Last month we delved into the minefield of dating a Thai man. In this month’s Krabi magazine we are exploring the do’s and don’ts of a relationship in Thailand.*
You’ve found love, it’s great, making you feel all mushy. You are happy, but the course of true love never runs smoothly. So how can you deal with the rollercoaster of a relationship in a foreign country, when being in a different county can make those ups and downs even more acute and sometimes isolating.
Presenting our 10 top tips for dating a Thai man or woman in Thailand.
1. Don’t be Jealous
This one runs both ways, if trust is lacking then a basic foundation is missing. Jealously can come from individual insecurities, a relationship pattern or a partner’s behaviour soexamine is it coming from you and if not then why does the relationship make you insecure? Lastly, if the love of your life is behaving questionably, trust your gut, it is rarely wrong.
“Remember your own values if something or some behaviour wouldn’t be OK for you in your home country why would it be in Thailand?”
FACT: It is common in Thailand to have a ‘friends with benefits’ while having a wife or husband.
2. Do learn some Thai
The language will help deepen your understanding of the culture and your partner, even if you struggle at least making an effort shows commitment.
“Learn your spouse’s language as quickly as you can if you want the relationship to have any chance of enduring. If you suspect that he / she is interested in you primarily because of your financial status / nationality, you’re probably correct.“
Thai etiquette is also important and so entrenched in daily life, especially away from touristy areas. Being able to greet family members correctly is paramount, the rituals around visiting temples, weddings, funerals and the sharing of food. There are many and all should be acknowledged and respected for the smooth running of a multi-cultural relationship.
“My partner always tells me to be quiet if I say something like “oh did we leave the light on’ or if I talk about ghosts or I saw a snake. As he believes so strongly if I talk about break ins someone will do it and if I talk about a ghost or a snake they will show themselves. So superstitious!”
3. Don’t try to be Thai
“Don’t try to be too Thai, if he wanted a Thai partner they wouldn’t have chose a farang. Show them your country, where you come from etc. and that will make them understand you more.”
4. Do Talk
As with every relationship communication is key, even if you do not share the same language there are other ways and means of communication and taking time out when talking is not working is also a good practise. Establishing boundaries from the start and knowing what feels right and wrong for you can help in the long run.
“The advice I would give anybody in any multicultural relationship: TALK, TALK, TALKand don’t be afraid to take up a conflict, as there is more conflict in silence than there is in words. What you think is normal is not normal for the Thai partner so always try to find a compromise.”
5. Don’t jump to conclusions
It is very easy to do when the language is not our own and when one word can mean five different things depending on the tone. Again trust and communication rule here.
“My name sounds very similar to the Thai word for fussy, it took me a while to figure that out!”
6. Do listen
It’s tricky when requiring a straight answer and sometimes better to find a different approach, try to really listen to subtle body language and tone and even though Thai people may sometimes appear emotional detached, with a (keeping up appearances) smile on their face they can be ultra sensitive, without showing it.
“It’s easy to label every misunderstanding or challenge as a cultural difference, but when it comes down to it, you’re in a relationship with a person from a different culture. That person has his/her own quirks, mannerisms, and ideas that may or may not be directly connected to the culture he or she was raised in. (Also, you can reason with a person much more easily than trying to reason with an entire culture).”
7. Don’t do PDA
Public Displays of Affection: We are all for them in the west, as an affirmation of our love and devotion; kissing, making out, snogging whatever you want to call it, Thai’s do not go for it, so try not to pash the face off your other half, this also goes for not showing conflict (raised voices) in public, a big no no.
8. Do meet others in similar relationships
A problem shared is a problem solved and making friends outside of your relationship with other westerners can help. For those days when needing a soundboard or advice from someone who probably at some point, felt the same.
“My support network became so valuable in my relationship when questioning if certain behaviours are normal and the feeling I was going mad”
9. Do be open
Up for new experiences, tastes, lots of family members and let western expectations go of romancing and seek those special moments in other situations that only Thai’s do welle.g. spooning food on your plate, fussing over you etc
“I love that we are from two different worlds so that we can teach each other so much about our countries culture, language, food, music etc.”
10. Don’t be surprised
It will be hard, the holiday romance feeling wears off quickly and there will be difficult times, as with all relationships.
“Be patient it will be worth it in the end (hopefully).”