How much dowry?

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Dear Hillary,

My Thai GF and I get on just fine.  We’ve known each other for 18 months, and every time I come over which is usually a couple of times a year, it is just great.  She is starting to make marriage noises and takes me round to all her GFs who’ve got foreign husbands, to show me that it can work, I’m sure.  The thing that worries me most is this dowry thing.  I don’t have much money (I use most of my salary traveling backwards and forwards to Thailand) and even though I’m happy enough for us to get married, I don’t want this to mean I get hit with a big bill.  Is this still a big deal in Thailand?  I keep on wanting to ask some of the foreign husbands if they have paid it, but I don’t want to look stupid in front of them.

Bill

Dear Bill,

I don’t think you’ve thought this through, my Petal.  If you get married, where are you going to live?  There or here?  I read your letter as one situation where you continue to commute between here and your home town, but instead of her being a GF, she gets upgraded to “wife”.  Personally, Bill, I don’t think you are ready for a true commitment right now, and I suggest you just keep the status quo.  If she is happy to be your GF a couple of times a year, then fine, but if she wants something more permanent, you may have to let her go.  However, if you do go ahead with your plans (or her plans I think), you should sit down and discuss your finances with your GF, so that she doesn’t get a rude shock either.  She will soon tell you how much would be expected as a dowry, but remember every case is different.  A divorced woman with two children would not expect a dowry, but a young woman with a university degree and no children would be very different.

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