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Advice about my dowry situation


TkoFarang
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Hello All,

I'm new to this forum but am hoping I can hear some advice. Please allow me to explain my situation.

I met my Thai wife in Japan, and this is where we currently live. After 4 years of dating I proposed to her and then 1 year later we got married purely in the legal sense (at the city hall in Tokyo).

We are hoping to have an actual wedding in Thailand after Covid has calmed down. Now I need to be clear, I was made aware of the dowry before we got married, and my understanding of it was that it would cost somewhere around £3000 and that typically it is given back and is more of a symbolic gesture. So, we offered a dowry of £3000.

My wife's mother rejected the offer of £3000 and started demanding upwards of £12000. My wife informed me of this and I was lost for words. Simply put, I don't have that kind of money. After some discussion, my wife was able to lower the dowry to £6000. This is better but still very high, as we need money for our future.

Regardless of the money, I am also upset by the attitude on display by my wife's mother. Every time we talk all she wants to ask about is the money and when we will pay. She doesn't care about the fact we are married, she hasn't congratulated us once. It really does feel as if she only sees me as some cash cow.

Different cultures, I get it. But still, this is a huge issue that is dividing my wife and I. She has told me that she disagrees with the amount and wishes we didn't need to pay it, but she still argues that it is a major part of Thai culture and that we can't escape it. I was not against paying some form of dowry, but I am upset by the huge amount and the attitude in which my wife's mother is asking for it.

Am I in the wrong? Should I just suck it up? My wife's sister is also constantly asking for money and this is draining my wife's and my resources very quickly. We haven't been able to afford things for ourselves for a while as my wife keeps sending money to her sister. I feel as if I am suffocating under all of these monetary demands.

I love my wife, I really do. She is currently pregnant with our first child. I want us to be able to provide a good life for our child but at this rate I am worried we simply won't be able to afford anything.

Thank you for letting me vent, if nothing else.

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58 minutes ago, TkoFarang said:

It really does feel as if she only sees me as some cash cow.

She/you wouldn't be the first one!

The question is, how deep your wife is in this system, still! Sounds like very deep.

Which can result, if you do not meet the families expectations,  that there will be a changed forced later, by the family. To a better cash cow/search of one!

Or another way: Sounds like if you wouldn't be married already, there would probably not be a wedding in Thailand.

But: Are you certain, that the demanded 12k, now 6k, would not be returned?  There is a lot of face involved, to show the money on ceremony day.

Also: Do you know the lifestyle of the family? How is there social status?

Is the daughter sending money from Japan? What is her education/job?

Like a friend of mine once said, the best future Thai Wife is an orphan with no siblings!

Sounds cynical, but seems, not only in Thailand, often to be true

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36 minutes ago, TkoFarang said:

my understanding of it was that it would cost somewhere around £3000 and that typically it is given back and is more of a symbolic gesture.
{snipped}
Regardless of the money, I am also upset by the attitude on display by my wife's mother. Every time we talk all she wants to ask about is the money and when we will pay. She doesn't care about the fact we are married, she hasn't congratulated us once. It really does feel as if she only sees me as some cash cow.

I think that says a lot.

It might be Thai culture to make some sort of token payment, and that's only if your wife was a virgin.
How much would you be prepared to pay to buy your wife? That's what it boils down to in my view.

Speaking personally, when I met my wife, she had a son already. There was never any mention of dowry, even though the only 'ceremony' we had was a legal marriage years later.

My wife's younger sister married a ferang legally while abroad. When they came on holiday to Thailand they decided to have a traditional Thai village wedding.
Her husband give his in-laws 100,000 Baht (around £2,000) at the ceremony. It was all to do with saving face. Afterwards the in-laws gave him back the 100,000 Baht.

I see you said,  'my understanding of it....that typically it is given back'
If you decide to go ahead with it, I'd suggest you make it clear that you will pay what you can afford, and that it is to be returned immediately afterwards, letting them know that otherwise it will be the last money they ever see from you.
I'm sorry to sound so harsh, but as you said, you think you're seen as a cash cow.

Good luck, and welcome to the forum. Please keep posting!

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Tell her no you cannot afford it.

If you don't set the boundaries now, it will most likely progress & you'll giving out money forever.

Welcome to the forum.👍

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6 minutes ago, Faraday said:

Tell her no you cannot afford it.

If you don't set the boundaries now, it will most likely progress & you'll giving out money forever.

Welcome to the forum.👍

That is a massive generalisation, an urban myth  and often untrue.

I paid a sinsot  25 years ago and my wife's family have never asked for another penny.  They also gave back  80% of it on the wedding day.  Its horses for courses and depends on the families financial circumstances, your finances, your future wife's attitude and opinion and your sensitivity to her culture.  Nobody can advise you here, its for you and your future wife to decide.    

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The mother can demand all she wants to, but it's up to you to set the amount. It seriously sounds to me like the mother has no intention of refunding the money so give up that hope. Sinsot depends on a lot of factors; was she married before? Kids? Has she been sending money every month? My Thai ex-wife I paid 150,000THB which the grandmother gave back half, the other half mostly went to paying for the huge "Molam" band with dancers, the cow they slaughtered for the party, and all the alcohol. Ultimate;y, if you can't afford it, your wife should already know that, and be considerate. If you have no intention of living in Thailand, wgaf what the village will think of you?

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53 minutes ago, Bluesofa said:

I see you said,  'my understanding of it....that typically it is given back'
If you decide to go ahead with it, I'd suggest you make it clear that you will pay what you can afford, and that it is to be returned immediately afterwards, letting them know that otherwise it will be the last money they ever see from you.
I'm sorry to sound so harsh, but as you said, you think you're seen as a cash cow.

Good advice and essentially what my MIL suggested.  Better still, since my nearest bank was 70km's away, an aunt offered to withdraw 50,000 baht and it was displayed as 'dowry' purely for show.

I would not kowtow to the demands as they stand and your wife should support you.

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 case and it's over what you clearly stad yiu can afford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Give exactly what you can afford and not one cent more

 

 

 

If your wife won't support you

 

Find another wife 

 

 

 

I'm not against sin sod but when the family shows no care towards your future 

 

 

 

Then if your wife doesn't support you

 

She's not the one for you 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Marc26 said:

Give exactly what you can afford and not one cent more

If your wife won't support you

Find another wife 

I'm not against sin sod but when the family shows no care towards your future 

Then if your wife doesn't support you

She's not the one for you 

'Find another wife'   You have to kiss an awful lot of frogs before you find your princess.

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There is also the option to loan the money just for the occasion. There are some money lenders who specialize in sin sod loans.

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You're stuck brother... You're going to need to find your negotiating skills. Lol. No joke... negotiate what you are willing to accept and that is 3000.00 

In your same situation four years ago, what I found out was basically two dowries. I was aghast. I was prepared for one dowry but two? We had a pre-wedding ceremony in the village for which I presented each to mom and dad one baht of gold. Then on wedding day, we presented 400,000 baht for the dowry presentation. But with careful negotiations with my wife back to the mom, we agreed to get back 250,000 baht and mom and dad kept another 150,000 baht. So in total I paid just about 4000.00 dollars, gold was a lot cheaper back then. 😜🤷‍♀️

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The OP just needs to find out what the real deal is as if it is a face thing of the mom wanting to show big and then give it back or she really is asking for it. Another point is there going to be a celebration dinner and party afterwards for where the mother is guest of honor? What sort of a wedding will it be? The last Thai wedding I was at had rented a convention center hall for the reception. I gave a present of a couple thousand baht in the extra envelope and yes everyone is expected to give, or hopefully give something as a little cash in a situation like that.

Where or as like what area is the mom living in and from may have another insight into her demands and her real intentions. Technically speaking, you are married already and only need to register it here in Thailand, and your wife is pregnant, so is it all a misunderstanding or is it totally off the wall and a money grab that will not be returned. I have been married twice to Thai gals. Paid only once, but for that first one in the end I would have paid again just to get her out of my life if had to. Good luck, but you have some loose end questions to figure out. BTW, why is the wife's sister always having to get money sent to her? This is a bad rotten egg unless covid has come into play and she genuinely needs help to live.

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I think a range of good advice has already been given. I feel sorry that you find yourself in this situation. You seem to have found a good woman and one working hard to make your life together better. As the saying goes, you can choose your wife, but you can’t choose your family!  That’s also true for your wife. The only other options with this is to simply forget getting married in Thailand. You are legally married and you have a life away from her family. With their attitude to this situation and the harshness of further increases to your offer, it suggests the closer you get to her mother, he more problems it will create for you. 

 

My harsh advice is this:

Establish the families financial situation.

Determine from that how much your earnings are likely to be attractive to their needs.

Decide how much, if any amount your are prepared to provide to support these needs. 
 

The key to all this is your Thai wife. It’s her family and her culture. Dowry’s are not part of your culture. Where does it say that in a relationship the man has to accommodate a more regressive culture to your own? 
 

If there is a conflict or you suspect this problem will not go away, then I’m afraid the choices are to cut them off or find a new partner in life. 

 

Good luck to you both.

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45 minutes ago, OOber said:

There is also the option to loan the money just for the occasion. There are some money lenders who specialize in sin sod loans.

But let the parents do that! Because THEY do have the money in hand, after the ceremony!

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14 minutes ago, Soidog said:

I think a range of good advice has already been given. I feel sorry that you find yourself in this situation. You seem to have found a good woman and one working hard to make your life together better. As the saying goes, you can choose your wife, but you can’t choose your family!  That’s also true for your wife. The only other options with this is to simply forget getting married in Thailand. You are legally married and you have a life away from her family. With their attitude to this situation and the harshness of further increases to your offer, it suggests the closer you get to her mother, he more problems it will create for you. 

My harsh advice is this:

Establish the families financial situation.

Determine from that how much your earnings are likely to be attractive to their needs.

Decide how much, if any amount your are prepared to provide to support these needs. 
 

The key to all this is your Thai wife. It’s her family and her culture. Dowry’s are not part of your culture. Where does it say that in a relationship the man has to accommodate a more regressive culture to your own? 
 

If there is a conflict or you suspect this problem will not go away, then I’m afraid the choices are to cut them off or find a new partner in life. 

 

Good luck to you both.

Agree with all of this, with the additional harsh advice to simply stay in Japan.

There are many warning signs in your OP that while the wife is wonderful, her family are far from it.

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3 minutes ago, Saltire said:

while the wife is wonderful, her family are far from it.

Unfortunately you can choose your friends and wife, but you can’t choose your family! I don’t have a problem with the notion of a dowry when the situation fits. All too often when westerners meet foreigners, there is the default assumption that their culture trumps all others. Of course you have to exhibit “give & take” in any relationship, though when it comes to money matters, the harsh reality of life kicks in. I also personally don’t like the idea that you have some how “bought” your wife (I know that’s not the convoluted reasons given for dowry), but it would still feel that way. I’d like to think if it was my family stopping me from being happy in life simply because my partner wouldn’t pay them enough money, I’d tell them to take a hike…

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2 hours ago, Pinetree said:

That is a massive generalisation, an urban myth  and often untrue.

I paid a sinsot  25 years ago and my wife's family have never asked for another penny.  They also gave back  80% of it on the wedding day.  Its horses for courses and depends on the families financial circumstances, your finances, your future wife's attitude and opinion and your sensitivity to her culture.  Nobody can advise you here, its for you and your future wife to decide.    

I said "most likely" not, will.

Early demands - using the OP's words & a of considerably higher amount, are grounds for setting boundaries, so that further demands are not made.

 

 

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4 hours ago, TkoFarang said:

After some discussion, my wife was able to lower the dowry to £6000. This is better but still very high, as we need money for our future.

You did good with the 6000- hold your ground!

Mine was $10,000 USD ten years ago. (Yes, they do call me GMoney) They allowed me to pay it over a years time, a very laid back family. Hard working farmers and very understanding, so I got lucky.

My wife spent 10 years in the States with me and saved $10,000 of her own money to buy the family their first ever car- a great truck! So that is a special case, but as a family unit, we became fiscally stronger. 

In the 10 years my wife lived with me in the US, did we keep sending money to Thailand? Hell Yes! It`s a family unit now. 

Now I am living with the in-laws in Thailand while my home is being built, and of course it is rent free. Never have I felt taken advantage of and they are times when I just say no.

Your results may vary. Good luck with Mom and Welcome!

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Dowry is discussed before the marriage, you did that then got married, they cannot move the goal posts after the marriage, they can try it on, but I think I would make a stand, or they may think you are gullible, an easy touch .....🤓

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Update!

I did not mention getting any of the $10,000 back. But right now my wife just told me that half of that money went towards buying the land we are now building a house! I was wondering why it seemed so cheap years ago! Wow!

So yes, it appears 50% came back to me- and I just found out!😄😆👍 

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Posted (edited)

Did anyone else think that TKO may be trolling? Anyway, You met in Japan, Is she a heart surgeon? Maybe her mom spent 3 million baht putting her through university, and now expects a husband suitable for her daughter?

Or did you pick her up in a bar? then up to you.🙂

That's the two extremes, work it out from there.

My mother inlaw got a free bus ride, other than that she got jack.🤔

Edited by Thaidup
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2 hours ago, Thaidup said:

Did anyone else think that TKO may be trolling?

For what result?

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  • 3 weeks later...

What would be your future wifes reaction if you said 6k take it or leave it ? You can then work out whether it would be you or her family who takes precedence. If it's the family you've probably got a few bumps in the road coming your way.

Personally I was asked to 'display' 1 million baht in cash and various trinkets on my wedding day and I got back every single baht. All for show, I'm quite surprised this dowry thing is even still around.

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58 minutes ago, Benroon said:

What would be your future wifes reaction if you said 6k take it or leave it ? You can then work out whether it would be you or her family who takes precedence. If it's the family you've probably got a few bumps in the road coming your way.

Personally I was asked to 'display' 1 million baht in cash and various trinkets on my wedding day and I got back every single baht. All for show, I'm quite surprised this dowry thing is even still around.

For me personally, I'd rather actually give 1mil baht than just show it

 

I detest any sort of "show" in anything and it is so rife in Thailand

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