Why Marriages Failed in Indonesia

This topic has been talked, written and discussed plenty of times but this time as a mix-marriage ‘graduated’, let me try and present it from a first-person perspective since obviously, I’ve been there – done that before.

Many people within the community of mix marriages had asked me the same question that I might charge a dollar for every question asked.

Did you regret moving back to Jakarta?

Asked me this  last year, my bruised and broken heart would quickly jump and said: “You bet your ass I did!

But now, I had truly come to accept that I had failed. It was just a matter of time really.

So, is mix marriage doomed to head to divorce court if the couples move back to Indonesia? Maybe!

My optimistic side would want to believe that yes those who got it super strong will survive. Yet from my own personal experience – as someone who was in a mixed marriage and backed up by years of being around expats in Indonesia and seeing how many of their marriages crumbles, I can say the chance is always there but it depends on many factors.

Sad, I know really sad.

Of course, I’ve seen strong marriages survived BUT these marriages are made on strong solid grounds. These temptations winds will hit the husbands just as strong BUT if they are strong they will make it through. If not…then better save yourself from a meltdown and fix your marriage first and foremost before even contemplating on moving to Asia.

Seriously…only the strong ones survive.

Mine wasn’t strong when I moved here…or to China. The sad part is I thought we had something solid but that was just a one-sided opinion, unfortunately.

I had experience both sides of the mix marriage worlds. Being the ‘exotic’ one in the ex’s home country, people give you more attention that’s for sure. Maybe it is the cultural values, the upbringing or something deeper, it was easier to defend myself from temptations. Why? Because people respect you! When I went clubbing for the first time in Houston, Texas, there were so many guys tried to make a move on me in one night. Why? Because I was different there! It sure lifted my ego…to think that these guys are into me. But they all backed down when I said: “Sorry, I’m married.” Flashed them my rings and they went their merry ways. So, NO means NO!

But here in Jakarta in general? It’s a different story, my dear.

A guy can have wedding band strap to their neck if they have to and girls would still flirt, grinding, rubbing – you name it. A guy can be so old, beer-bellied, fat, and could barely walk… girls would still try to use them. A guy can be such a good husband when he first came here but it is a jungle out there and all bets are off.

Think of it this way, some of these guys are regular guys, a dime a dozen back in their home countries. Here, they stood out. Having girls – be it the bar girls/regular girls – adore these guys will surely kick up their self-esteem to heaven, their ego burst bigger than their heads. Just the way mine went up when I was in the States. Some guys will later – sadly – thinks that he is such a hot shot he can get any girl he wants even if he has to pop in a bunch of Viagra. This shit happens for real.

Supply and demands…

Image from Jakarta 100 Bars

Sadly, the most basic of economy rules do apply.

Some bar girls hope they’d score a meal ticket guy who would marry them, take good care of them so they will never have to work for the rest of their lives, to swoop them off to a faraway land…even some of the ‘good girls’ who have an office job still have these kinds of hopes. To an extent I can understand their desires to have a better life, hey…who doesn’t want that? But, if to achieve that means you will have to break someone else’s marriage then where is your conscious, darling?

Some blindly pursue expats no matter if he already has a dozen children or grandchildren, shame is no longer an issue.

The fantasy of screwing around with a bunch of hot, sexy, tiny itty bitty Asian girls for some guys are just too hard to resist. Some will pay cash; some will splurge for these girls. The ones that got so caught up within the nets will think the girl worship them, thus can’t say no to fulfill whatever their girl asked for and I’ve seen many guys who got so broke from their Indonesian ‘sweethearts’, who abandoned their family (legal wife/children).

It really goes back to supply and demand chains…

For these guys to use the excuse of “Oh, my wife doesn’t understand me…she’s a different personbla bla bla.” Is so lame, dude! Why don’t you sit down and TALK with your wife and try to work on the marriage? Are you putting the blame on the wife of course…why? Because it is much easier to do so.

Unanswered questions

How on earth do they communicate? When their English is beyond broken

You know sex can only last for so long…after that then what? Play chess?

Can those girls understand or add their opinion when the guy talks about his work?

I might never get the answers my brain seeks when I saw an ‘imbalanced’ couple but hey, maybe that’s what the guys are seeking? A trophy wife/girlfriend that looks pretty and just smile when they are talked to?

So yes, if you are married and thinking of moving here…better make sure your marriage has a really strong damn solid foundation because frankly my dear, strong is just not cutting it.

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28 thoughts on “Why Marriages Failed in Indonesia

  1. Miel Abeille Reply

    What I found most interesting is the last line of your post “strong AND solid.” Because for any marriage to survive, it needs both, right?

    Keep your chin up darling! If you need me, you have my email address!

    • Maureen Post authorReply

      Yes definitely, Melissa. It takes a lot of hard work to build that strong and solid foundation.

      Thanks so much for being there!

  2. Igoe Davis Reply

    Nice read, Oyen! You are a very RARE gem – I’d take my hat off for your courage and generosity to share what you have been through. If I may add, one other reason that come from the outsiders is also what we call “lack of morality”. I personally thought that it supposed to be something that we don’t even need to say to never get involved with a married man or woman. But sadly, in some part of the world (Asia in particular) there are still tons of people who easily brush off the (marital) status of anybody they’re interested in – that’s lack of morality I’d say.
    But again, there is this quote: “But seduction isn’t making someone do what they don’t want to do. Seduction is enticing someone into doing what they secretly want to do already. (Waiter Rant)” that makes STRONG and SOLID as really the foundation to survive.

    • Maureen Post authorReply

      Ah Igoe, thank you!
      Morality…and that capability to value marriage as a sacred thing. I once read in a forum about a single mom involved with a married guy and I told her out loud what THE wife would feel and asked her to stop what she’s doing because the damage of infidelity will not only hurt the spouse but most importantly the children…innocence children. So yes, morality. I am so with you on that part. Sadly it lacks or these girls just doesn’t give a damn anymore as long as they get their money and status.

      That’s an awesome quote, Igoe. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Sylvia,Jake and Matt Reply

    Very interesting article. You’re right. It was so hard for me and my American friends to hang out at bars (Bats,HRC, O’Reillys etc), those obnoxious girls really wanted to know the ‘bule’ guys. When my husband was in Indonesia, local girls surrounded him whenever we went, they even asked to have their pictures with him, talked to him only and started making some comments about me in Indonesian language. I should have answered actually 🙂 Telling you the truth, a lot of time I really feel uneasy to be in Indonesia, people stared at us. Those girls are really after the dollars and ego. They think ‘bules / white guys” are more superior.

    • Maureen Post authorReply

      Sylvia, the sad part is some of these bules then now generalize that girls who hang out in bars are the same as the ‘ayam’s which is so annoying. Thanks for sharing your own experience. Those comments are not only rude but totally uncalled for! Sheesh!

  4. Clara Reply

    Nice article, although I feel sorry for your marriage, really. You definitely is a very courageous person to share all this! I have to tell you I have a very different experience so far. I have not noticed women acting like that towards my husband. Usually people look at us, take pictures and so, but that’s because we are a bit different (we both have very white skin and dark hair). Anyway, we don’t really hang around bars, pubs and clubs. We hardly go to restaurants!

    • Maureen Post authorReply

      Hi Clara, thank you for your kind comment. I would love to comment on your blog as well but unfortunately I don’t understand the language 🙂
      I’m going to send you an email after this maybe we could meet for coffee.
      Sounds like you are a great couple and I really wish you both can survive here. Mine didn’t met his now girlfriend in bars/clubs…he and I never go to those places but it happened anyway.
      Thanks again, Clara!

  5. Emmy Reply

    A year ago when Scott and I told our friends we wanted to move to bali , they told me to becarefull and lots of warning about keeping Scott away from bars. To be honest I didnt think much about it , I guess my excitement moving back to my country took over my worry.
    So here we are almost a year living in bali , I have to say i dont see much crazy stuff happening around us. Scott and I dont go out to bar or Scott doesnt like to go clubbing at all. I go out for dancing when my friends from the usa are in town for holiday so it could be every 3 or 4 months.Our life here in bali pretty much work and family and most of our mixed marriages friends are family oriented people. Anyway thats my experiences living in Bali. But I am sure its so tempting for guys living in asia , they can have any girl they want it ” PERIOD “. and like you said yen : Strong and Solid marriage are GREAT Qualities and living in ASIA are needed !!!
    I wish you all the best Oyen for your future , Hugs for little A ! Love from Taylors in Bali !!

    • Maureen Post authorReply

      Emmy you and Scott have something really strong and your “Captain” is strong in your marriage, I can tell by your faith my friend. Thank you for sharing your own experience. Much love to you all!

  6. Rachel Reply

    I’m so sorry to hear about the end of your marriage. I haven’t dropped by your blog in such a long time. Heck, I haven’t even written in my own blog for months!

    In my native Philippines, I have a friend who worked in the Canadian embassy. And he said that for every white colleague who was assigned in the country, he ends up in the arms of a Filipino girl–never mind if the white man is married! According to another friend, the same scenario happens in the American non-profit org she used to work for. These men are ready to divorce their wives for their Filipino girlfriends!

    Sad but true!

    • Maureen Post authorReply

      I think the temptations in Asia in general is much stronger and only the strong guys survives. It is sad really but it’s the reality of living in Asia. Agree with you that it is sad. Thank you for stopping by Rachel 🙂

    • Maureen Post authorReply

      Parvita, I was going to link your post to my own but couldn’t find it and didn’t realize you had ‘moved’. Yours sparks pretty strong debates and I read it thoroughly with great interests 🙂 Thanks Vit!

  7. Dee Finkelson Reply

    A very good article !! Very true indeed. Me & my hubby have been married for 8 yrs n going strong but HELL NO i’m going to bring him live in my city Jakarta. Too many cheap women will do anythin’ to steal my hubby. Not that i dont trust my hubby but when the temptation is so damn strong, n he’s not A God, he still could fall into it. Man is a man, n lust is the most weakness ppl have. So u bet we’re going to spend the rest of our life here in the US where at least ppl has respect more for married person. Thx.

    • Maureen Post authorReply

      Dee, a mutual agreement between you and your husband is great but there are cases where the wives doesn’t have much saying and they have to move here one way or another. I agree with you on lust, it is something very few men successfully dodge. Thanks for voicing out your opinion 🙂

  8. Juragan sambel Reply

    Mine was totally different, girl 🙂 sadly yes I told that story to my ex before I married to him, about how superior the bules could be if they were in Indonesia or Phil. And because of lack of his morality, it continued his “curiosity” to keep searching tons of indo and phil girls on internet, just to flirt or even make-excuse-just for friendship reason. So if may I say, this thing does not happen only in our country, as we know divorces in this country also has been going up. Marriage would last forever not only based on love, but the commitment to God, respect and communication. One time I asked my hubby how to avoid the temptation, he said he would RUN from it and ask God to always lead us to His path! 🙂 *sorry if I sound preaching*

    • Maureen Post authorReply

      Someone with addictive personalities will definitely fall for the pit in Jakarta or in Asia in general because here anything is possible. You can even get remarried without divorcing your first wife. Too easy! I agree with you on commitment to God, sadly marriages fall apart due to the lack of what you are saying, respects and communications, etc. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  9. Ima Reply

    I hear you, Oyen!! After living in Indonesia, in USA, and now back in Indonesia, I know exactly what you mean.

    Bob and I have been married for 10 years now and I’m still worried. The good thing is that Bob has been living in Indonesia for quite some times to be familiar with its so-called “culture” where the local girls go NUTS over ‘bule’. He’s not someone who enjoys being in bars or lounges, but he doesn’t even HAVE TO be there to get flirted. Girls at his office will do the flirtrs too! They even had NO shame to text him or call him when he was at home, with me! This just pissed him off, so he threatened to report their immoral behavior to HRD Manager if they didn’t quit flirting with him… hahaha.

    There were even times when he asked me to reply their text messages, it was hillarious!

    Oh, there was even one time, I think it was way back in 2002, he received an email from a girl who told him to leave me! Yes, she was that bold. He was so angry that he replied her email in all bold, red capital letter calling her sl*t, c*nt, etc…. LOL.

    There were so many ways they tried to get to him, it will take at least 2 days for me to write about it… hehehe… I’m going to share with you when we get together.

    You know, Yen, I’m so glad you brought this topic up… I thought I was being paranoid all this time, your article just proved to myself that my worries are reasonable. Thanks to you!

    Love you, girl! You just made my day!

    • Maureen Post authorReply

      Teh Ima, I cannot thank you for being so opened about your own experience. It must be hard but you and Bob did it and I salute you both for that. You are one of the strong couple that I truly respect.

      We should really get together soon one of these days! Miss you Teteh!

  10. Verena Reply

    this was very interesting ! Thanks for sharing it with us! I´m sure it is hard for you to think about how your marriage has ended. I am really sorry for you and your cute son. I´m sure you had a lot of hardache! I really hope you are feeling better now.
    It´s just so sad that some women don´t even care if men are married and it´s the same with men!
    I´m thinking of you!

    • Maureen Post authorReply

      Verena, thank you. I finally blog about this ‘phenomenon’ because I’ve seen so many marriages (especially is the husband is an expat) fall to pieces because of temptations and what the women here has to offer. I am feeling so much better now because I had come to term and accept it all but it can still get quite mind boggling to think about how and why so many marriages failed to survive in Asia. Thank you so much Verena, you are very very sweet!

  11. Memoirs of a Single Dad Reply

    Wow, what a moving post. I never even thought about a topic like this but I guess I never really had a reason to in the past.

    I think it really comes down to the individual. Do they have the strength to remain loyal to their partner or will they stray under (enough) temptation? I’ve never been to Asia so I don’t know what it’s like to walk down the street and be looked upon as someone ‘different’ but I can imagine how for some it can be a huge temptation. Unfortunately, I don’t know what the solution is.

    • Maureen Post authorReply

      No one might get the one pill-fix-it-all-cure for this because at the end of the day, it does comes down to the person itself. Will they or will they not stand against these temptations.
      Thank you for your comment and thought, your visit is highly appreciated on my little blog.

  12. vanita Reply

    Maureen you know my thoughts on the subject. Whether or not someone cheats is based on whether they want to cheat. What their selfish needs are internally. I really can’t blame it on anything external. If someone doesn’t want to cheat, then they can disregard whatever is thrown in their face, hot women, old flames. it’s sad, but it’s true. I don’t think my ex husband cheated on me because I was lacking or our marriage was lacking or because hotter women than me threw themselves at him. He cheated because what he had just wasn’t enough to satisfy some internal need in him. A need to be the player and have his cake and eat it too.

    • Maureen Post authorReply

      Vanita, of course I agree with you. It all comes back to the individual and granted it does takes two to tango – or in this case, to cheat but what I cannot wrap my mind around is the way the third person could bluntly ignore if the guy is married, they would still go after them. The way I see it, the way girls are much easier here just become some kind of enabler to guys who already have tendencies to stray away. It is so very common here to see married expat guys forsakes their whole family just for a girl they met in a bar/club it’s sadly become an ‘epidemic’. Thank you my friend, for giving me your thoughts again. You know I adore you!

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