age differences are not really a problem – they are quite common between rural Thais and you can bet your life there will be a few such marriages in your girl's village. Now I would guess that your average 20 something Bangkok 'Disco Diva' is a totally different story – they seem to be adopting more and more western attitudes and the ones I've come across wouldn't entertain a guy over 30. I'm not talking about 'upcountry' girls living in Bangkok, I mean city girls.

I more or less trusted my wife from the off and over time, came to trust her totally but one of the problems associated with reading sites like this is you tend to start thinking all Thai girls are the same (although caution is not such a bad thing). I never did anything to cause my wife to believe I had money, in fact I told her my business had gone bankrupt and left me with nothing. This was not strictly speaking true, the business had gone under but I was reasonably well off. I didn't splash money around and at first we travelled around Thailand by bus etc. We had a lot of conversations about money but most of these were instigated by me – trying to understand the different attitudes. My wife was still happy to marry me and we get along fine but I believe this is because we try to understand each other's cultures, especially in relation to money. When you come from a very poor background, I think its not so unusual to want to try and get out of that and to better your life and remember that seeking financial security is part of Thai culture.

To the best of my knowledge, my wife has never worked in a bar but I really wouldn't give a damn if she had, there are things in my past that I'm not so proud of. I would however be a lot more cautious with a bargirl. Although I believe there are huge differences between Thai bar girls and western prostitutes it can be true that the integrity of someone who is prepared to enter into 'the trade' can sometimes be questionable. In those cases I would simply say that the chances of a genuine relationship are much lower. There is another side to this too, these girls may scam and cheat, have several 'boyfriends' sending them money etc but equally, they will tell you about the lies they've been told by farangs who've promised them the earth and then disappeared. A while ago I read a story on a website (can't remember if it was this site or another) about a guy who thought it was great fun to try and avoid paying the bar girls he slept with – totally despicable, I hope he gets a nasty disease!

Few farangs understand the Thai attitude to money (I'm still trying but I'm a bit nearer), the dowry, financial stability etc. and many confuse it with being scammed. Yes, your lady will want to see that she can be looked after and that she can send money home to the family – in most cases she has to do this, it's expected of her. Who are we to say that taking care of the family is wrong? The fact that it's not in our culture to do so does not make it wrong. If you think you can take a Thai girl away from her country and try to tell her that everything she's been taught from birth is wrong, you are almost certainly in for a very hard time – family = number 1, you = number 2. The best you can expect in those circumstances is a very unhappy lady but if you try to become part of the family instead of thinking of yourself as a superior being, you will then be part of number 1 too.

Anyway, back to the point – of course this doesn't apply in all circumstances but it is incorrect to assume that a marriage between an older farang and a young Thai female will not work unless you have 'accumulated wealth and money'. As with any relationship, there are a number of factors that come into play, physical attraction, sex, and fun for example.

There is another kind of relationship however, and I think that is what Stick really means. It's a relationship that is probably very hard for a lot of westerners to understand. You will see examples of middle aged farangs married to 20 something (most likely, rather than teenagers) where the farang is not at all attractive, may be fat and a 'sandal wearer'. The girl may appear totally happy and they probably have a couple of kids. You see them and straight away you think 'she's there for the money'. You're probably not right but neither are you wrong. The girl may have married him for financial stability but she's also probably very happy with him. I've seen it over here in Farangland – if the girl is a looker she may get a lot of young guys trying their luck, they think she's only married the guy for money and will surely give way to their younger charms. They are often very disappointed and cannot quite get their heads around the situation. Equally there are Thai girls that marry an older guy, come over here and play the field. This just goes to show that you simply cannot generalise.

One thing I would say to any older guy thinking of marrying a 20 something Thai girl, if you don't have a young attitude to life, think that because you've had a family once you don't want anymore and want to live a boring life or wanted a housekeeper more than a wife – don't be too surprised if your marriage is short lived.

On the subject of the obvious scamming Thai girls, where does this come from? Could it be anything to do with westerners throwing their money (although sometimes unwittingly) around in Thailand? It took me a long time to comprehend the difference in currencies and the cost of living. When you spend 1000 baht in Thailand, have you any idea of how much you are spending? Think of it like this, a cashier in an Ubon Rachathani supermarket may earn what? 4-5000 baht per month? You go out for the night in Bangkok and spend that amount on drinks. Back in the UK the same worker might take home 800 pounds per month – would you spend that amount on a night out at home? No wonder they think you're rich! All societies contain people who will take advantage of a situation and the percentage grows with the amount of cash involved. So its hardly surprising that when such people see westerners spending what they see as huge amounts of cash, they want a piece of the action and if the hook that catches the fish is pussy – so be it. When you live with the Thais and go out 'Thai style' you will see just how much a good night out really costs – bottle of beer for around 35 baht or less.

Many different sides to the coin and as many reasons for marriage – you can't however, generalise. Just apply common sense or in some circumstances, accept the situation. In the case of the 'Love and Money' post, I agree with Stick, the money won the day but we don't know if the lady in question could be classed as a typical gold digger – things ain't quite that black and white in Thailand. I suspect Stick, that you make such comments because you have not yet reached 45, I know that I would probably have thought the same when I was younger.

Stickman's thoughts:

Let me re-iterate what I have said before. Thais and farangs are so incredibly different that it should be no surprise that such relationships often have issues that are so great they really can be difficult to solve.

Just to articulate the point I made earlier this week at the end of another submission, I truly believe that the average woman is not interested in a 45 year old guy who has no money (meaning no money in the bank) AND who does not look like he has the ability to make a decent amount. I am not saying she only wants a rich guy. If he has no money in the bank because he has just bought a house or made some sort of large purchase or investment, then no worries, but if he has no money in the back, few assets and doesn’t appear to have the ability to make a reasonable amount, then I believe she will be dis-interested in him long term.