Dowry Dilemma: American in Thailand Faces Million Baht Demand – Should He Pay or Take Flight?

An American man asked the Reddit community for advice on what to do after his Thai girlfriend’s family demanded a million baht ($28,000) dowry, known as a sinsod in Thailand. He said he loved her very much but was not a foolish ‘farang’ (Thai slang for a foreigner).

Insisting on a Dowry

The OP shared his story on the social media platform. The man explained that he was dating a Thai university student from a province in the Isaan region of Thailand.

He explained that his girlfriend wouldn’t make much money from her career after graduation, but her parents are middle class and work for a shipping company.

The parents asked the man to give them 1 million baht ($28,000) as a dowry, half of which would go to his fiancée after the parents would keep the wedding ceremony and the other half for safekeeping. They stated that she would get the other half of the money if and when needed.

It’s Negotiable

Although the sinsod tradition is somewhat an older custom and may not be requested at all, the average amount is in the region of 100,000 Thai baht ($2,800), a tenth of the amount this individual was asked to pay.

OP added that the amount was not negotiable and that his girlfriend believed it was fair because they had to show the dowry during the wedding ceremony.

He finished his post by stating that he would be leaving Thailand in two weeks and might not return, possibly ending the relationship.

Farang Financing

The post garnered over 300 comments from Reddit users. Some individuals online suggested that the dowry served as a form of security for the woman, as her parents might have been concerned that a foreigner would eventually abandon her. Others believed the parents wanted to ensure the man could provide for their daughter.

Some Reddit users advised the OP to end the relationship because they thought he might have to provide even more for the woman and her family down the road.

However, most people thought he should let his girlfriend and her parents know that he would not pay the dowry, instead of just leaving without any explanation.

“Why Are You Engaged to Her in the First Place?”

There was some direct advice from readers, one simply said “Run for the hills or the airport”

A second user agreed “Walk away. There are over 4 billion females, you will find the right one.”

Another had a more thoughtful response, they said “If you’re willing to pack a bag and leave forever it sounds like you’re not very emotionally invested in the relationship. Which begs the question why are you engaged to her in the first place?”

“There is a good chance that all that “safe kept” money will be invested in magic beans.” joked another user.

It’s a Red Flag

One of the most informative comments was from a user who claimed to be half Thai and half Australian.

He said “There is a stereotype among Isaan people that Western foreigners are wealthy and marrying one will bring you and your family a better life. So, if the assumption is that you, the potential husband, is rich, then the sinsod is sort of the first step in your commitment to take care of her and her family”.

The Thai-Australian man also advised the American man not to pay the dowry, as it was a red flag that the man would have to pay the bills for her and her family forever.

More Money = More Acceptance

Another foreign man asked a similar question on Reddit in March. The man said his girlfriend had jokingly asked him for a million baht dowry. He wanted to know if he would get it back and if the amount was too much.

A Thai woman answered his question by saying she was about to marry her Irish boyfriend and had not asked him for a dowry. Her father, a policeman, eventually accepted the condition, even though he didn’t like it.

It’s an Antiquated System

In Thai culture, the dowry is mainly seen as a way to show a good image and the family’s financial status. The bigger the dowry paid to the bride, then the more he is accepted by the family.

However, a lot of the younger generation doesn’t care how much the dowry is anymore, it’s an antiquated system that is rarely followed. They prefer to use the money for a dream wedding, but some conservative parents and relatives still care.

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Source: Reddit