Dating vs. Arranged Marriage: Which one is right for you?
Dear Love Guru,
You’ve got me thinking about a few puzzling questions! Born romantic, what can I say? The main question I really want you to solve is as follows. I am born into a traditional Indian family, and perhaps my family is a bit pragmatic on their outlook on marriage and the dating game. They would prefer me to have an arranged marriage and not date…I’m nearly at a marriageable age, though, is it plain old silly to out rule any potential guys that are interested in dating me for awhile beforehand? I’m a hopeless romantic and can’t seem to get my head around a marriage that doesn’t involve a down -on -one- knee proposal! I do not want to get hurt either in a relationship and would assume the man I date will invest into a marriage because it’s not worth it otherwise, what do you think? Should I search for the fish until I find it or should the seafood market let it find me (i.e. have an arranged marriage).
Marriageable Dater, LA
You don’t get to be â€œthe love guruâ€ without having a lifetimes worth of dating experience under your belt. First dates, second dates, long term, short term, getting your heart broken, meeting new and exciting potentials, it’s all a part of the dating game. But being South Asian, the majority of us have the choice of either taking it or leaving it. The choice that’s right for you depends strictly on your personality and your expectations.
It seems like you are a single girl that doesn’t want to â€œplay the fieldâ€ and try different things. It seems you want to find prince charming somewhere out there, validate your compatibility, and get to the alter in an efficient amount of time. Girlfriend, don’t we all. The problem is that it’s not easy when you decide to go the â€œdating route,” that means you also have to accept that you might meet your share of cheaters, liars, commitment-phobes, and even if you meet an amazing guy he might not want to get married in your 2 year schedule, and/or the relationship may go sour and end after year one. If you can accept the risk, then you can sign up for the benefits.
What are the benefits? We’re human, we make mistakes, and the mistakes you make in the dating world only lead to greater maturity in our future relationships. So even if we don’t end up with our 1 st , 2 nd , or even 7 th boyfriend (yikes), the guy we do end up with will get someone who understands herself, him, and also how to make the ultimate companionship work.
But dating can be scary and isn’t for everybody. If you believe that you can have multiple soul mates and with a certain formula of attraction and respect, a relationship can grow into love, then marrying someone out of attraction and respect might work for you. The major pro with meeting guys through your parents is you know they want to get married! But I have to say, this is not 19 th century India, in America, you have the right to take as long as you want to decide if someone is the right catch for you. The two most dangerous things in courtship are the rules of M&M, manipulation and masquerade. In the first few months of courtship, there will always be guys that say, do, think, act, in ways to get what they want, be it you, be it sex, be it your money & status, the only way to navigate around that is to take a good amount of time to decide if you want to be engaged, and also have a long engagement.
I hope the gurus knowledge was able to guide you on choosing which road best suits you. I think most girls and guys these days have their feet on both roads, meeting people on their own and through their parents. Who you want by your side for the rest of your life is one of the most important decisions you can make for your lifelong happiness, choose wisely
Your Love Guru
Haunted by an Old Reputation
Dear Love Guru,
My freshman year of college, I was the biggest Desi party girl in my school. I got a lot of attention from guys and I loved it. I had no problem flirting, dancing, and kissing. When it came to sex, I only had been with two people, which many Desi girls had their freshman year, but unlike the rest of the Desi girls, I got hit with a horrible reputation. I knew a lot of it stemmed from people looking at me, an overly confident person, and trying to break me down, but I know a lot of it came from my non-traditional activities. It really hurt me at the time and still haunts me to this day. For example, when I meet a new guy I really like, and I find out he knows someone who only knew me my freshman year, my heart semi sinks. Let it be known, I’m a senior now.
Everything I had done since my freshman year, as far as academics, extracurricular, and leadership are things I am so proud of. I know I have gone above and beyond, but haters are always going to be haters. How should I deal with my past when it comes to myself and also new guys that might get a hint about it?
Wrong Side of the Tracks, TX
Dear Wrong Side of the Tracks,
The only way you can be free of your past is to let it go first. Believe me, it probably bothers you more than it bothers anyone else. 4 years ago, you made some bad decisions, but 4 years ago you were also 18. I honestly expect 18 year olds to make a significant amount of poor decisions, if they don’t, I have to imagine a large part of them have a serious boyfriend or live at home. A teacher in high school once told me, you are more than your lowest point. Somewhere inside of you, you still have not let go of that 18 year old girl, in your most insecure state, she comes to the fore front, but don’t hold on to her as a reminder of regret. Hold on to her, but as a reminder of your amazing evolution. The heart of the caterpillar still beats inside every butterfly.
To all the 18 year old honeys that don’t want to be that 22 year old looking back with insecurity, I have these words of advice. We live in a world where what you do defines you, not what you say and who you think you are. Never change who you are and what you believe for the majority, but also be mature and look at how your actions may reflect on your values and on your parents. The Desi community in America is still so small that even in large cities it seems everyone knows each other. And now with the advent of Friendster and other networking websites, you can meet someone Friday night, check out their profile on Saturday, and by Sunday get all the information you want about them from mutual friends.
If you meet a great guy, do not bring up your past reputation. If he cares, he will bring it up. Bringing it up yourself just brings on unneeded drama and also makes you look insecure. If he does bring it up, say, “I was 18 and naÃ¯ve, and those obstacles made me who I what I am now, fabulous.â€ If by chance, a guy says he can’t get over it, then he truly loves his ego more than you, and he has too many issues to date!
Your Love Guru