Each person in the relationship views the other as
his or her partner, and any outside observers, like mutual
friends of the two in the relationship, consider the two
I do not assume that the
couple are in love or that the couple even like each other
all that much. That
helps, but isn't required.
Two people can be together out of boredom or lack of
In the typical (or call it the
accepted) boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, the male and
the female are good friends with one another, perhaps best
Each can confide in the other the most intimate details.
This intense like usually turns into love.
A sexual component is involved.
It may be as innocent as hand-holding or kissing for
very young couples, but the mutual sexual interest is
necessary, even if activity goes unexercised.
Without that interest on both sides, what remains is
just a friendship at best; and with interest on just one
side, an unrealized obsession that can turn into a stalking
nightmare at worst.
Living in Thailand for awhile, you see
other sorts of boyfriend-girlfriend relationships that, next
to the typical relationship, seem like they couldn't
possibly work, yet do.
As with anything, repeated exposure to something
makes it seem normal after awhile.
In case you're unaware, Thailand, along
with the Philippines, enjoys a reputation as a land of the
For more information on the copious seduction opportunities,
Bars dot any tourist town in Thailand and some not so
touristy towns as well.
For less than the price of a take-out
basil-chili-onion Chicago-style deep dish pizza, one can
take out a young Thai lady for an all-nighter, social
aptitude and sobriety not required.
For about ten times that take-out fee, a man can rent
out the girl permanently
effect, buy himself a girlfriend.
I know a man, in fact, who did just
this. Ryker was
a tall and rotund Danish man my age, not too bright, running
a guest house in my town.
We met on a bus doing a visa run to Myanmar.
Ryker had purchased his first teenaged girlfriend out
of a bar. That
relationship lasted maybe six months, with him accidentally
impregnating her just a week before they broke up.
He visited another bar and rented out another
teenager whom he also purchased a long term extension on.
When I met him, his new girlfriend was working the
front desk in his guesthouse and calling him her king.
I'm not sure if it's
legal for a Thai citizen to proclaim loyalty to two kings.
of mine, Jake, semi-fluent in Thai, could have
qualified for born-again virgin status in his native
Doubtlessly, this is one reason he hates living in the
UK. He lives in
a perpetual drought there.
In Thailand, he loves to frequent seedy bars, play
pool, drink beer, and chat with the ladies.
We were to meet once for dinner in Bangkok.
I arrived fifteen minutes late, and he told me to
meet him in the bar around the corner.
He'd already secured a 19-yr old bargirl's number
(she turned out to be 17, he found out later) and invited
her to travel with him to my town, a
Thai beach resort,
the following day.
They maintained a rocky and tumultuous
relationship for the next few weeks until he returned to the
he rang her daily until he came back to Thailand 6 months
later, and they moved in together.
On the side, she continued to work in the bars and
solicit pay-for-play action, and he, on the side, continued
to try to obtain the numbers of girls he'd meet on the
subway or coffee shops.
Eventually, he dumped her, and she moved away, but he
became obsessed with getting her back almost immediately and
continued illicit trysts with her as she simultaneously
dated an American cocaine addict while still collecting cash
for bar-side pickups.
Another friend, Josef, met a coffee
stall worker in the shopping mall in our town.
She was 21, he was 38.
He had another girlfriend then, one all of us liked,
but Josef pronounced her
"not hot enough" -- that's the official reason he dumped her
-- and forged ahead in attempts to seduce the junior barista
a few weeks before giving the girlfriend the axe.
The 21-yr old lass, meanwhile, was conducting
shenanigans with a married 25-yr old Thai who was also
helping to financially support her.
At some point soon after, each man found out the
other was also seeing her.
You can imagine the series of clever lies she had to
regularly spin to keep each man's jealousy levels within
Because this girl was not exclusively his, Josef
became obsessed with her and rarely sought out other women.
When he moved away to Phuket for a new teaching job,
afraid of losing her for good, he invited her to move in
with him. The
assumption was that she, living hours away from her
Thai romancer, would cut off all ties to him and solely
commit to Josef, just as he was committing to her.
Josef thought himself victorious in this Battle of
A mere two months after cohabitation,
Josef confided in me that he regretted the decision to
invite her to move in, even to continue the romance,
and was plotting ways to extricate himself from the
far as he knew at the time, she hadn't done anything wrong.
His reasons for
wanting out this time around were that he was too young to
settle down, this girl wasn't his soul mate, and he wanted
to experience the hot island fleshpots Phuket had to offer.
He happened to come across some damning evidence a
few weeks later which revealed that his girlfriend was still
communicating with her Thai lover.
She had gone so far as to spend a week with that "ex"
just a month after she and Josef had moved in together while
Josef was in Europe to visit his mother.
Josef wanted to confront her immediately and throw
her out on her behind by week's end.
"I don't want to be her chump," he said.
I managed to convince him not to do so, not because I
felt sorry for or sympathized with her, but because in
throwing her out immediately, he would only be hurting
When Josef doesn't have a girlfriend, all he talks about is
getting a girlfriend.
What Ryker, Jake, and Josef have in
common, to varying degrees, is that all of them were
involved in a casual serious relationship.
Casual is too weak a word to describe what they had
and serious is too strong.
In a casual relationship, there is no pretense
towards exclusivity or any kind of a long term horizon.
If asked, "Where is this relationship going and how
long do you think it'll last?" the answer would be something
like "It doesn't have to go anywhere and for as long as
we're having fun."
The rich and famous can have casual flings with
multiple groupies simultaneously.
Both sides usually know it doesn't mean anything.
In a serious relationship, it's stated (or at least
heavily implied) that the couple are to be faithful.
If one strays, it's done so clandestinely.
Ryker, Jake, and Josef conducted their
relationships on hybrid ground.
All were quite casual in the selection process.
Ryker picked his out of a bar after a couple beers,
Jake the same but didn't pay, and Josef's hormones went out
of control when chancing upon his conquest during a coffee
break. Yet once
these on-the-spot selections were made, each pursued a path
that's more commonly observed in a serious relationship.
Ryker and Jake moved in with their girls.
Josef, locked in a competition with a man coughing up
a lot more dough, had to make do with seeing his girl
whenever she could make time for him, but fretting whenever
she couldn't. Were
Josef seeing her casually, he would've been indifferent to
her seeing other men and likely lined up a few more side
projects of his own.
A relationship only works if both
parties are on the same page, if they have the same
one party wants it casual and the other wants an exclusive
long term commitment, the relationship is doomed.
Was Ryker committed?
His teenaged lovetoys needn't have possessed a
graduate degree, let alone have completed junior high
school, to realize that any man picking up a girlfriend for
payment out of a bar after just a few hours of drunken chats
could and would do the same thing again whenever he felt
like it. I
guarantee that if you poll one hundred couples still
committed to each other after five years, none met because
one party paid a cash handout to the other.
Jake was no more committed.
Josef undertook his seduction while he and his target
were still involved with others.
How committed is that?
It takes two to tango, as they say.
I argue that the reason that these three mens'
relationships worked for longer than a weekend was because
the girls were equally as uncommitted.
Ryker's and Jake's girls had ample paid experience
learning how to be 'committed' for short periods of time, be
it a night, a week, or a month -- casual serious commitment
as I discuss it here.
Josef's girl was poor, from the north of Thailand,
sending money home to support her mother and brother on her
She needed assistance any way she could get it, even
from an already married Thai man known to play around or a
foreign man looking for a bit of fun on the side.
Josef was shocked when he discovered
his live-in lover was continuing to see the Thai man she'd
supposedly broken off all contact with, and I think it
would've been justifiable for Josef to get upset had he and
she been in a serious relationship.
To the casual outside observer, including myself, it
seemed that they were serious about each other.
It was all an illusion.
Josef was never committed.
He wasn't committed during the two years he'd been
sharing her with the Thai man, and he wasn't committed after
he invited her to move in.
All he was committed to was winning the battle for
It really wasn't about winning her.
She was committed, not to him, but to
receiving some affection, even if not exclusive, as long as
her financial needs were taken care of.
She had no reason to fully trust Josef, her Thai
lover, or any other man.
Seen that way, I believe each party got what s/he
It's unreasonable to assume you'll get
total commitment unless you're also willing to provide it.
Jake and Josef were devastated when they found out
their "soulmates" were conducting other relationships,
sometimes not even behind their backs.
In their minds, Jake and Josef deluded themselves
they were serious about their partners and vice versa.
If they were willing to be serious with their
girlfriends, they would've chosen different girlfriends.
Casual serious relationships can
girlfriend's son has several Thai friends who are half Thai,
the father being of some Western nationality.
One father works in shipping in Singapore, the other
in security in various locations outside Thailand.
Both fathers are away the majority of the time.
In a Western sense, these marriages probably
wouldn't work because of the separation.
In Thailand, they do, for the very same reason.
Separation is not an obstacle in the casual serious
It's a facilitator.
If a man is looking for some form of stability
without being tied down, and the woman is seeking primarily
financial support and a sperm donor to create the children
she wants to raise, the casual serious relationship is
Since I really do not know either of
the men above, I cannot say with absolute certainty that
their marriages are casual serious relationships.
Perhaps they have some other understanding going on
that I'm not aware of.
I'm just doing the math.
A relationship is only going to work if a partner is
chosen to fit one's lifestyle, not the other way around.
It wasn't always that way.
During my parents' generation and before, there was
only one relationship publicly acceptable:
the serious (heterosexual) relationship which led to
marriage and children.
If your lifestyle didn't suit that relationship mold,
too bad. You
suffered. Too many baby boomers got stuck in too many
stifling marriages that only now, with divorce more of an
acceptable alternative, the sufferers are escaping from.
The casual serious relationship might have been a way
out for many.