Insight into VN Culture as a Westerner Dating a Vietnamese Woman?

No not at all.
Only the last ~ 300 years has this become evident as religion vs educational system. Regardless of religion, these precepts are universal. In fact, Buddha 1 never claimed to be a G-d head. I pray I am not being thought dis compassionate.

Oh Shush!!

..we don't discuss religion here.    Only the consequences...      ;)

..but then, Siddhartha Gautama never intended his recipe for living correctly
to become a religion...   But by (trying to) follow the eightfold path, I now find
I am more Christian than most Christians, and more Buddhist than most Buddhists

Following (any) religion only leads to conflict.      :cool:

    ..for good people to do evil things..?   - That takes religion!
                                                                                                   Stephen Weinberg

The reason for this forum is for expats to help expats. Even if lovingit was 100% accurate it still would beg the question if his post was helpful or not. Dash doesn't think so and neither does quite a few of us. That the post was offensive, mean spirited and without an iota of help, that it was.
Even if most expats marry the kind of woman lovingit presumes, he doesn't have to look too far to find an exception to that "rule", himself....
or so he implies. Or he is the proof.
That kind of mean post would fit the latter option than the former.
As anyone ever heard of an expat marrying a Vietnamese lady that was 20,30 or even 40 years older than him?
How many expats marry much younger than them?
Is it so that the women, that much younger than the expats, all married for love?
I even wonder how many expats are dead beat parents that ran away from paying child support and now can use the money that they should be paying in child support and instead use that money to " rob the cradle" in some third world country.
Would those expats married to ladies young enough to be their daughter's or even granddaughter's be happy if their daughters married a "grandfather"?
What percentage of expats would have married the ladies that they did if they had no money and were Vietnamese?
What I'm trying to point out is that no one has their hands " clean" and like someone said long ago " let the one with no sin cast the first stone.

[at]Dash I respect the fact that you were willing to open up and reach out, because most people are not willing to open up and be vulnerable and the ones that can't will resent you and under the guise of help they will attack you because they know that they can't do it, or worst, they are not willing to do it, and you also will have to put up with their " cheerleaders".

Ai, yi, yi!
poor girls and boys w/o pragmatic compass' understandings of divisions and non standard deviations, folding new culture into life can be a wonderful path,

..most people are not willing to open up and be vulnerable..?

( If you really knew me would you still like me?)   Read the book.

Sweet lies are much easier to hide in a forum.   Truth is bitter.

..and negatives are often necessary...     (I love my dustbin!)

..popcorn anyone..?         :blink:


Roll the credits:
There can be peace within reaching out, wherever there is growth within. Where we truly do our best to accept what is, as it is through another cultural perspective. At the same time in all relationships, including that which we have with self, ...respecting that of another as seen through their cultural perspectives, their personal experiences as well as our own becomes, ... well, becoming.
Where two people can sort through it together because as a couple they become symbiotically supportive, ...over time most comfortable together, then they will get older together.

Bazza I've not read the book but I can surmise where it would end up. The "downside" of opening up is that we may not be able to fool the one we are with, please read as (fool ourselves), but when we would " click" with someone it would be the real thing based on fact not fiction.
The world may be a stage but most of us wouldn't even make the grade of real bad actors.

Oops!   ..careful...!

You guys are in danger of becoming Messiahs!

..and we all know how they ended up!     :nothappy:

Really gotta go, ...looks like we lost Dash and are just

No, I think Dash knew all along.

(All) of us only helped define it.

colinoscapee :

My advice would be to sit back and observe your lady, get to know her better, to see her true personality and character. Just two months will tell you very little unless you are with her day in day out. Make sure she is the type of woman you really want to be with and spend time. If her family are accepting of you, friendly and honest hard working folk, people who don't expect gifts and money all the time, then you may have found a decent lady and family.

My wife's family are very accepting of me, they are friendly and don't ask for anything. I'm still waiting for them to get a quote to tile the kitchen and dining area, it's been 8 months since I offered to get it done for them. This proves to me they don't care too much about squeezing Anh Tay for everything he has.

Thanks, good advice.  I think this is along the same lines as 'be patient,' something I am told I am good at doing, but often myself don't feel if I am wrestling with something completely new as in this case.  I had a chance to speak to a valued friend back in Chicago since posting this topic and she said the same thing --  give it time, see how you feel in the next three months.

gobot :

I don't know, people are throwing a lot of softballs, I see some issues!

dashcom :

I recently asked if she was ok and she got upset.

Red flag. Opposite behavior of my Vietnamese wife who asks me literally 5+ times a day "Are you ok"? because she cares.

dashcom :

she said she was worried I would leave her ... [worries] I might just suddenly leave her and move to Thailand

This means she is invested in you and is having some insecurity, which will at times bloom into panic. In the US, women hide insecurity, they are empowered by feminism to overreact, dump you, and ask questions later if they feel hurt. I think here, women are liable to pair faster than we expect, and sometimes cling.

dashcom :

She's the most wonderful woman I've ever had the privilege of being in a relationship with

Also my experience with gf now wife

dashcom :

She got upset ... talking to her about the stress I was feeling. She said it was better to keep our worries to ourselves

Red flag. Don't all women harangue men to talk about their feelings more?  Does she prefer the strong silent type?

dashcom :

She's done a lot for me. She's brought me food... She's taken me all over to doctors ...She often reminds me to eat lunch. She's the most caring woman in the world

So considerate - also my experience

dashcom :

I feel like I'm screwing up sometimes with my girlfriend

Really, is it you? Listen to[at]khanh44. Conservative culture, men lead, men are strong. Say goodbye to feminism and accept this culture where men and women appreciate their differences, have complementary roles, with respect, not 'equality'. A system that has worked for thousands of years.

So some mixed scores. My advice is don't get married for a year despite the pressure from her famiy.
Keep your eyes open. Listen to [at]colinoscapee. Make sure about your interpersonal compatibility outside of 'culture'. Remember there are more fish where she came from. Abundance mentality.  :top:

Thank you Gobot.

I think the part about asking her if she was ok and her getting upset was a glitch --  it hasn't happened in some time and I have asked it since, after discussing the meaning of it when I ask this.

Empowered by feminism...  Hahaha, Gobot, I think you explained a lot about the women I dated in my twenties!  That said, I consider myself a feminist and hence taking on a 'traditional' role as the man in the relationship isn't going to look quite the same for me as other men.  And indeed, if part of the reason a Vietnamese woman might date a foreigner is because he treats her better than a Vietnamese man would, shouldn't the foreigner in question hold on to at least some of the values which allow for this better treatment?  I agree that complementary roles are great, but some of the ways traditional men act (and especially toward women)  just make me cringe and face-palm.

I could have gotten married in the states and I didn't hold off just to jump into marriage in Vietnam, so yes, agreed -- best to wait and see where it goes.

Very good advice -- it's critical, when swept into a relationship, to figure out how to relax, maintain perspective and not take things too overly seriously because over-seriousness can quickly ruin a good time and a good relationship.  I can certainly say that from past experience.

dashcom :
Bazza139 :

..and your advice was helpful to me.

Most psychologists are self-corrective, but we often become too pedantic and even seem patronising to many people.    So you are not alone.

While your observations were a little OTT,  they were absorbed, and I'll try harder to be less cryptic in my future postings.     Preaching to the choir is a constant problem, so I try to get them to read between the lines.     As you noted, this does not always work.

Sometimes, negatives are necessary.    I am mindful.   Not (always) full of it...

I am confused as to who this is directed at and about what.

I too used to be confused by posts from Bazza139 but have over time come to enjoy them.  Look for the hidden kernel of truth within.  :unsure

Hahah.  I will meditate on it. 

Seriously though, I find Bazza's posts to be quite helpful.

Mac68 :

To put it simply:

1. Understand the 4 noble truths.
2. Understand the 8 fold path.
3. Keep it healthy.

Mac, this is as simple as advice gets and considering that I am a bedside Buddhist, very appropriate, though not easy to implement.

Can I ask you an off-topic logistical question about Buddhism in Vietnam?

dashcom :
lovingit :

Greetings, I have been away in Singapore on business, okay I have made some enemies on this site for speaking my mind, just a few facts I am happily married with a daughter of 7 months old, I met my wife who worked before we had a beautiful daughter in the Vietcombank in Q7 near lotta mart.

The reason I felt I had to comment or post a negative post about Dashcom is that I felt he needed to wake up a little and not be so green and naïve, yes my posts were deleted because it seems that they only want positive replies, nothing personal against Bazza or dashcom but there are too many 'Yes men' on this sight and its not all rosy living in Vietnam

I not a vindictive person just one that feels I can speak out..if it upsets people then okay..


Dearest Lovingit,

Greetings and salutations.  I've never dated a woman from another culture before, and so the obviousness of calling me 'green' upon reading my post begs the question of intention.  But where do you get 'naive'?  Is it naive to ask for others' points of view based on their experiences?  If you had asked for others' advice on socialization when you were a teenager, we wouldn't even need to have this discussion in letter form.

I suspect that now being married, you overgeneralize and inflate your personal experiences to feel like 'the expert' on all things relationship.  I'm curious to ask a few questions about this to demonstrate how information is gathered, rather than assumed.  I'd ask (1) How many relationships have you actually had?  How many were with women from another culture?  (2) How long have you been married? (3) Is this the first woman whose ever considered marrying you? (4) Are you having trouble adjusting to the burdens and stressors of fatherhood? (5) Project much?  (6) etc, etc....  but I honestly don't care so please don't answer any of these questions. 

Did your tantrum make you feel better?  Are you in the habit of competing with your 7-month-old for others' attention very often?  Help me understand how a grown man gets to behaving as you did by your words cause it's not making any sense from my perspective unless I start assuming, like you did about me, a few things about you (see the questions above and this will give you some practice in  making inferences rather than assumptions.)

I appreciate your feeling about 'Yes men' -- good documentary, by the way.

You're assuming a lot (incorrectly) about me and how I see life.  You've invented some strong feelings toward me based on one simple post and thus relegated your ability to help me to a level of complete uselessness.  Why even go on the forum if this is your attitude? 

So if we agree on most of what you said and most of what you said is about someone other than me we don't have to have any more bad words just to give you more attention.  Why be so anti-social about it?  Attention can be gotten in much more intelligent ways.  There are many other ways to say what you said and I would have considered your point (as others have said, there probably is something to consider buried in the emotion of your words), but you chose to say something non-constructive, attacking, inaccurate and presumptive.  Grow up and be the role model your daughter is going to need.  You certainly wouldn't want anyone talking to her one day in the manner in which you spoke to me (and likely plenty of others).  Stop complaining and start being the person you wish others to be.  Too many critics, not enough writers, etc.



Dashcom wonderful to hear from you again...

I know you didn't want answers to your questions but here they are anyway:

(1)   My life began in 1955 in Hong Kong where I was born to a British Military father and a Beautiful English Mother, at the age of 16 I followed my Father’s footsteps and joined the British Military.
I had my first ‘Real relationship’ when I was 26 years old with an Italian girl that lasted for 6 years, my second and longest relationship of 10 years was with a beautiful Dutch girl who I met in 1999 after a period of working around the world and ‘playing the field’ so to speak with various lovely ladies from different cultures including Black Africans, Mexicans, Spanish and Thai so you can say I do have some experience ‘dating various ladies of culture

(2) I got married for the first time in 2014 much to my Dear ole Mother’s relief

(3) Marriage is something that quite frankly was not on my agenda and with both my previous relationships we had a live together scenario which suited both me and my former partners, the biggest problem I had in the past in regards to relationships was my work took me away for many months at a time and this was not always an ideal situation when it came to settling down

(4) I do not see fatherhood as a burden! I see it more as a new path in my life and I must say a most enjoyable one, I don’t know if you have ever witnessed a child birth Dashcom but it changes your life especially if that baby to are watching forcing its way into life is yours!!

(5) Always

(6) Oh Dear we are getting agitated

You stopped at (6) but you asked more questions so I will continue with my own numbering if that's okay with you..

(7)  I don’t need to explain especially to someone like you who is so easily offended…what is it Daddy didn’t give you cuddles?? If you saw my daughter you will see that I have no chance of competing!!!

(8) Because I wanted to

(9) Thank you for the advice dashcom…. I have to go now I have more important things to do in go shopping with my family then enjoy a nice dinner at the Park Hyatt!

have a good day...keep it real...

It's quite easy to see who gets offended easily by the snide remarks.


I see on your profile and I quote:  I also have a background in psychology (7+ years) and I would be interested in psychology subject teaching or other work related to this field. I am additionally available for individual, couples' or group consultations as a counselor, life coach and conflict resolution expert. end quote
Yet I find it quite intriguing that you can't sort out your own shit! I think we should meet up in HCM it could be fun!

Happy days!


I had a super evening at the Park Hyatt dinner was superb and of course I rather over indulge in the Hendriks Gin, however, my previous post is purely and observation and not a insult to your possible intelligence....

Good day ole boy and regards


                 Does not come weapon in hand
                     It comes slowly, on tiptoe
                  Making you see good in bad
                          And bad in good
                  Resist what resists within you
                          Become yourself
                   If everything you say is false
              You have become your own Assassin
                                                            - The Mahabharata -

Don't try and look too deeply.  That's the way she is.

Most South East Asians are more sensitive ( TẾ NHỊ) than Westerners and the women perhaps more so.  There is quite a high level of domestic violence in Vietnam and most women simply want a good man to look after them.  Looks are usually secondary as marriage is a long game. A divorced woman in Vietnam is frowned on and will be blamed by society.  Western men are mostly bigger and richer than Vietnamese men so carry a certain cache but also viewed with some suspicion because our culture places less emphasis on marriage.  So all in all, a bit of a recipe for insecurity but time builds trust and things will settle down.  Once she takes you to meet her parents, you'll know that she considers you marriage material! That is the point to stock or twist!  Good luck.

Regarding the language, it is very literal and has no intonation that changes meaning. So if you were to say "I can't wait to meet you", she would get upset.


Westerners are screwy to believe their dominance in thought rules anywhere except in their collective minds. Assimilation/understanding is at least a two way place.
If not then don't go there.
Thank you for so succinctly bringing light upon  relationship cultural communications.

Perhaps?  ..that is the point.   We don't have to look deeply.

We have already been told that "42 is a nice number you can take
home to introduce to your family"   (Douglas Adams)

But I'll take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance

Any Day!

Thank you for at least warning us it might be tricky

Perhaps having lived all my adult life in Hawaii and Vietnam and having been married to a non-western oriented (Native Hawaiian) spouse from a very rural area before my current marriage, my first reaction to the original post was that it was much ado about nothing.  In fact the examples that it gives struck me as simply typical male-female misunderstanding.  The "are you OK" example seems particularly so.  Men look for a solution while women look for sympathy.  Your question seemed to her that there was a problem that you could fix.  As you actually seem to understand now, the better question might have been something like "Do you want to talk?"  If she says no, you are effectively of the hook.  I think this is a good approach whether your spouse is from Terra Haute or Timbuktu.

That said, this piece of advice is well put: 

Tricky42 :

Regarding the language, it is very literal and has no intonation that changes meaning. So if you were to say "I can't wait to meet you", she would get upset.

Simply put, watch your words and strictly avoid idiom unless your wife is exceptionally well versed in English.  Finally: 

dashcom : I just need to be patient?

I think you already know.

I'm looking forward to meeting many and finding my one so this is interesting

Rayhakit :

I'm looking forward to meeting many and finding my one so this is interesting

Make sure you think with your big head, not the little one.

Hey, I'm wondering more about your experience. I'm an American woman married to a Vietnamese man and our relationship has always been a major struggle. I'd be curious if we could relate over some things.

Really good points presented here. Just give the relationship time to develop. No need to push it. A strong friendship leads to a strong relationship.

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