What It’s Like Dating a Thai Man

Thailand is a country in Southeast Asia that was able to avoid European colonization. As such, the country’s rich culture and traditions stay relatively untouched to this very day.  For those unfamiliar with Thai culture, the dating scene in Thailand may come as a shock. It’s worth noting, though, that that hasn’t deterred foreign men from romancing Thai women. However, you cannot say the same for the other way around. Relationships between a foreign woman and a Thai man is still a novel concept in the Land of Smiles.

A novel concept, but not at all impossible to make a reality. If you’re looking to pursue Thai men, then there’s a lot you should know. You’ll first need to learn about the intricacies of Thai masculinity to understand them better. Join the TrulyThai team on this electrifying journey.

They have strong faith and patriotism.

A Thai man praying

Much like other people, Thai men have things that they value the most. First on the list is their religion. Second is their country, and third, by extension, is the monarchy. Their devotion to these values stems from the coming of age rituals they go through as they become adults.

They can undergo monastic training.

Every Thai man is encouraged to be ordained as a monk at least once in their life. Their expected time of service can range from anywhere between one week to three months. During this period, they learn to understand the importance of Buddhism and the rich culture it carries. 

While this is a practice that is not mandatory, most see it as a prerequisite for marriage. Learning the Buddhist ways, such as living a slow life, is an excellent lesson to learn. Families also use this in evaluating Thai men in terms of their character.

Additionally, undergoing this rite of passage earns Thai men the respect of society. If you’re dating a Thai man who has entered the monastery, consider it a point in their favor. Your partner is sure to be someone that will treat you well.

If you’re an animal lover, then you’ll fall in love with Thai men even more. Buddhists believe that people with bad karma can reincarnate into animals or even insects in their next life. So, the monastic training of Thai men gives them a greater appreciation for animals. 

Their military service is mandatory.

Thai men value their military so much because every man over the age of 21 is an army man. Their intense devotion is due to the requirement of serving for two years before the age of 21. During this time, they strengthen their sense of patriotism while they train. Besides having better physical health, they’ll also have better discipline – two traits that you may greatly appreciate in a partner.

On another note, if you’re dating Thai men that haven’t done their mandatory service, you should be prepared for their long absence. Talk about how your relationship will change while your partner is away. 

If you aren’t interested in a long-distance relationship, you should clarify it early on, before you hurt each other’s feelings. Otherwise, do your best to keep in touch with them and support them if the training gets too tough.

A waving Thai flag

While Thai guys are humorous and fun to be with, don’t make jokes about their faith or country. Even if it is something that you intended as a jest, they might take it as an offense. No matter how close you are with your partner, it’s best to tread lightly and stay safe.

“Giks” are common.

Thais are known for their near-limitless tolerance, and unfortunately, this applies to infidelity as well. Their tolerant culture has led Thai men to believe that it’s acceptable to pursue other women while still in a relationship. Having multiple partners is so widespread that they have an official term for their side chicks, also known as “gik.”

This is probably one reason why there aren’t many known cases of foreign women dating Thai men. So if you’re planning to date a Thai man, it’s best to lay your cards on the table as soon as possible. If you want a monogamous relationship, you need to make that loud and clear before getting to the first date.

Sometimes, however, the non-confrontational nature of Thai men discourages heavy relationship discussions. Being too vocal with your emotions is frowned upon, and saving face is important. If that’s the case for you, be warier of your partner’s activities. Learn to recognize if your partner treats you as a faen, which means boyfriend or girlfriend, or a gik.

One of the most significant signs that your partner sees you as a gik is when they’re hiding you from the public. That means your partner doesn’t post photos of you together or meets with you in secret. If you ever do get together outside, there’s sure to be a friend tagging along. 

If you’re dating a Thai guy and you start to observe this kind of behavior, calmly confront them. Avoid lashing out, especially if your feelings were hurt. Having a gik or two (or even more) is normal for them. Sometimes, they don’t understand that it’s not always acceptable for everyone. 

The best you can do in that situation is to explain your side and talk about what to do from there. You might be willing to pursue the relationship, or you’re ready to break it off. Whatever your decision may be, your partner will respect it. 

Don’t expect to stay friends afterward though. In Thai culture, once a couple has broken up, their ties are permanently severed. 

They follow the phrase “Mai pen rai.”

“Mai pen rai” is a Thai phrase that means, “never mind” or “don’t worry about it.” It’s a phrase that reflects their beliefs and how they don’t cling to the material world. It’s also the result of living in an Asian country that was left to its own devices. 

“Mai pen rai” is a phrase that projects positive thinking, and it allows the Thai people to be content and satisfied with what they have. It’s also one of the reasons why Thai men can tolerate so much before reaching their breaking point. If you want a calm, laid-back life, you could do no better than dating a Thai guy.

But it’s not always a positive thing. Thai men can get complacent from time to time because of this trait. It can sometimes feel like you’re leading the relationship. They’re likely to go along with what you want and what you’re saying, to the point that they don’t say what they want. It might feel like they’re not genuinely interested in you.

However, just because they’re easygoing doesn’t mean that they don’t have personalities of their own. Think of it as your partner having a more open mind when it comes to new experiences. If you’re worried that they’re feeling uncomfortable or dislike something, talk about it privately.

They’re easygoing and mild-mannered.

Rarely will you see a Thai man lose his temper. Since they’re Buddhists, they avoid extremes and almost always take the middle path. 

In the west, showing anger can be empowering, vindicating even. But in Thailand, losing your temper is shameful, so make sure to avoid it at all costs. You’ll find that Thai people tend to smile through everything to avoid emotionally lashing out. They’ll do anything to avoid being shamed.

Shame is such a powerful deterrent in Thailand that one of the worst things you can do to a Thai person is to make them lose face. They’re so scared of losing face that a Thai man might not make a move on you even if he likes you. Sometimes, it might be necessary for the woman to start flirting in Thailand. If push comes to shove and you still can’t get them to man up, it might be a good idea to ease into a relationship by offering to be friends first.

Grace and politeness is part of their lifestyle.

There’s this graceful, laidback, but respectful way of living that sets Thai men apart. So to impress them, you must carry yourself with their accustomed grace and politeness. The best way to do this is to master how to do the “wai” properly.

The “wai” is a gesture in which you join your palms together as if in prayer, then raise them to your chest, while you gently bow your head. Thais use it in various situations, but ultimately, it’s a sign of respect and humility.

Wai gesture

It’s a gesture with Buddhist origins. The meeting of the two palms represents two people meeting as equals. It’s such an integral part of Thai culture that they teach Thai children how to do it as soon as they can put their hands together. 

There is a good reason for this. Status is a big deal in Thailand. It’s important to give varying degrees of respect to people based on their social status. Don’t forget to pay your respects to them. Besides figures of authority, elders are also high on the social ladder. 

One of the most important figures of authority is monks. If you meet a monk or someone you deeply respect, you can show it by pressing your thumbs to your chin while making the “wai” gesture and then bowing deeply. 

On another note, don’t beat yourself up if you forget the greeting etiquette sometimes. Thais know that foreigners don’t always understand their culture. Nevertheless, they’ll still acknowledge the effort you’ve made. It will definitely be something that Thai guys will appreciate.

If you’re considering dating Thai men, these are just some of the things you should know beforehand. While these tips aren’t set in stone, they’re still good to keep in mind. 

Most importantly, don’t stress out about ensuring that dating goes well. The best way to enjoy the experience is to take it easy, let the relationship run its course, and get to know your partner slowly and steadily.

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