Farang Cycle of Sex and Love in Thailand

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Last edited: May 13, 2023 at 04:59:15

Every couple is different, every love story is different, but in Thailand there are remarkable similar patterns, pitfalls and paths of development for foreigners engaging in love and sex in Thailand.
Sadly, for some people, the story ends dramatically and they (infamously) become the headlines in the newspaper or online: 'Foreigner opens bar with girlfriend and looses life-long savings (, then commits suicide)', 'Foreigner builds house in name of Thai wife who leaves him bankrupt', etc.
Surely, you won’t be the first guy to be fooled and you won't be the first to star in a little drama that happens all over Thailand all-the-time. The question is: how do you row through it and how much (collateral) damage will you incur?

At the same time, there are those, of course, who have happy (s)experiences and relationships leading to happy marriages and happy families, or at least they claim or believe so.

Engaging in love and sex in Thailand is amongst the most profound adventures a foreigner can have in this country and that not only will give you a greater understanding of Thai culture but also of yourself. For this reason alone, it is a journey worth travelling, whatever the outcome.

Ulysses facing the Sirens by John William Waterhouse
Magnificent painting of Ulysses facing the Sirens by John William Waterhouse

When the ancient Greek hero Odysseus travelled the seas back home, he had to pass an area where mythical creatures, the Sirens, would seduce men with their enchanting music and singing voices with the purpose to then shipwreck them. Odysseus decided he wanted to be fully exposed to the experience of the Sirens, but without the risk of drowning, so he had himself tied to the mast of the ship. He also ordered his men to put wax in their ears and cover them so that they couldn't hear the sounds of the Sirens and instructed them to keep rowing, no matter what he would be telling or guestering them later.

After arriving in the area of the Sirens, Odysseus could hear the wonderful sounds of the Sirens which totally drove him mad. He shouted to his men to untie him and to halt the ship so that he could further engage with the Sirens, but his men, unable to hear the magical sounds and loyal to Odysseus' initial command, kept rowing. Only when they left the waters of the Sirens, Odysseus regained his sane mind and they all realized that they had escaped from a certain death.

Living in Thailand and exposing yourself to Thai women is in a way like rowing through the waters of Sirens: for sure, you'll get enticed, you will temporarily loose your mind and there is a serious risk of drowning. And yet, I encourage you to do it, row through it, experience it, but tie a leg to the mast of your ship to allow yourself a reality-check when the tide goes rough.


Like in another article on this site, the Farang Cycle of Life and Death, there are a number of phases a foreigner1 typically goes through when it comes to sex and love in Thailand. I've distinguished ten phases, but someone else could distinguish twenty or summarize it to eight. I've lived in Thailand for more than a decade and been through most of the phases I describe. I considered it a journey like Odyssey was making and I'm trying to find my way home too.

Without any judgment on what is good or bad, you can really go through the phases, learning things about your partner(s), about Thai culture and about yourself, thus developing yourself mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Or you can exit the cycle at some point to escape the consquences, but you will then also not learn the lessons involved. When you exit, you seemingly liberate yourself from the cycle but actually you're not: when you come back, you'll start from your exit point.
You can also remain stuck at a certain level, not being able to take decisions that move you up one level.

You may zig-zag through the cycle, skipping phases only to experience them later, or you may walk through the cycle quickly and smoothly, it's all good. This article is not a judgment on what you ought to do, it merely aims to offer a framework to understand what's happening and where you are in your sex and love life in Thailand. I spiraled through the cycle, jumping from one phase to another and back again, until I did learn my lesson and was truly ready to move on.

Die Lorelei in the river Rhine seducing men
Die Lorelei seducing men on ship on the river Rhine


You’re still in your early stages in Thailand, the first five visits or so, or you’ve just established yourself and you have come to realize how easy it is to get laid here.

Compared with your cold home country, where women are always playing hard to get or won’t even consider the looks of you, Thai women seem so friendly and warm, they don’t turn away when you talk to them, they don’t look despisingly at you, quite the contrary: many are interested and you can get their contact ID for a follow up. You’ve been deprived of sex for such a long time, that you're really enjoying your time, you're taking an overdose of it: you're on your way to become a serial dater or you're frequenting all brothels in town.

You are experiencing a paradigm shift: you've transformed from a nobody to a superstar (the so-called from-ZERO-to-HERO symptom), girls want you and for now you can't get enough of it. Your main drive is your sex drive and you let it go in all directions: dating on Tinder, chatting up bank employees, happy ending massages, bar girls or brothels. You can’t get enough of those sexy hot Thai chicks, one even hotter than an other. After a while you even start to get picky about breast size, hips and so on, while a short while ago you couldn’t even dream of having an average cute Thai girl.

In a way, this is the best phase of all, because you’re still in a delirium and you’re totally having a good time. There aren’t any real problems (at least, you don't see them), besides an occasional visit to the hospital to get a cream for genital warts or some other STDs.

Physically, you always feel good, because whenever you have the urge, you can get sexual-satisfaction-on-demand: you date a new girl, you go to a brothel, you take a Happy Ending massage, it's all at your convenience as easy as going to the mall for shopping. Emotionally and spiritually, you also feel better because perhaps for the first time in your life, you feel totally appreciated in all of your manhood: all your urges are allowed to be there, and allowed to be satisfied when you want. In this phase, you don't realize yet that you're missing something.

You had heard of the Land of Smiles before but now you have discovered that it's actually the Land of Sex. And if you make trips back to your home country now and then, you always feel good going back to Thailand, which also feels like the Land of the Free2, because nobody is bothering you and you can say what you want.

Thailand the land of Sex
Just another Day in the Life in Thailand

✖︎ EXIT POINT ►: You could exit from this phase because your holiday is over, or you move to another country. You don't continue in the cycle (yet). You become the SEX TOURIST. You typically come back once a year, you tell your friends it's for the nice weather and the food, you simply love the Land of S, but you don't tell them the "S" stands for SEX in your case.

✖︎ STUCK DESTINATION ►: If you don't leave the country, but remain stuck in this phase, you become the SEXPAT. Your main drive to stay in Thailand is your sex drive, besides of course the low cost of living and your desire to live a laid back life style without having to do too much. All that you see in Thai women is a sex object. You are unable to appreciate Thai women's mental or emotional richness or the lack thereof.

A great number of long-term expats in Thailand is actually a sexpat. They don't move on to the next level of committing to a girlfriend. To the outside world, it seems they are completely happy: they buy their beers, meet with their mates, and have sex ready on demand. Even after a decade in Thailand, they are still not bored of finding yet another beautiful body. But they don't talk much about the mind and the heart. It is just a fuckbody they need.

The reason is that these guys have some emotional blockages, but they don't realize it, so they are not in touch with their deeper feelings and just the physical satisfaction with a bit of company is all that they feel they need, because they don't feel their deeper needs.

A great number of guys is stuck at this level, even many of my mates, although they don't realize it. The guys who do realize that they lack something either find a way to move on or leave the country, knowing that most Thai girls can't satisfy them in what they really need.


After the glorious first phase, where you were bragging to your friends how many girls you screwed within one day, this is an essential phase for your growth. At the surface, this phase could seem to last short, but in reality most likely you'll spiral back to a state of emptiness again and again. This is because it is in a state of emptiness that you can realize things, and Thailand in particular is a good place that experience that.

The emptiness you can feel in your sex and love life isn't exactly the same as the Buddhist Emptiness that scholars write about, but it is a form of emptiness nevertheless. What is important is that you be able to feel it, because it will give you the clarity and motivation to move on. In truth, if you reach this phase, you may already consider yourself to be amongst the fortunate because a lot of guys in Thailand never do: they are not enough in touch with their own heart to feel the great lacks that you are feeling.

Buddhist emptiness reflected in Buddhist auto repair
Buddhist emptiness reflected in Buddhist auto repair

If you were indulging in paid sex, you started to feel the emptiness right after the deed. Yes OK, your balls are empty, but your being feels empty too. No matter how pretty the girl was you just fucked, there is this sense of emptiness, loneliness perhaps, that begets you when you leave the brothel. You feel the urge to call a friend for a good conversation. You are making up for what you missed in the sex: a real connection of mind and heart.
If you do stick with paid sex, you may be shifting from brothels and erotic massage parlours with their mechanical sex to teen massages where the emphasis is more on massage and a chat with a sensual twist.

If you were dating girls, this would feel better because there is some human interaction between you and the girl: perhaps she is funny, perhaps you had a dinner together, but in the end, you start to feel bored because sadly the average Thai girl isn't that entertaining, lacks education, lacks language skills and life experience and is more childish than her age would suggest. So, you start to feel bored. First you put them on the sofa and open the tv to avoid the clumsy conversation before seducing her into sex, then even having a first date in a coffee shop starts to bore you: you prefer to pick them up on a first date and drive them straight to a room. Then, in the end you can hardly be bothered to get into dates at all.

It is in these moments of emptiness that you can (finally) hear the cry of your heart that tells you you're missing something. The most profound moment is right in the middle having sex with a beautiful girl. The girls is physically just perfect, she's just all the right shapes and sizes that you like. You've penetrated her, you're humping, and suddenly you wish to look deep into her eyes to see who she really is, inside, but you see nothing, nothing deep enough. It's the great physical sex that invites the other dimensions of your being, your mind and heart, into joining into this Heavenly Feast and what they really want is to meet all dimensions of your counterpart, but they don't find it so this is how you feel empty.

Congratulations, you are becoming aware of something inside yourself that will lead you further on your journey.


What your other dimensions really want, is actually recognizing themselves in the other, but this you only realize at a next moment you return to the Emptiness. It is in returning to the feelings of Emptiness that you realize that in all your endeavours with sex and love, you're actually on a spiritual journey and your heart is giving you the signals to show you the way.

✖︎ EXIT POINT ►: If you get out of the cycle here, you miss a great opportunity because you're not listening to the sounds of your inner being in the Emptiness. You become the DEAF.

✖︎ STUCK DESTINATION ►: If you remain stuck in the emptiness, you'll stay lonely forever because you're not able to do what's necessary in life to get what you really want. You become the LONER.



After having indulged in the world of pure sex and lust for a while, and having dipped in a state of emptiness for a few moments, you now have the clarity and motivation to move on to choose to spend more time with one particular girl than to keep serial-dating or frequenting only brothels. (Whether you're 100% loyal to her or not doesn't really matter in this context, you've picked one girl as a girlfriend, which means some level of commitment).

There is a reason why you can spend more time with this girl than with others. Maybe it's because of her personality, her looks, your common interests or whatever, perhaps she triggers something in you, the thing is there is something more than sex and after the deed is done so she doesn't bore you as much as the average girl.

Your Thai girlfriend
Summer love: your (first) Thai girlfriend

In this phase, you're still in the early days of a happy relationship because you both didn’t dig deep enough under the surface of your personalities and cultural backgrounds. You’re enjoying her warmth, her joy of life, the simplicity of being together, making trips, having dinner and having sex. She believes you’re a good guy, you’re handsome and you’re rich (enough) and she silently hopes for a family in the future.

This phase could last for a few months or easily for two years. Things are seemingly okay and you're not often having fights. It's because you didn't let her come close enough to who you really are. It's possible that you date a first girlfriend like this for a few months, then dump her when the going gets tough, and take another 'first' girlfriend. That simply means you're not really moving on, but you're stuck in the first girlfriend phase.

✖︎ EXIT POINT ►: If you leave here, you had a holiday romance. You can proud yourself of having a Thai girlfriend that you can see during your next trip. If you're foolish and naive enough, you're sending her money and if she's mean enough, she takes it from her other holiday boyfriend(s) too. You've become the FOOL.

✖︎ STUCK DESTINATION ►: If you don't leave the country, but you remain stuck at this level, you become the SERIAL DATER. You date a girl, call her your girlfriend for a while, then get bored of her and dump her for another. You don't stick with her long and deep enough to work through real relationship problems, rather you prefer to switch. This way, you avoid problems but you also miss out the opportunity to learn tremendously from what a deeper relationship can teach you about yourself, and how you can develop in it.



After the first and third sabai sabai phases, this phase is much harder. You are encountering (major) problems in the relationship but you're not avoiding them and you're not walking about from the relationship. Instead, you both stay committed and try to work through it. This is a big challenge that takes a great deal of energy, understanding and awareness and that can last a lifetime. But with every step you work through you can really grow and ultimately this is going to give you a deeper kind of happiness than anything in the earlier phases.

Typically, there are two kinds of problems that you will encounter in a relationship with a Thai woman:

  1. Problems with her personality, behaviour, her being a woman, her individual experiences in life and so on, in other words: the usual problems between men and women.
  2. Intercultural problems that are typical for a Thai-farang couple.

At first, it will be difficult to distinguish the two classes of problems: are you having a fight because she thinks you're impolite or is she just being moody? Later, when you understand more about Thai culture and how deeply it is ingrained into Thai women, no matter how worldly they may seem at surface, you will learn how to better deal with the cultural factor.

Some of the most common inter-cultural problems that are bound to occur in farang-Thai relationships are:

  • She doesn't address problems, rather ignores them, assuming or hoping they will fade away, while you want to solve them.
  • She values her family relationships differently from you. Farang tend to separate things more, even in the family.
  • She lacks education. Sadly, even if Thai girls went to university, the level of education is so much lower than anything you could imagine in the West, that there is always an education gap, unless you're dating that rich kid with some education in Bangkok, but she might have an attitude problem.
  • She finds you unmannered. Foreigners can seem rude in Thai eyes when addressing things too directly while Thai people can seem extremely rude in our eyes when saying yes to things they are not going to do anyway.
  • She never takes any initiative, even when you tell her to do so (which is a contradictio in terminis anyway).
  • She doesn't communicate clearly. She assumes things and she doesn't tell you clearly what she needs. She says yes to things she is actually not comfortable with, and later, much later it comes back to you.
  • She gets boring. She lacks interests and hobbies other than playing with her mobile phone.
  • She becomes jealous, checks on you, perhaps even checks your phone.
  • She doesn't tell you the full truth or she plainly lies to you but she has an excuse why she did that.

So, while same-culture couples already have a great deal to handle when it comes to their interpersonal, intergender and other differences, a farang-Thai couple also has the cultural factor to deal with, which can be interesting in good times but hard in bad times.

The challenge of this phase is to try to work on all of these issues instead of walking away from it. Surely, it's not going to be easy, it will give you a great headache, you may be hurting each other, but if you're working your way through it you will achieve a much greater understanding of her, her culture, and yourself. This is what it means to take responsibility, to be honest enough to see what is your part in it. This is what it means to forgive.

Unlike the rosy moonshine part, which is also the comfort-zone of a relationship, this is the hard part where you are making big steps spiritually.

✖︎ EXIT POINT ►: If you break up at this point, it could be because it just wasn't meant to be or you both just couldn't work it things out. Most of the time, this is not because of a lack of love, but because of a lack of spiritual awareness and a lack of communication skills. If you exit here, you become the BROKEN-HEARTED or the HEART-BREAKER.

✖︎ STUCK DESTINATION ►: If you remain stuck in the same relationship problems that aren't solved, if you can't forgive your partner for what she / he did, if you don't manage to understand your partner at a deeper level, you become the BITTER MOON (after the movie Bitter Moon, Roman Polanski 1992). You once deeply loved each other, but things happened between the two of you and the passion has died, but at the same time, neither of you can let go, so you're stuck to each other and not really evolving anymore. If you would have ended the relationship and evolve with someone else, you could have stayed light, but now both of you are doomed to stay together to the end of your days.
You can only console yourself in the fact that you're not the only one: millions of couples all over the world, not just in Thailand, are stuck in this phase.

Bitter Moon the movie
Relationships can end up like in Bitter Moon



This is an interesting phase, that challenges your perspective, your norms and values and your cultural background. You're still working through relationship problems but now you're specifically dealing with the issues that have a cultural root. In the beginning, you couldn't distinguish what the root of problems were, now you're understanding a bit more about Thai culture and you can tell when things clearly come from the inter-cultural difference.

If you're open-minded enough, your paradigm of what is right and wrong will be shifting.

Example 1: After dating with your girlfriend for more than two years, you suddenly find out that she's been spying on you. She went into your phone while you're sleeping or doing something else, checking if you were talking with other girls. This scene is featured in many Thai soaps and Youtubes of songs, it's typically Thai and it would be unacceptable in your Western culture as it's a breach of trust.
What do you do? Can you accept that it happened, discuss it, set new rules and forgive her? Or do you judge this is too big a breach of trust that you can't continue the relationship.

It may be completely wrong when judged from your (Western) cultural background, but it could be (to some extent) understandable in a Thai context.

Example 2: You find out that your girlfriend didn't tell you the full truth, worse: she lied to you. Interestingly, I still meet guys who've been 'happily' married to a Thai women for more than a decade and didn't know she was lying to him, in some ways. When I tell the guy she lied to him straight in his face while I was standing next to her, they are completely shocked.

The way Thai people deal with truth and lying, commitment and cancellation, agreements and changes, appointments and not showing up is completely different from the way Westerners deal with these issues. You could argue the truth is the truth and a lie is a lie and you have to stick to your agreement no matter what, but the reality is that most Thai don't do it that way: everything is flexible and bendable and somehow twistable in their mindset. Is that hypocrite? Yes, we would say so from a Western perspective, but from a Thai perspective 'the situation has changed'.

Westerners are trained to think logically and to distinguish and to stick to the rules, but all that is different in Thailand. Nothing is straightforward in Thailand, everything is bendable and there are always grey zones in everything. You learning to deal with that means dealing with different cultural factors, norms and values in a relationship.


So in this phase, you're being challenged to research what is important to you, how much you stick to your old values and to make new choices about what you can and cannot accept.

✖︎ EXIT POINT ►: If you exit from here, most likely it's because you cannot accept a different point of view. You're attached to your original paradigm, most likely the Western way of thinking, which often believes it has the moral highground and is superior to other ways of thinking. You didn't find a way to live in Thailand and merge your way of living with the local way, so you leave. You become the DOGMATIST.

✖︎ STUCK DESTINATION ►: If you remain stuck at this level, you're living in Thailand, often long-term, but you still don't adapt the Thai way of thinking and living and you're judging it as inferior.
You become the SUPREMACIST. Many SUPREMACISTS are also COMPLAINERS (Phase 5 in the Farang Cycle of Life and Death).



For some people, this phase comes much earlier, even before engaging into a real relationship, for others, it may come more towards the end, when they marry.

Disregarding when it shows up in your sex or love life, in Thailand money and wealth (differences) are is bound to play a major role, whether you like it or not. It is always the silent background factor.
Contrary to the situation in your home country, where the financial relationship between man and woman is pretty clear, where women have their own financial independence and where you share the same culture and customs about who spends on what, in Thailand there will always be issues about money and wealth.

Don't let Thai women put their nose into your financial matters or you are lost
Don't let Thai women put their nose into your financial matters or you're lost

With the exception of the real rich kids, mostly in Bangkok, who spend their parents' money as if it's nothing, in most cases, the women you will deal with are obviously poorer and they will expect you to take care of them. If her family is poor, you're probably expected to take care of them too, to some extent. Whether you pay for dinners, presents, a monthly allowance or a study "loan", it doesn't matter, the issue of money is going to come up and can disturb the relationship. You can loose friends over it, it can cause fights in relationships, a lot of it seemingly enhances your comfort but at the same time it attracts people who want it, not so much different from somewhere else you could say, but really that's not true, it's much more of an issue here than in any developed country I've been in.

Even if you think that your girlfriend is different, that she is "normal", and that there are no issues about money, in fact there are, it's always the silent background factor.

Issues with money and sex and love life in Thailand
Not being in control of your money in Thailand leads to you being a looser, a stingy guy or a victim.

A way to deal with money and wealth differences is to accept that you play a greater role as the provider here in Asia than in the West, and to give only what you are willing to loose without anything extra in return.

✖︎ EXIT POINT ►: If you quit here due to money issues, it's understandable but regrettable. You become the LOOSER, because you either don't earn enough, or you don't know how to handle money issues.

✖︎ STUCK DESTINATION ►: If you get stuck at this level, it means that you can't find the proper balance between spending and taking care of an Asian woman and your own finances. You become the CHEATED or the STINGY



A cultural factor that is interesting enough to highlight and that is somehow very typical of Thai culture is Thai women's tendency to sacrifice themselves and their need for drama.

Thailand's economy is driven by women, even if you go around as a tourist you'll notice that many jobs are done by women who often take care of their kid(s) alone with their mother, while the father has run (so-called Thai hit-and-run syndrome). Most of the students in the universities are somehow girls, not guys, probably because they are more diligent and committed.

Nevertheless, it is love that traps the women: they fall in love with a bad guy: he drinks, smokes, whores and chases other women, but still she is stupid enough to stay with him. A typical case I heard recently was of a masseuse who was so love blind that she let her employer transfer her hard-earned money to her boyfriend, who didn't worked. The boyfriend then paid his girlfriend 100 baht per day and kept in charge of the rest. The reason why she did this is because she loved him and was afraid to lose him, as her previous boyfriend wasn't good to her.
I have not come a situation anywhere in the world where women are so desperate for and blind by love as in Thailand.

It's hard to get hard facts, but most Thai guys are unloyal and admire the act of having an affair. The last guy who reminded me of that was a laywer I accidentally met at the Court where I was for family matters. He asked me if I have a girlfriend in Singapore while he knew I was in Court for family matters with my wife!

So, are Thai women that stupid to fall for the wrong men and sacrifice themselves? Well, maybe they are, but I think there are other, deeper reasons too. For one, it is the desperate need for love that drives them. For another, I believe it is the deep longing of the Thai soul to seek love and deep feelings that is manifesting itself here. In a culture where there is actually no true place for sad feelings, no place for melancholy, no place for deeper feelings because everything is supposed to be sabai sabai, the soul actually gets suppressed and then expresses itself in strange ways. A deep longing for love, an urge for drama and self-sacrifice, is the result.

Thai femme fatale will knock you out
Thai femme fatale will knock you out

If it goes too far, this self sacrificing can hurt her and hurt you, it can cause great misery and even a fatal ending for either you or her. In other words, if you don't guard her, your Thai girlfriend can become a Femme Fatale for herself or for you.

Every culture has its particularities. In Japan, there is a silent love and admiration for suicides, there is a lack of communication and expression and there is a suppression of sexual desires. This is why Japanese porn is so extreme, fantasies are outrageous, and there is a silent admiration for the honor of suicide.

In Thailand, there is no real place for deeper emotions, Thai people aren't brought up to feel and express them, everybody is just supposed to be sabai sabai. Most people are okay with that, they don't know better, but the collective unconscious of the Thai people is lacking and needs to feel the deeper emotions there are to feel. So I think this partly explains the urge for the fatalistic element in Thai relationships. You can watch it in soaps and movies, it's an essential element of contemporary Thai culture and I'd even say you haven't experienced Thai culture if you haven't personally witnessed this in people around you, or in your own relationship.

Seen from a different angle, perhaps Thai women's urge for drama and self-sacrifice is connected to Freud's Thanatos (death drive).

Thai girls will knock you out
Thai girls will knock you one way or another

✖︎ EXIT POINT ►: If you exit in this phase, it could be because you committed suicide after your wife or girlfriend took your life-time savings, the house you built in her name, or the money you invested in a business for her. She became your FEMME FATALE and you became her VICTIM. Reversely, if you averted her urge for sacrifice, she damaged herself and she became hysteric, got a health problem or otherwise. You then became her FARANG FATALE.

✖︎ STUCK DESTINATION ►: If remain stuck at this level, you are both constantly hurting each other. You become the TORMENTER.

Die Lorelei is the German version of the Sirens and the Femme Fatale Die Lorelei is the German version of the Sirens and the Femme Fatale
Die Lorelei is the German version of the Sirens and a reflection of the Femme Fatale concept


A next phase to enter is that of marriage. Marriage means a form of higher commitment than having a girlfriend whom you can dump anytime. To take the step of marriage requires more emotional, rational and spiritual readiness, it's not something to take lightly.

In Thailand, you can marry by performing a traditional ceremony which has no legal consequences and/or by registering your marriage at the municipality. Of course, the former is less committed than the latter, but still, to join in the ceremony with the entire family still means more than just having a relationship.
The most unthoughtful situation is when you don't live here but marry in Thailand out of romance and you don't realize what Thai marriage law really entails: at some point in time you may run into surprises when you realize that you're somehow bound by Thai law even though you are living somewhere else.

Whatever both your reasons are for marriage - she got unexpectedly pregnant, you want her to come and live with you in the West, you want to have experienced this once in your life, etc. - chances are that the marriage will affect her behaviour and attitude in several ways.

First, the business aspect of the marriage will come to surface, starting with the dowry ('sin sod') payable to her parents. As a rule of thumb, 'average girls' nowadays go for a few hundred thousand baht but 'rare species' may costs you as much as a few million! I once dated a girl who suggested that a good husband would buy her parents a nice house worth five million as a sin sod. She did me the great favour or communicating clearly in the early stages of dating, so that I could decide that I didn't want to be such a 'good' husband.

Truth to tell, many Thai girls nowadays don't require such sin sod anymore, or the money is given back to the couple to buy stuff for their own house, but there are still many Thai girls who are almost indebted to their parents from the moment they are born, and who feel a big opportunity to pay back that debt is by marrying a 'good husband' who can make sure the parents are well taken care of.
This is where the developing country aspect of Thailand kicks in: there are still large numbers of poor people while the government doesn't provide for sufficient allowances and so children are taught to take care of their parents.
You can even read this in Thai law regarding Parental Powers, which states that parents have the right to put their children to work.

Besides the pay back aspect of marriage, Thai women also expect financial security from marriage. So 'love' is definitely not the only factor, business and money are in the game too. At some point, you'll wonder whether she wanted to marry you for love or for business. The worst part is when a Thai woman starts to leverage against you, playing power games, especially when you enter the next phase of having children, and when they become more demanding and complaining.

Like women everywhere around the world, Thai women will also go into complaining and nagging, and meantime grow increasinly lazy, or get fat, and won't make as much effort to make the relationship work as before. That's not any different from women from other countries, but the business aspect of marriage is.

Besides that, some Thai women suddenly start to be very concerned about their 'honor', being with a man without officially being married, while they've been like that for years and while there really is no honor in this country, only a fear of losing face. If you thought your once cool Thai chick was as relaxed about modern forms of partnership, this is where you could get your surprise shock when she suddenly falls back into her Thai-ness and starts thinking and behaving more traditionally, emphasizing the institution of marriage and demanding all kinds of things from you.

Finally, what's also different from a Western situation is that by marrying her, you'll sometimes be wondering whether you married her entire family as well as somehow her family seems to be more important than you and she involves her family in relationship issues that were better kept private.

On your side, you'll have to exert much more patience than you ever did before marriage, swallow more sh.t than you would ever have, because you're in it together and it'll be such a hassle to get out.

The thing is, what are you going to do? If you delay marriage, she might complain that she's wasting time with you and that you never gave her anything, even though you took good care of her for years.

Seen from a purely hedonistic point of view, there is no point for a man to get married, unless you value the tradition, you're unrealistically romantic or you just believe that you can make her happy with it. But if you go with it, be prepared for all these changes.

✖︎ EXIT POINT ►: If you exit from here, it means you prefer to refrain from marriage and stick to relationship(s) only. Even if you have a relationship now and then, energetically you become in fact the BACHELOR because you can drop out of it anytime.

✖︎ STUCK DESTINATION ►: If you remain stuck here, you are still hesitating whether you found the true love of your life. You haven't been able to accept that all beings are imperfect, including yourself, and that it is in accepting the imperfect that you become more perfect. You are still waiting for all things to be right, for the princess on the white horse to arrive, but that will never happen. You become the WHITE HORSE WATCHER.



You may arrive at this stage by accident: she got pregnant unplanned. Or you progressed through all of these phases consciously, solved each and every problem and made a clear choice to have children with this woman. However you got here, children are the most physical form of expression of the bond between you, even when that bond fades, you will still be the father and she will still be the mother.

If you're a lucky guy, your marriage is solid and children enhance the happiness. If you're less lucky, you'll experience things which are more likely to happen with Thai women than with Western women:

  • She completely forgets about you. She suddenly decides that to have children is what counts most to her, and that her partner is not so important to her anymore. Some Thai women already think this way before getting pregnant (just get a kid, the guy is not so important), others come to that conclusion right after giving birth. Thailand is definitely the country with the highest number of single moms that I've ever lived in, it's so common that nobody is surprised to about the situation that the mother is working, the kid is at home with the woman's mother, and the father is gone. While divorced parents are still a bit of a stigma and cause a bit of trauma to children in several Western countries, in Thailand it's so common that it's not an issue at all.
  • Games about power and money involving the child are very well possible: she might use the children as leverage against you.

If you thought that your girl was different, this is your reality check. The more comfortable the girl is (read: the more security she has), the more she'll boomerang back to her Thai-ness. If your children are mix farang-Thai, you can be sure that some in the Thai family are alluring that the kids will become movie stars.

Raising children lasts for the rest of your life, the challenge is the cycle in Thailand is to deal with a Thai partner who is likely to fall back into her old thinking.

✖︎ EXIT POINT ►: If you exit from here, you've reached some level of commitment to your Thai partner, but there is no offspring. You become the CHILD WATCHER as you visit friends and family with children but you don't have have your own.

✖︎ STUCK DESTINATION ►: If you remain stuck here, there are somehow issues with having children. It could be physically, that the sex isn't that interesting anymore or because of infertility, or you're both emotionally not ready for this next step. You remain the CHILDLESS.



If you made it to this phase, you walked through the entire cycle and it ends here. If you separate from your partner here, it's different from dumping a holiday love in phase 1 or 2, of course. Even if it ends now, you did share important life events together with all the depth and beauty that comes with it and also with the struggling. The fact that it ends here, doesn't mean that the entire journey was worthless. You were both enriched with life experiences and if you were spiritually open, you helped each other grow and become a better version of yourself.

The separation process could go smooth when both parties are mature enough, but most of the time, with Thai women there will be a power struggle, games being played, threats over money or children, and if you were once attracted by the warmth of Thai women, you will now be repelled by their abhorrent coldness and cruelty. She may use the kids as a tool of revenge to hit you, meanwhile damaging her children, something you as a father would avoid at all costs because you care for your children and you also wouldn't want to be so cruel to your ex-partner, but she doesn't. If she was once modest and didn't ask for money, she will now try to leverage whatever she can to get more money or wealth out of you. In other words, all of her dark sides that are also part of her culture will now emerge in full swing. I've seen men cry on benches over the cruelty of their once lovely Thai women and you can read plenty of stories about that online. It's not just the money that is involved, but the emotion that can make this process extremely exhausting.

One of the most heartless cases was a guy who separated from his wife, paid money to her and the kid for 7 years, only to find out during a fight in the 7th year that the kid was not even his. His ex-wife had known that all along, and it slipped from her mouth in the heat of the fight. Disregarding the money spent, the women had been so heartless to fool him for such a long time.

Your separation can be just as meaningful as your falling in love and as liberating as death can be. When you are both done sharing your life together, it's better to move on. When you have exchanged what you needed and wanted to exchange, when you reached your goal of teaching and helping each other in your development, you can let go of each other and be open to a new cycle.

✖︎ EXIT POINT ►: If you exit here, it means you shy away from the decision to separate. You either flee from the relationship or let it die by itself. You become the ESCAPIST.

✖︎ STUCK DESTINATION ►: If you remain stuck here, it could be that the purpose of your relationship has ended but you are not ready to acknowledge that. You stay together longer than you have to, blocking yourself from other life opportunities. You become the TIME WASTER.

Ulysses and the Sirens by Herbert James Draper
Ulysses and the Sirens - by Herbert James Draper


This concludes my observations on the lifecycle most foreigners go through when it comes to sex and love in Thailand. Most likely you'll recogize some typical patterns, or perhaps you completely disagree with me, your cycle is completely different and you're amongst the happy few or your girlfriend is really different, in any way, I don't imagine or pretend to know the truth, just treat this as an entertaining view of the world as things may happen in Thailand.

Without any judgement, many of my close mates are actually stuck in phase 1 or 3 and are completely happy there, from what they can see. From what I see, they keep swallowing the BLUE PILL, and I once took the RED PILL.

Not so much has changed in nearly 3,000 years between Odyssey's journey and that of Neo in the Matrix. Odyssey wanted to experience all that his journey had to offer him to the full extent, no matter how horrible or tempting or heart-breaking. So he had himself tied to the mast, fully exposed to the sounds of the Sirens. Neo had the feeling something was wrong, something was missing, reality wasn't real enough, and he took the blue pill to wake up, even though it could be a horrible world he would wake up in and he'd have to leave his comfort zone.

Both Odyssey and Neo survived, a world of experience richer and they both developed themselves to become fuller men.

In the same way, if you really want to experience real life in Thailand and develop yourself to a fuller version of yourself, I'd say don't shelter but engage and expose yourself but buckle yourself up against a mast.

The choice is yours - take the blue pill or the red pill
The choice is yours: take the blue pill and stay in Wonderland, or take the red pill and wake up in reality. Source: The Matrix


Do you have any comments or views on this? Share it below.


1. This article is written mainly from the perspective of a male audience. The story is completely different for farang women in Thailand, who go through very different phases and probably have trouble to find a suitable partner.
2. Thai-land (ประเทศไทย) literally means the Land of the Free.

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What do you think about this article?

R Posted on February 13, 2024 at 01:58:21
Very nice summary.
I am Asian, but I grew up in a typical, non-poor family.
I have followed some of the phases of this text, and although I understand the experiences of the pioneers, I can't seem to get out of it.
But we must understand that we need to draw the line somewhere.
It was very useful just to know that Farang was thinking and struggling with the same thing.
lennon Posted on December 28, 2023 at 01:55:09
another stage is The Doormat . This is where the guy refuses to walk away from a bad situation due to the money he has put in . He will put up with his wife;s blatant affairs and her stealing from him for gambling , her bad mouthing him in front of people . He will take all levels of disrespect just so he can remain in the house he has paid for .
Dave Posted on December 21, 2023 at 05:25:25
Brilliant, thorough, thought provoking and well written. I recommend it to people who want to deepen their understanding of themselves and their relationships.
Michael Posted on November 06, 2023 at 15:34:22
Brilliant - Make the most of it while I can, go with the flow, and suck it up. I'll never have this love intensity again. so
David Posted on November 01, 2023 at 11:53:51
Another excellent article, I wish I had found such insight 20 years ago.
Pablo Posted on March 24, 2023 at 06:53:31
I loved this summary, living in The Philippines now for 30+ years and also a regular visitor to Thailand & Vietnam, it is very relatable.
In my experience, the critical issue in a relationship is the finances. This is because Farang and Asian views of finances are directly opposite. In Western society, we are used to take our own responsibility, plan and prepare. In Asian culture, your money is supposed to be shared amongst the needy family, tomorrow will take care of itself and the girl is expected to bring home the bacon. How to deal with that? Invariably, Westerners tend to "help" the family initially until they see they are taken for a ride. Because don't you fool yourself, Asian people are tough and pretend they don't have any money and let most of the family fend for themselves while Westerners are often softies, not used to hiding their wealth, so they are easy to fleece. And from the the Asian perspective, that is only reasonable because the Farang obviously has enough cash.
It is a situation almost every Farang goes through and it causes most relations to crash eventually.
Unnecessary actually, you have to manage & balance expectations and "your face".
Never take a "reasonable position". The Asian does not understand "reasonable" in financial issues. They have a completely different experience, expectations and emotion.
You, on the other hand, have to look generous and emphatic while not breaking the bank. How to do this is a bit different for everybody, but never show savings (seen as immediately spendable in Asia). You can "show" a monthly income and use solely that for everything, even the inevitable "medical emergencies", "study support" or "business opportunities". You will have to display a financial behaviour consistent with the picture you want to display. Building a house or buying a car is not compatible with a modest Farang, it means that he has money and where there is money for a house or car, there is more and that needs to be "shared". Then the Asian family will go to work and somehow manage to get hold of your savings.
So, certainly in the first decade, never show your actual situation. The Asian party will pretend that renting is not possible and a house needs to be built... tc. Bullshit, you can rent nice places and cars, if you want. Pretend to save a bit for the "emergencies" and spend that generously when opportunistic. After maybe 10 years, if you deem the situation stable enough, you could consider building your house from "an inheritance". But even then the Asian party might see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I have seen many relations break after decade(s), often about money, on par with when the man can't keep his dick out of the honeypot. Whatever the cause, you loose all your investment, house, car and kids. And many a Farang has offed himself.
In short, you need to balance finances while appearing generous and caring. A game played professionally by most Asians and very difficult for farangs. But critical.
Finances and jealousy are the main reasons for relations going sour. Be aware and take it slowly. Very slowly.... Asian style....
If your partner presses you for speed and commitment, a house or a car, that should be a big red flag and it might well be time to move on.

The other side of the story is the "it's up to you" attitude of the woman. Difficult to gauge what is expected, needed or essential. Here, the trick to keep your finances under control is essential. Show how much "you have" and discuss the options. This discussion requires patience, lots of patience. Don't ever do the Western Male Thing: "OK, then I decide".... Just keep talking, repeating the options in many varieties and then you get a feeling what is actually expected. Even if a silly solution is the result of the discussion, so what? Nothing lost, maybe a lesson for the future. If you play it right, you will have a fierce defender in the woman, she will explain to the family/friends what can be done and why not more and tell them in a nice Asian style to fuck off without insulting anybody. Then, you have set the limits and future begging is increasingly easy to manage.
If this process does not work, you have another red flag.

Hey, many girls have gone through many stupid farangs who were tricked into handing over their cash. Or they are pressed by their family to milk the cashcow. Those are often the women who never will be able to stay in a long term relationship. You have to be prepared to pull the plug before serious damage is done. It is difficult enough to merge 2 opposite cultures, you need to limit the possibility for financial fights. Don't put all your (nest) eggs in the same basket.
Can a long term relationship work? Certainly, but it takes hard work, patience, consistency & compassion. A financial stable picture is essential to make it work. Whether perceived or actual stable. Do not expect an understanding of your financial troubles from the woman, she just ticks differently. It works for Asians in Asia, but you're a Farang and will not be able to live the financial life of the Asian, don't even try. Too many farangs went home in a black bag or in a small box. Keep your (public) financial picture simple and clear and consistent (for the outside world).

The other side of the medal: Some of us have educated partners who had good jobs before. This group of people had a challenge to let their women accept a "common household".
Asian women expect to being abandoned by their men and therefore want to remain financially independent. It can be difficult to lure them out of their circle and enter yours. Creating an opportunity for them to get their own business can enhance your relationship. Or break your bank as unreasonable optimism is a feature of the culture here.

In summary: the financial aspect of a long term relationship with an Asian woman is probably the most contentious part of that relationship.
Sam Posted on March 19, 2023 at 14:02:32
Thank you. One of the best articles on this subject I have read in 12 years of living here. Be lucky.
Cam Posted on March 11, 2023 at 03:01:08
I found this super disturbing, deeply misogynistic, quite pathetic, and it put me off getting a student visa via this website. Very unsure why this is on this site.
Tony Posted on February 27, 2023 at 03:10:18
I've been in Thailand for 20 years. Your article is the best summary of this topic I've ever read. Way to go!!!
Gui Posted on December 06, 2022 at 11:19:54
Nice reading thank you.

I’ve noticed in Thailand the very toxic : “the situation have changed” . I find it to be a major barrier to a sound relationship. I’d also argue that it’s not a westerner culture trait to stick to promises or commitments. I’ve been dating in Vietnam and when something is planned they stick to it no matter what. Especially when the girl is into you
Damien Posted on September 16, 2022 at 10:49:53
Very interesting Website, especially the "Farang Cycle of Sex and Love in Thailand" ! As I have been living with a Chinese woman nearly 15 years in France, I had to deal with intercultural issues, and I agree with you on the fact money often is a silent divisive factor !
A. Posted on April 13, 2022 at 09:20:03
I would like to congratulate you all for what CML has to offer. Super articles and abundant content.
I have really appreciated the "Farang Cycle of Sex and Love in Thailand" from Hunter.
Lots of observation, wisdom and spirit
Jon Posted on March 19, 2020 at 23:41:08
I am just amazed how the westerner had insight of eastern BS so accurately. I know all that garbage because I am the easterner.
Taoist Posted on October 12, 2018 at 16:44:01
What a long story. Reasonably accurate in many ways. I believe if only Farangs are allowed to work in Thailand then the whole situation changes for the better. You work hard you forget many problems you keep your self respect.
You will need a lot of luck to find a good Thai woman to get marry to so you chances are slim.
You want a good example of a good woman, a Chinese woman in China works very hard to help her farang husband. She just work towards a successful marriage rather than just looking for money.