From Vietnam Veteran to Cuckolded Husband of a Cheating Thai Wife
Thai Marriage Reality
Joe ( this is not his real name) is a big brawny Vietnam Vet. I met him in the park where I go to exercise. Joe is rather loud, politically he is way to the right of Attila the Hun and speaks his mind quite forcefully. In fact he actually got himself thrown out of Thailand for insulting the King. When I tell you that a well known Thai TV personality was actually jailed for publicly referring to the King as ” The Skipper”, a reference to the Monarchs well known love of sailing, you will appreciate just how heinous Joe’s crime was.
Joe receives an invalidity pension related to his time in the military because of the severity of his disability he is eligible for the maximum amount. I have no idea what the disability is he did not offer the information and I did not ask. His invalidity pension when combined with his social security entitlement means that Joe is a relatively wealthy man in Thailand.
Joe has been married to his Thai wife for just over five years. When he met her in Bangkok she told him that she worked in a factory. It took Joe three years to figure out that his wife actually worked in the sex industry. Now I do not think Joe is a stupid man but sometimes people are willing to let themselves be deluded, which is I think what happened in this instance.
Joe lives in an apartment block where his wife spends little time. He is convinced that she has a Thai boyfriend and that when she says she is going to get a paper and disappears for three hours she is in fact visiting her boyfriend. By his estimate she has had $100,000 of his money in the time they have been together, or more accurately not been together. Most of this money will have gone to her Family who live in Rural Issan.
“Why do you put up with it I asked him?” Joe thought about this for a while before he replied. ” Because I still cannot believe that anyone can be this stupid, I cannot believe how stupid I have been but she gives a whole new meaning to the word stupid!!”. Joe went on to tell me that he has had numerous Thai Women who are Married to American ex servicemen or are their widows explain to his Wife just how much money she will receive for the rest of her life when he dies.
In point of fact according to Joe there can often be a fairly lengthy delay from the time of her partners death up until his widow starts to collect the above mentioned pension. Joe had even opened a bank account in his wife’s name where he had deposited 200,000 Baht to tide her over after he died. “When I checked this account Joe said ruefully she had emptied it!”
I explained my take on this behaviour as being absolutely typical of Thai thinking promises of wealth in the future cut little ice, it is what can be obtained today that matters. While agreeing with me up to a point Joe still professed his utter bemusement at the total lack of foresight or common sense which were indicated by his Wife’s attitude.
Joe has not parted with his $100,000 quietly. By his estimate his Wife and he have been thrown out of most apartment buildings in Town because of the disturbance caused to the other residents by the severity and frequency of their quarrels over money. I imagine that what happens is that eventually his wife just wears him down to the point where he capitulates just to get some peace!! No one should underestimate the persistence of a greedy Thai woman in pursuit of a Baht!!
Joe’s Wife has two teenage sons, as his stepchildren they are also eligible for fairly generous financial assistance from Uncle Sam. Rather sadly Joe told me that what he had started out wanting to do was to was actually help somebody less fortunate than himself. Instead he has wound up with a Wife who helps herself to his money on an ongoing basis, in-laws who spend that money as quickly as his wife can Filch it. And two step sons who sit around with the rest of the Family avoiding any type of work at all costs.
Joe has rather an interesting take on the workings of this particular Family. While it has always been my understanding that Thai families are so close knit because of the incredibly strong bonds which exist within the group. Joe believes that the family who are essentially bringing up his stepchildren are in fact using them rather like hostages. And that while they have charge of the children Joe’s wife will continue to bring home the bacon!!
I think that Joe’s theory as explained above is worthy of consideration. When you consider that the vast majority of Thai Women will have had at least one child at a very young age. While the mothers often move away to earn a living in the sex industry or whatever her offspring will inevitably be raised by the family. The fact that her parents have total control over her children may indeed act as a fairly powerful spur in the daughters willingness to obtain money from her hapless Western man!!
Joe told me that he has recently confronted the family. On a visit to the village he shouted at them (in English) in front of all their neighbours that they had seen their last Baht from him. The cause of Joe’s anger was the appearance of a shiny new tractor which they had bought to harvest the rice. The explanation which is apparently always offered for the appearance of goods which have obviously cost a lot of money is that the Family have sold some land!! Just how much land do they have raged Joe, The truth is I paid for that tractor and every other dam thing they have!!!
What I found saddening about Joe,s story was that in spite of his volatility and the machinations of his wife he obviously still cares for her. ” No one gives a dam about her,” he said, “not her family, not Buddha, nobody!” When I left him Joe was talking about returning to live in America. I could not help feeling that here was a man who whilst obviously the author of his own misfortunes was more sinned against than sinning.