Dating Indonesian Men: 5 Tips to Expat Women

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars)
By Simone Roberts, an Expat woman living in Bali, author of the blog http://dontforgettherice.com.

Moving to Indonesia alone and/or especially as a woman can be a daunting experience, but if you are prepared and educated about what to expect then you will be able to surround yourself with good, decent people. You will be able to find long, lasting relationships and spare yourself a lot of heartache and disappointment. Here are my 5 tips on finding love in Indonesia.

1. Be Understanding
Relationships are hard, mixed race relationships are harder. In mixed relationships you will find your fair share of cultural differences, and there will be times when compromise just seems near impossible. 

The secret to a lasting happy connection is a willingness from both parties to want to understand each other. Take the time to talk to one another, listen closely and don’t assert dominance (as either a man or woman) as it just won’t work. 

When starting a new relationship with an Indonesian man is best to be aware of where they came from and what customs are important to them too. For example the Balinese are very family orientated and if you expect to marry a Balinese man you might just end up playing house with the mother in law. 

2. Be Honest
You must make it a point to be aware of what is expected in the relationship. Indonesian men can be very sensitive people when it comes to matters of the heart. So if it’s a holiday fling or a ‘just for fun relationship’ you’re after make sure that the other person is aware of this. You might not think it is necessary, but it’s the best way to prevent it from getting messy down the track.

Also everyone knows that the male race is famous for not showing public displays of emotion. This too is the case in Indonesia, with the exception being the freedom of expression on facebook.  Expect it to be an all or nothing approach. Try to create a trusting and honest relationship so that the airing of your dirty laundry will be kept to a minimum. I cannot stress it enough, from the very beginning be honest.

3. Be aware
It is most essential that you as a non-Indonesian keep your wits about you as well, when you start playing the dating game. There are many playboys and playgirls out there that are ruining it for the good ones. Horror stories are aplenty of local men and women getting into relationships with foreigners just for the money and status.
4. Be 'prepared'
For most everyday Indonesians, sex is a taboo topic and sex education is not taught enough in schools. This is because generally men and women are not allowed to live with one another until they are married. Indonesian modern society just tends to turn a blind eye in favour of us foreigners, mainly in places like Bali and Jakarta. It also goes without saying remember to be prepared, especially if you are holidaying/working in Bali. STIs are common here as the waves of tourists come and go. 

5. Be the housewife…sometimes
From my experience as an expat but more so as a woman in Indonesia, money is also taboo topic. Let me re-phrase that, never talk with your partner about how much you make. Society dictates that men are the breadwinners in Indonesia and if your male partner cannot at least provide some financial security for you, he will lose face completely. Try suggesting to eat at warungs and local cafés to your partner so that you can try the local cuisine. That way he can pay for you and keep his pride intact.

Ultimately starting a relationship with an Indonesian man is a lot of fun; you will see the country in a new light and will be able to gain many more experiences. In order to make your relationship work with that special someone from Indonesia just remember to be prepared, be educated and be willing to understand one another.

Find more insights into the daily lives of Indonesians and more over at Simone’s blog http://dontforgettherice.com or stay tuned as she will be writing more for us here at Jakarta100bars. 

45 comments to '' Dating Indonesian Men: 5 Tips to Expat Women "

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  1. which indonesians??? chinese indo? south JKT indo? ghetto indo??

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  2. Your average joe Indonesian.
    Take it all with a grain of salt.

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  3. I love Indonesian but sorry to say Indo guys are jelek and cheater alot (90% of indo guys i know went to massage ++ or brothels in jkt) , lazy and don't want to take responsibility. the ones who are not who lived abroad for long time, have good education and wealthy but they don't need expat women as many gorgeous indo girls will be after them.

    I saw expat women only with gigolos like those in bali just for fun, but for for normal relationship ?! I doubt

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    1. It’s sad to read you Alex, so cliché and kind of insulting to say that Indonesian guys that didn’t have the chance to be born with a silver spoon in the mouth in a Jakarta penthouse are lazy and ugly. A bit of bitterness maybe?

      I have plenty of friends married to Indonesian guys who are not wealthy and didn’t live abroad and they’re relationship is perfectly balanced. I am myself with my Indonesian boyfriend for 5 years now and I’ve never seen anyone so caring, responsible and respectful. At least I never seen any bule like this. And guess what? All of this is happening in Bali !

      Oh and please… All men from all ages and all nationalities are going to ++ massages parlors in Jakarta, it’s an institution. It’s like going to Paris without checking out the Eiffel tower. Just look at the personal ads of this blog, it’s all about it.

      I hope that you’ll meet someone that can change your mind.

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    2. Dear Alex
      My Name is Winfried, I am an Indonesian guy.
      90% of Indonesian guys that "YOU KNOW" is way way too small of a number of Indonesian male population.
      even a bare rock can tell that You are an Indonesian Woman from what you wrote above.

      I dropped out from College and started working at sea as a Fisherman on a Tuna Fishing Vessel in Uruguay, I've been busting my ass off just to prove myself worthy of a man to the only woman I loved for more than 4 years. trust me, for a man who work at sea for that period of time, there are so many temptations came by and your faith will always be at stake once your ship harbored. but I myself had a promise to keep, my faith reminds strong, I have never been cheating for once until I got the news from my family in indonesia that the woman who I've been struggle for all these years has been married to some guy with half of my money that I've sent to her every month. this is just one of many unfortunate story that has happened to Indonesian men, whom according to you "Cheaters and Lazy" we might be "Jelek" to your eyes, but we do have heart and we know how to love and be faithful to the Woman we loved.

      regards

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    3. I was so touched by your story, but I can see you are a strong man , I'm sure you will meet the right women that deserves you.

      Some people need to understand that in this life , whenever you go even in wealthy and wester countries , you will find good guys as well as bad guys and same thing for girls.

      I myself was with an Indonesian guy who was younger than me by 2 years , we were planning to get married in the future even his is from a poor family and I'm the opposite , but I didn't care because I really loved him so much and wanted to share my life with him and I supported him very in his humble work to support his needy family , but unfortanetly he started being so cold to me, and started having some problems in our thinking, so we ended our relationship. But I still like Indonesian people , and if I met in the future with a good Indonesian guy who can really suit , I wouldn't say no.

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    4. Alex is a woman, bitter and coward probably a bule hunter . hating at white women taking interests in indo men.

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    5. Sorry, Alex! If you say that, I don't want to accept your accusation. If you think Indonesian guys are ugly and unfaithful.That's RACIST cult! I'm a Chinese-Indonesian-Arab guy very offended with your statement. So, please stop stereotyping Indonesian people!

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  4. Sounds like you got pretty burnt Alex.

    I hope you can find true love as I have, either from Indonesia or around the world.

    Take care of that little heart of yours.

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  5. Good on ya Simone finding love here ..most local girls have pretty bleak comments about local guys justifying that's why they prefer foreign over local men... did you get some sneers from the local girls?

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    1. Seems only recent in Bali but I don't really pay attention to them. As soon as they hear me speak fluent Indonesian to them they back off..... And then we all get on with our lives.

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  6. Accurate! I applaud your social observation skill. Specially on the money thing, because men DO NOT talk about it with their other half in Indo. Cheers!

    Indonesian man

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    1. I might be one of the few that's on the opposite centrum of that view as my wife and I discuss about it, we manage our financial together, since both of us really want what's best for our only baby boy, we need to be opened up about everything..
      My spouse and I love to learn from each other, especially from our silly mistakes, haha.. =P

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  7. Makasih mas

    You can read more of my insights at my blog.
    Especially this one below, where I talk about the things I have noticed Indonesians find weird about foreigners.

    http://dontforgettherice.com/2014/07/05/brother-from-another-mother-the-things-most-indonesians-find-weird-about-foreigners

    Selamat membaca

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    1. Simone...thanks. You share this from your heart. This is not only observation but a walking to remember. I used to have a long relationship with an Ausie girl. Long-distance made it impossible to work. Success with your love.

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  8. Omg Alex :( not all of Indonesian men are "jelek" or ugly as you meant. Some people said our appereance is just exotic, cute, unique, etc
    About 90% went to massage ++ I AGREE with you(whatever you are) "All men from all ages and all nationalities are going to ++ massages parlors in Jakarta, it’s an institution." you just found perverts men in this case
    who says Indonesian men are lazy and don't want to take responsibility? That's totally wrong. Even though looking for job in Indonesia is a bit hard we as men always struggle to treat women good as well as we can, that's why a lot of Indonesian men doing some small business such as "buka warung", online shop, and still a lot of options to make money.
    tbh I've been relationship with a white Aussie girl for 2 year.

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  9. hi Simone,
    i do lives in Bali,,but i feel quite hard to make friend with 'bule girls'.any tips maybe?
    im not Balinese,but i do lives here.

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  10. ... Came to this page by accident, so excuse the anonymity and hopefully my two cents will shed light regardless.

    Firstly, let me state that as a multiracial Indonesian I have had the pleasure, or displeasure depending on which bitter ex you ask, of dating females from almost all ethnicities, both from Indonesia, Asia, and the West. Nothing to be proud of, to be sure, and its mention is just to verify a life lived.

    The fact of the matter is that the social circles an expatriate female gets into in Indonesia are still, for the most part, a closed circuit - the reasons that bring them to interact with Indonesian males in the country will fall into the stereotypical personal and|or professional bubbles, and it is from these bubbles that their assessments of males are derived, and vice versa.

    The reality is that there are more Indonesian men outside this enclosure but they either lack competency to engage or have been warned by society of the stereotypical expatriate females that inhabit it, as have the females of its stereotypical Indonesian males ...

    The simple way out of this, in order to attain decent interpersonal relationships is to break away from the mold - if one enters Indonesian society with the mindset of a tourist, be it a holiday, student or professional iteration of that title, then one will enact the causality of attracting those whose purpose is to interact with tourists.

    Finding real people outside so-called tourist trap locales is a good start - if one is religious, local places of worship is a simple and accessible foot in the right door. If one is less religious, then shopping malls and their international franchised coffee hangouts are a solid alternative. Avoid places notorious for their expatriate community, such as South Jakarta and Kemang in the capital and every tourist hole in the archipelago and you should be fine.

    Preference in male ethnicity also do play a role, as some are less welcoming than others, and unfortunately in Asia dark skinned females are still less attractive than their lighter counterpart - there is a reason whitening cream sells in the span of Asia, from India to Japan. There are always exceptions, and a good dose of Asian sensibility and courtesy will always return in kind.

    All the best and good luck.

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  11. i never expect that my recent trip to Indonesia will make me fall in love with someone. The moment I knew he was married, I kept my distance. Although he has not met his wife for more than a year, I still respect the fact that he is married. But a few days later, we got closer. He was really genuine, caring & loving.

    Even up till now when I'm back in my own country, we still keep in touch and his brother who knew about us, asked him to ask my hand for marriage. Though I'm happy, deep down, I don't want to be the other woman. He is now saving for us though the currency difference is alot, he is really working hard. But I always encourage him to go back to his wife. But all he ever did was just calling his son and going back to his friend's house to meet his son. He never wanna meet his wife at all. I know the reasons but still, to me, when there's hope, there's still a chance to make it up. I'm not hoping for anything. But if ever I'm fated to be his wife, then I will be. And I hope to move closer to him even if it means sacrificing my good life here.

    Honestly, I hate myself for falling in love with someone else husband. All these years, I manage to turn down 4 married man who wants to know me. But now? I'm in love with 1? I can't believe I did this to myself. =(

    But honestly, not all indonesian guys are jelek. I have Indonesian guy friends living in many places and they are mostly very very understanding, caring and hard-working people. So, do not stereotype all Indonesian guy if 1 of them has made you broke your trust. Out of 10, maybe 3 will be the nicest. Get what I mean?

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    1. I'm from Singapore and I'm happily married with my Indonesian husband for 2 year's. He's a chef at bakerzin lastime now as a senior security guard. He's so gentle kind and never take advantage kind of person as far a's I know him. He always reject my Singapore dollars and his friends call him stupid. He said to me he just love me and will keep loving till die it's not about money

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  12. Cringe.
    Indonesia culture is indeed quite sexist, but trust me, "high quality" Indonesian men respect women. The last point is very misleading and, to be honest, disgusting. You don't "keep your man's pride intact" that way. Indonesian men's pride isn't that cheap.

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  13. Nice piece Simone !!! I found that the relationship between western women and Indonesian men is rarely to happen compared to white men into Indo women. Even in Indonesian media it is still a shocking news, have you heard the latest news about a British woman who were married to a Padang guy that trending the social media and mainstream media it is the truly evidence of it. Its indicates that the case is lack of media exposure. and probably this is the reason why it is Indonesian society dictates so much over it.Generally speaking, it is such an honor and a pride and joy having a western woman as a wife for Indonesian man but the problem is society often dictates the relationship especially when it comes to faith, virginity, and money and often ended up into negative sentiment. I really appreciated western women view over Indonesian men like you did because it really helpful to help others who experience the same thing. Congrats for your marriage with Indonesian man I read your happiness and success over it through your brilliant piece like this one.

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  14. Nice observation. I am also interested in marrying a nice and understanding caucasian woman. Please email me at om_adin@yahoo.com

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  15. Can i get contact of you Simone? i wanna make a foreigner Friends, maybe girl is better.. i wanna make a friendship first.. maybe you can help me to connect me with them.. i am Rick by the way... i Live on pekanbaru.. this is my email.. please contact me.. @cortstrato@gmail.com thanks before ^_^

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  16. Would you pls contact me, Simone..? I'm divorced Indonesian man, looking for serious relationship with expatriate woman.. my email address is bhpheart@yahoo.com..
    Thank you..

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  17. Hi Simone...I wish you can help please to find mor connect me toe expat woman live in jakarta. I did have relationship with local many times but always ends up badly. Thank you and apologize to bother you.. I am nice caring an Drspectfull person. My email tantohendriks@gmail.com

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  18. Hello, i've just found your article.
    You are correct. Our men mostly dealing with their heart. That is why we so faithfully to woman.
    But nowadays I notice most young Indonesian people, woman and man are more like Western, especially those living in big cities like Jakarta, Surabaya.
    I can tell this cause I've been living in some cities in the past few years.
    You know, I find this article when I am contemplating. Even when I write this, I feel sad because my girlfriend is a big individualist after she got back here, after working in Boston since 1998.
    What I notice after her return is that she became pluralist, and that is good, but also she is not able too feel ones feeling.
    When u said to understand each other,i remember that she said people in Boston like to gossip everyday nonstop.
    That made her become a quiet and no emphaty to to others. Even to her love.
    I don't know the way to lead her to good way.
    She is getting farther from me...
    And I feel sad.

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    1. if you still loved her, you'd eventually found a way to reach her, but if you didn't love her no more, stop wasting your time, lots of high quality jomblo around me that wants to be married to high quality men.. =)
      I stumbled upon this page looking for a good cocktail recipes, instead I've found tons of nightlife articles in Jakarta, what are the odds..

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  19. Hi Simone its really a nice article. I know its an old post, but I feel inclined to share my grandparents story. The story of their interracial marriage.

    My grandfather was an Indonesian from East Sumatra (now its called North Sumatra), and my grandmother was a Dutch. They met when my grandpa studied in Netherlands back in the 50s.

    When I asked my grandma why she wanted with my grandpa who was short, flat-nose, dark brown skinned, and slanted eyes (because his mother was a Chinese descent) - all the qualities that Indonesian high school girls frown upon - she answered that my grandpa treated women really sweet but not in a flirtatious way, very humble, and very honest. He was very different to the Netherlands guy she was accustomed to.
    So after a short period they fell in love and got married. Of course there were troubles, first because of the different religions and second because Indonesia just freed themselves from the Dutch 11 years ago, so it was like a slave marrying a master's daughter. Moreover Islam was portrayed back then as a blood lusting barbarian faith, and not many people as open minded as today, so you can imagine the problems they faced.

    But my grandmother insisted, and her parents in the end can only said that they expecting the letter from her begging for home after 3 months of marriage.

    But my grandma never sent the letter, and live happily with my grandpa although they live inside a forest because my grandpa worked as supervisor for a rubber plantation in North Sumatra. My grandma who were born in a modern country and from middle class family, went to a 3rd world country who were subject to them, inside a forest without walking distance to the stores, saw a bed bugs for the first time, had to cook with firewoods, and gave birth to my father and 7 others, I'd say she was very determined and madly in love with my grandpa.

    So after years, her folks visited her and was mind blown. They accepted that my grandma was really happy with her life, with her husband, and with her 8 children while nobody in the family as happy and as lucky as her (in fact all of my grandma sisters had a broken marriage, and their children also suffers the same fate).

    Their end story is more awesome. Back in 1 Syawal 1996, a day after Ramadhan, after the mass praying and visiting the only one older relative, my grandpa died on a chair just like that. As muslims we believed that after fasting Ramadhan successfully for a month, all of our sins will be erased even reaching a level of an innocent baby. And my grandpa died that morning.

    My grandma was devastated, really shocked, she was in the kitchen preparing food for the supposed happy day. She then felt that the world didn't matter to her anymore. It took 7 years for her to accept wholeheartedly his death.

    Then 12 years after his husband died, she followed him. After the night pray (qiyam al-layl) just before the dawn she drew the last breath on the bed, just like that, without suffering, or pain.

    I pray they meet each other again in Jannah (heaven).

    That was their story. A good Dutch/Caucasian woman that madly in love with a good Indonesian man and live happily ever after.

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    1. Such a very beautiful love story💓💓💓💓💓💜

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  20. I'm Balinese man looking for Caucasian girl. Email me at agung_kesuma@yahoo.com

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  21. Interesting post. When it comes to talking about money I made a totally different experience. I actually know exactly what my Balinese boyfried earns and what's on his bank account. And he knows my financial situation. I guess he trusts that I would never think less of him, because he makes less money then I do. And to be honest, for us that was obvious from the beginning anyway

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  22. hii! i'm from indonesian too, i'm want have a gf from other country (like US) maybe actualy i like blonde girl, and many indonesian men is like a blonde girl, so if you want have husband from indonesian, you must blonde �� bay the way sorry my english is not verry good, i'm just 17yo boys ��

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  23. Thank you for that very sweet story! I feel inspired by it! My boyfriend is Balinese and I'm from the US. I hope my relationship is like your grandparents but without the 8 children because that's too many for me:)

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  24. i like bule who not so bossy

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  25. I am dating an indonesian guy for like 3 months already and yes they are very sensual, sweet and caring. I guess the only thing that bothers me is our religion. He's a muslim and i'm catholic. I'm guessing his parents/family would never want him to be involved in an inter-faith relationship. Same with my family who says that Muslim guys can opt to marry multiple wives. 😢 It's hard! But i love him though.

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    1. Ahhhh I am also in the exact same situation.

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  26. Indonesian guys are hot to me i dont care what other people think...lol

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  27. is the western man faithful? I think it can be found in indonesian men

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  28. I like your blog article and also the comments, its really helping. I'm currently dating an indo-chinese guy and he is a real gentleman, nice and modest. He is still young but I'm sure he'll be a top quality guy to marry. If we succeed LDR, maybe we can be together, I really hope so because we really love each other. Thankfully, we don't have issues with religion,LDR and just misunderstanding maybe because of language barrier. But over all, its all good-like finding your soul mate/twin flame. ^-^ starduz

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  29. I love this writings. Thankyou simone, this article gonna help someone like me (indonesian guy) alot. Your viewpoint is nice to us. Me, myself, are trying to find an expat women to be my partner in life. Wish me luck, thanks

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  30. HI. Good article.

    I was just browsing information about the Dutch and Indonesian descendant and wondering why I couldn't find any information nor picture of Indonesian man married a Noni Dutch. Your point of view seemed to answer my question.

    So, Alex might be true saying that Indonesian Man are afraid to live abroad as Indonesian man physically short and/or has limited skills to survive.


    Cheers.

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