Did you know that over 50% of profiles on matrimonial websites are managed by parents? While most of my clients are completely turned off by this statistic, I think it’s progress.
Despite pivoting from matchmaking to matrimonial advisory, I continue to get tonnes of calls everyday from aunties about their sons (and not daughters, mind you) who are in the market. I’ve tried to explain my work, but midway through the conversation, I give up and ask them to tell their wards to reach out to me directly. Most mothers think I am absurd for wanting to talk to the grooms because don’t parents know better what’s best for their children?
As parents, some of us really have a tough time letting go. We are so used to double guessing what’s good or bad for them from the time they are infants that we refuse to see that figuring things out on their own is a part of growing up and living life itself. Thanks to the advent of feminism, daughters have made way for better parents who have learnt to strike a balance between holding on too tight and letting go. A lot more urban women choose their partners independently as compared to urban men, if the number of mothers who call me about their sons over daughters is any proxy.
Some of the responses I’ve heard from these mothers are:
“I can tell you everything about him myself.”
“Oh my son is quite shy, he doesn’t speak to any women apart from me, so I am not sure if he’ll open up to you.”
(I independently learnt from this son that he had recently broken up with his girlfriend and wasn’t ready to get married yet. Shy, indeed.)
“What do you want to speak to my son about? Can’t you just find him a bride without talking to him? I’ve already told you what kind of a bride we want.”
“We only want a simple working girl who can support herself and also balance home without being too career driven. My son is too nice to tell you this himself.”
(This was from a mother who claimed to be a feminist)
All of this allude to the fact that these parents can’t help but interfere a bit too much in the lives of their adult children and it might not do much good to the marital lives of these wards. While the wards may have found a mechanism to deal with this level of parental influence in their lives but their partners may struggle to keep pace, especially in cases where they’ll all live together.
There’s no way to make parents mere search agents without allowing them the joy of colouring the search criteria. It’s only human.
People who let their parents play such an active role in finding them a life-partner well into their adulthood may not think much of it, but they’re actually making a statement about who they are as individuals. If they do not enjoy the journey of growing up and finding a partner to forage a meaningful long term relationship, then it probably says a little bit about how much effort they’re going to be putting into their marriage.
This process is much like campus recruitment. Parents are like career services who may bring in companies for their wards to interview with. The wards may be cool to make an impression and get the job (or spouse) they want, but they’ll likely end up with run of the mill type marriages that are formula driven. But, I’ve heard that real joy is in landing an off-campus job because it makes for a great story. I don’t know about joy, but there’s definitely personal growth in spending time to understand yourself, sourcing your dream job (or spouse) and pursuing it (or them) until you have locked it down.