Want to find a mate in Thailand? A French client recently wrote to ask about a very promising relationship he’s commenced with a Thai woman. He concluded his letter with the question, “Are there any major pitfalls I should be looking for?” Here’s my answer:
In addition to the pitfalls inherent in all relationships, you are facing two that do not exist where you live: legal and cultural. The legal pitfalls are that you cannot own land in Thailand and, though as it is written Thai Common Law is identical to British Common Law, its administration is nothing like Britain’s. In a case between a Thai and a foreigner, Thai law is almost always interpreted in favor of the Thai party, regardless of evidence. There are exceptions, of course, but that’s the rule of thumb.
So if you want to find a mate in Thailand, I suggest you come here, rent a nice house for 12 months, get to know the family, and look around for a suitable piece of land. There’s no rush. During that time, talk to experienced British lawyers who’ve lived and practiced here for 20 years. Figure out the local customs. Figure out your relationship. Figure out the family (including the yaba-addicted cousin who’s a danger to himself and everyone else and needs a place to sleep). Then, suitably informed – and armed with instruments like usufruct codicils – proceed as you see fit.
During that 12 months, see if you can figure out the culture you’ll be living in because, as soon as your new house is built (possibly long before that) you’ll be living with your wife’s family. That’s how Thais live. Don’t try to prevent it. Let it happen and see how well it suits you. Some guys love it and wouldn’t live any other way. Others find it intolerable.
That 12 months will help you adjust to different cultural attitudes to lying, cheating and stealing. This has nothing to do with your new partner, of course, but rather with relatives who see you as a member of their extended family and treat you accordingly. Again, it’s not a better or worse way of organizing things, but it sure as hell is different, and you want to learn how well you can tolerate the difference – for the rest of your life.
Apart from that, Thailand can be a Paradise and I love it. I’m beginning to understand the culture and its attitude to us farangs and I’m OK with it and I still love it and love the Thais the way they are. But it has taken me some years and misadventures to reach this point. Here’s Aimie explaining how Thai women are taught to think about relationships: don’t say you weren’t warned!
For more about Thai mates, why not read up on the subject. Here are some good books: