Thai / Foreigner Relationships
I found your article on Thai relationships interesting as it is something I try to keep an eye on here in Blighty. What I found the most interesting was how comparable your stats where with those I have observed in the little corner of England where I live.
For example, from the relatively small click of Thai / foreigner relationships that we know about intimately (approx 19 relationships), I am delighted to share with you the following stats:
Total Thai / Foreign relationships: 19
Background of girls:
So called "Good" Thai girls, i.e. degree educated / office type workers / not ex bar girls etc = 8 (42%)
Obvious ex bar girls = 7 (37%)
Unknown background (but often questionable) = 4 (21%)
Of the 19 relationships, 5 (26%) are divorced. The rest are going strong, which brings us to why the 5 ended up getting divorced:
Here are the reasons for the divorces:
1) One lady (Unknown background), after arriving in England on her settlement visa for marriage, found herself being visited by the police within a matter of days of her arrival. When they turned up at her house it was to inform her that her new husband was a registered paedophile and that she should be aware of this if she ever had plans to bring any kids over with her in the future. Needless to say she was completely shocked and left him rather quickly. Unfortunately it didn't end well as he was then later arrested and jailed after threatening her with a knife in the local restaurant where she worked. She later left the country to visit her parents and was then refused re-entry on the basis of her marriage having failed. I think she was only married for about 3 days but ultimately it was not her fault why it all ended, yet she ended up being excluded from England anyway and left without all her possessions which were in a friend’s bedroom someplace.
2) One Lady, who is an obvious ex bar girl (well you can spot them a mile away and the tats usually just reaffirm it) arrived, got married to a very well off UK Chinese bloke and they had a kid together. All was well right up to the point when her husband found her some time later with her feet on the ceiling with some other bloke in between paying her dividends. Needless to say she was divorced promptly by her husband and thrown to the social housing and welfare state. However, she hasn't been shy in coming forward and she always seems to have a different suitor on her arm every time we see her, most of them buffed up with steroids, of eastern block origin and younger than she is. She no longer talks to many of her former Thai friends because she is too busy walking around thinking she is better than everyone else, so the local Thai community are doing what they do best and have been gossiping and excluding her from their social circles. Despite this, she is for want of a better word; what we in England would call a 'skank' and continues to behave and dress as such.
3) Another lady (Good Thai girl) was pretty much shafted by her English husband. She came over here 10 years ago after her husband made some rather lofty exaggerations about who he was and what he did. Shortly after she arrived, it quickly became clear that all he wanted was a house / sex maid for which he promptly sat at home all day while she went to work in order to pay the bills, mortgage etc… Once a year he would then go back to Thailand (on his own) in order to play with the local fillies. After having a child to him and putting up with this crap for about 7 years, she decided enough was enough and promptly left him for another bloke for which he then took offence at and promptly blamed her for the breakdown of the marriage.
Consequently he has been a bit of shit ever since by pretty much exploiting the fact that she doesn't understand UK divorce laws and has continued to shaft her financially ever since. Not only has he kept her away from their daughter, he has been claiming child allowance for their daughter as well. However for most of this he was living in Thailand for which he should not have been claiming the allowance as he was out of the country.
When the UK Gov found out, they promptly went after his wife on the basis that she was the nearest and most convenient target, for which she was ordered to pay it all back (about £6K) even though it was her husband who had been receiving all of the money.
He also did a few other things (which I cannot mention for legal reasons) and for the past 3 years he has been getting away with it for which he has stuffed her out of approx £50K worth of assets that she was legally entitled to.
She is now with a lovely new bloke who clearly wants to marry her but until her official husband allows her to formally divorce him, she is still under her husband's strangle hold, and let's not forget, during this whole time he has refused to let her spend any time with her daughter. She is heartbroken and all she wants is to be a mum to her child.
Unfortunately for him, and because of this latter issue, some of us who know better have now stepped in and started quietly educating her on her legal rights. We have now managed to get her the best lawyer we can find and we are now utilising the law to allow her to fight back.
Normally we wouldn't help a woman screw a man in this fashion but in our books he deserves all that's coming as he has brought it upon himself for not being an upstanding individual. Had he done the right thing, especially with regards their daughter, then he would probably be ok, but as he continues to exploit the weak, he is about to see his own arse as a consequence.
4) One lady (another good Thai girl) was again another victim to a pretty crap English husband who basically shafted her financially. He bought her a house (in his name), he bought her a car (in his name) and sent her to work to fund it all. When he decided he no longer wanted her in his life, he booted her out of the house, took the house and car back (which she paid for) and then demanded custody of their child. Unfortunately for him she was a bit savvier and she took him straight to court and won the case for which he ended up getting smacked financially.
She was only married for about 3 years and in this case, I once again would put the blame on him as she is a lovely lady and her daughter is also lovely. I have not seen anything in the 2 years from this lady that gives me reason to think she has done anything wrong and that he was just yet another example of England's finest.
5) The last lady (obvious ex bar girl) was again another victim to a pretty crap English husband who basically shafted her financially, as well as sleeping with other Thai girls. It all ended when his wife came home and discovered that he was seeing a bar girl he met after his recent trip back to Thailand. Having met this guy once or twice, he just screams loser.
Here are a few things this bloke tends to do that gives you an idea of the kind of man he is.
For example, when he visits their daughter, he brings a present for her. Great you may think, but what he then does is take his ex wife aside and extorts the cost of the present from her by using the fact that if she doesn't, he will be forced to go back in and take the present back away from their daughter, knowing full well that by doing so he would be able to point the finger back at her mum for being mean.
I personally believe his end game is to turn her own daughter against her mum. Motivation unknown of course, but that’s just the kind of man he is. So to avoid all of this, she always pays for the present he brought even though she cannot afford to do so. What's more, he does this every other week when he visits. Needless to say their daughter thinks the sun shines out of her father's arse but she doesn't realise what is really going on behind the scenes.
When he takes her on day trips, he again asks the mum to fund the trip and their daughter's costs. When he takes her to a cafe or a restaurant, he often turns up later that day presenting the bill back to the mum to pay… and well you get the idea.
The other thing he did was when they agreed to get divorced he insisted it be done back in Thailand. So off they went all the way to Pattaya and when she got there, he refused to sign at the Amphur unless she handed over the cost of his flight plus an extra £5,000. To cut a long story short, I think they finally settled on £2,500 as she just wanted to get rid of him legally. No doubt he had a great time spending it all on the dollys in Walking Street not long after.
The sad thing is she still has to put up with his crap every 2 weeks when he comes over to visit their daughter with his present in hand, all ready to extort more money from her and she is just to weak to fight it.
She is now seeing another man (engaged I think) and he clearly wants to thrash her ex husband but she won't let him because again, it's all about maintaining the peace and illusion and veneer for her daughter’s sake.
So out of the 5 divorces, I would say it is 4 :1 in favour of the Thais with the Thai girls actually being the victims with the foreign men being in the majority when it comes to apportioning the blame.
Now of course I am not privy as to what went on behind the scenes in each of these cases and they could have been provoked into doing what they did, but having met the blokes in question and having met the ladies in question, it doesn't take long to form an opinion on where the problem stemmed from and it hasn't been generally with the Thai girls. Indeed upon reflection, the blokes, by and large, tend to be the sort of people I would tend to walk across the road to avoid in normal everyday life, or with whom I would feel dirty or in need of a wash after being in their company for more than a few minutes; which sort of explains the kind of people we are talking about here.
As for the remaining 15 relationships, they all seem to be in pretty good nick (bar girl relationships included) which shows that even ex bar girls can have good longer term relationships which do work quite well. I guess it all comes down to the parties involved and what the motivations were from the ex bar girl, i.e. did she do it to find a foreigner in order to start a better life.
Apart from 1 of them, the rest have been together for at least 5 years with the average being between 8 and 10 years. The 1 mentioned above is a new marriage (about 18 months old) and he is an upstanding bloke and she is a good highly educated Thai lady so it all looks promising so far. They also met here as he has never been to Thailand either. I often wonder if his views will change should he ever venture that way in the future.
The other noticeable factor in all of these marriages is that the age difference tends to be no more than 10 years between the parties, with the majority being around 7 years difference in age.
What I have also found is that there is a clear distinct correlation between those who end up with ex bar girls compared to those who end up with the so called 'good' Thai girls. The ex bar girls tend to have nice enough 'relaxed' type husbands who by vocation are the blue collar manual type workers (i.e. lorry drivers, plumbers, electricians, bricklayers etc….) and they by and large love to have a pint and a fag and a night out on the tiles every Saturday evening.
The office type / good Thai girls tend to have more serious (less relaxed) husbands (of which I am one) who are white collar professionals by nature, often with higher degrees, BMWs on the drive, a decent salary and although the blokes tend to have less time to mess about with the more social aspects of the Thai culture (i.e. they very rarely turn up to the Thai get togethers whereas the blue collar workers are there by the bus load); their wives however do tend to be at the heart of it organizing things and being at the epicentre of all things Thai related.
This brings me on to why I think the relationships by and large seem to be in good fettle where we live.
We all live in a nice leafy part of England, which despite it's Englishness, has a rather good level of immigrant integration, and by this I mean, there are no specific areas which are predominantly Muslim, or Black or Chinese or White etc… We are just one big melting pot with a lot of new kids emerging who are coffee coloured or half:half as they say.
This is probably true up to about 50 miles in most directions and the one outstanding thing in all of this is that there is a superb Thai network of friends kicking about waiting to take other Thais in to the fold.
There are multiple Thai food outlets (restaurants and supermarkets), temples and Thai type get togethers abound. It never ceases to amaze me how quick it is from when someone new arrives to how quickly they are taken into the fold with their Thai sisters who then take them on as if they are an extended part of the family.
It's great to see actually and I have absolutely no idea how the Thais all tune into their network when they arrive, but tune in they do.
I personally have lived here all my life (apart from a 2-year stint in Bangkok) and yet my wife has more friends (both Thais and native Brits) here than I have ever had in my entire life. I simply have no idea how she does it.
Of course quite quickly when new Thais do arrive, they are put into the usual Thai pecking order based on age, education, husband's perceived earnings, whether they saw the Queen once passing in a fast car and to what car they themselves drive, with Pee and Nang being banded about left, right and centre, but by and large it all seems to work.
The noticeable thing I would also say that I have observed is that the Thai community is rife with gossiping maidens, along with husbands all eyeing each other up trying to work out who of us found the other half in an office or half way up a chrome pole. It isn't that hard to spot normally and a few words or actions after a beer or two tends to sort the bar girl chaff from the good girl wheat.
The other thing I have noticed is that it is best not to get on the bad side of the Thai community because you will be frozen out in next to no time as many Thai's have found to their own discomfort.
Another aspect which we often hear about from Thai relationships is the perception that Thai ladies are unhappy outside of Thailand and that given the chance, they would move back there in a heart beat. The other one which I hear often; usually from Phet (Broken Man Repaired) is that the Thais quickly take on the form of their western sisters not long after living here.
From my own observations, I would say this is largely untrue (there are always exceptions), but generally these are misconceptions (sorry Phet).
I do think that having good links into the local Thai community though is what is key to this and the further outside it someone is, the more likely they are going to be unhappy in foreign lands. This is why I think it works well where I live because there is such a great Thai network.
Out of the 19 marriages, I think I have only heard of 2 girls pining to go back and live in Thailand. However when you scratch the surface to understand why, you will often find that money is at the root of it.
When you ask the rest the question: "England or Thailand?" they all cite the same answer: "England!"
When you ask why, it generally revolves around a few buzz words: Equality, Freedom, No Sexism / Racism, Cooler weather (yup, you read that correctly) and Opportunities (i.e. a better life, career etc…)
Whenever I ask my wife what she would do if I died (hopefully not for another 30 or 40 years), her answer has always been, without missing a heartbeat, to stay here in England. She loves England and since she became a British national 5 years ago, she is more patriotic about England than I have ever been. Of course having two kids probably makes this decision easier for her as well, or perhaps I am just being a cynic.
The last thing that I would like to mention is that out of the 15 relationships that appear to be working and continue to work; the couple knew each other for no ore than 12 weeks before they got married. Yes you read that correctly; 12 weeks!!
Now in the mindset of many, including Stickman; this is bonkers and flies in the face of wisdom and normal convention, yet it seems to be a recipe for success and here is why I think this is so.
In India, or cultures where the marriage has been prearranged, there are few divorces. I have no idea why this is but I do have my theories. From a private and personal perspective, the couple I believe wants to make it work. They want to find out about each other, learn to live with each other, adapt and compromise with each other, and more importantly, they learn to grow together like the trees adapting their branches to live happily side by side so that they both get to feel the warmth of the sun on their branches.
Now of course there will always be exceptions but out of the 5 marriages that failed in my sample set, 4 of them had relationships that were on the boil for at least 1 year before they married with the remaining one being in a 2 year relationship. The 15 that are working, 10 of them married within 6 weeks, 3 of them within 8 weeks and the rest 12 weeks from point of meet to the point of when they got told "to kiss the bride".
Why the ones who knew each other for only a few weeks compared to those who knew each other longer have lasted longer is anyone's guess, but I do believe the example of the prearranged marriage is something that probably comes closest to explaining it.
Either that or we have all been incredibly lucky and are a tolerant and forgiving bunch of misfits.
From my own perspective, I met my wife 6 weeks before we got married and yes of course I had my doubts. In fact I remember sitting in Chiang Mai the week before the wedding sweating my heart out and it had nothing to do with the heat of the weather or the chillies in the local dish.
Yet I took a decision, based on cold hard thinking (no lust involved) and it was the best thing I ever did. Indeed I expressed this in a recent job interview when I was asked to name something I did that was successful. The interviewer expecting me to blow smoke up his arse about what I did in work with some cock and bull flannel, was taken aback when I told him about the best thing I ever did was meeting and marrying my wife after only 6 weeks of knowing her. I then went to explain this comment in detail.
Although he was extremely surprised by my candour, his response also made me smile because he told me that after 20 interviews, mine was the most refreshing because I didn't talk about work in my example. He also expressed that it gave him an insight into who I was as a person rather than some contrived idiot giving him some garb about what I did at work one day for another company.
Interestingly, I was actually offered the job a few days later.
As for my marriage;
Well, much to the chagrin of all the well wishers who in 2005 expressed that my marriage was doomed to failure, even though none of them had actually ever met my wife, we do seem to be going strong some 9 years later and we are well into our 10th year with no issues behind us, with non foreseeable on the horizon either. We are still blissfully married with two great kids in the fold and I wouldn't change a thing.
Of course like all relationships, we have our moments, but they are few and far between. We have a lot more ups than we do downs, that's for sure.
Would I, upon reflection, go back and change those 6 weeks into something more tangible, such as 6 months or 24 months before getting married. Nah, I don't think so because I would have missed out on the fun of learning about my wife while I waited.
If I was to ask the other 15 marriages if they would change things given the chance, I am pretty sure they would probably say the same as well.
I think one of the overriding elements is that once married, people by and large tend to work at it and again, this has been the case in my observations.
What do I think are the criteria for a successful marriage to a Thai, you may ask, well I would say this:
a) Learn to count to 50 before responding to anything she may say that is confrontational or gets your back up. In fact learn to enjoy taking a long walk before responding because after you have been for a 3-mile walk, you are less likely to enter into a flaming match and more likely to approach it more rationally
b) Enjoy each other's company for what it is and who she is. Don't expect her to become interested in UK politics, football, accounting, bricklaying or neuroscience. If you need that personal mental stimulation, go out and be with your mates or click onto the Internet and get it there rather than force it upon your wife. I am pretty sure you have little interest in her wanting to talk to you about the latest Thai soap, food or shopping either. So stop complaining about how she isn't like Shazzer from down the road with who you can sit and talk to about Chaucer or Shakespeare. If that is what you are after, here is a hint; you should have married Shazzer and not some Thai filly!
That doesn't mean you cannot have grown-up conversations with your Thai wife, far from it. I have had some lively debates with my wife at times about subjects I never thought she would understand. Equally so, she knows a hell of a lot more about Thailand and Thai culture than you or I will ever know and these are areas I stand back and let my wife take charge of.
Let’s face it, beer goggles and rose tinted glasses removed, none of us, even if we live a thousand years probably still wouldn't get into the mindset of the Thais.
The key is to give and take and to give her some slack. I am pretty sure she gives you more slack than you could ever imagine on things that matter to her but for which you don’t even notice.
I once had a discussion with the wife about UK politics. I think it was when we were talking about who she wants to vote for and her views on immigration to Britain and UKIP. Her response took me back a bit because she revealed to me that she has seriously right wing views on this subject, and this is despite her being an immigrant herself.
I am not sure I have dared broach the subject since in case of what else I learn form the closet fascist in the family (only joking darling) – well I have to say that in case she sends the black shirts after me.
Conversely my wife does have serious strong views about Thai politics, some of which I dare not repeat in a public forum.
c) Find something you both mutually enjoy and then do it together as often as you can. For me, we love playing tennis, going for walks, spending time with the kids and helping the kids learn, grow and develop as little people. We also love gardening together. Sounds like we are a pair of old farts I know, but it's what we enjoy, so who is to knock it if it floats our particular boat.
d) This last one is very important. Give each other freedom to do things alone or in their own way. In the same way that I don't want my feathers clipped or my hands tied, I am 100% certain neither does your Thai wife. There is nothing worse than one partner controlling or domineering the other.
Take money for example (that root of all evil). Well like it or not, she needs money as much as you do. She also needs the freedom to work and spend her own money as she sees fit in the same way that you do with yours.
So agree up front who pays for what and leave it at that. If she wants to send what's left of her own money over to her parents after she has paid her bills then that's her choice and there is simply no point arguing the toss.
In our family we have two rules. a) Never run out of money (i.e. always leave a buffer each month for emergencies) and b) cover the costs first and foremost before spending any money elsewhere.
If both of us keep within these two simple rules, then we will never have any fights.
My wife has broken these two rules twice in our 9 years after which I felt the need to have a rather discreet and stern word in her shell like.
My wife now earns her own money and she is free to do with it as she pleases.
When the kids where infants and not at school, I gave her housekeeping because she was at home looking after the kids. Now they are both at school, she goes to work and she earns her own money. I never told her to do it; she just made the choice to do it herself because it's what she wanted.
With this money, she has to cover the costs for her own car, her own daily lunch food and the costs for all the after school clubs the kids attend (and there are many).
After that she is free to do with it as she pleases, but should the kids find themselves not being able to attend a club because their mum has spent the money elsewhere, then words in the ear would be had.
To my knowledge, I don't believe the kids have never missed a club yet due to lack of funds from their mum.
e) Recognize the boundaries. There are simply some things you will never do when you have a Thai wife. Cooking is one of them and to a degree, cleaning is the other.
Although these are not absolute, and I am sure by now the feminazis are throwing things at their computer screen, but that's the way it is. Thai relationships tend to be traditional. The man is the earner; the woman takes care of the home.
In my house, my wife would not dare to even attempt any DIY. Even if a bulb needs replacing, she would rather sit in the dark and light a candle than change that bulb. I have tried encouraging her to do it herself, but she won't because in her mindset, DIY, mowing the lawn, putting the black bin out and dealing with all the 'man' stuff, is the domain of "the man" just as cooking is the domain of the "woman".
The other main one is that the man must take the lead. There is no passing the major decisions on to the wife because the minute you do, they will go into lock down mode and respond with the usual classic of "up to you".
It's far better to be the man, and take ownership and accept that you are the one with the balls. OK she may have them in her hands upon occasion, but ultimately, they are your balls, so man up and take responsibility.
By all means encourage her to offer her thoughts and take them on board if she wants to try and guide you as to what she and the kids want, but make no mistake about it, she will ensure you are the one taking ownership of that final decision. It is yours and yours only.
When it comes to household and kids well that's a different matter entirely and this whole process works in reverse.
Oh my, it's a funny old world being married to a Thai and sometimes it isn't easy (both ways) but you know what, I wouldn't change it for the world.
Let's face it, we could all be dead tomorrow so do as the Thais do and live your life today, for tomorrow may never come.
So here's to another 10 years of happy marriages to those wonderful, yet sometimes frustrating; Thai ladies.
Enjoy it while you can.