UK men in Thailand want to bring loyal Thai wives home to Britain
Increasing world instability, health care costs and a devotion to their long standing, loving and loyal Thai wives is driving some UK men in Thailand to return home with their partners. But there's a problem.
A growing number of UK men are unhappy at the status of their Thai wives in the eyes of the UK Immigration office. Many feel
that there is a lack of respect for the long term bonds of love and loyalty between UK men and Thai women who have been
married for decades. The story also points towards the intense affection that exists between successful UK Thai couples.
These are relationships that go under the radar of the tabloid press simply because they are good news. They represent the
triumph of love and humanity against bureaucracy, red tape and increasing conflict caused by government policies.
Some UK men want to settle loyal Thai wives in the UK
Watching from afar as the UK convulses over immigration, immigration rights and a broader battle between the sexes in
the western world, it makes some UK men living with Thai women in Thailand feel relief that they are settled in Asia and far
from the conflict. For others, these are anxious times and they worry what all this means for the future. Some have decided to
relocate to the UK and offer their Thai wives
more security in an increasingly uncertain world. Although it has nothing to do with the technical requirements of UK
immigration officials who process their visa applications in Bangkok and in the United Kingdom, there is one word on the
minds of many older UK men who have been married to Thai women for long periods and that word is loyalty.
Older UK man worries about his loyal Thai wife
'My wife will not find another partner and while I have a pension, I worry for her if I was to pass on. It breaks my heart to
think of her not being able to cope. We've been together for twenty eight years, married or twenty four and she is a good
woman and a loyal friend. She's been the centre of my life for the best part of thirty years. We've been very happy,' says Jim
Barnes, who is spending his time off work this month organising a visa application for Mint so that the couple can move to
the UK. 'We've been talking about it together and she always wanted to live in the UK. So it's such a new adventure together, a
new start, something to look forward to.'
Noticeable trend in UK men relocating to the UK with Thai wives
There is been a noticeable trend in foreign men, particularly men from the UK, opting to return to the home countries such as the UK with Thai wives
in recent years from Thailand. The reasons that many give is that they are doing so in order that their long serving wives can
be established in their country of origin including the UK. Many men are making this move as they approach retirement age. It is a reversal of a growing
trend in the other direction where single or older western men are still migrating to Thailand for a better lifestyle or for
The reasons for the trend are:
- Growing world instability: 'It might be, this is the age Trump isn't it,' confirms Jimmy Barnes. Barnes is not a
Trump supporter but he appreciates that he is a sign of changing times in the world. 'I want to be at home again. I've been
away over thirty years now and my instinct tells me the world may be becoming a dangerous place for old fellas like me in the
future,' he says. His view is widely shared. The tightening of immigration rules in the UK has, quite amazingly, left many UK
expats uneasy as to their rights and more particularly those of their marriage partners. This comes as the UK government
negotiates its way through the Brexit transition.The political tug of war increasingly appears like a battle for entitlements.
There are increasing reports of UK men living in Thailand whose wives, girlfriends or life partners have been denied entry to
the United Kingdom arbitrarily. This has left many of these Brits, living with Thai women in Thailand and other countries
outside the EU, uneasy as to the rights of their loved ones. While other Western and European countries have increased
screening of Thai women entering their countries as spouses or marriage partners, there is not the same pattern of reported
cases of arbitrary and seemingly unreasonable decisions in other countries as there are in the UK. These incidents have
attracted media attention and have separated genuine, loving couples who seek nothing but compliance with the law but are
often caught on technicalities or oversights.
- Loyalty to Thai wives: Thai TV in recent years has produced many TV programmes showing the plight of
long serving and loyal Thai wives who have been left with very little support after their foreign husbands had passed away. In
some cases the wives had nursed their husbands through sickness while in other highlighted stories, the husband has been
struck down suddenly with some health condition. Many western husbands are anxious to make sure that their Thai wives
are adequately provided for. While some take out life insurance, others, in different circumstances, feel it is better to return to
their home country such as Germany, the UK or Australia. Quite a few already have property or interests in their former
- Health concerns: Many UK men living in Thailand long term with Thai wives are looking at future healthcare
costs and the implications of growing older. Thailand has a world class health care system but, without insurance cover, any
health crisis can be an expensive matter. It can spell financial disaster and even be life threatening. While Thai healthcare
costs are among the lowest in the world, the costs can be just as staggering if you are paying for them as a private patient in
an emergency situation. This concern applies to all western men resident in Thailand with Thai wives but particularly where
there is a long term relationship. Many men like Jimmy work for international companies and are approaching retirement
age. The UK is particularly attractive as, despite all its failings and the scare stories, the National Health Service (NHS) is still
a very valuable proposition.
UK man seeking a settlement visa for his Thai wife of 25 years
Jimmy Barnes, the UK husband is concerned that his loyal Thai wife may be refused her visa despite the couple already
having been married for twenty five years. Jimmy, who is from Chester in northern England, has lived in Thailand with his wife
Mint since 1994. He works as a ship engineer for a UK based shipping firm. The UK man even owns a home in the UK and
has a bank account with the UK bank, LLoyds. He has lived happily in Thailand with his wife for the last twenty four years but
now, he wants to move home before he retires. 'I'd feel happier knowing my wife is settled in the UK, I'm not getting any
younger and soon the health problems may kick in. Jim is set to retire in five years and looking forward to a handsome
settlement from his well paid job.
UK expat feels visa for his wife should be an automatic entitlement
Mr. Barnes was horrified this week to be told that it is not at all certain that he will be able to get a visa for his Thai wife.
He is also angry at the scale of the fees involved the the demanding nature of the process. 'I simply cannot believe the red
tape involved here,' he said. Jimmy is concerned that his wife's application may be refused and is unhappy that his wife of
long standing should have to apply for a visa at all. 'I know all the talk, but it now seems that being British is not much good
anymore. What trumps everything now is whether you're living in the UK. Any Tom, Dick or Harry whose been there for a year
or two has more rights than I have, certainly my wife. It's very hurtful when you've been with a great woman for so long. Jim
feels that UK men living in Thailand are treated with more respect by Thai authorities. 'I've never had an issue here. Once I've
had my income stubs and my money in the account. I've been abused online for saying this but a man should have the right
to bring his wife home without all this carry on.'
Loyalty of Thai wives - real relationships beyond sex
Thai society is unique and very different to society in the western world. Thailand is a developing country which is
currently embracing, and to some extent enjoying, western culture. Despite this, Thai men and women are very slow to part
with traditional values and thinking. It makes Thailand quite unique in the world. Many western men, who have found a real
Thai wife, develop a very strong sense of loyalty and affection toward their wives beyond the limits of a relationship in the
western world and certainly beyond that of a sexual relationship.
Tabloid relationship with Thai women is a recipe for failure
It is an irony that the stereotype of the relationship between western men and Thai women as featured on sensational
western tabloids is, in fact, a sure recipe for relationship failure. 'Good Thai women are very reluctant about sex. As in
western culture not so long ago, it is seen as a baser aspect of the relationship. This is why we see so many problems with
Thai bar girls or prostitutes,' says Carla Boonkong, a sociology researcher and expert on Thai women who marry foreign
men around the world. She has long advocated that foreign men avoid such relationships. 'The key signal for a good
marriage in Thailand is commitment to the journey. Or loyalty. While the Thai woman will expect the man to lead, when he
does, she will get behind the marriage and offer support,' says Carla. The increasing number of western men living with Thai
wives in western countries in long term marriages shows this to be true. The foreign men with Thai wives or partners are by
and large engaged in happy relationships. All independent research confirms this. 'These are true love stories,' says
Boonkong. 'Not the stuff of romantic movies but of real life.'
Loyalty of good Thai women
It is easy to speak about a woman in Thailand being different to a woman in another country. There are a lot of negative
stories circulating about Thai women and Western women. A lot of nonsense is spoken based on stereotypes and tropes.
However one significant difference between many Thai women and Western women, particularly younger Western women,
is that in Thailand there is still a deeply held spiritual belief at all levels of society. Thai tradition, culture and life is very much
linked with Buddhism. A well brought up Thai woman will, if treated properly, show loyalty and commitment towards her
husband provided her husband shows the same attitude towards her. Many westerners speak of karma casually but it is very
much the case that a Thai wife will treat her husband as she is treated herself. Hence the reason for the failure of marriages
where Western men, come looking for the attractive and 'sexy' young Thai woman expecting submission. Thai women and
Thai wives are not at all submissive, they are however committed, to their culture and follow it successfully.
Characteristics of loyalty particular to traditional Thai women
- Multiple wives in Thailand: Many feminists may misunderstand the nature of Thai women. They often mistake the
commitment that Thai women make to a valid and genuine marriage as subservience. It is not like this for a traditional Thai
woman brought up with the right principles. Western feminists are right however in identifying Thailand as a patriarchal
society which distinctly and often unfairly, favours men. From this attitude, it is not uncommon in Thailand to come across a
man with 2, 3 or 4 wives in open sight. It is illegal to have multiple wives in Thailand. A Thai man may be only legally married
at anytime to one woman as in western society. However the tradition or practice is different. To most Thai people, a marriage
blessed by a monk is a real marriage even if it is not registered legally. One will be a the major wife while others will be minor
wives. There also exists an ever more loosely fashioned arrangement involving a causal girlfriend or boyfriend who is termed
a 'gig'. Many Thai women tolerate this but the torment it involves can only be imagined. Hence why many sincere Thai
women value and appreciate their farang or foreign husband who is culturally conditioned to be monogamous.
- Money and Thai wives: Contrary to popular opinion, a genuine Thai wife will not walk out the door in the event of
money being tight. She will, however, expect her husband to work and do everything possible to provide. If the relationship
becomes impossible because of financial pressure or more particularly, if it threatens the happiness of others, she may
suggest a break or an arrangement to solve the problem. This will still be heartbreaking for the woman who will often secretly
take all possible steps to assist her husband financially. Moreover, if she is successful, she will make whatever positive
outcome she has engineered look as if it is the work of her husband. She will go out of her way to make sure her husband
does not lose face as she would lose face also.
- Role of women in Thailand: The Thai belief system, whether feminists or westerner accept it or not, is that being
born a male is a superior condition. Thais are predominantly Theravada Buddhists who do not ordain female monks. The
role of women in child rearing and the protection of established social orders is emphasised. Some Thai women even
believe that the reward for being a good woman, mother or wife, is to be reborn as a man although this belief is not
widespread. What is widespread is a belief in traditional thinking and that by following such teaching, things will work out for
the best. Most genuine Thai women see success in life as being a good and respected woman according to traditional
values and if married, being a good wife. Like all normal people, Thai women feel the attractions of money and materialism.
This is a realistic assessment. Money is always an issue, it is always there and with the incremental increases in influence of
western culture in Thailand, money becomes more important. Indeed it has always been important. Thai women have
traditionally held the family purse in families, particularly among the masses, planning and managing the family's finances. In
ancient and more traditional times in Thailand money was seen also as a base matter beneath the dignity of Thai men. Thai
women are also predominant in Thailand's small business class. While every Thai woman has a good and well trained eye
for money, her behaviour is tempered and influenced by Thai culture. These comments obviously only apply to Thai women
who are well brought up in a traditional sense and these are outline principles. The ins and outs or every day matters in the
material world are the same for everyone but this is what good Thai women and Thai wives aspire to.
UK man in Thailand: 'A man couldn't ask for a more loyal wife'
'There's a lot crap talked about Thai women, tell you the truth, it's the one worry I have about bringing my wife back to the
UK,' says Jimmy. 'But the main reason for it is that I'd feel better if anything ever happened to me if we were settled there. This
great woman has been good to me, a man couldn't ask for a more loyal wife. That's what Thai women are really about,' he
says. Thai women live in a traditional patriarchal society where it still considered the mark of a successful woman to be a