I had always wondered why Thai people don’t trust each other. They will only use “family” as their staff, because I was told that only family would not steal. After spending many years in Thailand, I have begun to see just why Thais don’t trust Thais. Many of the people who write to you, Hillary, complain that their Thai GF or wife is having a relationship behind their back. There’s too many of these for it to be a one-off. Then there is the famous “gik” and every Thai woman has at least one of these friends with extra benefits on the go. They don’t trust each other, because all of them are untrustworthy. The only reason to employ “family” is because the person can lose face very quickly in the family circle, and they can’t escape from that.
Dear Trusting Thomas,
I get the feeling that you are hurting somewhere, Petal. Time fixes everything, even though the time frame may be painful. You are right about the only people Thai people employ are “family”, but remember that “family” has a different meaning in Thai than in the West. Many times it can just mean someone from the same village, or even the same province.
My husband and I have been reading your column for some years, even though we live in Canada these days. You do hand out some very wise advice, so I am hoping you can help me. We are both in our 50’s but feel we need to spice up our relationship after 30 years of marriage. So we are thinking about a holiday in Thailand where we could perhaps explore a little more than we could do at home! We live in a small country community, so confidentiality is of utmost importance. Some suggestions, Hillary?
Lucrezia (obviously not my real name)
Dear Not My Real Name,
Tread very warily, my Petal. That is a minefield you are looking at. Certainly there can be plenty of distractions here, if you look just a little, but are you and your husband ready for something that might change your lives? It is something you both have to discuss honestly and openly before even getting on the plane. Careful, careful, careful.
I have a tip for the guy being ripped off by a Thai woman who has a few foreigners on a string. Choose a woman with different nationality. I tried hard with two different Thai women and lost a lot of money. I am happy now with a South Pacific woman. Wonderful women there. Fly to Fiji, they will take care of you and your happiness. No money required for the family. Be smart and try something different.
Unfortunately, the grass on the other side of the fence is always greener. Relationships are never easy, and some different cultures make relationships even harder. Not many foreigners really understand their Thai partners, and it is probably the same with a Fijian lady, though I don’t know first hand anything about them, Petal.
Why do so many of the guys who write to you want to paint the Thai women in a bad light? These bar girls sacrifice a lot to give their families a better life than they would otherwise have. I wonder if these foreigners are getting what they think is a rip off because they are treating the girl like dirt in the first place. What goes around comes around, as they say.
My own experience is that you can meet some great girls and fall in love with a lady from a bar. You can also be treated like a king and rest easy with the feeling that you have found a long term partner. I have been with my Thai wife for some years and have been incredibly happy, and have never felt that I have been ripped off.
My own experience of a former western wife was that she gave up work once we were married and expected to never have to work again. She took more money from me in a month than my Thai partner has taken in two years and when we split up, she took anything left. I will take my chances with a bar girl any day over a falang lady. With any woman you will have to pay, one way or another. The Thai way is cheaper in the long run, believe me, and all you guys out there, start thinking and stop whining. Start doing the right thing by the women you meet and you will get the rewards double or triple, believe me.
You are quite correct, my Petal, though you have to be a bit careful, in fact very careful, when selecting a girl from the bars as your life’s partner. You have to be sure that you are not being given the political promises. There are good reasons why you should be wary, but I am glad your situation looks as if it is working out for you, even though two years is not a long time.
With so many of your letter writers being out of Thailand for a while each month, the question they have is always one of fidelity. Can a Thai woman be trusted? My advice is simple. If you have the doubts that you obviously have, then trust is gone and so is the relationship. I have little doubt that she is fooling around when you are not there, private investigator is the best way if you really want to know. If it were me I would be out of there already.
That’s all a bit negative advice, Petal. Though I agree that if the evidence seems to be pointing all in the one direction, then perhaps a PI for a short time (oops!) is a good idea. If nothing else it will confirm your fears, or show that it really was a som tum hens’ party. You can expect to pay quite heavily, by the way. One way or another, this relationship is going to cost you money.
A couple of weeks ago, a writer, James, did make one very good point on relationships, saying, “The right person for you.” If as he says, “they are all the same” to him he need look no further than the lowest common denominator that suits his definition of a love relationship. Then he can write his tortured novel for the education of all us old fogies who don’t know as much about adult relationships as he does. I see a lot of attitude here. The attitude is not infatuation as much as “it is all about me.” If you care about someone James it is not just “good party times” it is about truly being a helpmate for that person’s future and yourself being a part of it.
Thank you for the very sound advice for James. “Love” relationships are certainly difficult at the best of times, but there are more traps for the young and unwary in Thailand, than many other places. Like you I will wait for the tortured novel, but I don’t know that I like being called an “old fogie”.
I read somewhere that all Thai girls want is to get their hands in your pockets, and once they have cleaned you out, that’s it. No money, No Honey as the T shirt says. Is this really true? I have met a few nice girls every time I’ve come over, and although I pay for everything when we’re out together, I think that’s natural. I pay for everything back home when I take out a woman, so what’s the difference?
Dear Confused Chuck,
The difference is you get more fun out of the relationship here, my Petal, or that’s what I get told by my gentlemen friends. It is nice to see there are still gentlemen in this world, and if you are paying, I’ll have a bottle of Veuve Clicquot when we go to dinner. Of course you can have what you want (to drink, Petal) as well, I’m not stingy. Please let me know a week or so in advance, as I will have to fit you in to my crowded appointment book, though with promises of Veuve Clicquot you do go to the top of the waiting list.
I have been reading your column and have enjoyed it very much. As I am going to be over there in September for the first time I am writing. It seems that everyone I ask (single men like myself) talk about being at the bars as the way to meet the Thai girls (workers). I’m not a big drinker so will I offend if I do not drink a lot or wish to leave to go see music, movies or see the country.
I can assure you that the ladies from the bars have not the slightest interest in how much ‘you’ drink, only in how much ‘they’ drink, while you are paying of course! This is because they receive a percentage of the cost of the ‘lady drinks’, while they get nothing from the price of your drinks. This is how they make money, as they are ‘working’ women, getting their monthly salaries plus extras. It works like this, since you have not been here before, Petal. They generally receive a small wage (or retainer), and then their lady drinks percentage plus a percentage of the so-called ‘bar fine’ which is what the punters (like you) pay for the honor and glory of taking one of the blushing young ladies away from the bar to see music, movies or the country. Anything else is a private arrangement between the lady and the customer, as you have to realize that there is no prostitution in Thailand, because the government said so. And in the statute books has said so since about 1966. While you are paying for things, you will not offend. However, when the money runs dry, then it is a different story.
I have been reading your column for the past 3 years, always enjoy your answers and this time it’s me looking for some answers.
I am 40, and met this girl about 1 year ago that’s in her very early 20s. Not an issue, because I am not one of the grey-haired golden oldies on pension that enjoys spending their pension the way they have always dreamt of.
Of course, as with many of them, she works by night and prefer to take her beauty sleep during the day. That worked for me, I travel each week to Pattaya to work for a stable, well paid income that can take me to my happy retirement some day. At the same time, for the companionship I provide the support in small quantities based on the going-rate for companionship.
Of course, I am not the only companion but understand that everybody has a job. Over months, she managed to rank in changes to her mom’s home in extend of 300,000 baht, landed a massage shop of over 100,000 baht and upon enquiry, it seems that there were about 3 other companions in tow since the beginning of this year, one very old but rich married guy, 2 mid year olds, each providing for very well paid salaries each month on top of these luxuries, she has it made but when I found out and asked (I was hoping that I would have been told before asking but that is not always the norm I believe), she said that there are no feelings for these people, they are a job and she needs the money. She is not a big spender and as in every family, relatives are being taken well care of hence the salaries that are coming in handy on top of the well being of an increased bank balance each month. She said I am the one she loved and want to have a life and family with and hence the no cost asked of me, the good thing is that I believe her, but at one point in time, there was a demand from the one guy to drop all other companions or the money stops... she tried with me but according to her the feelings of love has exceeded the feelings for money... however, demands are coming in now for getting (renting) a condo and next year buying a home (in her name most likely she says)... and then the fun will start I guess.
She is currently having a visit from the one companion that provides the ridiculously high lump sums, so I can’t visit her shop for this month, but she still visits me at every opportunity. That must be real love for now from her.
My dilemma is, how long will this real love last before the love for money and a single life time well paid for will outweigh the love?
I am not sure if I should move on or tag along and see where it ends up... it’s mixed emotions and next year may see a new story unfold... as she herself said, who knows what will happen?
Yes, I did shorten it (a lot), but do you know what a sadist is and a masochist is? In simple terms, a sadist is someone who is nice to a masochist, and you, my Petal are a prize winning masochist. She must certainly be some woman, with four of you on the lead at one time. And you don’t have a dilemma - get out of there now and forget the sweet nothings she is whispering in your ear - that’s if you’re allowed back in the house after Mr Moneybags has had his fill and she has filled her wallet. Run!
You may think I’m stupid, but I recently found out that my wife has been cheating on me. This really floored me at the time, as there was no indication as to what she was up to. I decided to give her a chance, as this was the first time she had done something like this. We spoke about how lies kills a relationship, and she was her old sweet self again. I thought how lucky I was to have been able to save the marriage. Then in the middle of it all, the loving dinners and together photos, I caught her at it again. Same guy. Same story. Please forgive me. I thought about it for a few months, wanting to go back to how we were, and then I found out she was also cheating on him, as well as me! What is it with these Thai women? Have they no honor? Are they raised to infidelity? You’ll never catch me in a (im)permanent relationship with one ever again. A friend of mine said it’s better to rent than to buy, and I think he’s right.
I do feel sorry for you, my Petal, but you probably don’t believe me either, and I don’t blame you at all. It certainly must have been a shock for the chap she was seeing behind your back, to find he was being cheated on too! Don’t rush into anything, and let time be the healer.