Classic Fights with your Khmer Partner

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Re: Classic Fights with your Khmer Partner

Post by StroppyChops » Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:56 pm

RickyBobby wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:48 pm
Hella Respect bro. A LOT of wisdom here and I agree. This should actually be made into an article. Where the hell is your blog?
Ha! I'm writing it in all my free time! Cheers mate, hope it works out for you.
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Re: Classic Fights with your Khmer Partner

Post by RickyBobby » Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:04 am

Here's some more.

I ask her to go to 'that place' I buy rotisserie chicken, and bring one back after work for dinner.

She comes back with the scrawny Khmer bbq chicken split in half in a bamboo rack thingy.

I say; this is not what I asked for. I am annoyed, because she doesn't listen to instructions properly.

We talk about it later, her decision is based upon two things. The Khmer chicken is better, it was closer, and she thought it was a fine replacement even though I gave specific instructions.

We have often had discussions about the 'fat' chicken vs; the scrawny one and there is no changing her mind about which is better.

Yet, she comes to me, like clock work. She also did go and get me food. She doesn't even put her hand out asking to be re-paid (but I am always careful to be fair) She's so cute and has good intentions.

I let these kinds of things go often.

My friend asked about some land we just invested in. He wanted his lady to talk to mine and gave me his number. I asked mine if she would call her in the morning. (I am away currently) Next day, he's messaging me; no call. I ask, she says
"oops, why does it have to be today, cant I call tomorrow?" Then, "have her call me, don't you think she should call me?"

I wonder why she said ok, I will call and then later decides it would be better if the other lady called her.

Again, something I have learned to let go. (and I wonder if its cultural again or personality)

In so many ways she is so lovely, sweet, caring and kind. We do have 5 years, and although we have disagreements, I find they seem to happen more when we are at a distance tbh. Its hard sometimes to keep it up long distance.

One thing that Stroppy said that I strongly agree with. The notion of the relationship being worth fighting for. I never wanted to fight, and I have let a lot of good relationships fizzle because I wouldn't deal with issues and chose to walk away instead.

In this case, we are both confident that our relationship is strong enough that it can sustain this pressure, which is fighting for something worthy and good.

Upon reflection, most of everything that annoys me or has escalated to a fight could have been handled much better by me, and often, I need to concede that I was wrong, or also assumed too much, and she was right and good. That's a lovely pill to swallow.
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Re: Classic Fights with your Khmer Partner

Post by StroppyChops » Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:08 am

RickyBobby wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:04 am
Here's some more...
You want some guidance on that, or just putting it out there?
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Re: Classic Fights with your Khmer Partner

Post by RickyBobby » Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:11 am

StroppyChops wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:08 am
RickyBobby wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:04 am
Here's some more...
You want some guidance on that, or just putting it out there?
I don't mind guidance and insight.
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Re: Classic Fights with your Khmer Partner

Post by StroppyChops » Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:30 am

RickyBobby wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:04 am
Here's some more.

I ask her to go to 'that place' I buy rotisserie chicken, and bring one back after work for dinner.

She comes back with the scrawny Khmer bbq chicken split in half in a bamboo rack thingy.

I say; this is not what I asked for. I am annoyed, because she doesn't listen to instructions properly.

We talk about it later, her decision is based upon two things. The Khmer chicken is better, it was closer, and she thought it was a fine replacement even though I gave specific instructions.

We have often had discussions about the 'fat' chicken vs; the scrawny one and there is no changing her mind about which is better.

Yet, she comes to me, like clock work. She also did go and get me food. She doesn't even put her hand out asking to be re-paid (but I am always careful to be fair) She's so cute and has good intentions.

I let these kinds of things go often.
So, this is a good example of separating the issues from the topics. Clearly, the topic is that even though you asked her to buy a specific type of chicken from a certain place, she bought a different type from elsewhere. You, being a good guy, excuse that away but it actually bothers you and you're not sure why. I'm pretty confident that if she knew why it bothers you, she wouldn't do it. The issue is that it feels to you like she doesn't care enough for you to do it the way you'd like her to - although you might not have realised that.

She's decided that her way is easier for her and therefore better, and she prefers the taste of the scrawny chicken so you should to. This leads into the Western/Khmer relationship issue. You've asked her to do something for you a certain way, which would make you happy, but she chooses not to, which makes you unhappy - and it's not at all unjustified or juvenile that you're unhappy about it because the message she sending (but probably doesn't intend) is that she doesn't care for you enough to do it your way. This is one of those therapist "so what I'm hearing you say is..." things and if you can express to her that that's what you feel when she chooses to do it her way, you might be surprised at the outcome. We all do "acts of service" as expressions of love for our partners - this is one you'd like done your way, and that's actually okay.
My friend asked about some land we just invested in. He wanted his lady to talk to mine and gave me his number. I asked mine if she would call her in the morning. (I am away currently) Next day, he's messaging me; no call. I ask, she says "oops, why does it have to be today, cant I call tomorrow?" Then, "have her call me, don't you think she should call me?"

I wonder why she said ok, I will call and then later decides it would be better if the other lady called her.

Again, something I have learned to let go. (and I wonder if its cultural again or personality)
Again, you're a nice guy because you're giving her a graceful out on this one - and the topic is that she didn't call your friend's partner back but the issue is that she didn't follow through on what she said. She's actually made a fair point in that if the third party wants information, they can call your her - but the issue is that she didn't follow through on what she agreed to, and you need to know that she will do what she says she'll do all of the time. It's actually nothing to do with the land investment, it's about reliability - and this is the conversation that needs to be had IMHO.
In so many ways she is so lovely, sweet, caring and kind. We do have 5 years, and although we have disagreements, I find they seem to happen more when we are at a distance tbh. Its hard sometimes to keep it up long distance.
Is that jealousy/mistrust related? You don't need to answer publicly, but if it is, there are other factors that need to be addressed privately.
One thing that Stroppy said that I strongly agree with. The notion of the relationship being worth fighting for. I never wanted to fight, and I have let a lot of good relationships fizzle because I wouldn't deal with issues and chose to walk away instead.

In this case, we are both confident that our relationship is strong enough that it can sustain this pressure, which is fighting for something worthy and good.
It can actually be a mistake to be too cool and easy going when things aren't going well. Every partner needs to see that their partner is prepared to get down and dirty and fight to keep their relationship going. Being too "nice" about it can often be a mistake, as (because they ain't mindreaders) it's taken as passivity or uncaring-ness. And yep, the next step is simply walking away and regretting what might have been if you'd shown the passion to fight for it. Equally, some relationships should be walked or run away from.
Upon reflection, most of everything that annoys me or has escalated to a fight could have been handled much better by me, and often, I need to concede that I was wrong, or also assumed too much, and she was right and good. That's a lovely pill to swallow.
Takes a big man to admit that mate, as long as it's truth and not just abjecting yourself - I suspect in what you've written that you've gained something though, and you can take that back to her with "Look, I realise that while we're both wrong at times, I know I've fouled up a lot and all I can do is promise to do better."
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Re: Classic Fights with your Khmer Partner

Post by RickyBobby » Sat Apr 13, 2019 1:22 am

StroppyChops wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:30 am
RickyBobby wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 12:04 am
Here's some more.

I ask her to go to 'that place' I buy rotisserie chicken, and bring one back after work for dinner.

She comes back with the scrawny Khmer bbq chicken split in half in a bamboo rack thingy.

I say; this is not what I asked for. I am annoyed, because she doesn't listen to instructions properly.

We talk about it later, her decision is based upon two things. The Khmer chicken is better, it was closer, and she thought it was a fine replacement even though I gave specific instructions.

We have often had discussions about the 'fat' chicken vs; the scrawny one and there is no changing her mind about which is better.

Yet, she comes to me, like clock work. She also did go and get me food. She doesn't even put her hand out asking to be re-paid (but I am always careful to be fair) She's so cute and has good intentions.

I let these kinds of things go often.
So, this is a good example of separating the issues from the topics. Clearly, the topic is that even though you asked her to buy a specific type of chicken from a certain place, she bought a different type from elsewhere. You, being a good guy, excuse that away but it actually bothers you and you're not sure why. I'm pretty confident that if she knew why it bothers you, she wouldn't do it. The issue is that it feels to you like she doesn't care enough for you to do it the way you'd like her to - although you might not have realized that.

She's decided that her way is easier for her and therefore better, and she prefers the taste of the scrawny chicken so you should too. This leads into the Western/Khmer relationship issue. You've asked her to do something for you a certain way, which would make you happy, but she chooses not to, which makes you unhappy - and it's not at all unjustified or juvenile that you're unhappy about it because the message she sending (but probably doesn't intend) is that she doesn't care for you enough to do it your way. This is one of those therapist "so what I'm hearing you say is..." things and if you can express to her that that's what you feel when she chooses to do it her way, you might be surprised at the outcome. We all do "acts of service" as expressions of love for our partners - this is one you'd like done your way, and that's actually okay.
My friend asked about some land we just invested in. He wanted his lady to talk to mine and gave me his number. I asked mine if she would call her in the morning. (I am away currently) Next day, he's messaging me; no call. I ask, she says "oops, why does it have to be today, cant I call tomorrow?" Then, "have her call me, don't you think she should call me?"

I wonder why she said ok, I will call and then later decides it would be better if the other lady called her.

Again, something I have learned to let go. (and I wonder if its cultural again or personality)
Again, you're a nice guy because you're giving her a graceful out on this one - and the topic is that she didn't call your friend's partner back but the issue is that she didn't follow through on what she said. She's actually made a fair point in that if the third party wants information, they can call your her - but the issue is that she didn't follow through on what she agreed to, and you need to know that she will do what she says she'll do all of the time. It's actually nothing to do with the land investment, it's about reliability - and this is the conversation that needs to be had IMHO.
In so many ways she is so lovely, sweet, caring and kind. We do have 5 years, and although we have disagreements, I find they seem to happen more when we are at a distance tbh. Its hard sometimes to keep it up long distance.
Is that jealousy/mistrust related? You don't need to answer publicly, but if it is, there are other factors that need to be addressed privately.
One thing that Stroppy said that I strongly agree with. The notion of the relationship being worth fighting for. I never wanted to fight, and I have let a lot of good relationships fizzle because I wouldn't deal with issues and chose to walk away instead.

In this case, we are both confident that our relationship is strong enough that it can sustain this pressure, which is fighting for something worthy and good.
It can actually be a mistake to be too cool and easy going when things aren't going well. Every partner needs to see that their partner is prepared to get down and dirty and fight to keep their relationship going. Being too "nice" about it can often be a mistake, as (because they ain't mindreaders) it's taken as passivity or uncaring-ness. And yep, the next step is simply walking away and regretting what might have been if you'd shown the passion to fight for it. Equally, some relationships should be walked or run away from.
Upon reflection, most of everything that annoys me or has escalated to a fight could have been handled much better by me, and often, I need to concede that I was wrong, or also assumed too much, and she was right and good. That's a lovely pill to swallow.
Takes a big man to admit that mate, as long as it's truth and not just abjecting yourself - I suspect in what you've written that you've gained something though, and you can take that back to her with "Look, I realize that while we're both wrong at times, I know I've fouled up a lot and all I can do is promise to do better."
Very good, and truly valuable insights; especially the topic vs: the issue concept. Thank you.

These examples I gave are small potatoes and on their own are barely worth mentioning. Coupled together, it gives some insight.

I don't need to belabor all of this, but I will reply on some main points and to your direct Q.

First, all relationships require effort. They can be annoying and on the whole, people can often disappoint us. I also see this in my relationships with my adult children. In their case, there is no question about our unconditional love for each other, in spite of our behavior, and for me, I am often disappointed in how they talk to me, especially, my daughter who is emotional and learned some bad habits from her mother. She likes to dump guilt, and is not afraid to tell me (in so many words) to shut up, yet craves my time and values the relationship.

Expectations need to be realistic and fair. In the case of the chicken, I had a day of leisure, whereas she worked all day. It was not on the way home, and with me perhaps limiting her sleep, and her being tired, I feel its fair for her to get a pass sometimes.

But, we did talk about it and I think she gets it. She is not afraid to say sorry, and she also explained that she thought it didn't matter. More than likely, she just heard, get some chicken, and I was not careful enough to cover it with her and ask her to re-state my request to ensure she understood.

On the distance fighting, it is not jealousy. It is simply easier to misunderstand, although it gets easier as time goes by. I find when we are together and I can see her face, it is just a lot smoother, and we have other ways to communicate, like body language and touch, and we can reaffirm each other in other ways so that issues do not fester.

What I have here is not that difficult, I have to remind myself that we are in a cross cultural and multi-generational relationship. Our ideals are also not quite aligned, because of course, I am running from the west, and she wants to embrace it.

My marriage was hell, all 14 years of it. This is a walk in the park on a spring morning, and I need to always take time to smell the roses, be thankful for what it is (as opposed to is not) and choose my battles wisely. I am still learning, however if age helps us collect wisdom, I am becoming wiser and more patient, which helps, especially when extending grace is required.

Speaking of Grace; in my own life I have needed a lot and have come to appreciate it so much, and therefore I wish to pay that forward and give of it freely too whenever I can.

It helps when you have a partner who is willing to admit when they were wrong, and to also state that they know they are not perfect.

You might have a gifting in counselling Stroppy, perhaps you do it already. I do know the best time for it is when the relationship is going well. Its a perfect pro-active strategy and helps build a framework for the fair fighting rules you mentioned and more.

I am not stupid enough to think that real committed relationships are easy, or so easily replaced. Every single one will have hurdles to overcome, and require work towards building trust and a common understanding. It is foolish to think you could just begin another relationship without having similar or new issues that rival the ones you already deal with, and the thought of even trying to begin again, with possible false starts etc. is simply not on my radar and exhausting.

I know it sounds silly, but I feel I have found someone unique and different, and I have also vetted her thoroughly, and can trust her as much as I believe is humanly possible or deserving for another human to do so.
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Re: Classic Fights with your Khmer Partner

Post by Tarndog » Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:58 am

Reading some of these posts makes me smile, almost laugh, when the Khmer female partner 'thinks' of doing something different than they were explicitly told.

God, I'm glad I can draw a line in the sand. It just doesn't sound like any fun dealing with letdown after letdown.
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Re: Classic Fights with your Khmer Partner

Post by RickyBobby » Sat Apr 13, 2019 8:55 am

Tarndog wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 7:58 am
Reading some of these posts makes me smile, almost laugh, when the Khmer female partner 'thinks' of doing something different than they were explicitly told.

God, I'm glad I can draw a line in the sand. It just doesn't sound like any fun dealing with letdown after letdown.
Haha, you would break up over not calling someone, or buying the wrong chicken?
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Re: Classic Fights with your Khmer Partner

Post by clutchcargo » Sat Apr 13, 2019 9:56 am

StroppyChops wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:22 pm
RickyBobby wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 12:20 am
Its inevitable...
Congrats for sharing your pain, that takes guts. Mrs Stroppy and I are both divorcees, and we got marriage counseling at the start of our relationship because we were both carrying baggage and we knew it. Best investment we ever made. I've done some marriage counseling here, similar situations to yours, and the basics are not any different to couples in other countries. Here's some unsolicited advice for nothing.

Basically any couple who wants to last has to BOTH commit to learning how to fight fair, BEFORE fighting.

Nothing wrong with clearing the air but there needs to be agreed rules in the ring, and if either partner breaks them, the other walks away from the fight until the rule-breaker apologises, at which point the "discussion" can continue. Sounds harsh, especially given some of the stereotypes of younger Khmer wives, but quite simply if both partners can't agree to this as a foundation, you're screwed anyway. It's possible and productive to argue in a healthy way. Abuse yelled in the heat of the moment doesn't automatically get forgiven and forgotten, it does lasting damage, and needs to be owned.

None of the following is aimed at you personally, it's general-purpose.

Fight rules are pretty simple.

- agree that your relationship is worth fighting for, even if you're fighting each other for it. This is a good litmus test as to whether it's actually worth it. Clearly you're not going to take a break at the start of a fight to confirm this - you should already know it, and know the other person's view.
- are you fighting for you to win and the other person to lose, or are you fighting for your relationship? AKA do you want to be right and alone, or do you want to make it work? Equally, if you're the one that always compromises, that's dysfunctional. This is a big point in barang-Khmer marriages/relationships - the expectation that this is Cambodia, so we do everything the Cambodian way is bullshit. We all know the stereotype that wife number 1 is for family, wife number 2 is for fun - does the Khmer partner really want everything the Cambodian way? Your relationship is not Cambodian - it's Cambodian/Western (whatever flavour you happen to be) and in equal proportions. Sure, you may have taken on the extended family when you got into the relationship, but does she know/care how you feel about that, and what impact it has on you?
- know the difference between issues and topics, and fight on the issues, not the topics. Example - she goes off her absolute tit because she thought you were too nice to the serving girl in the restaurant. What's the issue, and what's the topic here?
- try and be clear on what the issue is, and don't let either partner pull the fight away from the issue. "Hyperlinking" is a millennial trait, where a young person bounces the issue at debate like a basketball and you try and keep up - don't allow it to happen. Example - "You want her more than me." "No I don't, I..." "You don't give me things" "Hang on, we were talking about..." "My grandmother is sick and you have to..." "Wait, what?..." "You think I'm fat." it's an arguing strategy designed to keep you off balance and not be able to respond. It's disrespectful, and younger people are better at it than older people.
- fight fair. If one person thinks they're losing and starts throwing everything into the ring (and dragging up old stuff) it's deflecting from the issue that started it. When either one raises an issue, stay on that issue until it's been addressed - don't let one person control the fight by constantly heaping in shit to shut the other one down.
- don't attack your partner and tear them down. Don't do it. Focus on the issue. Neither of you is going to strengthen your relationship by deliberately weakening the other. Address the behaviours or events that started the fight, don't seek to get revenge. If you need revenge, leave. It's finished.
- if you're fighting, make sure it's just the two of you. Don't allow family members or friends get involved either in the fight, or in the background. Particularly, neither partner should walk away from the argument to discuss it with others who reload the gun so the partner can come back and keep firing. If this is the pattern of fights, end the pattern, and if you can't, end the relationship.
- the first time either of you is physically hurt by the other, you're a victim. If it happens a second time, you're a volunteer. If you feel the other person might have been about to hurt you (machete example) this needs to be addressed separately at a calmer time, and needs to be a deal-breaker (see below).

This is predicated on you having set some agreed relationship rules though. A lot of people won't agree with these - don't care. They work. Relationships that are struggling don't follow these rules.

- neither of you is a fkn mind reader. If you want something from the other person, say so. Don't assume you know what the other person is thinking, or they you, because you're almost certainly wrong.
- it's not your job to work out what makes them happy and then give it to them, nor vice versa. They're responsible for their state of mind, as are you. See the previous rule. If either partner is being rude and moody because the other partner hasn't guessed what they want yet, see the previous rule, and grow up.
- be where you say you're going to be, at the times you say you'll be there, with the people you say you're going to be with (and not others), doing what you say you're going to be doing, be contactable, and give the other person permission to check up on you. And this goes both ways. If you want secret time, don't be in a relationship.
- have defined deal-breakers, and discuss them before fights even happen. As open as "If you do this, this or this, I'm out." Shows you've got some dignity and self respect, and the other party can't use you as a doormat. Think this through though, because you should be prepared to stick to it.
- agree on your finances, ahead of time, possibly in writing so it can't later be argued. Sure, you probably have a lot more, but is it your intent that the other person and their family spend it indiscriminately for you? If not, have you made that clear? Because that's almost certainly the expectation, and you'll be viewed poorly if you don't handle the situation.
- if there are kids or young adults around, keep in mind that you're modeling how adults argue. Show them how to do it right.

This is just free-expression and doesn't look like this in a more formal setting, just throwing down thoughts as they occur.

Incidentally, some of the other comments made in this thread are exactly why a lot of Khmer/barang relationships don't work out. Especially comments like "there's plenty more of them." WTF? If anyone goes into or out of a relationship with that attitude, it says a lot more about them than the other person.

Anyhoo...

Edit: forgot to include the obvious, and this is REALLY difficult in this culture. When fighting, you take turns speaking and the other one listens. You don't interrupt or disagree with the other one until it's your turn to speak, you are silent, and listening. You are not just waiting for your turn to talk, you are actively listening. I'll use a stereotype but I don't think many will criticise me for it - Khmer women tend to throw up a barrage of noise if they don't want to listen. If they can't turn this off, you can't fix the situation. This is probably the most important point in fighting fair, and I should have put it at the top of the list.

And lastly, all the above is for BOTH people in the relationship, not just the Westerner. If you can't agree to it, good luck ... because you're going to need it.
cheers Stroppy. Lots of valuable insights and good advice there. Worth rereading a few times imo

If I can highlight one point:
don't attack your partner and tear them down. Don't do it. Focus on the issue. Neither of you is going to strengthen your relationship by deliberately weakening the other. Address the behaviours or events that started the fight, don't seek to get revenge. If you need revenge, leave. It's finished.
This is crucial imo Never, never attack, put down or criticise your partner. It disempowers and demoralises them and they'll end up resenting you for a long time and may never forget. As strop says, talk only about the issue or behaviour always. Do not personalise it if you can help it.

Because of our age gap, background and culture, Mrs Cargo doesn't have the experience, knowledge and wisdom that I have however I do try to empower her when I can by not criticising her personally and encouraging her. On the other hand, she is very flexible and does not sweat the little things that I sometimes do as I tend to be somewhat set in my ways and particular about things as I get older. But we do seem to be a good match as my earlier relationships always seemed to be hard work..

I might add too...and it's hard to remind ourselves.. but whenever voices are raised..I suggest cut or kill the conversation completely and have a time out. I think it's very damaging in a relationship to be shouting at each other. Yet you see and hear it often. Despite Mrs Cargo being argument averse, she and I sometimes have raised our voices over issues and we have to remind ourselves to bring it down. She does it a lot with her family on the phone and when I asked her what does she hope to gain from that, she says 'Oh, I want to make my point strong and serious'....
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Re: Classic Fights with your Khmer Partner

Post by clutchcargo » Sat Apr 13, 2019 10:07 am

xandreu wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:23 pm
I've had many a classic bust-up with my partner over the years. It's difficult to pick one that stands out from the others. I'm usually a very placid guy and it takes a lot to get me riled. I very rarely show anger, preferring to play it cool when dealing with difficult situations. Revenge is so much sweeter if you give yourself the time to plot.

I've been with my Khmer partner for a few years now, and I've slowly learned, through bitter experience, that there are some aspects of Khmer behavior you simply have to ignore. Before I met my current partner, I'd had several Khmer partners, and in my experience, if you want a serious, long-term relationship with a Khmer, there are some things that you just have to learn to overlook. You have to accept and live with 'certain things'. If you aren't willing to accept them, you'll never be happy with a Khmer partner and you may as well pack up now and go home.

You have to bear in mind that you're living in a culture that has evolved in an entirely different way to the culture you're used to back home. Obviously, there are values that all humans share (or should share) on account of simply being human, but there are other values that are culturally dependent, and they may not agree with, or be as significant as, the values you're used to. Which leads you to a difficult question - Do they have to conform to your values or you to theirs? Well, you're in their country, experiencing their culture, not the other way around...

Plus - and I'm very aware of the fact I'm about to sound like a feeble, under-the-thumb apologist for my next point, but I think there's some truth to it - you also have to bear in mind the inevitable unequalness (spellchecker tells me that's not an actual word but I can't think of any alternative) of a typical relationship between a white, foreign, English speaking person and a native Khmer. It's often all too easy to take the "I'm the one who earns most of the money, I'm the one who pays the bills therefore I'm the one who calls the shots" attitude. I'm guilty of it myself, on many occasions, either directly or indirectly, but this attitude really isn't a good basis for a healthy long term relationship with a Khmer. This is partly what I mean by basic human values - you wouldn't like to be in a relationship with someone who took that attitude, what makes you think they do?

I've forgiven my partner for a lot more than I'd ever forgive a western partner for. A hell of a lot more. But I'm fully aware that the line has to be pushed back significantly to allow for cultural differences, if I'm ever to find happiness here.

Compromise, understanding and cultural awareness go a long way out here if you want to maintain a long-term relationship and firmly put down some roots.
Couldn't have said it better myself..credit to you sir.

I and I'm sure many can relate to that and it does put things into perspective. I hinted earlier that some things about Mrs Cargo's selfless family obligations irritate me at times but like you say, I overlook it and let it go. It doesn't dominate in the scheme of things and I see it as part and parcel of a khmer/barang relationship. I see the advantages far outweighing the disadvantages..certainly compared to what I had in previous western relationships.
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