I was recently asked to write a relationship column for a fantastic online magazine here in India called Women’s Web. My first topic is about dating in India, something I have written about before here and here. These posts have been topics of great controversy, but they are based purely on my own experience and I stand by what I have said in them.
In my column in Women’s Web I have written about the concept of dating in India, which seems to be relatively new here. When I say dating, I mean the real western concept of dating where two people hang out and get to know each other without expectations of engagement, marriage and children just around the corner. It seems to me that this isn’t something that happens much here, and it is actually really hard to do without one person expecting that the relationship will inevitably lead to marriage.
From my very western perspective, I feel like marriage is a lot of pressure to put on a new relationship. I just want to know if a guy enjoys good food and makes me laugh, without worrying about whether he expects me to cook for him and how many children he wants. It feels like there is little choice for those who don’t wish to make a commitment very soon after meeting someone, and therefore options are limited for those who don’t want to either.
The other alternative is to date someone who is already in a relationship and not looking for (another) commitment. Each to their own, but as I think I made clear in this post, that is definitely not an option for me.
Is marriage really the end goal for all dating in India? Is it possible to just date without any pressure or expectation from either party, family or friends that the relationship will lead to marriage or otherwise it must end? What do you think of the advice in this article?
What do you think?
7 thoughts on “Dating in India: More Than Just Marriage”
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nice post … dating in India …. an another way of exploitation
I am interested in your comment regarding exploitation. Can you please elaborate on your thoughts here?
I was madly in love with an Indian man that I met via cruise. We dated several months before he went back to India to see his family. When his mother came to know he was in love with an American girl his mother gave him a choice – marry the Indian girl she had chosen for him or go away never to speak to his family again. He married the girl and within 36 hours attempted to kill himself via a motorcycle crash. He did survive and we have attempted to communicate, but his family completely rejects me and I wait everyday in hopes that we will be reunited. I don’t think we will have a happy ending unless he chooses to walk away from his family and come to live with me in the U.S.
Sorry to hear about what you have been through. I hope you find a way through the pain and loss.
I feel that as Indians, for most of us, dating and courtship (this maybe a colonial hang up) mean the same thing. For a society where, in the words of a very witty person, “no one has sex, we just look at each other and smile and children just happen”, physical intimacy can perhaps only be justified when the man, yes I have gone there, makes a guarantee of being the provider and protector of the woman he gets a lover’s comfort from. And also, from most of the people I know, we tend to be very clingy and needy in relationships, the men more than the women. And then something I have noticed in popular media, aka, the soaps on TV, is that to ask someone out you must be in love with them first.
You gave good advice in your article though. And I hope that our society one day accepts the concept of minding their own business and people can for once just chill the f*** out and not be such babies when it comes to two people just kicking back and having a beer together.
Thanks for your thoughts. As you can tell from my comments, I do find it difficult to comprehend. I hope the kids of the future get the chance to just enjoying the joys of dating though.