Thousands of men and women in India still rely on match making sites to find a life partner in India. A survey done in 2017 shows that there were a total of 1431 thousand unique visitors visiting the top two matrimony sites in India each month. With a rise in matrimony sites, this number is only increasing. Men and women aged as young as 19 could be found on these sites.
One can only imagine, with increased independence and general self-awareness among people, the rates of arranged marriages should come down. However, the success rates of these matrimony sites tell a different story. Please note that the objective of this article is not to review any matrimony site or convey that choosing a partner from a matrimony site is wrong. In fact, I believe these sites provide a good platform to meet people who are seriously looking for a life partner as opposed to other dating sites. Also, these defy the traditional arranged marriage system where marriage proposal usually starts with a meeting in a home setting with family members adding to a lot of pressure on the prospective bride and groom. These sites give you a platform to filter your prospective life partner based on their caste, place, occupation, salary, age, height and several other options. Once you have found someone you like, you can send a request and if they accept, you can start talking on the chat service they provide and based on that plan your future steps.
A recent survey by Shadi.com showed that 70% single people are choosing to create and handle their profiles while 30% are still handled by parents or an elder sibling. However, given all these facts finding a partner online is still hard because in India, marriage still comes up with a long list of expectations. While most men want women with unrealistic beauty standards, showing less ambitions toward career and of highly submissive nature; women look for men who would match the imagination of their prince charming, with a lot of wealth and a palace waiting for her. I have seen men asking women if they would want to give up their careers once they have had a baby and women asking for salary slips from men in the first conversation. While the technology might have influenced the art of match-making, it has done little for eradicating dowry demands, abolish the caste system or discard the belief in horoscope matching. I have seen a very few people wanting to explore out of their caste or religion and good matches getting broken because of a mismatch in the horoscope.
Even if you let go of all these reasons, it might still be difficult for some people to find a partner online. It could be due to a bad relationship in the past or simply because you don’t trust people online. I joined Matrimony in May, 2020 and quit in Nov, 2020. While the below mentioned reasons could resonate with some of you, by no means this article is intended to encourage anyone to quit matrimony. I am putting out these reasons, just so that the next time you look for a partner, you could weigh in these reasons before deciding on to select/reject a person you met on a dating/matrimony site.
You have a hard time trusting people:
Some people want the persons in their life completely analyzed before they decide their place in their lives. This could be their basic nature or the result of something bad that might have happened in the past. Well there are some people who are highly possessive of others and doubt their partners at every little chance they get. I am not talking about that kind of mistrust but the trust that is required initially to build a relationship and building such trust takes time. In my example, I take as long as 6 months to decide the position of even a friend in my life, so naturally deciding on a life partner won’t come easy. While such people take time to build trust, once they trust you it will be genuine and will last probably a life-time. However, with matrimony you won’t get time as long as 6 months- 1 year to date before you decide on the marriage. Most people in metropolitan cities are joining matrimony in their late 20’s after they have had a hard time finding a partner in organic settings (college, office, metro, trains, any medium to meet physically) or have had a break up. With older age, comes the pressure of finding a partner as early as possible. Most families won’t be willing to wait for that long and after spending 6 months, if you decide to take a negative decision, it will be hard on everyone involved. And guess what, you will get even less time with the next person.
You are an over-thinker:
Well! While taking time to develop trust is fine, overthinking on things is never a positive sign. All over-thinkers want to quit over-thinking probably and might have over-thought how to do that? Over-thinkers are usually good listeners when they are not thinking. It is because listening to someone is the best way to get more thoughts to over-analyze in your brain. Imagine this habit when you are talking to your prospective future bride/groom. Expect every part of conversation being analyzed, situations being created based on those conversations and answers on your partner’s behalf also being provided by your brain. And these situations are seldom positive. With me, they usually ended up me applying for a divorce an year later. This is not a good sign. If you are an over-thinker, I would suggest you to take things easy and talk things through rather than creating worst possible situations in your head. Most of the things you thought might still come true (Watch Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret documentary on Netflix for clarity). However, it is always better to talk through things than imagining worst possible situations.
You have had a good relationship in the past:
While if you have had a bad relationship in the past, you would have a hard time trusting which I already covered. What if you have had a good relationship in the past and due to some unfortunate reason things didn’t work out? Having a past good relationship means you were used to a certain kind of treatment and your expectations are set high. It will be natural for you to compare your future bride/groom with your past relationship and you would reject them if they didn’t come any closer to provide you the kind of treatment you were used to. After all everyone wants a better job, better car, better house then why not a better partner?
You are bad at confrontation:
I remembered talking to a guy I met over matrimony who was really aggressive and a little abusive sometimes. I took it for his lack of maturity but after talking for about a month, I decided I couldn’t go forward with him. I tried to break up with him providing all the reasons with cushioning levels as high as possible, so he would be least hurt. Given his lack of maturity, he asked his mom to talk to me and his mom went like ,”kya bigada tha mere bete ne tumhara? Kaisi ldki ho tum, phle meethi-2 batein krke jaal me fansati ho fr unka dil tod deti ho (What kind of a girl you are? First you lured him in with your sweet talks and now you are breaking up with him.)”. I could have reverted with just one screenshot of her son’s conversation and she would have shut up but rather than confronting her I listened quietly and at the end just told her that I didn’t think we were compatible. This has been true of other cases as well. The lesson is that please give very honest feedback of why you are breaking up in case things didn’t work out. There might be slight chances that someone might work through those in future.
You have an idealistic behavior:
Some people have a set of stupid rules set up for themselves and they wouldn’t break it for anyone no matter how tough the situation gets. So, they try to be careful that they don’t have to get into situations where they have to break those rules. With me, I have a rule that once I have made a commitment I would go through it no matter how difficult life becomes. Surprisingly enough but I could even condone a cheating partner just for the sake of keeping up with my high standards of idealism. Idealism also brings in unrealistic expectations from your partner. Idealism is not healthy and I hope such people learn their lessons early rather than learning them the hard way.
You have less interest in looks or money:
Yeah! Such people exist. While it is not like they would date a beggar or marry someone who they don’t find physically attractive. It is just that some people value emotional aspects over materialistic aspects. In my case, I genuinely took chance on men who were earning 50% less than me or were not that physically attractive. However, just because you value emotional aspects over materialism doesn’t mean the person who you are talking with would return the same favor. And they shouldn’t. If money and beauty are on your list for a partner you should not give up on them. However, I have seen men wanting beautiful women just to seek validation from their friends and family. Same goes with women. They want a Maldives honeymoon, just because she saw her friends posting pictures from a foreign location right after their marriage. Please think about if you are marrying for yourself or to prove someone else a point. I stopped talking to a man just because he was interested in a pre-wedding shoot and giving us a fake interesting story just because his friends had done that and he wanted to make a better video than theirs.
You want to live independently:
This one would be applicable for mostly women in India. Since most women are financially independent now, they want to have independent lives as well. Most men still expect women to come to their ancestral house and live in a joint family. Not only that, a woman is expected to naturally adjust according to the family’s needs, adjust her schedule and calibrate her dreams as per the new family. I agree while it is not right to ask of a man to leave his family but it is also not wrong of a woman to ask for wanting to live independently with her husband. I believe especially in arranged marriage cases; people should let their relationships grow without interference from family members at least during the initial years. A lack of understanding from the beginning and added interference from older generation due to generation gap adds layers of mistrust in the relationship. While men and women both should support their family in the time of need, it is also important they take time to nurture their relationship.
You are highly ambitious:
If you are a person of high ambition and your partner doesn’t support your ambitions, then your relationship could easily become suffocating and toxic. Most women are asked to quit jobs, decline promotions, apply for a part-time job or look for a job like teaching whether it suits her skills or not. While women themselves think that this is necessary to support the family, they don’t realize what this does to their mental health. Women start complaining of their husbands, become critical and become highly demanding of their children as they gave up their career for them. This creates an atmosphere of stress and high pressure in the home. Killing someone’s ambition is never the solution. While it is okay to take a few years off, or do a part time job to support your family when needed, that support should not come from one member only. Caring for your partner’s aspirations and supporting them is a crucial part of a healthy relationship.
You like to be in charge:
Most men and women these days usually want partners who are submissive and would listen to them. With growing financial independence, a lesser percentage of women show submissive traits. While it is never healthy to show dominance over others, it is natural that one of you would take charge more time than the other one. Most men and women these days are fighting for more and more authority. Rather than showing dominance over each other, it is important to take equal responsibility and respect each other’s opinions. I kept finding people on matrimony who wanted to control every aspect of my life post marriage. At one point I was willing to switch jobs based on partner’s location, was even ready to live with the family if the guy was worth it. Then there was a case where I told a guy that I agree on everything but I would just need an hour of my personal space daily, where I could do things I like, example simply reading a book. He was even horrified by the idea of personal space. That day I decided, I would not sacrifice my personal needs for someone I barely know.
You still believe in love:
Most people I talked with on matrimony have given up the faith on finding love. Most people’s reason for finding a partner is their fear of living by themselves. They just don’t want to be alone and are ready to go at great lengths of compromise just to have someone in their lives. I have met men who told me that it is simply impossible to find love after a certain age and they are just looking for a partner they can manage to live with. I find this philosophy highly depressing. While I agree it might not be possible to be in love as people on matrimony look for quick decisions, you can still listen to your inner voice in such cases.
This is the main reason that I quit matrimony because I could not see finding a possibility of love there. Since, I have been in love before, I know how you feel when you know the partner is right for you. First sign is, you will feel good about yourself. If after talking to a person you are feeling insecure, uncertain of your future, is it really healthy to still take the risk? Some people do turn out lucky but I have seen more failures than success. Whenever you talk to a person on a dating site or on matrimony, ask this question to yourself? How do you feel after talking with them? Do you feel anxious or calm? Do you feel safe or scared? Do you have happy thoughts or you just keep giving justifications for their bad behavior? If you genuinely feel happy and get positive vibes from a person, go ahead, take a leap of faith. Until that happens, keep asking yourself these questions.
Thank you for reading! Please let me know your thoughts and feedback in the comments section.
Free tip: If someone reading this article is seriously looking for a partner there are better ways to look for compatibility than horoscope matching like going for a free MBTI personality test. Please let me know if you want to explore more on these.