Should I Marry A Thai Girl?
Two years ago, I was really fed up with the dating scene in Thailand. I was so fed up that I was ready to leave; because I thought that there was no way that I would ever find a Thai girl worth dating. It seemed that Thai girls fell into two categories: hi-so princesses who won’t even look at foreigners, and prostitutes who will lie and cheat and scam their way into a relationship. There were many times where I would be out, whether in a pub, a club, even the grocery store and I would begin talking to a Thai woman. I would eventually ask her out and the abominable phrase “how much you pay me” or “2,000 baht” would be uttered. I was sick of it. Where does one go to find normal girls in this country? Where do the middle-class women hang out?
Out of frustration, I decided I would make one last attempt to meet “normal” Thai women. I went online. I joined up with two dating sites: ThailandFriends and Thai Love Links. I didn’t have much luck with Thailand Friends. I made a few acquaintances but nothing serious. TLL, however, was another matter. To this day, I still can’t believe how easy it is. Loads of women are on that site to choose from. I’ve heard some refer to the site as “the buffet”. And it practically is. For 6 months, I dated loads of Thai women whom I met on TLL. And at first glance, most of these girls seemed like normal, good Thai girls. But they play their games, and I soon got tired of it. Most girls from TLL do not want a relationship. Most just want to see a foreign guy for a few dates. The reason? Well, from what I could tell, many just want free dinner, or a free English lesson, or to show you off in one of the many shopping malls around Bangkok. Some just want to “try out” a foreigner for awhile, or just want a fuck buddy. I had a few regulars who I would see on a weekly basis for dinner and sex. No money was ever exchanged. Of all the girls I saw, only 1 asked me for money, and her number was quickly deleted from my rolodex after that. But problems arose when I began to expect more out of these girls. I repeat, most of the girls on TLL do not want a relationship. Whenever I would try to pursue a relationship, the girl would start playing games – not answering her phone, making promises that she didn’t intend to keep, lying, etc. I now assume that most of these girls were just doing what I was doing, and they had a few guys who they were seeing at the same time. I was ready to call it quits but then I met “the one” – let’s call her Pang (not her real name).
Before I go on, a little about myself: I’m 35, well-educated, tall, average-looking from an English speaking country. I grew up with good family values and Christian values (some of which have been abandoned during my tenure in Thailand). I have lived in Thailand for 5 years, teaching at an international school (not TEFLing), and am soon to be employed by a school in another Asian country to the north.
From her online profile, Pang was beautiful, intelligent, and young. We chatted and spoke on the phone for about a month before agreeing to meet. I didn’t want to take a chance and only have a one night stand and lose her like I had with other girls before. She was 10 years younger than me, and just finishing her university education. She’s from Chiang Mai, comes from a middle-class family, and is genuinely a good person. We finally met for dinner one night and talked for hours. Her English is excellent. I usually test a Thai girl's English ability on two accounts: her ability to hold an intelligent conversation on various topics and the ability to watch a film (and understand it) without subtitles. Pang passed on both accounts. Eventually we wound up having sex that first night, but unlike the other girls I had been seeing, she wanted a relationship, and a few weeks later we were an item. We had the usual “breaking in” phase that every couple goes through – arguments and threatened breakups where each of us tries to set boundaries and such, checking up on phone messages and Facebook messages and emails (mostly by her) but for the most part we are happy.
She has made it clear to me that she does not date Thai men. It’s not that she thinks Thai men are bad; rather she does not want to live in Thailand for the rest of her life. She knows that there are better opportunities abroad, especially over in Europe or the US. Her training/education is such that her skills would be marketable overseas. She is fed up with Thailand and all the fake people here, and is disgusted with the rudeness and disrespect people in Bangkok show other people, especially foreigners. She wants to live in a nice, safe, clean city where she can raise a family, and she believes that by marrying a foreigner, this will become a reality. And who can blame her? I certainly would never think of raising a child in Bangkok, and there is no way that I would send my kid to a Thai school.
Anyway, we’ve been together nearly two years now and the question of marriage has come up. Well, it actually came up a few months ago but I told her that I wasn’t ready. What surprises me is how ready she is for marriage. You see, I haven’t exactly been faithful to her this whole time. She has caught me fooling around twice…yet she still stays with me. She claims that she stays with me because she loves me, and even though I did a bad thing (twice), that she knows that I can be better, and that I’m the right one for her. I’m not proud of what I did, but we have tried to work it out and continue on, hoping that trust will be rebuilt.
Her family is very nice and has never asked me for a single satang. They just want their daughter to be happy. Whenever I meet them they have always been hospitable, and I believe that they are very genuine people. Her extended family is (for the most part) the same – I have always felt welcome and it’s obvious that they care for her and want her to be happy. Money has never been asked for, and although we would probably have to help out a little bit when her parents get older, I really don’t mind – I would be proud to be a member of her family.
We have fun together and the relationship that we have is (I believe) a good one. We see each other a few times a week. We make an effort to do things together and to go places so we’re not just stuck in the apartment watching TV or films (although we do this too). We talk and communicate with each other constantly and have grown comfortable.
My hang-ups on marriage to this girl are many. First of all there’s the age difference. We are at different points in our life and although she says that she’ll follow me anywhere, I feel bad that she would be giving up her career (at least for a few years) to stay with me. I’ve lived my life and traveled and experienced things; she’s just getting out of university. She says that she doesn’t mind as long as we’re happy together. That’s really all she wants: to be married to me and to be happy forever. Another thing is my unfaithfulness – she says that she forgives me for the past and that she will trust me again, and that she’ll never bring up past arguments or past mistakes. But the guilt I feel is great and I’m not sure if I can get past it. I feel sometimes that I don’t even deserve a girl like her because of what I’ve done. The other red flag is that she’s never dated a Thai man. She’s had a few foreign boyfriends before and the relationships ended for one reason or another. It’s clear that she wants to marry a foreigner for the reasons I previously mentioned. I remember from one of your past reader submissions that if your Thai girlfriend is looking to marry a foreigner, don’t just walk – freaking run away.
A few months ago when the subject of marriage was first brought up (by her), I told her that we should each write down a list of things that we expect from our partner, and that we should share this list with each other. If enough items on the list did not match up or we couldn’t agree on certain things, then we really shouldn’t be together. Most of our respective lists were in agreement – there were a few that we had to make compromises on, but overall we agreed that we were a good match. But are we? I know that this diatribe of events seem like rambling, and that I really shouldn’t be asking for an answer to marriage on the internet, but I’ve gone over it and over it and I still do not have a clear answer to the decision before me. I’ve spoken to my family and friends and they all tell me the same thing – the decision is ultimately up to me, but I really need to be sure about this girl, and that our relationship is emotionally and spiritually strong. But they haven’t lived in Thailand. Speaking to people who live outside of this country can be a bit of a reality check; whenever I speak to my friends back home who are married, western values come rushing back and doubts surface about what I’m really doing here. Writing this has been both therapeutic and helpful – it helps to get all of these worries and emotions down in some concrete format, so Stick, I thank you for creating this forum for people like me.
I wouldn't be concerned about the age gap. It is what, 12 – 13 years? That's not enough to really worry about and from the way you have described this lady, she sounds mature and the age gap is no issue for her.
Two years seems a fair amount of time for her to expect some sort of commitment from you, especially so that you indicate you will soon be heading north, and knowing how the international school calendar works, you're off in August, right? That's only 2 months away…so it's totally reasonable of Pang to expect some sort of communication from you as to where you see things going.
35 years old…and no wife and presumably no kids. I reckon a bloke who wishes to have kids should have his first kid no later than 40. It may be biologically possible to have them much later, but if children come later in life, you're going to be an old man when they're growing up… I wonder if marriage is something you really want?
There is one other thing I wish to comment on and this is more a general comment, and not specific to your situation. It is the way a lot of guys (ESPECIALLY guys who play the TLL game!) cheat on their so-called good girl girlfriend who they are generally happy with. You're one of the honest ones who has come out and said that your past transgressions may have detrimentally affected your ability to love, or perhaps be loved by, this lady. I really think there is something in this. If you meet a good one, being faithful to her is probably going to be good for the relationship long-term.