Stickman Readers' Submissions March 28th, 2009

Maggie’s Dilemna

The post from Maggie, despite some other posters questioning its authenticity, I believe is very real. I say this because, as I read it, the words brought home to me exactly what my farang wife would write if she knew of Stickman's existence.

What does surprise me however is that she hasn't followed up with another submission after reading the responses. Surely she would log on again, if not just to read her own post again? Some of the responses would, under normal circumstances,
instigate some kind of reply.

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Her post actually made the hairs on my neck stand up as it rang so true. I imagine that not only my wife would be writing the vast majority of that, but many other farang wives too who are married to a Thai-affected husband.

Before writing this submission I read through Maggie's post again. I can relate to so much of it, though my circumstances are slightly different. I've not been caught out or admitted to being hooked on the bargirl scene, but I did
meet a Thai girl and had an affair with her, which I ultimately admitted to after the affair blossomed and had continued for a number of years. My wife suspected and ultimately I owed it to her to come clean.

I do intend to tell my story, which is ongoing, but that will be a future submission in 2 or 3 parts. Though a fair portion of it is contained below.

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The similarity I have with Maggie’s story is my wife's reaction when I admitted the affair, and all that went with it. I do hope Maggie reads my submission. It may help her understand a little bit about how her husband might have
felt and how he feels now. How guilty / bad / sorry / relieved / sad / gutted. I know I do – all of them and more.

When Maggie says she wanted to cry and curl up in a ball, that's exactly what my wife did on my admission, sobbing uncontrollably. It was awful and I hated it. To see this woman that I'd met when I was 18, been married to for 26
years, had 2 fantastic children with, who had supported me through thick and thin, followed me around the world in my career and been the doting, supportive and faithful wife any man would give their right arm for, in a hysterical state thinking
the world had come to an end was probably the worst experience of my life.

Like Maggie's husband, I was put on a pedestal. Not by me, by my wife and my kids. I worked hard, was successful, built up businesses and brought us a great standard of living. My wife and kids look(ed?) up to me as the rock, getting
us through the bad times and building up to the great times (financially). The (ed?) was not a Freudian slip, because as Maggie says, that pedestal and the rock her husband was is certainly not there any more.

And the kids – Maggie’s are teenagers, mine are a little older than that. Their reaction, in my opinion, is totally dictated by Maggie. The initial presentation of what's happened, if it's done by the hurt wife, will
pretty much decide how the kids react. In my case, my wife did that presentation, much to my regret. They rebelled, particularly my daughter. My son did to a lesser extent.

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That all said, I was at my wits end before the admission of my affair. Possibly more so before the affair even started.

I am summising that my feelings were the same as Maggie's husband and I have absolutely no doubt the same as so many men in their 40's and 50's. More likely their 50's.

I met my wife young and for lots of reasons we just kind of fell into getting married. We were engaged for about 5 years and due to my job moving to another part of the UK it made sense to get married so she could move with me. This was in
the late 70's when living together wasn't looked upon favourably. We loved each other of course, but even then I knew I hadn't experienced enough of the bachelor life to make such a life-changing decision.

So, you get married, the career path starts to come together, have kids, struggle through life's tapestry and time just goes without really evaluating your overall life. Then suddenly it does. The kids get to an age where they're
building their own lives and one night you're sitting there with your wife, having to sit through Coronation Street, Eastenders or some other dreadful soap and thinking "what now then?"

Am I happy?

Am I hell.

Why am I not happy?

I'm bored to death.


I love my career but at home I'm bored to death.


The reality hits.

In my particular case, and I am summising Maggie's husband too, it was:-

1) Even after all these years I have nothing in common with my wife.

2) I simply don't fancy my wife any more (in my case, she'd put on weight).

3) I have no enthusiasm to do anything with my wife.

4) I don't look forward to going on holiday with my wife any more.

5) I get nagged for superfluous things.

6) While I do still love my wife, I'm not in love with her.

7) We don't like doing the same things, completely different interests.

8) I don't actually look forward to going home any more.

I could go on and others can undoubtedly add to that list.

And of course the wife could be sitting there thinking exactly the same.

Now the PC brigade, do-gooders and marriage guidance councilors will of course pull that list apart.

1) Why nothing in common with your wife? You should be working at that together.

2) You don't fancy your wife? How shallow is that?

3) No enthusiasm to do anything together? Find something you both enjoy.

4) I don't look forward to holidays? Find somewhere you can both find something interesting to do.

5) I get nagged – Talk together and work it out.

6) Not in love with your wife? Love changes over the years, it's a deeper love.

7) We don't like doing the same things – Find a common interest.

8) I don't look forward to going home – hire a DVD and have a romantic evening at home.

For me there are answers to all of that. Don't the PC brigade think I haven't tried and put serious thought into all of those points in the hope of finding answers? Of course I have. Why do I want to throw away 30 years of marriage
and all that entails?

But I do have nothing in common with my wife. I like sport, I play golf, I like travel, I like socialising with different types of people, I like music, I like drama, legal and many other types of movies. My wife likes soap operas, religion,
reading, walking . . . errrr, now I'm struggling. While it's important to have different interests outside the marriage there should of course be some common areas. We have none and I suspect Maggie and her husband are / were the same.

For example, we'd normally have an argument on Sunday morning. I'd have worked my backside off all week, either in my office but often traveling around the UK or overseas and in spring / summer / autumn played golf on Saturday (which
does take all day as I travel 2 hours each way to play at the golf club I'm a member of). On Sunday I'd be ready for a rest, which meant with my feet up watching a DVD and then football. A nice relaxing day. My wife would get up and
be "hovering". A kind of mental pressure and the words would ultimately come out "shall we go for a walk?" That is absolutely the last thing I wanted to do after a hard week and I'd walked 5 miles round the golf course
the previous day. I know marriage is give and take, but often I just didn't want to or feel like doing it. She'd stomp off in a huff and I'd get earache for the rest of the day.

On the occasions we did go out for a walk, we'd end up in a pub for a quick beer and I'd then get the "why don't you want to do anything with me? You're happy to walk around a golf course with your mates . . . . etc.,
etc." I know she was right but there was just something inside me that rebelled, along with the fact I was bloody knackered from the week's activities and just wanted to relax. Going for a walk is not my preferred method of relaxing.

All this built up over the years and when you don't look forward to going home, no common interests and the sexual side peters out, there's very little left.

On the sexual side, for me, it was a case of many years of my wife accusing me of wanting sex for sex sake, not because I loved her, wanted her and cherished her. While I can understand that to a point (I'm not the most demonstrative
of men) there is a basic difference between men and women when it comes to sex (in my opinion). Well, when I say men and women, I mean farang men and women who have a relationship. For women there has to be a loving aspect to it, as I said above
she needs to feel loved, wanted and cherished. For a man, he doesn't necessarily need any of those aspects, though of course they are there (or should be) to perhaps a lesser extent when in a relationship. Unfortunately for many men (me included)
they don't show these qualities anywhere near enough to their wives. Sex becomes mundane and you basically go through the motions.

Women obviously pick up on that – they are very perceptive. Farang women are nowhere near as perceptive as Thai women, but they still have it.

For me that resulted in less and less sex – me wanting it less, my wife wanting it even less. I still needed it though. It's such a release of pressure and stress as much as anything. So I ended up, for a number of years, persuading
my wife to pleasure me with her hand. She did, but then accused me of not wanting to make love. We both couldn't win.

Added to this of course was the fact I simply don't / didn't fancy my wife any more. People can say "love grows differently as you get older" and "she's still the same person inside". That's true of
course, but the effect for me personally is that I just didn't want to make love with her. I have to fancy the lady I'm making love to. This became even more difficult after I had sex with the Thai girl, but more on that later.

We had 2 or 3 serious shouting matches, one of which ended with her saying "why don't you just leave if you're so unhappy?"

I said "maybe I will just do that". She was visibly shocked by this. She didn't mean what she said, but my reply shocked her to the core.

This all culminated in a stressful time at home. We did go away for a couple of weekends to talk. For me and my wife it's far better to be away somewhere to talk about something so serious. The home environment is somehow not conducive
to such a serious discussion. I was in a dilemma, I wanted to tell her the truth but I also didn't want to hurt her. I just knew how she would take it and although I'm pretty good with words when it comes to writing, I'm not so
good (read sympathetic, tactful) when it comes to explaining verbally. I'm a businessman and after years of being in the business environment I can be a bit blunt when I don't mean to.

I did my best. But I felt a complete bar steward telling her that she was too overweight, that I was fed up with being nagged, that I didn't fancy her any more and that we had nothing in common. I even said that she'd be better
off with a man who shared her religious interest (she's not a fanatic by any means) and her other interests and would like to do the same kind of things. I meant it and I still do. I truly did believe, given time, she'd be happier with
someone else. I address why I believe she won't accept this later on.

If this situation and sequence of events is anything similar to Maggie and her husband, and I suspect it is, the outcome of a casual encounter was 100% inevitable. Her husband, like me, possibly wasn't looking for it and I certainly
didn't plan to do it. It just happened. Right place, right time, right opportunity. It could have been any woman who I fancied anywhere in the world if the circumstances were right.

Mine happened in the Maldives. I was actually on a family holiday with my 2 children and my daughter’s boyfriend (now my son-in-law). It was an absolutely beautiful island and it should have been the opportunity to get the marriage
back on track. It was a great holiday, but mainly because my son and son-in-law were there. They had a spa and sports centre and this Thai lady worked in the sports centre. She was drop dead gorgeous, slim, beautiful and just a wonderful personality.
Why is it that beautiful farang women have their heads stuck up their backsides and think they're God's gift, are unfriendly, downright rude and think they're above us ordinary blokes? This Thai lady (let's call her Lek) was
in the gym most mornings when I was there and we got chatting. She was pleasant, cordial, unaffected, natural and we just got on so well.

I won't go into more detail here, it will be the subject of "my story" when I get round to writing up the whole scenario. But some is included here as I'm trying to give Maggie and other farang ladies who might read this
an insight into the husband's side of things.

Perhaps it will help other farang husbands too. I wonder how many are reading this and saying "that's me that is. . . . "

The difference between Maggie's husband and me is that he's done a bunk because of Thai bargirls whereas I did it for a "good" Thai lady.

In reality however the actual cause of why it happened is probably no different. Perhaps the reasons were slightly different, but the cause is relatively common. Husband bored with wife, gets an opportunity to stray and does so. Wife bored
with husband but afraid of the consequences of splitting up, afraid to be on their own, afraid of the financial implications should a split occur, afraid of the inevitable family fall-outs involving the kids and sad that the rest of her life that
was mapped out in her mind is blown to bits. Men don't think that way, especially when their little head becomes involved.

Hubbie too will worry about the financial implications of a split. Depending on the reaction of the wife it can obviously get really nasty. For me, I wanted to split up amicably with as little fuss as possible. I'd make sure my wife
is set up financially the best way I could afford. I would wish her no ill and would still want to be her friend. But it's unlikely to be that way. If she's nasty and takes the attitude of "I'll take him for everything he's
got" then I'll obviously fight. I don't want that and I don't think it would be like that. I want her to be happy and everything within my power and financial ability I'd do, providing she was amicable.

I'm at a more advanced stage in all this process than Maggie and her husband. I admitted the affair and left home, renting a flat. I couldn't wait to get out, not because of the Thai girl (who was by now in UK, long story, part
of "my story") but to get some pure mental relief. The 4 or 5 weeks I remained at home after admitting all to my wife were just hell. Tears, anger, more tears, more anger, asking me to change my mind, my children rebelling, especially
my daughter. It was awful. My daughter wanted to disown me, my son was very, very upset (when all is said and done we're a close family) and I was in turmoil. I can imagine Maggie's husband felt the same. Although he's done a bad
thing, surely he has feelings. All those years weren't wasted and there's still feeling there.

I can imagine how my kids felt. I remember clearly the day I actually realised my dad wasn't the perfect person, the man who never made a mistake or got anything wrong. It was one of the most disappointing days of my life. He didn't
do anything bad or naughty, just got something wrong. I can remember thinking "crikey, my dad's screwed up. He's not perfect after all". That man I relied upon, trusted implicitly and thought the sun shone out of his proverbial
has actually messed up.

I love my kids more than anything else on this planet. It hurt me so much to see them angry and upset. But what do you do? In a lifeless marriage, getting to the point where it was just me and my wife for the rest of my / her days. Is this
what I want for the rest of my life? I'm mid-50's, got some money behind me now and I'm not looking forward to the rest of my life. How can that be right? I have to have a life too and I can't live my life for everybody else
any more. That was my feeling, despite my absolute and unconditional love for my children. I'm sure Maggie's husband went through that scenario.

When I finally moved into the apartment there was such a huge, massive sense of relief. I was on my own, no stress, I was still working hard in a high powered job, but I was enjoying that much more and I truly believe my performance actually
improved. I had more energy, more motivation. I played golf as usual on a Saturday and waking up on Sunday morning was just fantastic as I knew I wasn't going to be nagged at to go out for a walk. A very small point in the scope of things,
but for me at the time it was huge.

I had a really interesting conversation with my golfing colleagues. They were mostly around my age, a few a little older, in their early 60's. There were 8 of us and I told them what had happened at the 19th hole. A couple knew anyway,
being close mates, but obviously it was the hot topic of discussion that day. Out of the 7 of them, 1 (who is my age) said he wouldn't dream of leaving home (he's re-married and had 2 youngish children from the 2nd marriage, also completely
under the thumb) but the other 6, without exception, said they were stuck in tedious marriages and that if it wasn't for the financial aspect they'd leave. They were scared to lose half their wealth and were prepared to remain in a sham
of a marriage and be unhappy so they could maintain their standard of living.

I would love to know how many farang men are in exactly that position.

So, this point of my ramblings is the same point that Maggie and her husband find themselves at.

She's trying to come to terms with it and he's presumably off gallivanting with a bargirl in Thailand. I did not go to Thailand at that point, I was living in a rented apartment in my city, but I was seeing Lek.

Maggie is angry, hurt, upset, heart-broken and scared. My wife was exactly the same. I still spoke to her on a regular basis, continued paying all the bills, went there on Sunday afternoon for a bbq with her and the kids, then left to go
back to the apartment.

We met for dinner maybe once a fortnight, midweek. They were not pleasant dinners. The anger and hurt came out. It was so hard for both of us – she wanted to talk, I didn't want to hurt her any more. She wanted some answers – when, where,
how, etc. I didn't want to tell her, she was hurt enough already. I managed some tap-dancing without lying too much. I justified this by saying to myself that she's hurt enough.

My daughter rebelled completely. From being really close, her moral and ethical values came to the fore and she hated me for hurting her mum. That hurt me a lot. This goes back to something I mentioned earlier – the initial presentation to
the kids of what's happened is vitally important. My wife, while saying to me that she never wanted to cause a problem between me and my kids, actually did the opposite. Not maliciously, but one of my wife's faults has always been opening
the mouth before the brain clicks into gear. So my kids got the one-sided story and were told nothing about why it actually happened, the previous discussions and arguments we'd had, the unhappiness that had been in the marriage for quite
a while, etc. etc. I was just the bad guy. While of course I had been in the wrong, I couldn't explain it to the kids for fear of making it worse. I just had to take it.

I saw my son on a regular basis, though he was away at university. When he was home, we'd meet up for a beer on Sunday, with my son-in-law. He was very upset about the whole thing but at least was still speaking to me. My son-in-law
did his best with my daughter but she had her heels dug in and wasn't budging. She even changed my entry in her mobile phone to my Christian name rather than Dad!!

Maggie, I hope you have done the best you can with your kids. It's so important, despite what your feelings are towards your husband and the wrong that he's done, that you don't alienate the kids from him. While you might say
"serves him right", despite what he's done he can (and should) still play a big part in their lives, whatever the outcome is. Unless he's a complete dick, he'll want to maintain a "dad" relationship with his
kids, however it ends up between you and him.

My thought processes about my wife didn't really change in the 6 months I lived in the apartment. I was still seeing Lek and she stayed with me on a regular basis. I enjoyed every second of it. But my kids' rejection of me niggled
at me incessantly. I love them so much it hurt me 100 times more than not being with my wife. My wife was trying to persuade me to come back and in the end I had to make a decision.

I loved my wife but was not in love with her. I came to the conclusion that I was in love with the history we had together, all those years and shared experiences. But it was history, not now. I was distraught about my kids' reaction.
On the other hand, I loved Lek in a different way. I fancied her like crazy. We laughed together, had the same sense of humour. The conversation never dried up. There was so much to learn about her, about Thailand, about the culture, her family,
her history. I was interested again, motivated, happy when I was with her. She liked going to rock concerts with me, loved coming to the football, loved traveling. And the sex. Well, what can I say? Many replies to Maggie’s submission have
said that once a male farang has been with a Thai girl, sex with a female farang will never be the same again. How true that is. Just incredible.

So, I thought to myself, what the hell am I going to do?

I wonder if Maggie's husband is sitting somewhere thinking exactly that.

Well, what I did, was move back home. I did it for one reason and one reason only. My kids. Despite them being early twenties, my daughter married and my son at university, both having their own lives now, the pain I felt due to their rejection
was just dreadful. They (whoever "they" are) say that time is a great healer. I wasn't sure if time would heal the feelings my kids had towards me. I figured that it would be only fair to give the marriage a last shot. At least
the kids could see that I had tried and just maybe the marriage could be re-kindled. I gave that element about a 10% chance of success.

I explained everything to Lek. I still wanted to be with her and I told her that. I explained I have to do this, for my own sanity. She was distraught, but she understood my reasoning. It really was the only way I had a chance to get my daughter
back in particular.

So, I moved back home. My daughter changed instantly, not back to how it was before, but over time she did. My son was fine. I still didn't want to be there, but I tried my best. There were very difficult times. While my wife didn't
throw things back in my face, there were some awkward moments and while she did try hard there were sometimes accusations and wondering where I was. Only natural of course, but she'd never been like that before and with all the other problems
that were still underlying the unhappiness became more intense. I was always having to double think about what my wife would be thinking if I was away on business somewhere.

I missed Lek so much. I hadn't been back long when I did see her again. I just couldn't stop myself. She was being just great about the whole thing. While many Thai girls, particularly the bargirls, are primarily after money, Lek
isn't like that. I won't use the words "she's different" because she has the traditional engrained Thai culture. Money has huge importance in Thai society and Thai life. Much more so than in Farangland. Of course money
is important to us farangs, but not on the same scale as Thailand. It's because the vast majority have none. In general, there's no government hand-outs, no pension, no sick benefit, no unemployment benefit, no social security, etc.
etc. It's every man, woman and family for themselves. That breeds a wholly different culture, primarily based on money. I'm always astounded at how happy the majority of Thai people are, especially those in the country, where they don't
have 2 pennies to rub together and they don't know where the next 100 baht is coming from.

Lek has her faults of course, as we all do. She'd win the gold medal for shopping (REAL designer stuff of course!!), hopeless with money (live for today, forget tomorrow) and can sleep for 24 hours non-stop. All very Thai traits of course.
But she's a grafter, has a heart of gold and will help anybody. On top of that she's stunning, slim, speaks English really well now, motivated, helpful and fun to be with.

So, I'm living a tightrope right now. I'm still at home but still seeing Lek. I do still travel a lot, so I don't get found out. If I did get found out, well, I dread to think. I know I have to leave again, for good this time.
I've achieved what I set out to achieve and I've given it plenty of time. The 10% chance hasn't worked out but my kids are completely onside. I am hoping that when my wife and I split up for good, they'll now understand. I
gave it another chance and surely they want to see their dad happy. I hope they will see in time too that my wife will be happier than she was with me.

Problem is finding the right time and opportunity to bring it to a head again. I know instantly I'll be accused of being with Lek again. That will have to be played so cool for a period. My wife in particular was of the view that Lek
was a gold digger, a typical Thai woman who only cares about money. She'll be worried that the money accumulated will end up going to her. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. I've already had this discussion with Lek.
I will make sure my wife is happy to the best of my ability, after a divorce and settlement my kids will be the main benefactors when I'm put 6 feet under, but Lek will be well provided for too.

I've actually been back at home for over 2 years now. There's never been a right time to finally break away. My daughter got pregnant. Then she sadly lost it. Very quickly she got pregnant again. Granddaughter born. My son was studying
hard at university, has his final exams in May / June this year. I couldn't jump ship while any of that is happening. But I guess there's never a right time, but I will wait until my son has finished his final university exams.

So Maggie, I'm not sure there's any way back for you and your husband in reality. Your story sounds similar to mine, but obviously I do not know your husband. I can see from your submission that your thoughts and feelings are very
similar to my wife's. But if he's off with a bargirl, I agree with you that it will only end in disaster. Of that I have absolutely no doubt. Like many Stickmanites, I've visited the bar scene over there (though I haven't been
to Pattaya) and it would be a very rare find indeed if your husband is with a bargirl who will truly be faithful and truly love him "long time".

He may come back with his tail between his legs begging forgiveness, but as many other posters have said, once a farang has experienced the Thai honey pot it's a hard habit to break. To have a nubile, young, slim, lithe, beautiful Thai
girl say "hello handsum man, I go with you?" it takes serious willpower to walk away, especially if he's middle aged and in a rut at home.

My experience is different and I know for sure I wouldn't walk out of a marriage because of that. Bargirls are fickle, flighty and are only there to earn money. Many have a good time while they're doing it and enjoy themselves,
but very, very rarely are they real girlfriend or wife material. So I imagine he'll burn himself out on that scene at some point in the future. How long will that take? That's anybody's guess. As you mention it could well be when
the money runs out. You may have moved on yourself by then.

I have no doubt that your husband still has feelings for you. Lots of married years builds a bond, in my case that bond will never go away. But sometimes that's just not enough. If you do get back together your marriage will never be
the same again, of that there is no doubt. Going back has not worked for me and I think the chances of success in your case is low.

My advice to Maggie is to really think about why this happened and be real about it. Were there warning signs? Did he just do a bunk without you suspecting anything? Presumably the marriage was struggling anyway, did you talk things over?
Did you understand why he was unhappy? Did you express to him why you were unhappy (if you indeed were)? In reality, can those issues and problems be put right? Can you trust your husband again if he comes back? Do you really want him back?

And my main piece of advice is don't use your kids as pawns. You and hubbie are both adults and can make your own decisions. Don't drag the kids into it, don't fill them full of hatred for their father, don't let your
anger infiltrate into them. They'll make their own decisions in time, don't sway them. Encourage them to contact their father, it's not their fault this has happened. I'm sure hubbie loves his kids as much as you do.

Whoever said it's best to split up when your kids are older is a dumbass!! It's far better to do it when they're younger, before they can really form opinions. That way the dust can settle and some normality of life can ensue
before the kids know what's really happened. During that time dad has access and can continue the relationship, providing mum doesn't taint the poor kids minds.

Maggie, I wish you the very best of luck however this turns out.

Stickman's thoughts:

That's one of the best and most honest submissions in a long time. I cannot imagine the difficulty you went through.

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