Bargirl Help Needed!
I have discovered your website recently and have taken great benefit in your experience and the information provided by you and your readers.
I have a problem and I am trying to ask you for your help.
I am in a relationship with a lady that owns a bar in Phuket.
INFORMATION I KNOW ABOUT HER (SOME BEING TOLD FROM HER)
SHE OWNS the bar and does not work as a bar-girl and has a long term (9 years) rent contract of houses (to rent for tourists).
She has other properties in the country (land, real estates).
She has two children (9 and 7 year old) from a previous relationship / marriage with a Thai man. This relationship ended dramatically just after the birth of the second son. At that time she moved from Bangkok to Phuket leaving her children with her former partner’s mother (they live with her, not with the father). Apparently her former partner lives with another lady with whom he has two children.
She is still economically supporting her children and sees them 2 or 3 times a year.
After she moved to Phuket she worked in a hotel and started a different business (a shop first and then different bars).
With a boyfriend (farang) she spent two years in Phuket, together they had two bars, that she left to him when their relationship ended (about 5 years ago). After this she opened the bar she now owns.
From then she had quite a limited number of boyfriends (all farang) or short-term relationships.
She has financial problems and debts that she has been struggling to pay back for the last 18 months (in spite of apparently good income from the bar and the houses).
When we met one year ago, she was in a bad financial situation. Emotionally she was very stressed and not very stable. After a few days of dating she tried to push me away, saying that she was not ready for a relationship and had too many problems to be able to be seriously being with somebody. We spent the rest of my time in Phuket spending time together but without me pushing her and with her showing appreciation for this. She never showed any “gold-digger” strategic behavior … the opposite really … she actually tried more to keep me emotionally far from her, instead of attracting me. She never tried to pretend she was in love or create any illusion to me. She never showed any distinctive sign of “bar-girl” behavior.
She asked to borrow money from me one day because she had bills of electricity to pay (6000 baht), telling me she would have given me back before I left. I agreed, we went to the electric company and paid the bills together and she gave me my money back the day before I left. To give me my money back she borrowed them from a usurer (20% monthly interest).
I left with no commitments in place with us between us. During the following months I stayed in touch with her and with one of her employees in the bar. I often called to say hello and ask how things were.
December last year she told me she had problems in paying back at least a part of a 200,000 baht debt she had with a friend of hers. This is a Danish man that she has known for many years. She is friends with his wife also and with his sons (she considers one of his sons, 15 years old, like a second son of hers), who come to Phuket at least 3 times a year, renting a house there. I have seen pictures of her, her sons and this Danish family in the years and I have no doubts about the nature of the feelings she has for all the family members. During the last 12 months unfortunately the man has strongly expressed his interest for her (of course his wife and family do not know this). She finds this crazy and feels betrayed in her trust towards this man and the friendship she felt. The relationship has become strained, and because of the money involved, she feels pressed more and more. They had more and more arguments, up to these days, when she is physically and emotionally a wreck, being overwhelmed by this pressure and not capable to have a clear mind any more.
I agreed in December to send her 100,000 baht that she could use to pay back 50% of her debt with the Danish man. She promised to send me back 50,000 in mid January. She never did and apologized many times. I allowed her the possibility to pay me back in August, when I would be visiting Phuket again and that is how we agreed. We never spoke about money again, but we kept in touch for the rest of the year.
In August 2010 I visited her again and our relationship picked up (she told me that during this year, she understood from the fact I kept on calling her, that I cared about her and I was not just another lady-hunter in Thailand). She was a lot more open towards me than last year, trying to use any opportunity to spend time with me and was truly emotionally involved (more and more as days went by).
Problems with money were still there, at least the same as last year. She told me that she now has again 200,000 baht debt with the Danish friend (she admitted asking him 100,000 again some months after she gave him back! jeopardizing my effort to minimize the problem using my 100,000 baht!) and had 6,800 baht a day to pay to a usurer (I have seen him personally coming at the bar to get his money) for a month (apparently at a rate of 20% monthly interest).
She had serious cash problems when I was there. She did not ask me for any money. We agreed to deduct the rent of our houses and motorbikes (rented from her) and the bar bills for me and my friends for the duration of our vacation and that she would give me the rest of the money (to reach 100,000 baht) cash.
At the end she could only give me 15,000 baht in cash (borrowing them again from the usurer, I have seen when this happened) and she still owes me 30,000 baht (which, fairly, between me and myself, I was ready to lose from the start of the whole story).
She is absolutely sick of her life and has decided some months ago that she wants to sell the bar (last year she spoke about this idea sometimes already, this year a very serious intention is definitely there) and change her life. She is looking at least for the possibility to sell 50% of the bar and be able to work there only half a year. Up to now she has not had reliable possibilities and has wisely rejected a couple of weird, unreliable offers.
I do care about this person. The times she allowed herself to show her real emotional state, I could see extreme suffering from this situation, and a stress load that leaves her less and less strength to fight with.
We have discussed together the fact she would like to come to visit me in the country I live in (Italy), as a first step as a simple holiday, without any unnecessary expectation from both sides. She underlined she might not like it, but if she did, she says she would be ready to try and come and live here (working, not just being maintained by me). I have seen she is not afraid to work (personally cleans the houses she rents and physically works in the bar helping her staff) and I would honestly try to give a chance to this.
We both agreed that in order to speak about any other step in our relationship, her problems should be cleared (debts first and then the bar that she wants to sell as soon as possible anyway!)
I understand that she financially over-exposed herself too much in the past and now she is not able to recover the situation with the regular cash flow.
She would need the bad debt to be “cleared” allowing her to run the business without the weight of debts (interests to be paid to a usurer kill possibilities to pay back the real debt – you end up working to stay alive and somebody else eats your profits).
She needs time to sell the bar, but under these circumstances time passing by means going deeper and deeper for her.
I offer her to borrow money from me for the amount she needs (200,000 baht for the Danish friend + 200,000 baht for her to have oxygen and to keep them out of trouble for cash-flow to come in) but in a different way: I give her this money by regularly purchasing a share of the bar she owns.
The advantage is that I remove some of the immediate daily pressure away from her, allowing her the time she needs to sell the bar. If am registered as a “share-holder” I should be able to get my money when the bar gets sold. (I can not see a better way to be safer). She should be able to run the business in autonomy from then on.
She will unfortunately be forced to run the business until she can sell it (which she would have to do anyway), but at least she can do it, without facing the daily problem of debts and pressure by creditors.
PROBLEM AND DOUBTS
I do not understand how she has not been able to recover in one year. Where is all this money going?
This year her mother died (I have proofs) and apparently she had to pay for months of her in a private hospital. The same thing happened last year with her father (also proofs for this). She had extraordinary repairs to be done in the bar, school to pay for her older child (International school, her choice), so probably she had exceptional costs to be faced. However, I am shocked by the lack of progress from last year, in spite of being able to count on help from external help. What would she do without external help?
Couldn’t she ask to borrow money from a bank? Why?
Does she have a bank account? Why did I have to use Western Union (her request) to send her money (paying crazy commissions) instead to be able to make an international bank transfer?
Is she unable to manage her money properly (she does not live an expensive life, she is renting out her house as much as she can and lives with the girls in the bar, she has no personal motorbike and shares one with some girls in the bar), is she wasting money, helping the complete family, financing something or somebody I do not know, etc.?
Even if I help her “clean” the debt she has built up:
– Is this the total debt?
– Can she walk with her legs from then on?
– Is she able to have a wise management from then on (or the more money she has the more she spends anyway)
– Is it true she owns what she tells me on her own? Is somebody else involved? Is she free to do what she wants with these properties?
I care about this girl and I know she cares about me and she was heavily involved. After coming back from this last vacation was absolutely in an emotional crash because of me leaving. She had the first two days calling me and texting me 4 times a day, sometimes crying and telling me she did not know what to do with her life. Then she suddenly refused to answer my texts and calls for more than one week (when she finally did, she cried and told me she was too afraid to lose her mind, this thing hit her too strongly and she is afraid to handle this feeling in the difficult situation she is in). I know that here is no strategy in her behavior, which is messy as it is often when a woman is in love but something works against it. If we were not in Thailand I would have no doubt.
I cannot know if this relationship with this girl can work (how can anybody in any situation be sure about the outcome?), but in a normal situation we both would try to see if there is a future for us, as it would be a natural thing to do it. With things as they are, we both are afraid and impeded by the distance, but especially the major problem is her financial situation, that of course does not leave her the minimum freedom.
I am afraid that if I do not help somehow to sort these problems out, our relationship cannot even have a real possibility to move any further.
I am quite confident she would never try to take advantage and “steal” my money (as nobody’s money by the way, too many choices in her life have just been completely anti-economical for her). But I know I would run the risk of her not really BEING ABLE to do things properly.
What I am wondering is: Even if I decide to take the risk, would this be enough help her out of the hole where she is drowning?
I am ready to run a risk and give myself a chance (and ready to lose some money for something that means taking a chance).
But I am not ready to surely go for a failure and just knowing the my money is 100% lost with no chance for it to make any difference. I can be ready for a (high risk?) investment, but I am not ready to throw away my money.
I kindly ask you, based on your experience, if there is a way to understand or check this situation better. What is your opinion? Can anything be done to clear at least a part of my doubts?
I do sincerely thank you for the time you will dedicate to reading this.
Thank you in advance for your kind feedback
What I want to say is what I really feel. Women who work in the bars – to include those who own the bars or have any direct involvement in the industry – are more often than not what I refer to as "women-with-problems". And frankly, women who have problems in their life are not really ideal marriage material. That is ultimately what I think and I always advise guys who REALLY want to know what I think that involvement with a Thai bargirl should never go beyond a night, or two. After that, you should walk away, irrespective of how you may feel about her, you should walk away!
Unfortunately a lot of guys keep coming back for more.
I have two big concerns about your particular situation. The first is just how much her debts really are. What is the total of all of her liabilities? Unfortunately there is no way to know this for sure. Debts are not recorded anywhere and as she is dealing with some shady underground characters, the only way to know how much these debts she has is to ask her – and it's hard to see her willingly revealing what the total debts are. It might be that the debts she has divulged to you are the total, or it might be that there are more. There is absolutely no way to know for sure…
The second issue I have is her inability to work her way out of a situation. You suggest that her bar is quite profitable and you believe that its cashflow is more than adequate to work her way out of the financial mess she finds herself in. That she has been unable to do that suggests she has a problem with basic money management (a very common problem in Thailand), that the debt is more significant than you are aware or perhaps there are vices or something going on in the background that you're not aware of (such as a Thai man in the shadows) where the money is going. It could be gambling, drug use, a man or God only knows what else!
I am going to be a bit harsh here in my advice… When you look at a woman as a long-term partner, there are MANY things you need to look at and confidence in her integrity as well as confidence in her ability not to blow the budget are two qualities that might not be top of the list, but are important nonetheless. You have serious reservations about this woman in these areas and as such I would suggest that you think VERY carefully before getting involved in anything serious.
Developing a serious relationship with a woman where there are question marks is noble, but such can come back to bite you. I would not pursue anything serious with her until you have the full picture. That said, whatever you decide to do, I wish you well!