I was told I need to get married as soon as I am done with my MBA degree. I agreed, despite having not an iota of experience of the greater world outside. I was conditioned to trust this as normalcy. Neither had I traveled a substantial part of the world, neither I have had enough experience at handling relationships. I was also a 20 something naïve girl with a minimal experience at life. Like most of brown Asian parents, my family thought the marriage tag is sort of a way to secure my future life. I was staying in Delhi and Bangalore, for work and studies, respectively, away from home in Kolkata. A single work staying outside is not a thing much heard of at middle class Indian families. i was the first one to do this in my family. It is often frowned at as well. Though things have changed over the time.
Anyway, I enrolled for an MBA degree and some of the matrimonial sites, simultaneously. Now here is the thing. I have had romantic relationships since high school days. Though that was more like a forbidden adventure. I never fancied marriage. I studied in all girls’ schools and interacting with humans with testosterones was an experience in itself! The only things I learnt from those short stinted relationships were about insurmountable male ego often normalizes abuse, overwhelming patriarchy that takes it easy to negate consent and love is NOT enough if you want to practice freedom to a certain extent at least. Intellectual compatibility is paramount, at least in my case.
Before I elaborate further, let me give you a disclaimer. None of the men I met through these matrimonial sites (and I met many at least 40 or so) were nice, NICE ENOUGH to even consider for a second conversation. Forget marriage. I met a man later, through mutual friends in Facebook, whom I have been dating, and now are in a domestic partnership seven years ago and that worked out. This was the same time when this marriage material hunt was ongoing, so you see I was rather open to meet new people.
I made it a point to choose and meet the boys myself. I wrote a long ass bio and started the cringy process. Now that I call it cringe, I wonder if it wise to make that judgement call so soon. When I started, I was rather open to the experience and hopeful to meet a nice person and try my luck. It is only after a long time, and a
successful beautiful relationship out of wed lock I have the courage and confidence to identify cringe. If I have to sum up this article in one sentence, I would write “Be open to new experience and do not entrust anyone with your precious emotion easily.” Experience is what that matters at the end.
The men I met, and I will elaborate the red flags later in another post, were not always in the same boat. ideally, on a matrimonial site, you would expect the other person is actually looking for spouse. Many are not. the motive could be varied. From sex, or one night stand, or just friendship, or evading parental pressure to get married especially when parents are not accepting a partner from another caste (Indian parents do that) or even cheating with the wife. The list could go on. I know my friends who fell to clickbait profiles who just wanted to chat for whatsoever reason (cheating on the spouse? need emotional connect? monogamy is not for humans yet society wont accept otherwise yet?) I had spoken to men who went on to call family and then ghosted. Ghosting, so far, is the most common problem people face through these matrimonial sites. Ghosting after conversations, an invested relation, sometimes sex. Was the sex lousy or the profile is looking for sex only? You see, Tinder was a new thing back in days and millennials were not exactly honest. I applaud the newer generation in that respect. they are way more upfront and easy to converse about heir sexual and romantic need!
Be honest and upfront
let us start with the profile. I know it is difficult to incorporate everything about your life within 300/400 words. Not even 1000 words do justice. But be an honest person and highlight your objectives. Do not inflate the salary (depleting is not encouraged either). Be honest with your educational qualification, caste and previous marital status (if any). Be upfront if you need your partner to stay with the extended family. Life will unfold in its beautiful way in future but you should start from the same page. That is the beginning of a lasting relationship.
Your self confidence reflects in the way you write about yourself. The first time you start a conversation with a possible match, be kind, gentle and attentive. discuss your life, career, ambition and objectives and ideas of a married life, not just a wedding. If you are avoiding the typical big fat wedding (congratulations Bruh) discuss that too. The first move should be gentle, clear and impressive. “Hello, I am XYZ. I work at MNO and found your contact through DEF. I would love to know if you are still looking for match (remember consent?) and if yes, we can take this forward through *your preferred medium of communication*. Please do not share your phone number or email ID without hearing an affirmation from the other party.
…but in a friendly manner. Meeting a new human through matrimonial site is a lot like a blind date yet they aim to find a closure acceptable to the society. But remember things may not go well and you should always prepare for the rains.
Before you disclose to the match about, say a mental disorder that may be genetical, ensure you will not regret this conversation and the information will not be used against you in future, should things don’t fall in place (like you guys do not marry).
You might have to meet many people & that is okay
Be choosy about a potential match. Learn the red flags and once one of these gets highlighted, run. There is no need to “adjust” in a crippled marriage. This ruins lives, I have witnessed this first hand.
Learn the Art of Subtle Stalking on Socials
This is the age of internet. This has been so since 2020. Check out the match’s profile on social media, his friends and family, his LinkedIn, his friends profiles and the kind of comments he makes. This is applicable for the female match too. Image search, video search, checking people who liked his profile, finding a pattern of likes and comments: all of these are important. You do this yourself rather than asking for a password (I mean who does that anyway?).
Important: Do not be a creep!
After marriage, how the fund of the family look like? Will one of you go ahead and open a start up? Will a match like to take a sabbatical or a career break or be a homemaker? Can your match go and shop by his or her own or do you (or your wallet) need to accompany? Ask and prepare. Financial discussions are way more important than saying “i Love You!” in the long run.
Take your time before getting emotionally invested
Since the process involves meeting new people and a lot of them, set your guards high and do not trust a new person easily. trust, love, like etc are all human passion, albeit good ones, but set your own happiness as the primary priority. It always helps to get a full disclaimer (and trust me, every human on this whole planet has got one) before you make the emotional investment.
Be open to meet people
There is nothing wrong in meeting new people. Do not let anyone, not even the closest ones, judge you for that. Meet new people until your heart, mind and rational agrees. Mind you, all three of them. remember, in this journey, you will find people from different backgrounds. varied intentions. Some of the profiles would be fake. That too. There is nothing wrong if you allow yourself some time and few more chances. You have got it!
First date is very nice but safety is your primary concern!
Usually, in the current match making scenarios, the matches reside in metropolitan cities and work or study. Dating is an easy game through matrimonial sites. I encourage this.
But before the first date, know what you need to ask, what is the objective of the both parties, if all the questions have been answered and if you want to proceed further. I stress on the point of taking your own sweet time unless you are okay with a date which escalates to intimacy fast but followed up with ghosting. That happens a lot despite Tinder being present in Indian market for a while. So much so, Sushma Swaraj wanted to introduce a new law to safeguard women of the country. Albeit not the consenting women.