Candles in the Darkness.
Foreign males and Thai ladies.
It has been a lot of fun and most of the conclusions I have drawn are merely conjecture based upon personal experience or by observing others. In general, I have warned that these relationships are packed with obstacles and dangers, even more so than the standard boy-meets-girl romances back home.

The reason behind my rather cynical approach to foreign male-Thai lady unions is that too many men become emotionally destroyed when the relationship breaks down. Sometimes there are tragic results and it would be a rare week for a Pattaya newspaper not to cover at least one story of a foreign man taking his own life because of a broken heart.

Yes, that is a pessimistic approach and I wear my pessimism like a suit of armour to protect me from the emotional rollercoaster of disappointment. On the flip side, a pessimist also experiences the joy of being wrong. Not too many people in this world can claim to be happy about being proved wrong. Having said that, I am happy to announce that quite a few foreign male-Thai lady unions begun in this city appear to be successful.

Will they still be successful in ten years time? Who knows; but for the sake of this article I can say that each has been successful for at least five years and shows no sign of disharmony. One very good friend married a Thai lady and bought a house here in Pattaya. They now have two children and could not be happier. Another friend, a former Pattaya bar owner, married his girlfriend and moved up country where they also now have two children.

Yet another married a girl from a Go Go Bar, took her up country, fathered a child and now lives a life of rural tranquility. A good friend and neighbor has been married to an older Thai lady for many years. To everyone's surprise, he is now the father of a bouncing baby boy. Before letting the suspicious demon out of the bag, let me explain that the child is the spitting image of his father, leaving no doubt about his parentage and no need for DNA confirmation.

As for the surprise part, the guy's son from his previous marriage, and thus the child's half-brother, is 45 years old. My mate Greg came to Thailand and fell in love. They married and, after spending a lot of time and money, he legally adopted her two young children from her previous Thai marriage. They moved to Australia and the family of four could not be happier.

Finally there is my mate Casper (not his real name as no sane parent would ever name his son Casper). He married a Thai lady and legally adopted her young daughter. He will be the first to admit that the first couple of years were rocky and it was touch and go whether the union would survive.

But it did survive and he is now the father of a son as well as a daughter. All of the above men have led interesting lives and none of them are saints. In each case, the possibility that current family happiness is his reward for a life of clean living and sobriety can be ruled out. So what made these unions a success?

I am certain that luck had a lot to do with it. But perhaps, the fact that each has sown a thousand acres of wild oats during his past brought him to a point where settling down with a wife and family became the most appealing option.

Notice that a child or children was the common link in each case. Some of us are the marrying kind and some of us are not.

For others, maybe they simply need to be led through all the alternatives first, before making a commitment. Whatever the case, I truly wish all the above, and others like them, the happiness they deserve.

I also thank them for letting us cynics know that, in spite of the darkness, there is always a lit candle somewhere.

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