'I think any western man thinking of marrying a Thai woman should do a little homework,' says Pat Dawson a feature writer for one of Bangkok's leading newspapers.

'It wouldn't hurt to start by looking at Buddhist culture,' he says.

If you are considering marrying a Thai woman, you should first make yourself aware of the role of Thai women in society, and how they expect both you and them to behave.

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It is generally not acceptable for Thai boys and girls to stay overnight together unless they are with others in a group.

However, likely because of exposure to western TV and movies and also the internet, these norms are being broken, and young Thais now openly show those signs of affection that are commonplace in the west.

The following are some reasons for young Thai females agreeing to marry foreigners.

They may also involve feelings of love, but because of their culture it is important that you understand these things: Most Thai girls believe Western men to be rich, and has already been stated, this is often the case in terms of relating the average earnings of a Westerner with the average Thai male.

The dowry is today generally no more than a symbolic indication of the wealth of the groom, and returned in full, or sometimes in part, after the wedding.

Women have very defined roles in Thai society and within marriage.

Thai women cannot be expected to act and participate in society in the same way a western woman would, and in some cases men marrying a Thai woman are disappointed in the way they participate in their Western-style society.

However, if you understand the reasons for this, your marriage could be as wonderful as you want it to be: a little understanding goes a long way.

In Thailand, boys and girls want each other to be the first for each other when they marry, just as with eastern young people in general, the male wants to be the first man for his girlfriend, while the female wants to be the last woman for her boyfriend.

In Thai society, men and women are not traditionally used to displaying acts of affection in public, such as kissing or even holding hands.

When marrying a Thai woman, the Western man should be aware of these norms and of the place held by Thai women in society.