With the recent shutdown of Mint on Sunday, my column died too. My dream of having a newspaper column on relationships was pretty short-lived, but lived nevertheless. Sigh. So I shall continue to publish my works here.
A couple of months ago, I wrote that the average age at which people are starting to look for partners nowadays has gone up significantly and how the lack of liquidity in that market has made it challenging for people to find mates and easily settle down. An overwhelming number of people reached out to me and said #metoo (no pun intended). Most of those emails went, “I am in my 30s and struggling to find a partner, so what’s the solution?” There is no simple answer really. I wish life were straightforward – you install an app, right swipe twice, find your soulmate on day 2, download a child on the same app, outsource its maintenance and live happily ever after. Wait, you knew that already.
What most of you don’t know (or prefer not to acknowledge) is that a part of the reason you are in your 30s and struggling to find a partner is because of you. The other part is the universe not providing enough liquidity, but that’s not something you can do anything about, so let’s talk about things you can do on your own. So, the first thing to do is to figure out why/ how you got here in the first place. Despite each of us having our own little quirks, we are more similar than we think. If I could classify single people into 3 different groups, this can help explain why these people got here, and how they can get out of their situation:
“I want a love marriage” type
These are people who haven’t yet come to terms with the fact that they are in the arranged marriage market. Finding a spouse like this is anything but serendipitous. You are introduced to a fairly curated list of people that have been double filtered like groundnut oil, and you are not meant to fall in love. But still, these people will diss every prospect in the market because they didn’t feel a “spark”, being fully aware that the process is not designed for sparks. It is a fairly regimented process to make a rational (or superficial) decision on who best fits your template for a partner. So, the sooner you start playing by the rules, the faster you will progress in the game.
“I am still not over my ex” type
This is fairly self explanatory. I am reminded of gully cricket, where the first couple of balls a batsman faces are deemed as “trial” and don’t count towards the game. And then what Bangaloreans call “all reals” begins. In a similar manner, people who get into the arranged marriage market even before they are over their previous relationships pretend like the first few prospects don’t count. The problem is, sometimes you have met the best people you could’ve possibly met early on, and then by the time you have made up your mind to move forward, you have exhausted your supply. So moral of the story – don’t enter the market unless you’re over your ex, because like most other things in real life, there are no “trials” in the arranged marriage market. It’s all reals from the get go.
The ones with daddy issues
These are people who think they have grown up, but actually haven’t. These are people who haven’t thought through what it means to live independently and grow their own family without the oversight of a guardian. They will constantly talk about their parents on a date, or let their parents make all decisions for them even after getting married, sometimes outweigh the wants of a parent over the needs of a partner without realising that the new relationship needs nurturing and their partner needs to be included in all decisions. What is the solution for this you ask? Realising that you suffer from these issues is more than half the job done, so I’d say ask yourself if you really have the confidence to run a house independently.
Obviously, there are nuances to each type and the more you think about them, the more you’ll be able to relate to one or more of these types. The sooner you get yourself out of the shackles of these types, the closer you’ll be to finding a partner. If not, you know where to go.