By Shane (from Hua Hin)
Regarding Thai brides, many people have lots of misconceptions. Some believe they only marry foreigners for money, and some believe that if you have money a Thai wife will never leave you... no matter how you treat her! Many believe you can never trust them completely, especially if you met in a bar.
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During my 18 years in Thailand I have discovered firsthand that Thai brides are just as diverse as any other. Of course you get the money grabbers, and of course you get those who will tolerate just about any sort of behaviour in return for financial security. Just as with all nationalities, you get warm-hearted women and cold-hearted women. The big difference is if you end up with a cold-hearted Thai wife you will almost certainly be worse off than you would be with a cold-hearted western woman.
In that situation, not only are you going to lose all your Thailand based assets, you could also lose your life just as a lifelong friend of mine lost his a few months ago. Sadly, he was not the only person I knew personally who lost their life due to a cold-hearted Thai wife. However, I also know many men who have been happily married to their Thai wives for decades. Some of them met their Thai brides in supermarkets, some in restaurants, or in a local cafe, and some met their wives in the bars.
Since this story is essentially about my own experience I'm not going to attempt to discuss the best practices for finding the right girl, instead, I'm just going to share my own journey with you.
Back in 1997 when I first started visiting Thailand I was working one month on and one month off in the North Sea. At the start of 1999 I started spending all of my off time here in Thailand and I loved every minute of it. I was young, free and single, and I loved the craziness of Thailand's famous bars. I even met a really hot and "sweet" Thai girl who I very nearly fell in love with, but that was before she confessed to already being married to a guy from Scotland. To be honest I still believe that if it were her and I that were married, she would not have cheated on me. The two of us just seemed to click, and despite everything that happened we are still friends to this day. And, to give credit where it is due, she turned out to be a good wife for her husband.
Now, this is where you might start thinking that I must surely be a perfect candidate for the funny farm regarding Thai brides.
This same "married" woman who had slept with me more times than I care to remember introduced me to a friend of hers called Meow (not her real name). Meow also worked as a bar girl in Bangkok. Part of her nightly routine involved doing a short lesbian act which was in no way what you would call hardcore, but it was certainly very erotic, bearing in mind that both Meow and the other girl were drop dead beautiful.
Meow also had a totally irresistible personality, and unlike many Thais she was a straight talker. I saw her virtually every night but I never took her from the bar, and when I did eventually take her with me one night we did sleep together but we never had sex. A type of relationship had started forming which was actually quite confusing for me given the circumstances. After all, one of her best friends had been sleeping with me despite the fact that she was already married. Surely Meow would show me no loyalty if the two of us had a relationship?
Whilst my brain was telling me to wize up and find a regular Thai woman if I really wanted one, I simply could not resist being drawn increasingly closer to Meow. Soon we started dating and she assured me that she would not work in the bars anymore. Whether she kept her promise or not is probably something I will never know. Anyway, after about five or six months I asked her if she would marry me. Yes, I know, I must surely have lost my mind. Nonetheless, I did ask her and after much discussion with her Mom and Dad, a wedding date was set.
It must have been one of the most unbelievable days of my life because up until I met her, my mind had always been set on staying single, Thai brides were for suckers. Anyway, the day before we were due to be married we made our way up to Isaan (Northeast Thailand). This wasn’t a legally binding marriage, but rather a ceremonial marriage as is the norm in Thailand. Virtually all Thais marry in this manner and then most will go on to actually register the marriage which in turn makes it official.
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My wedding day (05/03/2000) was in all honestly one of the best days of my life. The ceremony was by no means a lavish occasion, but it was so incredibly special for me. We never went on a honeymoon, and my Thai bride never asked if we could, although a few months down the line I did take Meow to South Africa. When I had to return to work she stayed in South Africa with my sister and her husband. After about six months we then returned to Thailand and if I am honest I must admit that I was a little bit concerned at the time. Now that she was back in Thailand would she be drawn back towards the bar scene?
By this point in time I had already seen firsthand that only a very small percentage of bar girls work in the bars because they are under pressure to bring in money for the family. Trust me when I say that this is a complete myth. Most bar girls are working in the bars because it is easy money for them, and because it is largely a wild and crazy non-stop party way of life. Those who do send money back to their families typically only send a fraction of what they earn.
So, would Meow end up back in the bars while I was back working in the North Sea? To the best of my knowledge she never did. I arrived in Thailand on several occasions without her knowing when I would be arriving, and I would head to the bar where she used to work. She was never there, but instead, she was almost always at home with her Mom and Dad just outside Bangkok. I also used to phone regularly from the UK and again, there were no signs to suggest she was anywhere near the bars.
Let me just say that it was a nightmare trying to get a visa for Meow to accompany me back to the UK. We had been married for nearly two years already but when we applied for a visa for her it was refused, and a big red stamp on the application form made it clear that one cannot appeal against the decision. We then applied again, but again she was refused a visa to join me in the UK.
On our third attempt I escorted her into the interview room and demanded that I be allowed to stay in the room while they interviewed her because while her English was actually really good for a Thai person, it certainly wasn’t good enough to understand a Londoner speaking at 100 miles per hour, most Thai brides aren’t and it seems very unfair to me. Of course I was politely told to leave the room, but after a bit of defiance the immigration officer did give me his word that he would call me in at the end, and I’m glad to report that he was true to his word.
Meow and I were thrilled when he left the room and returned a few minutes later to tell us that her application had been approved. Two weeks later we were on a flight to London where we spent a week before heading up to Aberdeen because I had to get back to work.
Meow and I reached a point while we were living in Scotland where we both wanted to have a child together. For some reason however, it just didn’t happen, and it definitely wasn’t through a lack of trying. There’s not much else to do on cold winter nights in the Scottish countryside in the middle of winter. It was only shortly after we decided to move back to Thailand that Meow got pregnant. I had given up my offshore job and I had started earning a decent income online along with Meow’s help.
I’ll never forget the day we discovered she was pregnant. She had bought a pregnancy test at the local pharmacy and we couldn’t believe it when it showed a positive result. After all, we had been having unprotected sex for five years already. Meow just could not believe it and soon persuaded me to take her to the nearest hospital to get confirmation. When the staff confirmed that she was indeed pregnant she just started weeping with joy, and I very nearly did as well.
Nine months later our first child was born; a perfectly healthy little girl born on July 7, 2005. They say it never rains but it pours, and this was certainly true in our case because on April 2, 2007, our second daughter was born.
Sadly, it was also around this time that our marriage started showing the first signs of a dimming sparkle. By the time our second daughter had her first birthday things were starting to look quite grim. Meow had gone up to Bangkok with a group of friends, and she was just not the same after that. She told me her time in Bangkok with her friends made her realize that she was still young and that she still wanted to “live” her life, and that in a way she wishes she hadn’t had kids yet. Could this be a sort of Thai brides 7 year itch?
She also wanted to stop working online, and wanted to get a “proper” job, which she did within just a few weeks. She gave up on the idea of returning to a young and carefree lifestyle, but instead she threw herself into her new found career. She worked hard and even took on a job in the evenings so that she could further her education. Soon she had completed all her schooling and immediately started doing a number of different courses.
To be perfectly honest, I really do admire her for this because I seriously doubt that there are many ex-bar-girl Thai brides who go on to achieve the things Meow has achieved. Nonetheless, the kids and I suffered as a result, and our marriage deteriorated even more. Her life revolved around her job and her colleagues, while I was left to do my own work, as well as having to look after two very young kids. To put it bluntly, I was basically a single parent by this point in time.
When Meow got pregnant again I knew I was not the father. We were still having sex occasionally but the timing of her pregnancy meant that it was virtually impossible for me to be the father. Nine months later, the proof arrived when Meow gave birth to another baby girl. Mixed race babies and Thai babies look very different from each other. Needless to say, the real Thai father was nowhere to be seen and since Meow and I are legally married, only her name and my name can appear on the birth certificate.
Now, I know this might sound a bit crazy, but I agreed to being named as the father because if I had refused I would have felt as though I am punishing the child who of course had done nothing wrong. Today I see her and love her just as I do my first two daughters. The only ones I have a grudge against are my wife and the Thai man she slept with. I have a grudge towards them not because they slept together, but because of how their selfishness is going to affect the three kids. At some point they are going to realize what has happened. How are the oldest two going to respond when they discover that I am not really their baby sister’s father? How will our youngest daughter react when she later learns that I am not her real Dad? Thai brides have got a reputation for reckless behaviour, but this is shameful. Anyway, what has happened has happened and one cannot turn back the clock.
Today I am still basically a single Dad, taking kids to school; fetching them from school; preparing their meals etc. Meow has recently started living in the home again but she has her room and I have mine. She has been very successful with her job, and apart from what happened to our marriage, I really cannot fault her in any way. She is living proof that bar girls can walk away from that life, and that they can build a good life for themselves if they genuinely want to.
To be fair, Meow and I simply ended up drifting apart. Maybe it was me? Maybe I devoted too much of myself to my kids, thereby unintentionally neglecting her? We still talk and we still get along to a certain extent, but she has her life now and I have mine, which is right here at home with our kids.
Millions of couples never get to celebrate their 10th anniversary, but Meow and I did. The deterioration of our marriage never happened because Meow is Thai, or because I met her in a bar. Instead, it is just a fact of life that people sometimes drift apart, this can happen with Thai brides like any other. As I’ve said before, some men have a bad experience when they marry a Thai woman, while others have a fantastic experience. As strange as it may seem, I consider my experience to have been a fantastic one, and I have no bad feelings whatsoever. So, regardless of what you might have read or been told, please don’t be tempted into tarring all Thai brides with the same brush.
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