I am trying to work out if I should ask my good Thai lady friend to marry me

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Dear Hillary,

I am trying to work out if I should ask my good Thai lady friend to marry me.  I have known her now for many years and we get together every time I come over, which is about three times a year.  I met her 10 years ago when she was a tour guide and she asked if she could email me after I went back to the States to practice her English.  When I say we get together, I don’t mean in a sexual way.  She is a very moral person and a strict Buddhist.  She is not a young bar girl on the make.  She has a good job as a manager of a small hotel.  She takes time off work to see me (I reimburse her travel costs), has introduced me to her family and friends, and acts as my guide and interpreter (no charge).  I have brought friends, male and female, and my three other grown children to Thailand and they all like her very much as she has a wonderful sense of humor.  Three years ago she said we should get married.  

I told her that she was too young (32) and I was too old (64), and we haven’t spoken about it since then.  We email every week and I tell her about my life in America.  She always asks me for advice about advancing her career, and tells me that other men say she is too conservative.  Now that she is in her 30s and we get along so well I am wondering if I should risk this fine friendship by “getting serious” with marriage in mind?  What is your feeling about our relationship?

Tom from TX

Dear Tom from TX,

My Petal, this girl has been giving you the green light for 10 years and you are still wondering what to do!  This poor woman has been going to the temple praying that she can find some way to get her Texas boyfriend to make the next move.  She says that other males say she is too conservative.  In Thai woman-speak this means that she is telling you she is not a sleep-around Sue.  How many hints do you need, Petal?

Have you asked your three grown up children what they think?  You say they like her.  Do they like her enough to be a step-Mom?  You say you think this woman is wonderful – do they?  I am sure that your children would be looking out for your welfare.  After all, you have looked after theirs.  Ask them.

Three years ago, she took that huge leap and suggested that the pair of you should get married, and you ran away citing the age difference.  Having been rejected once, do you honestly think she is going to bring the subject up again?  Of course not – remember ‘face’ is important for Thai people.  This time it is you who will have to make the first move.  I think you should be brave, Texas Tom.