Marrying A Thai Girl, Thoughts
I read Should I Marry A Thai Girl?, and I agree with everything that Stick wrote in his comments. FYI I am 43, been coming to Thailand since '94, used to work in Hong Kong, visited Thailand frequently and then returned to NZ in 2000, and since have married a Thai lady I met on a trip to HK in 2004 and moved to Thailand permanently in 2007 to be with her prior to us being married in 2008.
I was 36 when I met her, and she 26. Like you I had done the dating scene in Thailand (and HK and Philippines) – I married a Filipina when 29 in '96, she was 30. She was with me when we went back to NZ – never marry an older woman! She will always want different things than you.
I can say from that first marriage, unless you are comfortable with having a single partner, don't get married. By 'having a single partner', I mean (and this is just my opinion from coming to Asia for 17 years and observing the marriages of my friends as well) that you will not be wanting to get involved in any kind of relationship outside the marriage, relationship being something where there is an emotional element, phone calls going on etc. If you are already thinking 'Oh it's OK to be married, I can always get a mistress', that is a big red flag – and of course its very very easy to think that way after living in Asia. I was making trips to Asia from New Zealand all the time, cheating on my first wife and I didn't think ANYTHING of it. If you think that's how you'll be, don't get married – she isn't the right girl.
In fact, though I didn't really realise it, I was looking for a partner with whom I wouldn't feel like that, who I would be faithful to and make a real commitment to. And when I met her, I knew it within 2 weeks, which may sound stupid, but having been with many girls it was very clear. I changed my habits almost overnight. To cut a long story short I got a divorce, married this girl in 2008 (it was she who made me wait, I would have married her sooner) and now we have a daughter and are very happy.
Some lessons learned:
– A 10-year age gap is good. She may seem young now, but time goes very very fast and soon she'll be 30+, and I promise you, in Asia you will no longer see her that way – she certainly doesn't even see herself that way now. Things are different out here. At 33, my wife worries she is too old for me now! Surely you have met Asian girls of 23 or 24 who say 'I am an old lady' – it's not a joke, they are being serious! Really, 10 years is fine – if I had to do it again I'd rather prefer to make it more like 15 years. In my opinion a woman's best years are her mid-late 20's, and that doesn't change with your age. A man's age is far, far less relevant. Throw away now any notions of 'too young' and 'acceptable' age gaps you learned in the west – these are manufactured by women for their advantage and have no positive elements for men at all – think about it.
– I think it's actually a good idea to have the odd sex session with another woman, if it doesn't become regular with anyone, and if it happens infrequently – something that would of course shock people in the west to hear (though if they were really honest I think many married men would agree). I have done so, not often though, and yes I do feel bad about it but on the other hand it was also very good for me and I think for my marriage, because it got the purely physical urge out of my system – and you WILL get that urge. There is no sense beating yourself up over it, it's just normal. Other women don't become unattractive just because you are married and it's just a matter of managing it. I know this sounds unromantic and terrible when contemplating a new marriage, but it's a pragmatic approach for the long term – and marriage should by definition be long term right?
– 36 is a decent age to be married. If you want to have kids – and no matter how you feel now you may very well might later – it's good to have them not much over 40 as Stick said. I put it off until I was 42 and now wish I had done it earlier. It's the best thing in the world and it made my marriage stronger. If you don't want to do it now it's OK, you have time, but you can bet at some point she will and if you REALLY don't want to have kids you better tell her now – it's huge for a Thai girl.
– The opinion of friends and family from the west is totally irrelevant. Western women dismiss all Asian girls out of hand (ignoring the huge hypocrisy of that i.e. women's liberation / feminism is really only for western women, because to them Asian women are inferior etc), and the men aren't exposed to the reality of Asia and are simply not qualified to offer an opinion unless they have been.
So, objectively, from what I've read this girl you are seeing is good. She is educated, from a good family (who is not going to be asking for money, and just wants their daughter to be happy – this is rare here no matter what their daughter does for a living, believe me), from Chiang Mai (as my wife is – it's of course a generalisation but Chiang Mai girls are known by Thais and smart westerners as being beautiful and good partners, I think with good reason – from my experience you will get a measure of instant respect just from having a partner from there and be put by Thais in a different category from most westerners here), communicates well, and she is willing to overlook previous episodes of you being unfaithful. The fact that she says she always wanted a western husband is absolutely no cause for concern at all – what's wrong with that? Frankly, and let's be honest here and not politically correct, it shows she has good taste and has likely been exposed to western culture and men early on, and developed an understanding of and attraction to them, which bodes well for your relationship. Don't you have at least some criteria by which you judge potential mates, that might seem shallow to women? My wife has never been with a Thai man either. I think it's actually good she told you that – she is being very honest with you. Spend more time on the Stick site, talk with some expats, she is the type of girl that many men here – the ones who want a real long-term relationship – are looking for, and you may find it difficult to find again.
Overall, my assessment is: if you are the sort of guy who one day wants to be married (and I know a lot of guys who felt themselves not to be, especially in Asia, until they met the right girl and changed their mind), then you should seriously consider it. And you can always get engaged to give yourself more time.
For what it's worth.
Seems like a lot of good advice.
For the author of the original article to which this is a reply, please note that a number of readers have mentioned to me that they have tried to email you advice and the email has bounced…