The Twists and Turns of Love Through TLL and Skype
A month ago, I wrote a submission outlining the initial experiences of a well educated upper middle-class Western man using ThaiCupid to find a nice Thai girl to develop a relationship with and hopefully marry. This submission tracks the twists and turns of trying to build such relationships remotely and the problems which arise in trying to bridge the cultural and frankly economic divide which seems to reflect many of the themes I have read on this site.
As I wrote before, I simultaneously sought to develop relationships with 3 women. I will call them Ping, Pong, and Pang (a metaphor which will be recognized by any opera fan). Ping is an 18 year old nursing student from a small city in Central Thailand. Pong is a law student from a small city in Isaan. Pang is a university student in her last year teaching English in a large city in Isaan, where she is acting as a full time student teacher.
Ping is an example of an aggressive Thai girl who wants a relationship with a Western guy, but with little understanding of the realities of what it will entail. While she is above average intelligence, her intellectual curiosity is somewhat limited. She ended up deciding on nursing because she has a genuinely generous spirit, rather than out of a burning interest in science or medicine. The unfortunate thing for her was that in order to save money on university tuition, her parents talked her into one of the Ministry of Public Health programs which almost entirely subsidizes her education, but imposes a substantial service requirement in Thailand’s public hospitals. Researching this for her, she was none too happy when I explained all the details which her parents neglected to tell her. But she seems happy if a bit overwhelmed at what seems to be a fairly rigorous program.
When an 18 year old girl tells me she loves me after two weeks of speaking, albeit 2 hours a day, I have to grin in amusement. In many ways I think the early days of our relationship were driven by her pre-university boredom more than anything else. But even when her studies have come to consume most of her time, she still calls every day on Skype and we chat frequently. I have been honest with her that the program she is in and the early stages of her studies make it difficult for me to develop a relationship with her as I would have to essentially buy her out of her contract as well as put her through nursing school in the US, although the opportunities in this field are immense in the United States. She is not pushing for any commitment, however, and seeing her on Thai Love Links almost every day, where my profile is hidden, I think she is intoxicated by the idea of being with a Western guy. And boy does she know how to flirt.
Pong is a case that makes me sad because it exposes an apparent flaw in Thai society which I think America has handled very well. She is above average intelligence, but comes from total poverty as the product of a broken home. She has no financial support from her parents in paying for university and therefore works 30 – 40 hours a week in order to pay her bills as well as her university tuition. Her grades have suffered tremendously from it and while I do at times suspect she is getting gifts from a relative working abroad (she has a Samsung, Iphone and IPad), I look at what she wears and it is clear that she lives very frugally. In the United States such a girl would have almost a complete ride from universities as our student loan / grant system is highly re-distributive as a means of promoting social mobility.
Our relationship was developing really well until I made the mistake, in retrospect, of sending her money on my own volition. She stopped using TLL as soon as we started talking regularly and frankly really knew how to press my buttons. One of the things I really want in a girl is an incredibly high sex drive and she had that in spades. Beginning with a few jokes, she let it be known to me that she was a tiger who felt caged by the expectations of Thai society not to be promiscuous and started putting on shows for me on camera. This was obviously a huge red flag to me, although one I enjoyed viewing, but she talked about her limited knowledge of the sex scene in Thailand with disgust and seemed to be very loyal and enthusiastic about the prospect of coming to America.
The problems started when I offered to buy her some sleepwear from the US, because what I saw her wearing on camera was atrocious. Her response was that what I wanted to buy her was ridiculously overpriced and that she could get far better value for the money in Thailand’s markets if I would just send her the cash instead. I was fine doing this and even was happy to do so since I value frugality and the willingness to seek out good deals. This episode lit an unfortunate fire under her that I might be a source for making her life easier in the short term. She constantly complained to me of being unable to get decent nights’ sleep because she had to work in overnight markets to earn an extra 300 baht to pay for her university and other expenses. Without her requesting it directly, I sent her a few hundred dollars saying I was happy to pay her tuition if it would mean she could sleep through the night and focus on her studies.
The shit hit the fan a month later when she asked when I was sending her more money. I told her that I was not intending to send her more money, because I had sent her enough to cover her tuition. She then told me about all her other expenses and that she was going to have to go back to work if I did not send more money. I expressed my dismay to her in that she wanted me to violate an ironclad rule I had set down when I started speaking with women on TLL that I would not send money to a girl who asked me for it. She insisted to me that she was not asking me for money, but could not wrap her head around the notion that asking when I could send her more money and bemoaning the consequences to her life of my not doing so created exactly that perception. I told her that I was not coming to see her in Thailand as I had planned and had fundamental doubts about her motives for wanting to be in a relationship with me. Of course the cam shows stopped and all I received from her were regular e-mails about how sad she was the whole incident had raised respective doubts in our minds about each other. When I told her I was coming to see her in Thailand she warmed up again, but still speaks about all the things she would like to have and how I could help her. She has the problems with delayed gratification and controlling her desires to have a “sabai hi-so life” that I think plague many Thai girls from a disadvantaged background.
Pang, however, is the girl with whom I found myself falling in love. Ping is attractive and Pong is average looking, albeit with a beautiful body, but Pang is stunning. She is very cute without makeup, but when she applies a bit, she transforms into the most beautiful girl I have seen on TLL or any picture of a Thai woman anywhere. She has a unique look that makes her appear almost childlike (when I first saw her photos I thought she was 13 years old) while at the same time being incredibly alluring. She is absolutely genuine and the stereotypical traditional Thai good girl who has only been with one man, who she wanted to marry until it turned out he had gotten a previous girlfriend pregnant and he did his duty to marry the girl. She never asked me for money, was constantly friendly and cheerful and was an incredibly hard worker. She sent me her lesson plans for review and I was amazed at how diligently and well thought out they were, although I bemoaned that her ability to speak English lagged far behind her knowledge of the language in theory.
We talked every day for three months and I was genuinely falling for the girl. Far more than Ping or Pong, I could see this girl coming to America and taking advantage of its opportunities, being a teacher of the quality that sadly is a dying breed. She occasionally hinted that her family was going through difficulties, but she always put a positive spin on everything. With my relationship with Pong going into a downward spiral, I agreed to come see Pang for a week during her break from school. As much as I wanted to spend all two weeks of her break with her, a major family event would make that impossible. So I booked my tickets to Thailand and arranged for accommodations, including two days up-country before we were to head for Bangkok.
Then the conversation happened. Ironically it started about something I was very happy about, meeting her parents. The fact that she was willing to do this spoke volumes to me about how seriously she was taking the relationship. But when I mentioned to her that I wanted to bring them a gift and asked what they would appreciate I got some truly bizarre responses. She actually asked if I would buy them a small car! I told her I thought that was a bit extravagant and she next suggested a washing machine. When I made it clear to her that I was thinking of a small gift less than 10,000 baht it ushered in four days of radio silence, punctuated only by her telling me “no” when I asked if everything was OK amid frequent expressions of my concern for her and why she was not contacting me. Then she lowered the boom telling me not to come visit her and that I had made clear that I was not willing to take care of her or her family. I was stunned. Had I really misjudged this girl so badly? I told her that I respected her wishes and would just spend my entire vacation in Bangkok alone, but I was hurt that she would implode our relationship <For God's sake, you don't have a relationship with her!!!! – Stick> because I would not provide her parents large gifts before we had even met, when I made perfectly clear I would help her provide them some support while she got herself established and developed a career which would allow her to send home 30,000-60,000 baht a month if she wanted.
So in the next week I scrambled to make plans and agreed to see Ping and Pong, both under the pretense that I was flying to Thailand for work and was extending my vacation to see them. Pong and I would spend the week together in Bangkok and while I would visit Ping in her city for the weekend as her university appears to be run like a military facility with rules and regulations stating where they can be; what they can wear; and how they should act at all times.
A few days after I had finalized my new plans, the floodgates opened with Pang. Her family was falling apart. They had constant money troubles; her father was abusive towards her mother; her siblings could not go to university because the family was placing all its hopes in her as she was the most gifted. While she knew many girls who had tread the path down to Pattaya and Bangkok and respected their dedication to their families, she found the idea revolting. She lamented that all she wanted to do was help support her mother and father, who she loves even while loathing his behavior, and hopes that her financial support can heal their wounds and make them love each other again. She then asked to come spend my vacation with me in Bangkok and give “all of myself to you.”
When I told her that I did not want to see her now after what she had done, I had alternating bouts of “up to you”; “I want to be with you”; and “move on and forget me.” It was heart wrenching as while I feel honor bound to follow through with my plans for Ping and Pong, Pang is the girl I really would consider marrying after a few months of due diligence actually living with her. I told her, and not without a great deal of truth, that I needed time and she needed time to heal the wounds she had created and that if we remained friends I would be happy to come back to Thailand to see her and bring her back to America if she wanted. She apologized profusely, saying she feels crushing personal and social pressure to do what is best for her family and had made an enormous mistake.
With all my plans in place it is time for the big trip! I hope none of these girls read this site regularly, though I have tested for this and did not detect a whiff of familiarity.
I find it curious that you use the word "relationship" to describe your online interactions with these young Thai woman, and that you seem to genuinely believe that you have a relationship with women you have only talked to online and have yet to meet in person. I also find it curious that you are surprised that such young woman would be interested in you for anything other than your money! Why do you think a young, pretty woman is interested in an older guy? His charm? His charisma? Ah, no…. Frankly, any Western man aged more than mid 20s who thinks there is a possibility of having a serious relationship with an 18-year old Thai girl (yes, GIRL!) is optimistic at best and downright creepy at worst.
I am not sure how old you are, but for me personally, I would not consider dating a Thai woman any younger than 30. Many Thai women lead sheltered lives, their ideas are based on ideals and often it feels they are not really in the real world. That makes a relationship a real challenge.
Your thought process of taking a girl away from Thailand and over to America is remarkably similar to the guy keen to take the girl out of the bar, believing that he is doing her a favour…
My advice to you is to date Thai women with a good few years on this earth and a few more miles on the clock. You might find them more likely to be compatible with you. Good luck and let us know how it goes.