Thai girlfriend problems of one sort or another are common in cross-culture relations between East and West, so some advice about the challenges that you’ll need to overcome when dating a respectable Thai lady should prove useful.
If you want to meet a lady for serious romance, online dating is a better place to start than a disco in Pattaya. The tourist focused venues are not suitable for meeting the love of your life, but there are some fine options on my:
Before reading on, make a note to always keep in mind that the ladies I’m writing about here are NOT the same as the girls that you’ll meet in tourist area bars...
Thailand is, believe it or not, a very conservative country at heart and there’s no way that your everyday respectable Thai lady would ever want any kind of association with what goes on in the naughty areas of the kingdom.
When you step into the traditional heartlands, you’ll find some of the loveliest, innocent, kind-hearted ladies that you will ever meet anywhere on Earth.
Be aware, right from the start, that Thai people have got some very different values to Western people and that you are going to need to be able to accommodate many of those differences if you want to solve the usual Thai girlfriend problems that arise.
The biggest obstacle to long-term success is communication. I’m not just talking about being able to share a common language; effective communication is about much more than just knowing how to speak the words.
A solid Thai dating strategy requires an understanding of Thai emotions and how to react to them appropriately. This can be a challenge, some of the cultural values in Thailand will seriously challenge your own values, so you’ll need to get good at compromising.
For anyone thinking that any of this will be easy, my advice is to forget about it altogether. If you have a perception of a Thai girlfriend as being the dutiful, subservient lady that will follow your lead and bow to your every judgement… think again!
The mistakes and Thai girlfriend problems that westerners run into are basic in nature and a lot of it comes down to the different approaches that we have with regard to truth telling. We in the West are quick to trust people because our culture values truth like no other. Liars are not liked and because of that we try hard to avoid lying, we also assume that other people do the same... even those people from different cultures.
Don't go thinking that I'm accusing anyone from a different culture of being a liar and proud of it, I don't mean it that way. I just mean that in Thai culture it may be that telling certain 'white lies' might be seen as being more acceptable in certain situations.
I don't mean that lying itself is seen as being virtuous, just that it is acceptable and even desirable in a larger number of circumstances. Conflict avoidance in Thai culture is seen as being very important and telling a few untruths to avoid conflict and save face is a perfectly normal everyday thing.
I suspect that one common white lie that we are quick to trust, i.e. that Thai girls prefer to date older men, is responsible for a lot of grief…
It is quite common for men of a slightly older generation to come to Thailand in search of romance and I think that there are several good reasons for this:
Whilst these are all good reasons, the idea that young Thai women are attracted to pensioners is a bad reason!
Even if a sizable number of the young ladies that you meet specifically tell you that they prefer older men, they don’t mean it in a physical sense. What they usually mean is that they prefer the extra finances that you are likely to control.
The best Thai girlfriend advice that anyone can offer to someone who wants to meet a regular lady is to head over to Thailand for an extended visit and start getting to know people. But, for many men, an extended visit might not possible. Online dating is an option and my recommended dating site offers you a good way to meet Thai ladies from a distance. Be aware though, that there are some accomplished Thai liars online, and more than a few working-girls posing as regular girls.
Before committing to any kind of serious relationship, it is strongly advised to get to know your intended girl’s wider family too. Believe me when I tell you that the wider Thai family is going to feature very prominently in your life should you go ahead and marry a Thai lady.
There’s a good chance that they will one day end up living with you, especially if your girl is their eldest daughter. If you can’t get on well with her family, it is highly likely that your relationship is doomed to failure at some point in the future.
The concept of telling a ‘white-lie’ to avoid causing offense or hurting someone’s feelings and so on is not unique to Thai culture, so why do you need to be especially wary of it?
The point is that these white lies are far more frequent and apply to a much wider range of issues. Oftentimes you might be hearing a lie about something that you consider to be completely innocuous but which a Thai person might consider has the potential to offend. You take what you hear as truth and the next thing you know you’re scratching your head wondering what is going on.
Even something like asking for road directions can draw a lie; if you are asking a Thai then he/she will want to please you and tell you what you want to hear, they also don’t want to seem unknowledgeable as that might cause a loss of face, the solution is to give you some directions even if they are a complete fiction. Being a Westerner you might find this sort of thing very frustrating, it is a barrier to effective communication and you are sure to come across it when dating a Thai girlfriend.
For example, if you have some bad habits or irritating ways (as we all do) that your girl dislikes, there is no way that she’ll tell you about it directly. She will not want to offend you and will go about things in a very indirect manner. A Thai man might pick up her little clues but, without practise, you almost certainly won’t and the next thing you know you’ve got a disgruntled Thai lady on your hands who can’t comprehend why you are ignoring all her tactful attempts at alerting you to a problem.
On the dating scene, if you ask a lady for her telephone number, she will probably give it to you even if she hopes that you will never call her. The reason why is because she will want to avoid causing you any embarrassment, i.e. causing you to lose face by openly spurning your advances.
Contrary to popular opinion, Thai girls make excellent wives if you choose wisely. But don't select a long-term partner from a tourist area and hope for the best, it's far too risky. There are much better opportunities on my:
So, if at a later time you call her asking for a date and she gives you some lame excuse to get out of it, take it as a polite hint that you should look elsewhere. Whilst a western girl might have told you to go boil your head in the first place, that would be very unlikely to happen with any decent Thai lady, but you should still learn to take a hint.
In Thailand, public displays of affection are regarded very differently to what you may be accustomed to in the west, and you can easily end up being looked down upon. This won’t be of much concern to your average holidaymaker, but if you are in Thailand on a long stay then you are well advised to heed my advice here.
Thais have a particular dislike for the shameless cavorting that foreigners get up to with local hookers. It really does turn their stomachs and is one of the primary reasons why there is an ongoing crackdown on the more openly illicit behaviour in tourist nightspots.
It’s not as though there is zero tolerance for certain activities of the night with paid professionals; prostitution is illegal but I don’t think I’m going to win a Pulitzer Prize anytime soon for noting that such activity is commonplace.
The real distaste for this sort of thing stems from the indiscretion of it all, and the way that westerners often seem to delight in it. I ask you, what would your reaction be if you saw one of your work-colleagues back home indecently caressing a lady half his age and weight in full view of all and sundry? Wouldn’t that be considered inappropriate? Well, it’s no different in Thailand.
Even if it’s with your regular Thai girlfriend, public displays of affection are frowned upon… and it’s seen as inexplicably poor taste to flaunt your amorous intentions with a lady!
So, don’t even think about it unless you want to scare the good girls away. If you want to earn your girl’s respect you will not attempt anything that would embarrass or shame her – this is the number one fear that a regular Thai girlfriend has when dating a westerner.
With regard to presentation, Thais dress in a smart but modest fashion and they do not expose their nether regions in public. If you are on a first date it’s a good idea to wear long trousers and a shirt – short sleeve is fine.
There are significant differences in the types of relationships you will have with Thai ladies depending on what ‘social class’ they belong to:
Rural Girls – If you are in the fortunate position of being able to live in Thailand, and the idea of living in a rural area appeals to you, you may be interested in rural girls. They will tend to have very traditional Thai values, which means that you will need to put some effort into understanding Thai culture, but finding a Thai girlfriend from this group may well appeal to you if you are tired of Western culture.
You should be aware that you will probably need to offer some financial support to the families of these girls… you will be seen as a provider! That said, this is just the Thai way in these rural areas so you shouldn’t need to worry that you are being scammed by a gold-digger! Communication is very likely to be a big problem and you should expect that these girls will usually have no English language ability at all.
They will, however, be delighted to help you learn to speak Thai. The upbringing that these girls tend to have had has probably been a little sheltered, meaning that they will have simple tastes and they will seem quite innocent in many ways. They may have had very little education and things that you will imagine everyone in the world to know about e.g. the World Wars, the landings on the moon and so on, might be lost on her.
City Girls – As you might expect, you’ll find all sorts of girls in the main cities, especially Bangkok. The girls that I’m referring to here are the better educated, more cosmopolitan girls that you’ll find. They have more familiarity with Westerners… not necessarily in terms of previous romantic relationships, but certainly in everyday life in an increasingly international setting. Some will have been to university in foreign lands and may well have picked up some English language skills, so communication might be possible without an interpreter.
I recommend finding a Thai girlfriend from this section of society; they are less likely to expect you to keep digging into your wallet at every turn, and are more likely to be genuinely interested in Western values. The culture gap is not quite so wide and the all-important communication barrier is less of a problem meaning that the probability of a lasting successful relationship is higher with these girls than any other.
Bar Girls – The online dating scene is strewn with bar girls that pretend to be something that they are not. This represents the greatest danger of online dating and is the reason why my first recommendation is to actually get over to Thailand and try to meet girls in person rather than starting with online dating at all. That’s assuming that you want a long-term relationship, there is nothing to fear from online dating if you stick to short-term relationships.
If you scour the net you will be able to find all sorts of horror stories about men finding a Thai girlfriend from a bar in a tourist area and then discovering, too late, that she was only interested in his money. A typical bar girl will literally drain whatever money she can from her man and then discard him altogether. There are plenty of good girls out there that you will easily meet, so you need to be selective.
High Society Girls – At one time, finding a Thai girlfriend from this section of society would be virtually impossible as they would always prefer high society Thai men. Things are changing and meeting them is now possible, although many will still be reluctant to marry a Westerner even if they are prepared to date one!
These girls will have preferences that are relatively more akin to Western girls. They have money of their own and most will contribute financially to a relationship. Most are University educated and far worldlier in their outlook on life. Many of these ladies want to travel outside Thailand and experience different cultures.
A Thai woman from a wealthy background will be under a lot of pressure to find a husband with a similar financial standing because her family will lose face if she marries beneath her. Her family will want to know that the new man in her life is capable of taking care of her in a manner to which she is accustomed, and that means that life will probably be a lot more expensive with a lady from this social class… even if you don’t need to take care of her parents.
It is likely that you will experience some Thai girlfriend problems before finding the girl of your dreams, and you may even get tangled up with a trickster first, but you should regard it as being all part of the fun. It is a learning game that will give you some truly unique experiences, and some amusing memories that you will remember for a lifetime. Enjoy it!
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