Finding and Keeping a Thai Girlfriend
When I was a newbie in Bangkok 10 years ago, I spent a lot of time on the Stickman forum learning the ropes, and it certainly saved me not only a lot of hassle but a fair amount of cash.
My hat is off to him and the thousands who have shared their experiences so the rest of us could benefit.
I have been away from the scene for a while now, but thought I would pass on some of the knowledge I have gained in respect to having a Thai Girlfriend (GF). While all of us share similar experiences, we are also all of us different. While my comments may not be applicable to all situations, I hope you might be able to build on them in future posts.
Let’s start with some disclaimers. First, I am assuming that you are a foreigner (non-Thai) living outside of Thailand, looking for or already having a Thai GF. I am also assuming that you found your GF in a bar, go-go, massage parlour, disco etc. (If you live in Thailand, odds are that you have the opportunity to find a “serious” girl, that is, someone working in a shop, office…someone perhaps with education. The rules for relating with girls like that are quite different than being with a girl from a poorer region such as Isaan. This post is not concerned with those types of relationships.)
The Three Things to Look For
I cringe when I read posts from someone living in Europe or America, who comes to Thailand for a 2-week holiday, “falls in love”, flies back to their home with an email address and phone number and wonders why things go wrong and they get ripped off. Face it, would you fall in love with a girl from your country, who you can barely communicate with, and who you have known for just a few days? Of course you wouldn’t.
Fact is, you need to choose someone to be a GF, not just fall in lust with the first thing that smiles at you.
A senior Thai gentlemen told me that Thai men look for three things when choosing a 2nd wife: how she treats her family, how she spends her extra cash, and what she does with her free time. It would not be a bad idea to follow these rules for a start. A girl who spends your money like water when you first meet her, and who spends all her time watching TV is not going to be your best choice. Bad habits at first turn out to be relationship killers later on. I was once with a girl who every night before we went to bed called her children to make sure their homework was done for the next day, and called again in the morning to make sure they were off to school at an early hour. Those are the type of positive signs you need to look for. Someone who tells you not be buy “x” product because “y” is better value is looking after your interests. And while we don’t necessarily expect our Thai GF to be a museum goer, you might want to look for someone who is happy to go for a walk rather than go to the mall, or someone happy to spend a few minutes in a temple praying instead of at a disco.
The point is, girls who are fun for one night may not be the type of girl you want to have a long term relationship with.
Choosing the right girl is the first, and most important, step to having a successful relationship.
Skype is no Substitute for Being There
Have you ever had a long distance relationship with a girl from your country? Did it work out? If you are American and went to Europe for a week (or a European who went to America for a week), met a girl, and flew back to your home country, how long do you think that relationship would last if you asked her to be faithful and you would see her again in 12 months?
Why should it be any different with Thai women? Plain talking: if you live on another continent, and will only see her once or twice a year, it will NOT WORK. No way. Don’t even try it. She will not believe that you are coming back no matter what you say, and she will be on the lookout for someone else the moment your plane takes off (and probably the moment you go through Immigration). I am not making value judgements on Thai women in general; she is doing exactly what you or I would do. Let’s say in your business you pitch for a new client, you make your presentation and the prospect says “Yes you are hired. I am going back to my country now but we are definitely in business together. I will see you in a year.” Yeah, right. Their local competitor comes along and dangles a contract in your face. What will you do?
Additionally, don’t expect her to move to your country. She will be desperately unhappy away from her family and friends and Thai language TV. It will not work.
You have the choice of moving to Thailand, or living in the region (Singapore or Hong Kong for example) and visiting her at least once a month. If you cannot do that then be happy with a once a year fling in Thailand with a different girl,
but do not expect loyalty from one girl.
What Women Want
OK, you have chosen the right girl, and you are living with her (or seeing her quite frequently). Now comes the key question: how much to pay her?
Yes, pay her. Why not? If you married a girl from your country, and she was living with you as a housewife while you were working, and you said to her “I love you honey, but I am not giving you any money”, how long would she stay with you?
I believe it is wrong to say Thai women are only out to fleece you, grab as much money as they can and leave you broke. There may be a few women like that, but you have chosen wisely, haven’t you? (see Rule # 1).
Thai women want security. They want the assurance that they will be taken care of, that they can support their family, that they can set aside money for a time when they no longer have the looks and there is someone younger and prettier coming along.
So if you want your GF to stay with you, you need to give her that assurance. Not a single payment, but a series of regular payments over time. The more regular the payment, the more relaxed she will be.
No credit cards or ATM access. That road leads to problems. Have her set up her own account, agree a sum, and post that sum to her every 1st and 15th of the month. (If you give her the full amount on the 1st then odds are quite high you will get a call on the 20th asking for more.) Make it clear that you will give her the agreed amount, and nothing more.
Everyone asks the key question: “How much?” I suggest sitting down with your GF, and drawing up a budget. How much does she spend every month on rent, food, clothing, phone, transportation, her family, etc.
Once you and she have come up with the budget, add 5000 baht. Why not? If you can’t afford it you shouldn’t be having a steady girl to start with. Remember, your goal is not to keep her on a tightrope, if she is stretched every month she might be tempted to look elsewhere to supplement her income; but if she is satisfied then she will much prefer to do something else rather than getting drunk every night trying to pick up a stranger.
I would be very surprised if the final budget is below 25,000 baht/month. I just don’t believe it can be done. I will go on record now and say I am giving my GF 50,000/month. She has been with me for over four years now and I have never had reason to doubt her. I repeat, if you can’t afford these sums (25-50k/month) then just stick with short time relationships.
One more thing is necessary to have that perfect relationship we all dream of: understanding your position in her life. You are 5th. First comes her parents, then her children (if any), then her immediate family (sisters, brothers), then her friends, and then you. Do not try to upset the natural order of things. You will not win. Do not try to make her choose between you and anyone higher than you on the list. You will not win. I have been with my girl for over four years now. Every stitch of clothing on her back and the backs of her parents, sisters, nieces and nephews has been paid for by me. Every morsel of food all of the above put in their mouths has been paid for by me. Yet she would throw me over in a second if I ever asked her to choose between me and them. I accept that she would rather starve and go naked than walk away from those of her blood. You may disappear tomorrow; they will not. They will be there for her. You may not. You will not win that battle.
Into the Future
So you have followed all the rules. There’s one more thing. You need to have a plan for the future. Where will she live? If in Patong or Pattaya, then trouble is on the way. What will she do? Gently but forcibly insist she either a) get a job b) go to school or c) stay with her family. She needs to be occupied in a positive way.
You also need to meet her family. Go to her village and stay in her house. Not only will you gain respect from her and her family, but you will learn where she is coming from. It will give you a better appreciation of her state of mind once you have shat in the same hole in the ground she has been using since she was a child.
That’s it folks. It can be done. Not every relationship is doomed. I have said several times already that I am in the fifth year now with a young lady significantly younger (and much more beautiful) than I am. No relationship is perfect and this one may also implode like many others. But…so far so good.
Excellent submission with lots of good points, but I wonder about the section on financial support and the numbers you suggest!
25,000 – 50,000 baht a month, every month, is a lot of money. At current exchange rates that is about $US1,700 a month or over £1,000 or about €1,250. Most Thai women from poor parts of the country live comfortably and support their family on much less. And frankly, a lot of Western guys just don't have that sort of money to spare. Last but not least, from a pervert's point of view, 50,000 baht a month represents a massive opportunity cost – and could be a different woman in your bed every night….