Readers' Submissions

Who’s the Boss?

  • Written by Professor
  • May 30th, 2012
  • 6 min read


You: You are middle aged, educated (university degree), decent income (call it middle / upper middle class), have travelled, have an open outlook on life, are interested in sport, politics, business and world events.

Her: young, high school education at best, poverty level, probably never set foot outside of Thailand, and only to BKK outside of her village, is family focused, is interested in sleeping, eating and money.

Here it is in a chart:

Middle-aged Early 20s
Middle class Lower class
College degree May have completed high school
World traveller Village Girl
Open outlook Family-oriented
Spots, politics, business Sleeping, eating, money


So the question is: Who is the Boss?

Who controls the relationship, makes the decisions…you or her?

Who decides: when to have sex, how much to spend on food, drinking, the family, the house…

I have read acres of submissions:

• My girl asked for cash, she asked for a dowry, she wanted money for: the farm, the buffalo, a phone, a computer. Her parents demanded XYZ.
• She got angry and wouldn’t have sex with me.
• She was talking / texting / emailing another man while we were eating / at the movies, having sex…
• She wanted to eat fried crickets when I wanted to eat pizza / hamburgers / sushi.
• She wanted to sleep when I wanted to watch football / go to the movies / have sex.
• She wanted to watch TV when I wanted to go out with my mates / shoot pool /have sex.

I ask myself, over and over again when I read these submissions: Who is the Boss?

Why isn’t the guy standing up, showing some balls, making decisions?

Saying NO.

If a girl is talking on the phone while I am with her, I tell her (politely and with a smile), “Please put the phone down”. She usually does. If she doesn’t, I tell her again. If she still doesn’t then I get up and leave, or ask her to leave. (By the way, it goes both ways. I was checking emails on my phone the other night at a restaurant and my girlfriend said to me “Now we are eating, not working.”)

If a girl asks me for money for medicine, repairs, whatever, I say “Show me the invoice”.

If a girl asks me for money for a phone or computer, I just smile and don’t respond. Thais are very very good at interpreting no response as a polite way of saying No.

If she persists (and they sometimes do), I continue to smile and not answer. Eventually I say “Sorry”.

The other day, my girlfriend had saved up a sum of money to buy some gold for her parents. I saw the money in her purse. We went together to Chinatown to buy the gold. At the shop she said to me “You give me money?” I said No. She shrugged, and took the money out of her purse and paid.

I knew she was trying me on. They do that sometimes. No need to get angry. Just say No.

If you’re really close, and she keeps pushing for the Iphone or IPad, try the 50/50 approach. Say to her “Sure. I’ll pay half, you pay half. When you have enough money for your part, show me, and I will top up the remainder.”

Make them work a bit.

Remember, they were brought up with nothing, and to expect nothing. They had to work like a dog for every baht they have. No one gave them anything. Go with them to their village. They don’t sleep all day and watch TV like they might when they are with you. They are up at dawn, working the fields. Their parents don’t take any shit from them. Watch their parents. Learn from them how they manage their child. Do the same.

Early in our relationship, if my girl didn’t get her way, she would pout. Not talk to me. Withhold sex. I ignored it. I didn’t let it bother me. I certainly didn’t show her that it bothered me. Guess what? I can go a night without sex. One night she pulled a stunt. I said fine. Got up. Left. Went drinking with some mates. Came back late. “Where were you?” she asked. “Out” I said, got into bed, and went to sleep. The next morning it was forgotten (and yes, we had sex).

Another time she was treating me badly for quite a while. I mentioned it a few times with no behavioural change from her. I waited until the day she was to receive her semi-monthly allowance from me. I knew she needed the money to pay bills. I didn’t send her anything; instead I took her out to dinner. “Why don’t you send me money today?” she asked. “Why do you treat me badly?” I responded. “I can’t change” she said, ‘That’s the way I am.” “OK”, I said. “If you cannot change, we are finished”. “How much will you give me?” she asked. “Nothing” I responded. “You are breaking up with me.” I said. “I owe you nothing”. She cried and screamed and called me bad names, and eventually stormed out of the restaurant. I went for a massage. The next day, everything was sweetness and light, and for the last 4 years she has been a joy to be with.

Why are so many guys afraid of saying No? What’s the worst that can happen? She leaves you? There’s another girl around the corner.

I treat my long term girlfriend with respect. As an equal partner. I love her to bits. But I don’t let her run over me. I set limits. I know how and when to say No.

And if I happen to pick up a girl for the night, I pay her fairly. No taxi money. If she wants food she can buy it herself. If she wants to watch TV when I want to fool around, I tell her so.

With a smile.

You should do the same.

You’re the boss.



Stickman's thoughts:

For sure a lot of Western guys get walked over by their Thai girlfriend and I think many end up here because they failed at relationships in the West. Why they think it will be easier here, or they will have greater success here, I do not know. It might be easier to meet a woman, but it is more difficult to maintain a fulfilling relationship, I reckon.

I agree with much of what you say but there is a proviso here – and it's a big one. You're talking pretty much exclusively about women from a poor background as if they are the only type of women out there. Why oh why many Western guys only choose to date women from this subset is beyond me. Pretty much all of the issues raised her are due to the type of woman you're dating. Change that and everything else changes.

The other point I would make is if someone was doing many of these things you mention habitually, why would you stay with them? There are many really nice single women out there and there's no need to put up with this sort of nonsense…