In Thailand, age gaps might not seem uncommon at all, especially between Thai/Farang relationships. It is quite common to find Thai/Farang couples where the age gap may be 20 years. However, age is an issue for plenty of Thais and it definitely isn’t just a number.
Everyone has their own opinion regarding age gaps. There are mixed reactions and preferences about age gap dating in Thailand. Thailand is a status based society and there is also a hidden caste system. Traditionally, people in Thailand marry within their caste with people of similar economic means which makes it hard for anyone to advance and change their caste.
In general, most Thai women want to marry someone closer to their age. Usually up to 5 years is the norm as they will have similar backgrounds and be in similar stages of life which could make it much easier to understand each other. On the other hand, some women, particularly of lower class such as those who live in the Isan province and who do not have much financial means might be more open to marry someone with a bigger age gap, especially a foreigner because he can give them the chance to break out of her economic and social situation.
Some Thai girls also prefer older guys because first of all, the older the guy, the less of the chance of him cheating on her (in most cases). This is especially important in Thailand because Thai men are known to have affairs and mistresses or “mia noi” are also more common than in western countries. Additionally, older men tend to be more financially stable and have their life together. Although there are mixed preferences for age gaps, statistically most Thai girls prefer guys who are just a few years older than them.
What do The families of the woman think about age gaps?
In general, Thai’s do not have large age gaps, and they are likely to frown upon it. This is because in the baby-boomer generation, Thai people get married and have kids in their early 20s, so if you are 10 years or more older than your Thai girl, chances are that you might only be 10 years or less younger than her parents. Furthurmore, Thai society is all about saving and maintaining face so if a Thai person’s daughter is dating a much older man then this can cause issues as rumours and gossip might spread accusing the girl of getting married for money. As with everything, it depends from family to family, however, if the age gap is more than 10 years then they might not be as pleased with it, especially at the beginning.
What do the girl’s friends think about age gaps?
There are alot of factors which can affect how the girl’s friends think about age gaps. A Lot of it depend on appearances and looks. In Thailand, looks and appearance are very important to Thai culture and people usually like to maintain their appearance in order to not be looked down on. Because of this factor, if the guy looks much older than the Thai girl then this could spread gossip, which is a favourite pastime for Thais.
Furthermore, the Thai girl may be seen as a gold digger as she is with a guy who is much older than her. Of Course this is not always true and many Thai people do not mind age gaps but it is something to consider particularly considering that Thai girls tend to look way younger than their age. In general, as long as the age gap is not over 10 years, people will not think much of it, especially if the appearance of both partners appear closer in age. Some might not even notice it.
Differences in age gap in Thailand and the West
In general, Thai people are a little bit more open to bigger age gaps as compared to the western world, where it is frowned on and extremely uncommon. Society in south-east Asia is more practical and open about bigger age gaps. It can also appear that bigger age gaps are more common here especially in interraicial marriages. It might seem that way due to many older foreigners having young Thai wives but in reality, the numbers do not add up much and the age gap in south east asia is only 3 years old.
According to statistics, age gaps in Thailand and the west are quite similar, however, it could appear that its much more common here because many foreigners have younger Thai wives and it is also more accepted here.
What should you do?
It is not possible to tell if age gap dating is accepted in Thailand or not because it differs from each person and the tolerance also depends on many other factors. In order to be safe and to avoid problems in the future such as the girl having to hide you from her family etc. try to find someone closer to your age. A good guideline is to use the “half plus 7 years” rule. The half plus 7 year rule basically means that the person that you are seeing should be around half your age plus 7 years. For example, if youre thirty years old, the girl should be a minimum of 30/2=15+7= 22 years old. If you are able to find someone who is even closer to your age than that then that could also bring benefits as you will have a similar way of thinking and be in the same stages in your life. It will also be much easier to communicate and understand each other.