Update to “I Married a Bar Girl”
My friend, I feel like I can call you a friend even though we have never met. I have read your column for the last 10 years or so now. I wrote a reader’s submission to you back in on 7-25-2008 titled “I Married a Bar Girl”. I was so happy then and had a great relationship with my wife and everything was going great.
We now are no longer together, and there are times when I wish that I would have paid attention to 98% of your readers and your input on relationships with bar girls, but even if I could go back I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I have a great son from the marriage who is 5 years old now and the most precious thing in my life.
I don’t feel that our marriage failed because of most of the normal reasons that marriages between western men and Thai women normally do though. I almost feel that I pushed her away from me. I feel like I created a monster to devour me and leave me in the dust. I brought her to America and taught her everything she needed to know to be independent: how to drive, how to use western appliances, western culture, how to find a place to live, how to get utilities connected, how to search for jobs, daycare, shopping places, everything. I don’t think I did anything wrong by teaching her these things. I am still in the US military on active duty and I have to move frequently for different assignments and what not. I taught her these things so that if I got deployed at a moment's notice that she would be able to take care of herself and our son. I did push her to do these things and learn them fast however.
I eventually got deployed and was gone for nearly a year; she took care of everything at home. A year is a long time though and she got lonely. I don’t believe she ever cheated on me while I was deployed, although I think she had some Casanova telling her all the things she needed to hear and that I was an ass for bringing her to the US and abandoning her (not the case at all). A year is a long time to be alone and I know from making several deployments that coming home is usually harder than when you leave on your relationships, whether they be with a spouse, siblings, parents or friends. Once you learn how to do things by yourself, having someone step back in and mess up your system is quite often more devastating than learning to get by, by yourself.
I think that any newly wed couple would have a lot of difficulties if they were separated for a year shortly after being married and one of them totally uprooted and dropped in an unknown environment. I truly feel that if the exact same circumstances would have happened if I had married a western woman the marriage would have probably still failed. I was totally dedicated to her, and I think she was to me as well, but when I left she felt alone in a strange world and things started going to pot.
I guess that in the big scheme of things I am just another statistic of a failed marriage between a western man and a Thai woman, but not because she couldn’t leave the bar, not because her family's buffalos were sick or a monsoon washed away the family home. I just like to think of it as we had an expiration date and my military commitments helped in reducing the time before we spoiled. I honestly think that if I had been home and not been deployed that I would still be happily married. I am not blaming anyone or my career choice for ending my marriage. It just wasn’t meant to be. I knew how things might end up turning out before I ever got deployed, but I signed a contract to defend MY country before any of these other things happened including my marriage. Without risk there can be no reward, and if there are no rewards in life why are we living it. My reward is my 5-year old who looks to me everyday for guidance and instruction and my only hope is for him to make his own mistakes and to learn from mine and not repeat them. Mom left us both and I am now a single parent, but like I said, that is my reward.
I sincerely hope that you find your rewards, and if it truly is sanuk in Thailand, I hope you stay on and keep posting to the best Thailand and specifically Bangkok site on the web. You have great foresight to publish information your dedicated readers want to read.
Sorry that it didn't work out. A husband and wife being apart for long periods is difficult, irrespective of nationality.
Good on you for saying that you signed a contract to defend your country and you intend to follow that through promise. Honour and loyalty are right at the top of the list of admirable characteristics as far as I am concerned – and don't seem to be as easy to find these days as they used to be.