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!
A major problem exists in the minds of western guys in that they tend to believe themselves to have infallible judgement skills in their assessment of suitable girlfriend material.
With that in mind, if you are contemplating getting involved with a Thai girl but have skipped the groundwork on understanding her culture and her commitment to her parents, and you think that you can spot liars on sight, then the first piece of advice that I would offer you is forget it!
Since you’ll no doubt ignore that, I’ll get straight onto my advice about the dating situation in general, but in particular with regard to poor rural girls, and about what you can do to at least improve your success chances a little.
With long-term serious Thai girlfriends you will always need to be aware of what is going on. Thai girls always put their families first and their situation is often so impoverished that your girl’s priorities are always, first and foremost, about securing her family’s future.
On the other hand, the girls from wealthier families tend to be very tightly controlled by their families, so either way the concerns of the wider Thai family are extremely important and you need to understand them. Since Western men usually get involved with Thai girlfriends from poverty stricken backgrounds, I’ll focus on those ladies.
If a poor girl is in a desperate enough financial situation that she resorts to crossing the line and becoming a working-girl, she will have done so knowing full well that she has just given up any chance of becoming a respected member of Thai society, and her actions from then on will certainly become 100% about the money (assuming that they weren’t already).
This is important and you need to really think about it.
You might be thinking that this doesn’t apply to you as your girl is not a working girl – think again! Whilst attitudes are changing in the urban areas, if your girl hails from the rural areas where traditional attitudes linger, it may be that she is assumed to be a prostitute simply for dating a foreigner – with the result that damage to her reputation is still inflicted.
Girls from the poorer areas are usually truly lovely, but dating a foreigner comes at a cost, and she may be relying on you to compensate for that loss in some way, and that usually means the financial compensation that comes with marriage to a wealthy westerner.
You may assume that you can waive off any concerns about your lady being motivated by financial concerns as soon as you pick up the baton and start supporting her.
Your girl, on the other hand, will always be conscious of the possibility that you might take off with another girl. Where would that leave her? She doesn’t have a chance of taking up with a wealthy Thai man once it’s assumed that she has been a part of the working-girl fraternity.
The financial problems that exist in the poorest areas of Thailand are extreme. Thailand is not a poor country, but there are still lots of people living there that are desperately poor. If you can’t work, you rely on family members that can work. If you get sick, your hospital and/or medication bills will be expensive.
If you can’t pay, you won’t recover and you might die.
Dirty water, unsanitary conditions, exposure to filth, and all sorts of other stuff you associate with the poorest countries in the world are a reality for some people in some areas of Thailand. Some people survive on less than 100 baht per day. In those conditions, you can’t expect complete honesty from the girls who are looking for a sugar daddy to take care of her and her family.
She’ll tell you she loves you even if you are about as attractive to her as pile of buffalo s**t.
If you want to give your success chances a major boost I’d advise you to choose Bangkok as your hunting ground (not the red-light areas… obviously). The girls there are more cosmopolitan, Thai attitudes are much more forgiving, and the girls tend not to be so poor.
If you insist on a poor rural girl then, regardless of anything you tell her, your Thai girlfriend will always be concerned that at some point your loyalty will go astray. That’s especially true if you met her in a bar as she’ll know that you are the kind of man that visits working-girls.
She will be even more concerned that once her physical charms have faded you will more easily be drawn to younger girls. Any man that meets girls in bars, and then actually gets romantically attached to one, is not considered to be a long-term safe bet...
How will she deal with this difficult quandary?
Here’s the answer, if your girl feels that there is even the slightest possibility that you will leave her, it is highly likely that she will seek to gather as many safety nets as possible by building up a network of other suitors. Just remember, she needs to protect the wider Thai family income at all costs.
Even if you have behaved yourself, poor girls have a reputation for jumping ship if a richer man comes along. If a guy comes along who she meets in more respectable circumstances i.e. not in a bar, she might well think he is a much safer long-term bet than you are.
To avoid this, you’ll need to put real effort in to convince your girl that your feelings are true, that they will never change, and that you will always provide for her family whom you love as if they were your own flesh and blood... which might not be an easy trick to pull if your instincts are telling you that they are actually a bunch of lazy, freeloading bast***s :)
She'll also need to love you; if she just scamming you for money then nothing will stop the inevitable break-up at some point.
NEVER let your Thai girlfriend think that your finances are in any trouble whatsoever. If she thinks you have money trouble, she will be deeply concerned about her family’s wellbeing and will probably stray even if she genuinely loves you – her instincts to ensure her family’s wellbeing will come before her romantic attachment to any man.
She may well have had a previous Thai boyfriend who she had to leave because he couldn’t support her (or she may well still have that boyfriend and you are unknowingly supporting him!).
If you are serious about gaining her trust, you need to cut the bar scene right out of the picture. She’ll never trust you to go out alone and if she puts up with it, she’ll assume the worst… DON’T think that she is behaving herself whilst you are out!
Build up her trust in you every day. Demonstrate your commitment every day with small gifts to show her that you love her and are thinking of her. ALWAYS be aware that your best efforts might still come undone whatever you do – that’s the price you pay when you get involved with a Thai girlfriend from a poor, rural background.
I’ve been saving the best bit of advice about promoting monogamy for last. It’s a timeless gem that works just as well in the West as it does in Thailand... tell your Thai girlfriend that she has a serious flatulence problem during sleep and that it stinks like a rotting horse!
That’ll make any girl think twice before sleeping with another man!! Unfortunately, I’m afraid it won’t do much to stop the short-time incentive, haha!
This lovely petite young lady, 28 years old and only 47kg, is looking for a western man to be her boyfriend. If you would like to meet up with girls just as lovely, you can with my:
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