Note: I acknowledge that not all of you may have this struggle with your parents, but humor me from the “majority of the time” perspective…okay?
Since most of our parents are immigrants and had an arranged marriage, they can’t help us navigate perils of the dating scene. My family and I immigrated to the states in the ’90s. Despite growing up here, I’m still learning to grapple with the best of both worlds: traditional and modern. As an Indian -American, I’ve run into the barriers of finding a significant other through the Western method. Annnnnnnd let me tell ya, it comes with its challenges.
The blaring-ly obvious being “finding a husband,” so I don’t “pass my marriageable age.” Whatever the hell that means.
I didn’t realize I was born with an expiration date. Sorry, not sorry -___-
Point being- my sweet little mummy and papa, have nothing better to do than pressure me to find someone otherwise“all the good ones will be taken.”
DAFAQ??? This ain’t mango season, mom! It is NOT like going to the supermarket and picking the juiciest one.
Sooooo… Let’s get serious for a minute and address the elephant in the room
Culturally speaking, it’s hard to balance traditional and western values. It is strenuous for anyone, but especially being an Indian-American woman. Dating often conflicts with what our parents want for us after a certain age. Balancing your values, needs, and qualities you’re looking for all while pleasing sweet mummy and papa. Hence, western dating has been a foreign concept until a couple of generations ago.
Feeling pressured by Matashree and Pitashree also adds to the stress of “finding the one.” Forcing us to skip ahead and predict the future despite only going on a few dates.
After I turned 20 something, it seems the only thing they care about is my love life. The conversation somehow ALWAYS turns into:
- ”You’re of age; you need to be more serious and think about finding a partner.”
- “Your time is running out.”
- “If you don’t find someone now, then all the good ones will be gone.”
- ”You can’t have kids after you’re too old.”
- “It time to settle down.”
- “What about your friend (fill in a friend of the opposite sex here)”
- “Friendships can turn into love, you know.”
- “You can’t be so picky.”
- “Don’t go for looks all ”
- “You can’t get everything you know.”
- “You have to compromise.”
… and blah blah blabbity blah and then the most dreaded suggestion, “maybe we should put you on Shaadi.com or another matrimonial site.” I think my least favorite is “what about a city boy from India?”
Despite countless arguments and discussions- brown parents just don’t seem to understand that finding someone isn’t as easy as an arranged marriage.
Your idea of dating vs. your family’s
One of the primary reasons South Asians have difficulty finding their mate is the heavy familial influence. They all up in your biz the moment you hit your 20’s to hop on that marriage train. Thankfully it’s not as bad as getting an arranged marriage nowadays.
Although out-dated methods of finding a spouse transitioned digitally, desi sites/apps moderately operate under the same concept. Matrimonial websites like Shaadi.com is essentially the new platform for your digital biodata upholding orthodox culture. For my non-Indian peeps, biodata is the equivalent of a marriage resume, where an individual presents personal information and qualifications to find their life partner.
Adding basic categories like an individual’s age, height, complexion, religion, ethnicity, education, salary, blood group, diet, weight, parent’s occupation, number of siblings, their marital status, and occupation are among the most common categories.
Apps like DilMil ( Indian Tinder) are specifically geared towards South Asians are now game-changers to finding love in a hopeless place. What was once believed to be a taboo method of finding your mate is now a norm.
The best part? Your family has probably eased up being your unwanted wing-family. In their defense, they only want to help you score the top-notch bae for marriage purpose. How else are you going to find your quintessential future husband?
Well, it all depends on your perspective. Millennials like myself rely heavily on dating apps to avoid the impending doom of resorting them biodata matches. However, that is a struggle on its own. Read Swipe, Swipe, Baby if you’re interested.
It is not easy, and the ongoing pressure does not help. I’ve lost count of the number of times my family has mentioned the words “marriage” and “settling down” over the years. It’s like every Indian parent’s goal is to just have their child get married and propagate. I guess it’s a generational thing.
Brown parents just seem to think that everything is like a checklist off their duties:
- Come to Amrica
- Have kids/Bring em while they young
- Give them basics needs for survival
- Put unnecessary pressure on them for education ( only give 3 career options)
- Shatter their confidence while doing so by comparing them to other’s kids
- Tell them to get a good job after graduation/post-grad
- Last but not least- tell them to get married and have kids so they can die happy
- Guilt them if they don’t listen
Here is the funny part both men and women do it. We make decisions off of the information we have in front of us. Fearing that it will not work out with the few qualities he or I may lack. Running in the other direction from the uncertainty that they are not our person.
Ultimately the deciding factor- not wanting to waste time from whatever notion we may have. It may be our own hesitation, or it can be the cultural influence of our family. Who the hell knows.
But of course, they aren’t concerned with that. So why not add a little more salt to the open wound that is my romantic life. If battling with Anxiety from adult-ing as a millennial wasn’t enough.
Thaaaaaaaaaaanks to all my fellow Desi parents!
NEWS FLASH: WE ARE NOT PSYCHICS, AND THERE IS NO GUARANTEE IN LIFE.
Hence, I’ve struggled with filtering men out that I know I couldn’t bring home. Leading me to avoid /overlook potential red flags.
I swear dating for me feels like I took a spontaneous trip to Jupiter because you know that’s where the stupid ones exist. Maybe Venus or Saturn might have the “normal” ones. I can’t tell ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
For the ones that are in a happy, committed relationship- let me know if there is a secret dating GPS or something. I’d like to get in on that.
Now if you’re going to ask me what does this have to do with fuckboys and their fuckery?
Well, it’s simple, really… I know what I want and what I am looking for. That isn’t always the case with men. Sometimes I run into coals while looking for my diamond in the rough.
Sooooo, I decided to write about my dating adventures while searching for “the one” because mom and dad told me marriage is an integral part of life…
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