Thai women are battling negative stereotypes and increased visa regulation in foreign countries as more consider dating foreigners online. But research consistently shows that these relationships are successful and based on love.
Daeng is a successful Thai woman who has lived in Australia for nearly 14 years. Still only thirty eight years she now owns two fashion outlets in Melbourne one of Australia's most exciting cities. Her life in
Australia began when she met her husband Stuart (52) in Thailand. Her key advice to all Thai women dating foreigners can be summed up in two worlds: 'Be yourself.'
'There is a lot of hype about meeting a foreigner but there is a lot of negative stuff too, if any Thai woman wants to make this move, it could well be a good thing provided they have the right attitude, character and
a good heart' she says.
Her advice is easy to understand. 'If you are planning to spend all of your life with someone, you don't make a decision like that based just on how much money he has but you must consider money also, it all
depends on your character, speaking plainly if you've a bad heart or are bad person, everything you do will not be successful whether it's a relationship in Thailand or Australia or a business as well. So for a Thai
girl interested in meeting a foreigner there's nothing wrong with that, if you are poor and want a better life, there's nothing wrong with that also providing you are a good person,' she says
Her advice comes at a time when the number of Thai foreign relationships is surging and this success is causing many to observe the phenomenon but not always in a positive light. Each year thousands for
foreigners travel to Thailand seeking love. The vast majority are foreign men although there are reports also of foreign women dating Thai men. Who are these foreigners?
Social changes sparking Foreigner Thai Dating revolution
It would be true to say that social changes in foreign countries as well as the development of the internet and global communications including travel have an international dating revolution.
A large section of the foreigners seeking love with Thai women online are from broken relationships in their home country. There has been a large increase in divorce rates in countries such as the USA, UK,
Canada, Australia and Europe. Many commentators say the reasons for this include economic pressures of a more developed economy where foreign women tend to work as well as their spouses but also a
changing social culture. 'Not only has this causes many men to seek love in remote, foreign places like Thailand but it is also causing many younger men to think twice before entering into marriage,' says James
Hewitt a visa lawyer and commentator in Bangkok.
This has been even been described by some as a breakdown of western society. However not all foreigners arriving in Thailand come from failed relationships.
More younger men are opting to use the internet to find foreign life partners or love abroad. When asked, many young men say it's simply more romantic or even that girls in Thailand are 'more beautiful'. The
growing number of younger men using internet dating and social network sites to meet Thai women has caused many academics to research what is going on.
One survey conducted in Finland found that the vast majority of relationships between Thai women and younger men from Finland and Northern Europe are equal and modern relationships. Younger men with
Thai wives or life partners were found just as likely to do the dishes or take care of the children as men with local partners.
It has been suggested by some women's groups in these countries that younger men are seeking 'traditional' women in Thailand because they refuse to adapt to modern concepts in marriage. However some
extreme feminist groups in Sweden have even called for the abolition outright of marriage. Perhaps this might explain a little of what is going on.
Foreigners dating Thai women - key groups
- 35-60 years old men who have never married/settled: There are some older men who have retired and now have thought finally about finding relationships.
- 35-50 years old from previous relationships: These are men from relationships that have broken down in foreign countries where the pace of social and economic change in the last 30 years has created a huge
surge in divorce exceeding 50% in many countries. It is not uncommon for many of these men to not have been married before although they may have had relationships.
- 22-30 years younger men from Western countries: These are young people who are dating Thai women for cultural reasons or as a response to the social and economic changes that have taken place in
western societies 'We see a huge reduction in western societies in the numbers of younger males entering into marriage,' says Jim Hewitt in Bangkok. This is supported by the Pew research centre in America. In
1972, 71% of American adults were married while in 2010 this figure was only 51%. A US syndicated advice columnist based in Chicago, Amy Dickinson believes the increase in no-fault divorces and tougher child
support laws are two reasons behind the falling popularity of married life in America. 'It is no longer necessary to be married to someone in order to pursue financial support and I believe this has had a huge impact
on couples who have children together and, let's say, 20 years ago would get married in order to establish legitimacy and then, hence, get financial support.' In some communities in the USA single parenthood is
now the norm, she points out, and Americans have accepted 'non-traditional' households.
James Hewitt believes that many of the younger men particularly from the UK and US, are looking for a way to avoid the heartache and misery they have been caused by laws and regulations in their home
countries. 'Many are actually looking to live elsewhere but they are looking for real romance also, I think of it as a sort of escape from the night mare, the fact that these younger men are facing stiff economic
challenges at home also adds to the appeal of looking east for a partner and of course everyone is familiar with the notion that all Thai women are beautiful. I know scores of young men in the UK who have regular
girlfriends in Thailand and visit once or twice a year. I have heard that some of these are also thinking now of settling with their Thai girlfriends.'
Key problem facing Thai women dating foreigner
There is no doubt that the major problem facing any Thai woman dating a foreigner is the negative stereotype of both Thai women and foreigners engaged in international relationships.
This stereotype used to be the fat old foreigner with young sexy Thai girl akin to a prostitute. But in recent years as the numbers of successful Thai foreigner relationships has swelled so these stereotypes have
also multiplied. What makes such stereo types so dangerous is that they are based on some elements or instances of truth. The latest stereo type is the insincere Thai woman who is seeking a foreign husband or
boyfriends solely on the grounds of money of economic benefit.
As Mook, a Thai woman says in one contribution to the ThaiLovelines News Centre warning foreigners of Thai women seeking to take advantage. 'Many of these Thai woman are like the nurse looking
preferable for an older foreigner and dream of being left free when the foreigner will die and wealthy.'
There are notorious news reports of foreigners being murdered for valuable insurance payouts that continue to make the news in Thailand or foreigners left destitute after being kicked out of expensive properties
by Thai wives. Such reports are accurate and such things do happen. Stories like this illustrate what can happen when unsuitable relationships between Thai women and foreigners eventually go wrong. If these
stories were the norm, then there would not be the continued growth in relationships and dating between foreigners and Thai women.
But the hundreds of thousands of happy relationships between Thai women and foreigners that are seen across Thailand and all over the world are not often highlighted in news reports. Many of these are real
love stories involving two human beings who have to battle with laws, visa rules and challenges such as stereotyping simply to live together.
However, there are undoubtedly Thai women out there who have a bad attitude and many in foreign media outlets who think all Thai woman think like this. The other more modern stereotype is that all foreigners
coming to Thailand are 'losers' who can't find a relationship in their own country. The good news is that these stereotypes are not the general rule but Thai women dating foreigners should be familiar with them.
Perception of Thais dating foreigners abroad
The growing numbers of Thai women dating foreigners and going on to form relationships is prompting an examination by authorities and media in foreign countries into what is happening. And the results are
generally positive. Here are some key findings:
- Divorce rates are well below normal in foreign countries. Some estimates suggest that over a 10 year period in the UK and European countries that it is below 17%.
- There has been noticeable increase in divorce rates between younger Thai women with foreign husbands or relationships partners in the North of Thailand. However US media, in particular, are highlighting the
growing numbers of US men settling in the north of Thailand.
- Thai women have shown themselves to be very successful business partners and business women themselves in countries such as the USA, UK and Australia. This is hardly surprising when Thai culture and
history has always favoured women as business people and traders. However it is noticeable that in European countries more Thai women have paid employment and are less likely to be self employed or in
business for themselves. In Northern European countries and Germany, many Thai women are stay at home housewives.
- Studies called for in Nordic countries particularly Sweden have shown that relationships between Thai women and foreigners do not conform to the stereotype set forth by many women's groups but are
comparatively happy relationships between men from rural areas settling with Thai women from rural areas in Thailand.
- The enquiry into Thai women in Sweden was called for after cases of abuse against Thai women were reported and the high levels of Thai women
working in the sex industry in Sweden.
- In recent years authorities in western countries particular Sweden and Australia have set in place visa schemes and regulations designed for Thai foreigner relationships and to avoid abuse by either party.
- The Thai government has instituted responses and care procedures for Thai women in relationships with foreignersThai women in relationships
with foreigners abroad. However prior to this, one study in Germany conducted by a Thai University student, suggested that attitudes among Thai women married to the German nationals was less than positive
towards Thai consular or embassy supports.
Negative perception of Thai women dating foreigners
The most negative perception regarding Thai women and foreigners is Thailand's reputation as a sex tourism destination. There is also confusion caused by the involvement of a small number of Thai women in
prostitution abroad. These are sometimes combined with those seeking genuine relationships online. This is of course very unfortunate and particularly unfair. While nearly all people know the difference, this is used
by some groups opposed to international Thai dating to paint a negative picture.
This image has fuelled the stereotype of the older foreigner marrying the young sexy women from northern Thailand. In fact, there are indeed some cases like this. And while many relationships like this despite
the perception are also successful, it should be noted that:
- Relationships between Thai women (men) and foreigners of a similar or compatible age are far more likely to be successful.
- Relationships where the Thai woman is active either in business or has a job are a key characteristic of more successful relationships.
The good news is that the increasing number of Thai foreigner relationships and growing networks and communities in foreign countries us rapidly raising the positive profile of what is going on and points to a
very interesting future when Thailand will have a large Diaspora abroad.
Warning signs for Thai women seeking a foreign partner online
Firstly, it is a good idea to keep an open mind about dating foreigners. It could well be that you could meet a Thai man online who is the ideal match. It could be that you are online just to make friends and to learn
language skills, foreign cultures or simply meet up with new friends.
However Thai women should be wary of the following:
- Men or women who express love too quickly and following this with any talk of money or financial dealings. This is probably a scam or confidence trick, report it immediately and block this person.
- There are certain foreigners who have bought into the negative, sex industry image of Thailand and Thai women. Thai women should never tolerate any form of open or indirect abuse or even disrespect online.
Again it should be reported immediately.
- You may find men or women online who are unusually aggressive or form unreasonable beliefs or inferences from your conversation. Some vocal detractors of International internet dating and the growing
numbers of Thai women dating foreigners point out that men from foreign countries with mental health issues may be among those seeking love in Thailand. While the overwhelming proportion of foreigners online are
good, decent and indeed accomplished people, the internet must always be used with care. Be careful also to realise that many men and women coming from failed relationships are often particularly vulnerable.
Indeed it may be true to say that any sincere users of a dating or may be open to abuse because of the nature of activity and the need to be receptive to expressions of interest or love.
Good guys and girls to watch out for online
- Someone making a new start with the financial resources to do so. It sometimes happens also for younger people but more often than not that some individuals decide on a new life. They have no responsibilities
and want to begin a new life with a new person in a new culture.
- There are growing numbers of foreign men opting to live in Thailand . Not just retired men but increasingly young men who see Thailand is a
good place to begin a new life often relation to International business or the internet.
- Genuine people who simply happen to be at a lonely point of life and who are looking for friendship and companionship. The internet and particularly a safe international dating site is an ideal environment to deal
with this problem.
UK guy seeking work in Thailand
George Quarry, a young UK man from Bedfordshire in England is seeking work in Thailand. As a 27 year old he certainly does not qualify for a retirement visa but he has a BA in Economics and has worked in
a high profile bank for eighteen months. His Thai fiancé Sutida holds a doctorate and is confident of finding good job in Thailand's financial sector.
She lived in the UK for nearly three years where she met George after first meeting online 'When I knew I was going to the UK I began dating online. Now both of them want to get married and have decided that
Thailand is where they want to live. 'I think I could work in teaching for while but I'm looking for something a little bit more than that,' says George.
George's family is wealthy and he plans to use his time teaching in Thailand to research some sort of business. However having been made redundant by a financial institution last year, he is aware of the ups
and downs of business and accepts that his lack of experience in a running a business must be reason to be cautious. But Sutida and Gorge have love: 'I am sure we will be married and that we will be happy.
George is moving to Thailand in June 2013.'
Thai foreigner Dating still a very small minority
It should be always be remembered that while dating between Thai people and foreigners is increasing dramatically and reaching a critical level, it is still a very small percentage of Thai people who are thinking
or considering this. 'If you think about it, it's still about 1-2% who are involved in this and many are Thai women and often divorced or seeking an improvement in their economic circumstances many of them Isaan,
but yes there has been an opening of minds and I think the world knows there is more international Dating going on, this isn't just Thailand,' says James Hewitt.
Attitude of Thai society to Thai Foreigner dating
The attitude of Thai society towards Thai foreign dating or relationships has changed from one of outright hostility and the subject
being almost taboo to one of acceptance although there is still a question mark. This has arisen in recent times because of the large numbers of Thai foreign relationships.
'There is a bit of concern now that Thai women entering into these relationships are well treated,' says Mr Hewitt 'On one hand you have fairytale stories of Thai women finding dream partners but I think most
Thais now have more realistic view, it has even become fashionable for some urban Thai women from better families to have a well heeled foreign boyfriend but that's still unusual. Many Thais are concerned that
Thai women are treated well and see what is going on as the price of a more international world society,' I'd suggest. 'In Isaan it is viewed more positively.'
Why do so Thai women opt for foreign love partner
Since the advent of the internet many Thai women have opted for a foreign lover. Many using dating sites to find what they think of as a foreign prince who will ride into Thailand and take them off to a foreign land
where they will live as a Princess. Caution: this is a dream. However it is true to say that many Thai women (and some men) have been offered opportunities through dating and ultimately marrying a foreigner
having met them online. It is now estimated that there are over 250,000 Thai foreigner relationships worldwide with growing communities all over the globe including here Thailand.
There are even cases of Thai women meeting handsome, wealthy foreigners who have transformed their lives. But there are also night mare stories of Thai women who have been let down or even found
themselves in abusive relationships with foreign partners. The real picture is that there are certainly more happy stories than bad stories but the best advice to nay Thai women is not to target a relationship with a
foreigner the same as relationship with any dating partner and to exercise careful judgment at every step of the way.
Key Tips for Thai Women Dating foreigners online
- Be yourself: always be careful to express your own personality and profile with absolute honesty but also with a touch of your own personality and attitudes. Place value on yourself and your key qualities while
always being polite.
- Use photographs which have strong colours and contrast on your profiles. Always use photographs that show you smiling or looking at the camera.
- Make sure that your photographs show you suitably attired and looking your best. Try to match your photographs to the information in your profile. Also expend your profile by uploading gallery photos and
- Prepare your profile carefully. Make sure it is coherent. If you have limited ability in foreign languages, have some prepared content and expressions.
- Learn own to use all the facilities on the internet dating or social network site you use. This particularly important for keeping a record of who you have talked with or met online. Also try to keep a record of
discussions and chats.
- Be patient and persistent. Make many contacts with different users over an extended period of time before refining your choices. If you are having difficulty getting a response, change your profile, your photos
and matching preferences.
- Provide information to foreign dating partners on your culture, your home town or city and your lifestyle. Frame your conversations so that you invite them into a discussion about their culture, home or lifestyle. If
you have difficulty I doing this then apply yourself to upgrading your ability to communicate in foreign languages by using online facilities such as Google Translate. Your ability to communicate with foreign users may
actually become an asset to you and a benefit of the online foreign dating experience.
In spite of the many challenges dating foreigners online can be such a rewarding experience for Thai women and men. It may lead you to the love of your life and a great future together but it can be a source of
good friendship, increased social skills and a broadening of the mind.