“Is this really it? the only person I’ll ever find? A sweet guy who has no interests?”

Do you think it is easier for men to find wives than it is for women to find husbands? If yes, then what makes it easier for men to find life partners? Are women (trained to be) better qualified or more easily available as men’s partners? Or do they expect less?

Do men expect less? With expectations of dowry, obedience, fair skin, modern-but-traditional and willingness to change their names and the way they dress? Of course one huge factor is that women are under much more pressure to get married and to marry younger.

But what if women didn’t feel that they had to choose men who earned (or earned more); and marry men who were older and taller? What if women looked for compatibility, common interests, mutual respect and a sense of humor – for  Partners and not for Providers and Protectors?

Sharing an email.

My dear IHM,

 

We have never communicated before, but, I have been a silent reader of your blog for many years.

 

I feel a little embarrassed to share my story with you and ask for advice, because truthfully, I have none of the problems that so many of your readers write to you about. However I really am in a lonely place and need help.

 

I am a 32 year old woman, coming from a wealthy family, the only child of two working parents. My family has always supported education, my mother ( and my grandmother) are both professors at the university. I was always taught to speak my mind, do whatever I wished. I was a nerd and read a lot, but also I learnt the arts, music and dance. I excelled in school and went abroad to college and then to do my PhD. Since finishing my studies I have moved back to India to start my own small business. I have always been a bit of loner, but I had friends always who I socialized with, but – and here is the catch- I have NEVER been in a relationship with a man. I don’t know why, I convinced myself that I am unattractive to men, but a friend of mine recently commented that I am too much of an over achiever to for men to get into a relationship with or marry, as they need to feel superior to their mate. I can’t help my achievements – and neither do I want to pretend to be a damsel so that I can attract an MCP.

I want to be in a relationship and get married, so when my parents suggested the arranged marriage route, I went ahead. So far however, I have been rejected because I was “not good looking enough”, “dark”, ” heavy” or “too educated”. I registered myself of shaadi.com and the likes, but there was no one that came up.

Now, my friend has hooked me up with a guy who works in Hong Kong. He is very sweet and nice, but we have NOTHING in common. I am a thinking intellectual person and always want to learn. He likes to socialize and drink. We’ve had conversations where I realised he doesn’t understand where I’m coming from. He says he likes me and we should get married – we have met once. My father – who has always loved and supported me- said to me that I may not find anyone else so I should confirm this. Try to like him and change him after you are married. It’s better than anything else.

I don’t think anyone can change another person. Is this really it? the only person I’ll ever find? A sweet guy who has no interests? Yes I am really lonely. I am one of the only single people I know, it is very hard some days. But should then I “compromise” and marry someone I don’t really like very much? some of my family say – it can be much worse – and I know I am very lucky to have had the life I’ve led so far. But I am unable to reconcile myself to the fact that I should be with someone who doesn’t care at all about what I care about just so I may be able to ‘teach’ him.

I am turning to you for advice, my friend, even though we are strangers.
What do I do?

 

Sincerely

A very lonely woman.

Related Posts:

What worries me is, will we be able to find guys who have a similar thinking process?

Hasee toh Phasee : When a Bollywood hero is an Emotional Dhakkan.

Hey IHM, I love your blog. But all the horrible news is making me a misanthrope…

An email: “I said I would look for second marriage with following conditions.”

The Young Indian Woman’s response.

Are these advises and suggestions possible for an Average Indian Woman to even consider? Will she be able to think that way… educate me

Can a Veetodu Maapilai rightfully ask for the 4th coffee of the day or whatever he wants in his in-laws’ house?

Is it possible to make a man see his wife as a partner, if he has been socially conditioned to see her as someone who is supposed to obey and serve him?

A detailed check list of conditions from modern young women of marriageable age.

87 thoughts on ““Is this really it? the only person I’ll ever find? A sweet guy who has no interests?”

  1. Dear LW,

    The one thing I would say to you is to always, always trust your gut instinct. If you feel that something isn’t right then it probably isn’t.
    No one in the world is perfect, except for maybe Hugh Jackman, but in all seriousness, once you start to love yourself i.e accept you as you are, flaws & all, you will have the confidence to meet others & eventually fall in love. If you feel that there is something about you that you can improve like your fitness or some skill set then go ahead & change it.
    Love yourself & strive to be the best version of yourself, just as you would want for the one you would fall in love with.
    You are such an amazing person! An educated woman who dances loves to read & has interests in arts, any guy would be lucky to have you. You just need to realize that🙂
    And if men are “intimidated” of approaching you then you have actually gotten rid of most MCPs. This way you’d just end up meeting the one who would be right for you.

    [Some good ways of meeting men (offline) would be volunteering, pursuing some hobby, weddings & getting reacquainted with old friends.]

    Always believe in yourself because if you don’t then no one else will.

    P.S: I would recommend for you to visit this blog:- http://personalexcellence.co/ . It’s about a woman in her late 20’s, an over achiever just as you & how she tried to become the best version of herself & eventually found someone…(plus a lot of other things). Hope you find it helpful.

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    • Yes Hugh Jackman is perfect and quite unattainable as are Benedict Cumberbatch and Colin Firth.
      IHM I’m being facetious because I felt unaccountably depressed reading the LW’s letter.
      Please ignore this comment if you wish to.

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  2. Do not marry if you have no common interests. 2 people must have some common ground and some fondness for the other person and from the email it does not seem like both. Do not worry about what people say, its better to remain unmarried than being in a forced marriage.
    Good luck..

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  3. I can truly empathise with you, I think in an arraigned marriage, guys (or at least the ones I have met till now) ALWAYS come up with almost the same set of requirement. The sweet, docile cook who keeps her mouth shut and serves HIS mamma and papa, and in return, they are ready to “allow” me to carry on my career because they are so “open minded”. And worse is my “well wishers” advise me to act like that, just to get married as according to them, “adjustments” will happen after marriage. Ya right! We all know who will have to make those adjustments.

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    • okk..so I received a comment on my blog in regard to this, as it was TOTALLY irrelevant on that page, I am copy pasting the comment here:

      “Nitesh:
      Are you crazy?
      No one is looking for a wife/daughter-in-law to serve them.
      Well, I could say the girl’s parents are looking for the boy’s family to dump their burden on to post-marriage for life (even the grandchildren’s financial requirements)”

      Dear Nitesh,

      If you would have read my comments I had written, the guys I MET, maybe its not you… And when someone asks questions like “Do you cook? Everyday? What are the things you know how to cook? Really? That’s like, fast food, do you also make Indian?” in the VERY FIRST meeting, its very hard to decide if he is looking for a wife or a chef.

      Also, if you would be so kind to read the about me page that you posted this comment on, you would have known I own a business and quite capable to support myself, and if you dig in a little deeper, you would also be shocked to see, my parents are not so keen on ‘dumping’ me on anybody🙂 (Though, I do confess, some of my relatives surely are).

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      • This is a troll who used to spam me. I suggest you hit the spam button and send an email to your blog service website. I haven’t gotten a single troll message for almost a year now!

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        • Again received another comment from this chap, using another email ID, and a rather threatening one this time, saying that I need to “behave” and that he was not there to please me!!

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        • The same dude spammed my blog too – commenting totally irrelevant things on totally irrelevant posts. But I moderate my blog so all his comments go straight to trash🙂 For me, difference of opinion is one thing but posting irrelevant comments on irrelevant posts is something I can’t stand. I expect comments related to the topic on which the post was written.

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        • Okay, so I found this comment awaiting moderation this morning. He uses another username but then helpfully, just in case I were in any doubt, gives his name at the end😛 Enjoy!!!

          //Reform??

          You so beyond help! Given your views at forums, all I can say that you can’t be reformed.

          You fit perfectly into a role of a homewrecker and surely, must have practiced those skills quite a few times.

          Don’t feed me. LOL😉

          Nitesh//

          I sure am glad he thinks I am beyond reform😛 And homewrecker!!! LOL!!

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      • Congrats! You have joined an elite group of bloggers spammed because of their comments here.🙂

        ln all seriousness, It’s one thing to debate and another to cyber-stalk people you disagree with . No point engaging these trolls. l can only imagine what spam IHM attracts!

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      • Since I don’t have a blog, this “Nitesh” did some home work and found my email address and I now have a bunch of emails from him, initially sending me copies of his unpublished comments and later commenting on my comments and complaining how unfair it is to him when IHM does not publish his comments.
        He is really cut up with IHM for not publishing his comments.
        He admitted to me, that he has been thumbing down others comments as that is the only way he can respond on this blog, since his comments are not being allowed to appear.
        I responded to him initially and tried to counsel him and then gave up.
        I now ignore his emails.
        Regards
        GV

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      • Omg! That guy commented on my blog too. Said i shouldnt be shaadi-phobic n let a guy maintain his relationships and all. Hahaha. Long list of how i should let him be a ‘nice familyman’. Waaaaah. I am in elite company if he had trolled you all.

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  4. It’s funny, but some times not having all of the same interests doesn’t seem to matter so much. It would be better to have some in common, but sometimes, somehow two different individuals just click. That being said, it’s something you should be able to feel yourself, as opposed to what someone else tells you. Do you click? Do you have fun together? Do you find yourself wanting to spend more time together?

    I wouldn’t advise you to get married to someone with the intention of changing them. It’s one talking about things or aspects you disagree with, but if you go into the thing ready to change each other, why bother? You’re not marrying the real person – just whoever you’ve created. Think about it – if you were on the other end, would you want to be changed, not by the experience of marriage or life, but intentionally by your partner?

    I can imagine it being hard being single surrounded by couples, particularly if you’re not single by choice, but the way I see it, being with someone in a serious relationship or in a marriage takes work, and can mean getting hurt. Why do it unless the other person, or the relationship itself is that worth it? Why put yourself out there for the sole purpose of not being alone?

    I say hang in there. Don’t settle – not just because no one should have to, but because no one should feel like they’re being settled for.

    But I also think this is your decision. You’ll have to live with it, so whatever you do, listen to yourself. You sound like an intelligent, capable woman, I’m sure whatever you decide is what will be best for you. Don’t let anyone else talk you into doing something ( or alternatively into not doing something), you don’t feel comfortable with.

    Good luck.

    PS. Do me a favour and smack your friend upside his head ( the guys who says men need to feel superior to women). And maybe think of getting his forehead tattooed. Maybe a warning label to others like, ‘Beware: fatally insecure’.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t have much to say but I will say this much, don’t compromise and give your consent to get married to a person with whom you for sure know you are not compatible. It will be like harakiri. You are educated you are independent successful why this hurry for marriage…it will happen when it has to happen. Till then don’t compromise.

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  6. Sigh! there is no easy answer for this. All I can say is you are not alone. Somehow young Indian woman have a more modern outlook as compared to men. Hell in some cases my Grand-Mom is more modern than the guys I meet in an arranged marriage set-up . All I can say don’t decide anything in haste and go with your gut feeling. If you don’t feel like it don’t do it. Also, our society has a very screwed-up view of what good looking/successful/worthy is. I’d rather not rely on that definition of beauty or worth.

    Just my two cents

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  7. Hmm I am torn on what to say. I married a very sweet man, whose interests are completely different from mine. However, we were madly in love, and still are, and the differing interests have never really mattered. In the course of 8 years, we have also developed some new, common interests.

    So, my own experience tells me that the lack of common interests is not a big deal, provided you like each other for other reasons. I fell in love with my husband for his kindness, his ethics, his independence, his respect for me, his sense of fun and a bunch of other things. And of course, we had chemistry🙂

    I think the problem in this case is, you don’t really know this man well enough to judge if you can/will like him for other things.

    Also, if there just isn’t enough to excite you, as someone else has said, I think its ok to draw back. But if you sense a spark, and it is ONLY the absence of shared interests that is bothering you, how about finding a way to date for some time and then make a decision? Do you have to decide about marriage rightaway?

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    • Excellent comment! I would like to add that your worries maybe a little misplaced as there are plenty of single men I know who would love to be with a woman who is smart and successful without expecting her to be a great cook or an obedient daighter-in-law. Just be a little patient and dont give in to desparation else you may regret it for a long time.

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    • I had the same experience as Aparna. Because there is “chemistry” and mutual love and respect, it doesn’t matter that we don’t share the same interests/friends/background with my husband. It is even a nicer relationship than the one I had before with a man who did the same studies as me.

      But if you have no love, no “chemistry” and no mutual interests, I dont see what is the point of living together ? What is going to help you go through the rough patches that happen in any relationship ?

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  8. Been there. Didn’t do that.

    I’m an achiever, and well educated, well travelled etc etc And as I approached 30, the more I looked around, the men around me, just didnt add up. Some believed that whether or not I worked after marriage, is their’ parent’s call. One believed I should have no issue in handing over my salary to his father each month. One couldn’t stop raving about how important it is that I be a good cook, though he didn’t even know how to make plain rice n dal.

    Your friend’s right. It’s really really tough to find a guy who’s capable, and yet comfortable with a woman who’s equally capable, if not more. The more I look around me, I see the women have moved on – they’ve taken on more roles, done more, seen more, and want more from life. Many men on the other hand, are still looking for a wife who’s a combo of their homely mother and the hot, yet dumb and docile bollywood heroine; while they themselves are still wet behind the ears.

    But is that the end of the world for you – and other smart, capable young women? No. I don’t think so. If you can get over Indian society’s message about marriage and marital bliss; or western society’s message of true and everlasting love, or marrying the love of your life .. then you’ve got a chance.

    Look up relationships or love in Ancient Greece or India. They had different names for different kinds of love.. about a dozen I believe. Look up the history of marriage [a good book – “Committed”]. Marriage evolved over the centuries as a primary social arrangement to raise kids and manage ‘inheritance & wealth’. The idea that marriage must have love etc is an relatively newer western concept.😉

    What is it that you really want? Is it really marriage? or Companionship? Or Acceptance? Or romance? Figure out what it is you really want, without the filters society (Indian or Western) imposes on women or marriage. And then go get it !🙂

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    • UCSD has this course on Love, which challenges pre-conceived notions on compatibility in relationships.

      Disclaimer: This is not for the girl seeking advice here. Even if I am qualified to, I would say there ain’t enough data to offer any advice.

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      • i just read it, it’s pretty lame. Just pulling out some lines reeks of elitism, a control freak and and an extra strong dose of stupidity.

        In any case, most of these problem are just as bad for men too. Finding a smart woman is hard too.

        “you won’t find that glazed look that comes over his face at all appealing”, “If you offer intimacy without commitment, the incentive to commit is eliminated”. “Men won’t buy the cow if the milk is free.”, “in the real world, you’ll be stunned by how smart the men are not”, “keep in touch with the men that you meet in college, especially the super smart ones”

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      • This is the same woman who was known as the Princeton mom a year and a half ago for her ridiculous article (wihch was pretty much the same as this one).

        Every once in a while a troll of Samantha Brick proportions comes out trying to generate enough publicity to sell a ridiculous book. I wouldn’t be surprised if her book hits the NYT best sellers list–so did Twilight and 50 Shades of Idiocy,

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    • you know, i like your point, in theory. what if you DO want marriage? what if you DO want companionship inside or outside marriage? what if you DO want kids? man what if you just want to get laid? these are all things that have been exponentially different to get each month past 29 as a ‘wonderful, intelligent, educated, accomplished’ indian woman. i figured all this out and ‘went for it’ and 3 years later nothing has changed. well ok i’ve changed. and not for the better!

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      • And this relates back right to the point I was making in some other thread. Women don’t have it good whether they choose a traditional path or a more liberating one.

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    • Richajn, loved your entire comment. And agree with your conclusion – “The idea that marriage must have love etc is an relatively newer western concept.
      What is it that you really want? Is it really marriage? or Companionship? Or Acceptance? Or romance? Figure out what it is you really want, without the filters society (Indian or Western) imposes on women or marriage. And then go get it ! ”
      LW, marriage is just a social/legal arrangement. We can and should define our own relationships based on our own needs and wishes, not by society’s stereotyped definitions of marital bliss or everlasting love.

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  9. “My father – who has always loved and supported me- said to me that I may not find anyone else so I should confirm this. Try to like him and change him after you are married. It’s better than anything else.”
    This. When I refuse the alliances from joint families for obvious reasons, I get this. You can change his mind and persuade him to move out etc etc. I get this from family and friends. So they basically want me to act like a manipulative and conniving bitch they hate so much in the typical saas-bahu sagas.
    Or choose one of the shoes in this shop and be done. You will grow to like it some day.
    .

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  10. Dear LW,

    I am in the same situation as you, except that I enjoy my own company. I have many friends and hobbies and I really don’t feel the need for a partner. However, I have been in relationships before, and let me warn you, you can feel just as lonely, or even more so in a relationship that you are dissatisfied with than you are being single. The key is to find a partner you really want to spend time with and share your life with, not just anyone who is somewhat decent so you’ll have someone next to you in bed. It can still be lonely, trust me on this.

    I honestly think that you should just make peace with yourself and put your time into more interesting and rewarding pursuits than chasing after men. Who knows, you may come across someone any time any where.

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  11. You are an independent woman. I feel, you shouldn’t be forced in a relationship but seek true love and common interests. For sure, it will take time but, being 32, is not an age where you are too old and it’s not like that you will not find anyone. What’s worse that many get into a relationship that muzzle their freedom and individuality. I feel you should be yourself and find the man who will let you be the person you are. What matters is our growth as human beings and not be forced to be someone we are not.
    Best of luck
    With Love
    V

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  12. The saddest thing about this is the father’s advice: “Try to like him and change him after you are married. It’s better than anything else.” Yikes!
    What’s the “anything else”? That you would be single? I have a feeling there are going to be a lot more single people in metros at least as young people refuse to ‘settle down’ with just about anyone. A number of my friends are in the same boat, and while I understand their sadness as they watch everyone pair up, have babies, etc., they are not as alone as they think. Also, there are actually cases of single women adopting, so if your family could be supportive, the future need exclude children even if you don’t get married.
    “Is this really it? the only person I’ll ever find?” Maybe, maybe not. To some extent, we’ve been fed the dream that there is someone perfect out there for each of us, but actually finding someone who is a good fit to share your life with comes down to luck. And even if you find that perfect soul, there’s no guarantee they’re going to stay that way forever, because people change, but you might as well at least start out with someone who you think is a good fit.
    “But should then I “compromise” and marry someone I don’t really like very much?” No, don’t marry someone who don’t really like that much. Why should you? It makes no sense. Also, you have only met him once. I assume he would like you to move to Hong Kong. Why would you move to another place and be marooned with a person you’re not even that into?
    Again, I totally understand how it can feel isolating when everyone is pairing up, but I’d wager there are enough non-paired up friends out there plus paired-up people who’d be happy to hang out with you, so don’t let the fear of ending up alone and eaten by an Alsation get to you.

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  13. Dear LW,

    I’m fairly young, but I just want you to know that your worries are so frighteningly close to mine that it’s almost eerie.

    I plan to be a big achiever in life. Whether that happens or not is ultimately up to me. But even in spite of that, I’ve had people call me a “loud presence”, sometimes “a bit much”, and how “no man will want me” if I stay smart and talk too much. And like you, I’m also like to think and be intellectual. I couldn’t imagine being with someone who also didn’t love to think about things as much as I did. Most importantly, I am passionate about the things I pursue in my life, and I love people who are as excited about what they do as I am, so it would be very difficult for me to be with someone who lived life by simply shrugging their shoulders about everything.

    Now, here comes the crux. People always tell us that we shouldn’t depend on other people for fulfillment. And that’s true. We should never look to other people to be our crutches in life to prop us up, as though we’re half finished when we’re alone. Being alone, being single, and these things are good things, sometimes even necessary things. People have to learn to be able to feel happy and whole when they’re alone as much as they’re with other people.

    But the truth of the matter remains that people will always crave companionship. I know I do. I’m not desperate for a boyfriend or a serious relationship, but it’s something that I am looking for, and would love to have and experience in my life. This is not because I feel as though I’m not whole without anyone else there to be with me. It’s simply human condition to want love, to want company, to want someone there. Humans are social creatures. There shouldn’t be any shame in wanting these things, and there shouldn’t be any shame in feeling lonely if you don’t have these things. Loneliness is common, and it’s a perfectly okay reaction to have, albeit a very draining thing to experience emotionally.

    However, the vastly important thing to understand is that a person should never have to compromise who they are fundamentally in order to alleviate that loneliness. Because ultimately, no matter what your situation, you will have to live with yourself, no matter what. You cannot escape from who you are, and if you change or compromise who you are in order to not be lonely anymore, what you often find out is that you’re back at square one. You have lots of companions, but you don’t have you anymore. And really, if you’ve lost yourself, you’re going to wind up just as lonely and frustrated as you are now, if not worse.

    So if I were you, I would turn down this person. You cannot build a life long relationship on “like”. And you can’t, no matter how hard you try, ever change a person. It doesn’t work, and only adds to the frustration of being in that relationship. Is being lonely difficult? Yes. It is. It is one of the biggest fears that many people have. But it is far, far worse to be lonely in the middle of a crowded room, where you can’t connect to anyone, than it is to be lonely all by yourself.

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  14. Dear LW
    I saw this post in my reader and my heart squeezed and my eyes filled with tears, because it hits so very painfully close to home. I’m so very very sorry that you are here in the same place as I am, because I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy! (OK maybe my worst enemy. But not many others.) And then I read all the comments and shook my head because haven’t we heard all these things before? Don’t settle, you are wonderful, who needs a man, it’s just conditioning. And then I felt worse because I realised I had nothing at all to say to you–well nothing even faintly reassuring I think. But I also thought that if, when I’d written about these things, there had been any person at all who GOT it, I wish they’d spoken up. So I’m speaking up.
    I have only ever had one relationship, that he had to be coaxed into, and though he loved me very much it did. not. work. And so, when I broke both our hearts and left him I told myself i would not settle. No. Never. Because if I were settling I could have settled for him. And now, three years later, I increasingly wish I had. From everything I see around me, all the people and their relationships, the only real message that fits everywhere is that there are no guarantees. You can love someone until your heart feel like it’s going to explode, but it doesn’t need to mean anything. You can find the one person who GETS you and shares all your interests and it still needn’t work. You can have a second or third conversation with someone you thought was unidimensional and immature and suddenly discover they are the single most mature person you know and have so many LEVELS that you might never know them. And when it comes to relationships, the one thing I, MinCat, with my life and my history and my virtues and faults, do know in my gut is that no matter WHAT I will be unhappier settling than I will be alone.
    So I guess my advice to you is this. If you feel so terrible about being with him, then say no. If you feel even worse about being alone, then go and spend a week with him and see if maybe the third time you try and find an interest it will work. And your gut will tell you what would be worse: settling or being single.

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    • Could so much identify with every word you have written. I am in the same space too….and feel exactly the same way…. Though I dish out this advice to my friends as well (there a a couple of us, in dis “situation”)…..

      “You can find the one person who GETS you and shares all your interests and it still needn’t work”….. so true!

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    • Dear Mincat (whose blog I read whenever she posts), LW, and Anon who has commented below:

      I wrote a *long* comment in response to all of you sharing my story, but wordpress did not publish it. Maybe the comment just like the non-existent companions in our life wasn’t meant to be🙂

      I just want to echo what Mincat said. For all that is hard about being at this particular stage in our lives, please be kind to yourself and do not make it harder and unhappier by ‘settling’ for what is not for you. The gut instinct is quite a funny creature. It may mean nothing when it tells you that a person is right for you. Hell, it has never worked for me even when my gut instinct screams that this will be super awesome for me. But, I never shush it down when it tells me that someone is not right. Because the gut instinct is always right about a person being wrong.

      My very best to all of you. I hope that someday all of us find our own peace and happiness. Cheers until then❤

      Also, if you haven't read Paromita Vohra's excellent Valentine's Day column on Yahoo Blogs, please do http://in.lifestyle.yahoo.com/on-my-first-data–my-true-love-gave-to-me-035510049.html

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  15. I understand exactly where you’re coming from. Believe me, a marriage is a lifetime commitment and you do not want to start with a compromise. You’re better off single. Marriage is over rated!! I’m sure you’ll find someone you love, until then, enjoy life as it is.

    Like

  16. Hello LW,
    I was in my early 30s when I met my partner and got married. It wasn’t easy being that age, and single. You have my empathy. I also know that if I had met my husband at 25, I would not have married him. Because what I was attracted to/ looking for then, was very different from what I chose in my 30s. So, my first suggestion is be clear why you want to be in a relationship and what you expect from it. I would even go ahead and rate the expectations as, negotiable and non-negotiable. What is more important to you and which would you negotiate – to take totally random parameters from my list – that he loves dogs or is tall? Second, If you feel attracted to this person, and your family is liberal enough, as MinCat suggests, go spend some time with him. Then invite him to spend some time with you. See how you feel in the two situations. Before I committed, my husband visited and stayed with me for 2-3 weeks, twice over a six month period – this was in India BTW. I was also in a position where I wasn’t sure; my gut did not have a voice. But these visits helped me to see what type of person he was. And I had to admit that he checked off things that were dear to me – honesty, kindness (while driving one day, we spotted a dead dog on the road; I couldn’t bear the thought of people running it over. So he helped me move it to the side of the road), not miserly with money or affection. I had issues which I consider critical but not insurmountable. There’s a lot of give and take that happens over time, which you really cannot predict from one-off meetings and phone calls. But if you have clarity of what qualities you like in a partner, then decision making becomes less subjective and more objective. In an arranged marriage, of the unknowns what I found the hardest to determine, is how the other person managed conflict resolution. Inevitably, in a marriage you will argue over which brand of fridge to get or curtains or cushion covers no matter how much in sync you are! But when you get there, how will this person respond?

    Like

  17. Hello LW,

    I don’t know if I’m the only male commenting here but I was tempted to comment only because your story seems to be a female version of my own.

    Only sans the melancholy you seem to be experiencing in your life right now. (and that I probably haven’t achieved as much as you in my professional life)

    I’m in my mid thirties, completely single, never been in a relationship (which is often judged as a flaw in my personality) and am absolutely happy and enjoying my life to the full. I never wanted to get into a relationship (or marry) just for the sake of it. I feel blessed for the life I’ve had and the people I have and value in my life. The absence of a romantic relationship doesn’t affect even a fraction of the positives in my life.

    I realized that not just single females but even single males have to go through a lot in Indian society. People/relatives have tried their best to hook me up. Some tried to convince me by comparing with all my school and college mates who are now married. Some tried to scare me through horror stories about single people. Some even doubted my sexual preference but couldn’t affect me.

    Thankfully, I have wonderful parents who completely support me even in my choice of being single as long as I want. (though my Mom often jokingly teases me about my future wife😛 ) But they know and agree with my views that a relationship or marriage is not just for the sake of it. Or for starting a family, or getting an unpaid maid to serve the guy’s parents, or for the sake of showing off at social gatherings, etc. All I know is that I’ll lose my single status once I meet the right person. Age is just a number.😛

    Being single is not at all related to feeling lonely. You need to realize the wonderful life you have. People will try to make you incomplete/lonely/inferior/whatever. The only thing is not to let it affect your mind adversely. The world is huge with lots of wonderful people out there.

    Something I read the other day – “A marriage does not complete a woman or a man; a woman and a man are the ones who complete a marriage.”

    Like

    • Very few men here. And perhaps this comment will confuse the LW more

      Conversation where he didn’t understand where you are coming from: bad sign. But its not like you have known each other forever. He might gave his views which may not be same as yours. He might have got the idea in few cases but might miss some. Did you got everything he said ?

      Trying to change him? Not good . never go with idea of changing. Accept people for who they are and think whether you can accept that.

      Intellectual vs social and drinker. Sometimes they blend sometimes they don’t

      Now one more thing. About the gut instinct. Usually its right. But only after you have sharpened it through experience. When you have dealt with similar issues before, heard the experiences of other people.when you actually have an idea of what’s going on. On this same blog we read so many cases of gut instincts gone wrong.

      What I am trying to say is maybe you need to take a chance. May be try to take a risk. Understand while you question. Be wise and foolish at the same time. Let go of fear but keep control.

      I am not saying marry him. May be spend some time with him. Face to face. In india. In hong Kong. And ask some hard questions. Go easy on the person , not on what you want.

      Like

  18. Most of my thoughts have already been expressed by others.
    Right now, you are on safe ground.
    You are successful, doing well and presumably not unhappy being unmarried.
    Any marriage is a gamble.
    You win sometimes, you lose sometimes.
    Assess what you are likely to win if it clicks.
    It should be something you want badly , which you cant ever get if you stay unmarried.
    Assess what you are likely to lose if it fails.
    Is it something you can’t be without?
    Look at how the pluses and the minuses balance each other.
    If the pluses add up to 75 percent or more, go for it.
    Don’t take a chance on anything less.
    Don’t add to tensions by setting a time limit or age limit for getting married.
    Don’t add to your problems by wanting to please your elders in the matter of marriage and “settling down”.
    Keep marriage an option, open always, but not something you will give up too much for.
    Being happily unmarried is not necessarily a bad state in these modern times.
    I can’t comment on whether you should marry this person you mention. Only you can decide.
    I agree with those who said that ALL your interests need not be common, but you should have at least something in common for the marriage to have a chance to succeed.
    Merely being a nice person is not enough. That’s okay if you are looking for a friend.
    For marriage, you need to look for a lot more than that.
    All the best
    Regards
    GV

    Like

  19. IHM,
    To respond to your questions. In the Indian context at least, I do think that it is easier for men to find wives than for egalitarian women to find men. And the reason for this is the heavy familal and social conditioning that many young girls/women are subjected to, which dins into their heads that they have to be ‘lesser’, subservient, docile etc in order to get a good husband, and that being unmarried is a disgrace. There are plenty of such women available in the marriage ‘market’ which makes it easy for men to find them.
    On the contrary, women who question the sexist crap – their numbers are not a majority yet, but rising for sure, thank God – find themselves up against a wall when it comes to finding men who share their egalitarian principles. There are just not as many such men yet.

    Like

    • “it is easier for men to find wives than for egalitarian women to find men”

      This is absolutely true in the Indian context. Men will find wives as long as they have a good job. My ex-bf and I had similar educational background and started out in same position at work, now I make almost twice what he does. May be that was too much for his ego, I don’t know. He went back to India and was married to a perfect sweet 23 year old from same caste/region etc who was thrilled to leave everything behind and fly off with a NRI husband. I hear from our common friend she makes early morning masala chai before he wakes up, cooks fresh breakfast/packs his lunch and has four course fresh Indian dinner ready without him lifting a finger. Wow, he hit the jackpot , I would never have time or inclination for such hubby caretaking.
      As long as Indian marriage market has abundant supply of such women, it will be difficult for those of us who want a more eglaitarian partnership. Indian men just have too many easy convenient options that they will happily pick based on their upbringing anyway.
      I don’t know what else to say, I am still single nearing 30 but definitely glad I can very well support myself and don’t have to marry just for the heck of it.

      Like

      • So true….It is surely easy for a guy to find a wife rather for a girl to find a husband as in Indian society a guy can pretty much get away with anything and especially if that guy is in America or working in a MNC in India then its even more easier because all said and done there are “shy, coy girls” who have been trained for years to get married and serve their husbands.
        In case some girl has decided to break up with the guy, then chances of him getting married immediately are high because the guy and his family can never accept it and will immediately find a girl just to satisfy their ego and call the girl a b***h…
        At the end of the day, we Indians have a very skewed understanding of relationships and even adults are not mature enough to know and understand that not every one we like can be marriage material and this fact no Indian parent will ever understand. In my opinion for an Indian parent to even remotely accept this fact will easily take another decade or more and till then Indian kids have no option but to face the music and bear such dialogues as the LW father has said.
        LW, please take time to talk to this guy in question, you have successfully stayed away from marriage all these years since you did not find anybody, please do the same now and think and take the next step. Because based on your father’s dialogue I am sure if tomorrow after marriage you face any difficulty your father will just ask you to adjust and mind you it is just not as easy as it is portrayed by them.

        Like

  20. Any hesitation is a sign of ‘DO NOT DO THIS!’ This isnt true in my case cuz I am a Libran and always confused about everything. All my friends are getting married too. I live alone, countries away from family and friends. I can see where the LW is coming from. But please dont get married with the hope of changing him. That will just lead to frustration and resentment. It will not be worth it. That guy might also be thinking that he can change you into a version he would prefer. It will just be one giant mess. Worse than the feeling of loneliness you have right now.

    Like

  21. In India, with the slow demise of arranged marriages among rational people, the focus now for many is on love or choice marriages. Only appropriate, sensible dating and knowing eachother can lead to such marriages. Dating is a concept new to India. Not everyone has the luxury or an opportunity to talk to the opposite sex as freely and comfortably as ,say, a couple in the United States would.
    In India , most of our parents,grand parents and relatives themselves don`t know what dating is , let alone them having experience on dating. So, I think most of the people now in their marriable or marriageable age (is there one?) have to learn to date on their own. One has almost none to ask, consult ,guide or even feel free to talk to about it in their elderly family circles when it comes to dating , unlike learning to cook,driving a car,choosing a career etc.
    DATING IS NEW TO THIS GENERATION , A LEAF WHICH CANNOT BE TAKEN FROM ANY OF OUR PREVIOUS GENERATIONS. I mean, I`m not making a fuss here. I know its just two people meeting and talking about what they want in a marriage, from eachother, and life in general, as easy as it sounds. But overcoming the social stigma, its consequences, or fear of being type-cast are a few deterrents to dating , both gender alike. Dating is still portrayed as against Indian culture,tradition,values,cat,rat, etc.
    Most of the people from the previous generations haven`t taken this route of choice marriages. Even in the so called “Love Marriages” of yesteryears , they would`ve either fallen in love at first sight, made odd phone calls , written letters, would`ve had a common family friend , would`ve been neighbours, or something of that like. But, had you talked to `those` couples , the truth would be that they wouldn`t have met much , or met at all before their respective marriages, and would have known little of eachother.
    The Letter Writer`s problems seems to shore on this general inability to date for most indians. Most of the Indian Dads would seem to run out of ideas to help their daughters once they hit that 30 year old mark, and come up with bizzare “ITS NOW OR NEVER , BETTER NOW OR WORSE LATER” cliches. This happens in Indian families.
    Being single should not be a taboo. If one cannot find the right partner or a compatible one , that person should just remain single and keep doing things that he or she likes to do , until knowing and liking someone in the future.

    Like

  22. Dear LW,
    I think you should spend some more time with this HongKong guy to know him better before deciding to marry him or writing him off. One meeting is just not enough to decide on what will hopefully be a lifelong commitment. Spending time with him in person will give you a better perspective that no amount of texting, whatsapping or skyping will give. However, based on how much you know about him, if you are already thinking of marrying him as a compromise, I would recommend staying single and waiting for the right person.

    Like

    • Exactly !
      Please spend some time with this guy (or other guys) before you even consider a relationship..contemplate marriage once you get to know him (or other guys) better..and being single is much better option than settling for anyone that comes by..ciao !

      Like

  23. First, do not marry/date anybody you feel is not right because everyone expects you too.

    I do not believe that you have to be a dumb damsel in distress to get a man. How long can you pretend anyway? And will that make you happy? Looks like you can’t really play along the traditional roles and that means you need to start looking beyond traditional men. Are you still looking in your caste? religion? race? state? etc..

    Don’t change for anybody because you can’t change for long. At the same time, it is not clear, how long you have interacted with the HK guy. I feel you need to know more before you decide.

    Also, most people who marry are not ditto in interests, blah blah. They have their own lives. Of course, some common factors do help. But what is essential is that you respect each other on differing views. Why does he have to dance because you don’t? Unless either of you are gonna throw a tantrum/cold shoulder when their partner went dancing alone because one of them is not interested?

    You need to make 3-5 non negotiables & rest characteristics negotiable. Yes, if you don’t match on the non negotiable, no point talking. But the rest, people often compromise, if they really like the person unless it goes against their core values.

    Is this really it? – I doubt that. Earth has a population of 7.4 billion. There are plenty of fish in the sea. I think you are looking only in a certain area, which is why it seems so less.

    You can compromise and marry but only if you can live with your decision and not pour out resentment on your partner/family/children. If not, don’t.

    Will I be single forever? – I cannot guarantee anything but go on with your life. You never know what’s around the corner. I have know 38/42 year olds meeting people and getting married. So, it is not impossible.

    Like

  24. Marry now and you can change him later – how many times have we heard that??? My cousin did just that. Married a meat-eating social drinker and smoker, even though she is a staunch vegetarian who cannot stand the sight of meat. But she was 27 and unmarried, and was told exactly the same thing – marry him and you can change him later. She was also very clear in her mind that she did not want to work, but kept shut, because she was warned that “guys today want a working wife”.
    Long story short, she is miserable because her hubby loves his meat and drinks socially and smokes. To his credit, he has never asked her to adopt his likes, but he won’t give them up. She quit her job soon after marriage, and he is unhappy, because he feels she is stagnating, and is becoming difficult to have a conversation with, as she has nothing to add to it. There we have it – two miserable people in a miserable marriage because one expected the other to change, and the other does not want to.

    Like

    • If you will not marry a guy the way he is now, then don’t because people change because they want to not because you want them to.

      Also, this resistance to eating meat/ drinking socially is a deeply entrenched thing which many Indians teach their children and believe is bad. As long as he does not force her to eat meat or drink or doesn’t get drunk & bother her or have a drinking problem, I don’t see what is the issue.

      Vegetarian who cannot stand the sight of meat – again a deep social conditioning. I was kind of the same but when i moved abroad everybody ate meat. Now, i am used to it. If nobody is forcing me to eat meat, I cannot force anybody not to eat meat.So, I learnt to be okay with others eating meat at my table.

      Like

    • I like this guy🙂
      This woman does not want to work but does she realizes that her husband also has a claim to that choice !
      And boo to the attempts at changing people. If you don’t like someone’s lifestyle choices, don’t try to get married to them.Period.

      Like

  25. I understand what you mean when you say you are lonely.
    But you have to understand what you are agreeing to get into if you marry someone you KNOW is not right for you. You will be living with this person, sharing meals, birthdays, anniversaries, and every normal day, with this person. This person, who you say you already find nothing in common with. This person that you are already so concerned about marrying that you want to write into this blog for advise.
    I’m 32 and single as well, and though I sometimes feel singled out cos everyone else around me is married, I am mostly happy that I don’t have the problems that some of my friends have. Some of them are married to not-very-nice guys. Some of them are married to people who don’t really seem to matter to them. They’re married cos they were asked to marry… they have nothing in common… and they go about their lives with no connection to their husband or wife whatsoever.To please their family or society or whoever. I don’t think those people are happy.

    Would you want to live your life like that?

    Like

    • That’s an important point – being married is not a cure for my unhappiness; often, marriage can be the cause of a person’s unhappiness and loneliness

      Like

  26. Hi,
    There is no right time to get married, just the right person to get married to. In case you don’t find him, better stay single rather than marry and then fight to stay single.
    Hope you make up your mind soon.
    Bye

    Like

  27. But what if women didn’t feel that they had to choose men who earned (or earned more); and marry men who were older and taller? What if women looked for compatibility, common interests, mutual respect and a sense of humor – for Partners and not for Providers and Protectors? — EXACTLY. The concept of providers throws unemployed men out of marriage market while keeping unemployed women in it, thereby providing premium to eligible(employed) men.

    Like

  28. I think what is important is to be with a sweet person who values your happiness. Someone who is willing to go the extra mile because he/she wants to make you happy. I had a boy friend with whom I had a lot in common- had the same education background, we liked reading, watching arty movies, traveling, etc, and I had the most miserable time of my life with him because he was very egoistic, hurtful, and never made the relationship a priority. We never did anything together because he was either not in the mood, or wanted to teach me a lesson/hurt me because I offended him in some way.

    I married the arranged way, and hubby and I didn’t have much in common. But he takes me to movies he find depressing because I happen to like them, browses book stores and libraries with me though he is not a reader, and takes me on long road trips when he wouldn’t mind just relaxing at home watching TV. Of course there are days when we have problems, but we make up, hubby doesn’t go three weeks without talking like ex bf did.

    I would say talk to him more, go out on dates, and see if he is really a nice guy who will treat you well. And if you feel the chemistry, go for it. Otherwise, wait. I know from experience that it can get lonely when you are single, and it isn’t always easy, especially with all the social pressure around. Making friends, not necessarily with people my own age, helped me. Hang in there.

    Like

  29. Hi friend, This is for the person who sent the email. I have one question to you. Why did you convince yourself that you are unattractive to a man? That is a lie you tell yourself. Every human being has divine essence within himself/herself and he/she deserves to be accepted, valued and understood. You have to love yourself, accept and understand yourself and not belittle yourself that way. Only when you value yourself and accept that you are really attractive, you will attract a loving partner for yourself. Just because you are rejected many times does not mean, you have no good qualities. You have lot of capabilities and i know that you have lot of love within you and you are sincere and you have conscience. These all really make a person attractive. Those who reject you simply could not see your value. But you have to practice seeing your value and accept that you are worthy. The person whom you are asked to marry who wants to only socialize and drink and one who could not understand you doesn’t seem to be the right guy for you. Definitely trust your feelings. When you feel he is not the right guy for yourself, you have to trust your own feelings.

    Again you are being too harsh on yourself when you say, ‘ the only person I’ll ever find? A sweet guy who has no interests?’ What will happen, if you say, ‘I will definitely be attracted to a guy who understands me, values me, respects me and has common interests with myself.’ That is the truth for you. God doesn’t want anyone of us to compromise but expects ius to believe we deserve the best.

    As another point, believe me, marriage is not the solution for loneliness. You have to work for taking care of yourself. There was a time, I was also lonely. I am also definitely a single person. But I learn I can definitely do better by helping others, inspiring others and showing their real nature which is love. Now I know, I can be friendly to anyone and the friendship grows with people who understand me. And so I am not lonely anymore. Definitely I will have a good partner also in time because I know I have a lot of love to extend. I can definitely help my partner to grow and encourage her interests in whatever she wants to do. Why can’t you think in this line? You will stop feeling lonely.

    Cheers and Good Luck to you,

    Like

  30. Hi everyone,
    I’m the one who wrote this letter to IHM, and I wanted to thank her and all of you for reading it and giving me your valuable opinions.

    I wrote to IHM in a letter a few days ago –
    “I was at a very low point when I wrote to you, feeling as though I was trapped and would have to do something I didn’t want to. Your responses (and those of your readers’) have helped me realise that things are not as bad as they seemed. The only time I have met my prospective match, I didn’t feel any chemistry with him, and we didn’t find all that much to talk about in telephone calls, probably stemming from our lack of common interests. But as much as it is not enough to marry someone whom I don’t know anything more about, I now realize, it would be unfair to dismiss him out of hand. One of the recurring pieces of advice from all of you was to prioritize what I want from my partner, and I am thinking of (and listing) what things are most important to me. I am planning to meet him for a few days once again in the next week, when he is in India for work. I hope to have a better grasp on whether we have a connection or not then. If things look better, maybe we can date for a bit – visiting each other/staying with one another, before I (or he ) commit to anything. If i still feel like its not going to work, I can’t go ahead with this. Your readers’ comments have definitely given me the confidence to say no. ( I have expressed my views to my parents and they are also thinking about my reasons for caution/saying no).
    I just want to say thank you again – to you and to your readers for taking the time to think about a stranger’s problems. I hope to always pay it forward.”

    So I did meet this guy over the past weekend. We still don’t have much in common, although we discussed things like where both of us would like to take our careers, children, families, etc. I suggested that we continue to meet over the next few months before committing to a marriage, but he is a hurry to “seal the deal” as it were. He says – I like you, we can’t have more than that now; I’ll try to like your interests, but if it doesn’t work , that’s your problem; and that his parents want to call my parents and fly down to our home to “take it to the next stage”. I said to him that could not commit to him right now and needed time, even if that is not the norm in an arranged marriage; meet a few more times, in India and HongKong if possible, maybe even have him meet my folks alone ( and meet his family on my own if he wants). He immediately said he has a couple of other prospects who hasn’t met because of me, so he needs to give them an answer soon. (even my father, who didn’t have a problem with any of his other comments had a problem with this one). I said to him , that I need more time – I cannot make a decision so soon and that if that was unacceptable to him, then we could end it there. I really don’t believe that I should make a quick decision about my life because he has a queue lined up to meet. Whether he chooses to meet one or 10 people at a time is his decision, and I can’t be manipulated by the idea that the “offer runs out soon”. I know I cannot do this “business deal” type of marriage, especially with someone who is trying to pressure me into it. We left it open ended – with him saying lets keep talking, maybe you will decide in a couple of weeks, but I have a sour taste in my mouth. I don’t think this will work for me.

    I’m sorry for this LONG letter, but I wanted to share what happened with you all. Strangely, I don’t feel down or depressed. I feel empowered.

    Like

    • Sorry I meant to reply only but clicked “like” instead. I just wanted to clarify something that maybe my primary letter didn’t get across – when I said he likes to socialize and drink, it was not meant to be judgmental. I like going clubbing once in a while, I drink too – its just that I like doing other things too – reading, running, hiking, watching movies etc and it worried me that he doesn’t like doing anything else.

      Like

      • Honestly, his rush to get married despite your hesitance struck me as fishy, but the whole ‘I have other girls lined and waiting’ line is a red flag. I get why it’s left you with a sour taste.
        Really glad you asked to slow things down and say no, and even gladder that you’re ready to say no again if need be. Good for you for standing up for yourself🙂

        Like

    • Girl, I’m SO glad you didn’t let him force you into a hasty YES. I can’t believe he said the equivalent of “I have others lined up, so you gotta say yes now”.
      It seriously does sound like he’s on sale or something. NOT worth it!

      Good luck to you.Whether you find a guy or not, I hope you continue to live life in happiness.

      Cheers!

      Like

  31. Glad to hear back from you. Most arranged marriages do work like this – “reply within 1 week, else we move on to the next party.” Perhaps it makes sense to look for other dating options instead…

    Like

  32. Pingback: “He has decided that we will stop trying to have a child now as he wants things to improve between his mother and I.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  33. Pingback: ‘I feel that arranged marriages are for extroverts, and there is no place for us introverts here.’ | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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