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We examine three factors that shape her relative autonomy in a partnership in ways that can result in greater security, wellbeing, and status. First, increasing access to individual formal rights primarily through marriage can lead to relative financial independence and security.
Second, differential ageing in a couple can shift the balance of dependency as he becomes relatively infirm. Third, her changing obligations to natal family members, balanced with caring for her partner, can importantly shape her wellbeing. The study is based on 20 biographical interviews with women in partnerships for 7—30 years.
Over the last decades research has flourished on cross-border marriages between women from poor regions in Asia and men from wealthier countries. At the same time, the dream of leaving these problems behind and ing the Bangkok consumer society is an increasing desire and motivation, especially for younger generations.
Today, some partnerships between Thai women and Westerners have lasted for more than a quarter of a century. Early pioneers acted as intermediaries and facilitated more partnerships by introducing friends and kin from across national borders and showing them the ropes. This gap matters. It is important to recognise that lives are built over the long duration and ificant transitions and transformations take place over a life-course.
The conditions and aspirations that brought a woman into a partnership with a Westerner will be ificantly different than those that shape her life opportunities after living for a decade in that relationship. She and he will have aged, differentially, in their respective life courses.
She may have experienced living and working abroad or become a citizen of a Western state.
They may have children. She may own property. He may have retired, gone bankrupt, or become ill. It is important to trace how a partnership transforms over time because it shapes the life opportunities of the two individuals in a mutually interdependent way that is socially embedded. We consider how three factors combine to shape the partnership over time in ways that impact on her relative autonomy, empowerment and aspirations as an individual: first, her access to formal rights, primarily through legal marriage; second, differential ageing in the couple, i.
All things considered, in what ways materially, emotionally, and in wellbeing, has it improved her life? What factors access to rights, ageing, family obligations transform the exchanges between partners over time? How can this change their gendered roles and shift the relative power balance between them?
Overall, has it improved her life wealth, security, wellbeing, status? First, it matters to see how individuals who start from a relatively weaker and dependent position in a partnership, materially, in status, in access to rights, try to be agents and transform their life situations by partnering with a ificantly older man, who they do not know well, from another culture and continent. Second, although popular media s often depict these as peculiar sexualised encounters, partnering a Westerner is increasingly a culturally normal strategy for a woman.
Intercultural living with a foreigner is a by-product of her aim to secure a better life by initiating a partnership. It was seldom a motivation in the first place. The sample is obviously biased because it includes only relationships that have endured, and not the many that fail before seven years.
Nonetheless, the sample includes women who have lived many years abroad, who move backwards and forwards within a year, who plan to re-emigrate abroad imminently, and those who never left permanently, but made ificant international visits abroad. It needs emphasising that high mobility, internal in Thailand and international, is strongly embedded in the biographies of women in our sample. High mobility and internal and international migration is a very common characteristic of families living in Thai rural regions, as a strategy to support income across the extended family network Turner and Michaud Marriage migration is an important component of this intergenerational strategy to sustain families in the agrarian sector.
This provides more space to demonstrate the factors that change Older white guy seeking younger asian mistress life-chances. A core idea of marriage migration is that negotiated exchanges between the partners define the form of their social relationship. This is established by a generation of largely female scholars, whose empirical cases flesh out specific forms of exchanges that define a cross-border marriage. In this case, the patriarchal bargain connotes submission on the part of a woman to a man particularly with regard to rights over her reproductive capacity and sexuality, but more generally to his authority in exchange for protection, subsistence, goods, surplus material wealth or some other extrinsic resources.
Turning to explanatory factors that can influence the relative power of a woman in her relationship, we refer to rights, ageing and family pressures. First, her relative access to formal rights matters. Given the central role, following T. Marshallattributed to access to formal legal-civic and social rights in empowering individual migrants in their societies of settlement e.
Brubaker ; Koopmans et al. Waldingerit is surprising that such discussions are much less present in cross-border marriage perspectives. In this way, a woman can gain access to rights that are potentially empowering.
As a legal wife who has married and lived abroad with her husband, a woman gains individual rights for international mobility, work and residence abroad, and, as a spouse, potentially access to long-term social welfare, pension, and health rights.
Alternatively, if they register their marriage in Thailand, he gains access to rights for a long-term visa, residence, property, and owning a business, sometimes access to state medical provision, but she gains some degree of legal ownership over their capital and properties in Thailand. This holds even if they divorce, and if he dies, she has inheritance rights. However, formal rights only empower women, if they are actually realised.
But there are increasingly communication networks on social media, where women married to Westerners share information about how to enforce rights, for example, in response to domestic violence. A second transformative factor is differential ageing. Bailey ; Findlay et al. Western men are typically about fifteen years older than their wives, and initiate partnerships when they are fifty years old.
Large age differences can shape decisions in the partnership, such as whether to try and have children. However, the most ificant outcome is that as he ages, and his mental and physical health deteriorates, their relationship shifts to one where the intimate services she provides move decisively towards providing eldercare.
Their interpersonal relations and emotional bonds will change as they experience a transformation of intimacy in their negotiated exchanges. A woman who has been subservient and dominated can experience this as an increase in autonomy and independence, as he is increasingly dependent and frail, and no longer able to exert social control. However, his relative loss of efficacy as an elder may also lead to increased healthcare costs, and a decrease in household income, meaning that she has to deal with financial difficulties. A third factor transformative factor is her changing set of obligations to natal family members.
Bailey and Boyle ; Findlay et al. Kou, Mulder, and Baileyplay in influencing her decisions in a transnational partnership over time. Does she have obligations to support children from her marriage, for their education or emotional needs? Such factors often drive her decision to partner with a Westerner in the first place. However, the relative burden of family pressures can change as the years advance. If her parents die, she may no longer need to support them and that might increase her individual income and autonomy. Alternatively, family social pressures and demands may increase the longer she is in a partnership, especially when she is perhaps wrongly perceived to have access to ificant resources and wealth.
Her family may become dependent and unproductive. She often sits in the unenviable position of mediating competing demands between her partner and her family, and this can be a source of ificant psychological and emotional stress. How and by what criteria do we assess whether partnering a Westerner le to better life-chances and enhanced status in Thai society? On the other hand, if she is able to be a source of resources for others, by providing knowledge and brokering skills for those wishing to partner, or by lending money, then her status can be enhanced.
Cohn In the semi-structured interviews, we asked our women to give biographical personal s of key events and experiences at distinct stages in the life history of their partnership, by focussing on their negotiated exchanges with him. Her Backgroundthe first stage is her life story and experiences that shape her as an individual and position her within Thai society prior to partnering. Motivations and risk-taking to partner a Westerner Older white guy seeking younger asian mistress the second and third stages that refer to the life events that motivate her to choose this strategy and her risk-taking actions to initiate a partnership.
This le to some degree of formalisation and social embedding of the partnership, and new opportunities for her relative empowerment.
Through the six stages, the partnership becomes increasingly embedded as a couple, they spend more time and physically live together, their relationship reaches a more established status, both among peers and families, as well as in interdependent access to rights for mobility, shared property, and access to health and welfare services.
The speed at which a partnership moves through stages can be months, or many years, and the pace is almost always decided by the man. We focus on the exchanges between a couple, and how her relative dependence in the partnership can shift over time, according to changes in legal, material, emotional, life-course, and family circumstances that they experience, individually, and together as a couple.
CSV Display Table. The original data is from twenty in-depth semi-structured interviews with Thai women see Table 2. These were selected from a larger sample of forty interviews. Our interviewees currently reside in Thailand, at least for most of the year.
They were recruited primarily from two rural regions notable for numerous Thai-Western partnerships, Udon Thani 11 and Phetchabun 5while a few are from the tourist city Pattaya 2and capital Bangkok 2to add urban variation. All interviews were conducted between August and November by experienced Thai researchers, in Thai language, on location in Thailand.
The interviews lasted at least one hour, and some much longer. They were recorded, transcribed and professionally translated into English. Sample of Thai women. The interviews were open but semi-structured in a way that encouraged respondents to recount key events in their life histories, through which they interpreted and evaluated the evolution of their relationship with a Western man. In addition, interviewers Older white guy seeking younger asian mistress important factual details, such as, her background, her relationship history, the wealth and dependency of her natal family, her dependent children and their ages, her migration history, her citizenship status, her income, her access to wealth, property and health insurances etc.
Our inductive qualitative approach for working across the cases was inspired by insights from interpretive phenomenological analysis IPA Smith, Flowers, and Larkin Transcripts of interviews are analysed case by case through a systematic, qualitative analysis. The life histories of our women demonstrate they are driven and resourceful individuals. All except one were born in a rural poor region in Northeast or Central Thailand.
Typically, they have had to cope with rapidly changing and difficult personal, family and work lives. In this sense, they have had formative personal experiences that make them open to crossing social boundaries. Table 2 summarises characteristics of our women and their partnerships. Typically, a woman is in her early thirties when she starts a partnership with a fifteen years-older Westerner, who at the time is about 50 years old.
About half are divorced from Thai husbands and these all have children from their first marriage. So far, their partnerships with foreigners have lasted between seven minimum requirement for inclusion and thirty years, and on average fourteen years. All except three cases have resulted in formal marriage. Today the ages of their men range between 45 and 78 mean Although official statistics have limitations as partnerships may not be formally registered, examination of the available data indicates that our sample fits a general pattern. Regarding social status and background, it is noteworthy that half of our women are educated to University level.
For single women in early mid-life opportunities to marry a Thai man are limited, while divorced women with children have even fewer chances on the local marriage market.Older white guy seeking younger asian mistress
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