Why being single in Thailand is like admitting you pick your nose and eat it

It has always been an interesting topic for me because for the longest time I always had a boyfriend… then my personal life completely flipped to the other side where I had been single for the longest time and I was getting to an age that people were starting to question why I was still alone.  Even when you express that it is a choice you have made, it still baffles people.  I get it, and I respect that opinion, but at the end of the day, this is how I had chosen to live my life at the time.

Living in Melbourne was fantastic. I was constantly surrounded by strong, beautiful, single, independent women. No matter what your relationship status was, it never really seemed to matter.

When you move to Thailand, you can quickly see how family orientated Thai’s are. Most have children at a young age, for a variety of reasons – some even marry quite young.  Being single to a Thai man is actually quite a sad state of affairs and I have noticed how lonely they get without a companion by their side.

Thai’s have a great sense of community.  A lot of shared drinks and meals.  A lot of friends and work colleagues live in rooms next door to each other so they can see each other more.  I attribute this sense of loneliness, partially to this.  Not only are they extremely community orientated people, but most of these guys also grew up in gyms, constantly surrounded by other human beings.  It seems natural that they would feel lonely if they were single, especially if all their friends and family members were having families of their own.

When I moved to Thailand I was still in a serious relationship with my partner back home.  We had discussed the future and he wanted me to come and spend a year here, knowing that this was on my bucket list.  My trainer at the time (Nai) knew that I had a boyfriend, but we often wonder if he actually ever really believed it.  Because they only ever met on Skype, and he could not witness us together in person, it’s almost as though it never really happened.  For all he knows, I could have been making the whole thing up!

After a period of time, my partner and I split which is news Nai was also aware of at the time.  After a reasonable grace period, Nai one days asks me.  “Gemma.  Why you no have boyfriend?”.  All I could say at the time was, “I don’t really want one!”.  This seemed to confuse Nai further and rather than trying to hash it out, we both left it alone.

About a month passes, and we are having dinner together.   Nai is quick to broach the subject again.  “Gemma.  Why you still have no boyfriend?”.  My response was unchanged.  I simply wasn’t interested in another relationship.  He looks at me and says “I have nice man for you.”  My first question is – “is he Thai?”.  “Yes!  But he not fighter.  He good man”.  Ummmm…. no thank you Nai.


Now let me just say – there is absolutely nothing wrong with Thai men!  Unfortunately though, the number of horror stories I have heard about foreigner women dating Thai men has been enough to steer me clear.  There is also the simple fact that if I were to date a Thai, it is likely he would be my trainer, or a trainer at my gym.  There are many glaringly obvious reasons as to why I wanted to stay away from a situation like that.  This is also not to say that this doesn’t work for some, but I am too much of a cynic to try!

I love the Thai trainers – they are a blast – but I also want to be respected and taken seriously as a fighter.  For a woman in Thailand, this can be difficult enough in itself.  When you bring your personal life into the gym, it can get complicated.

After I moved to AKA, it only took a few months before 2 of the trainers posed the same question.  “Gemma – you have boyfriend?  No?  Why?”.  My response this time was slightly different.  “I don’t want one.  Men are trouble!”.  I felt like I had managed to escape this conversation until it started to repeat itself… everyday.  Then some of the other trainers asked me the same question and I was quickly running out of humorous ways to try to dodge the subject.

After a period of time I think they had somewhat accepted the fact that this is simply how it is for me.  I am single and it’s ok.

While I appreciate that the trainers do actually have my best interests at heart, I still find it humorous that my status of “single” is so bothersome to them.

Thanks for looking out guys, but I’m good!



  1. Mari DeWees · · Reply

    Fantastic observation about the culture in Thailand and issue of a woman being single in the gym. I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    1. Thank you Mari! I had been wanting to write about this for a while now. There is more about dating in Thailand on it’s way!

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