“Indian dating” is a relatively new concept, with arranged marriages traditionally representing the overwhelming majority of marriages in India.
If you’ve decided to seek a love match rather than an arranged one, here are some things to consider:
Indian Dating: Go Online
Matrimonial sites are thriving in India, as are group-dating sites. If you’re not living in India — one-on-one dating in public might be a little taboo to some — head online to find your Indian soul mate. Online matchmaking sites allow you to specify who and what you’re looking for. Are you looking for something serious? Does spiritual compatibility mean a lot to you? Are you hoping to find someone who shares traditional values, or are your own values and ideas considerably more liberal than those of your upbringing?
Online dating helps you focus your dating search and, depending on your preferences, can introduce you to Indians in your neighborhood and around the world.
Indian Dating: State Your Intentions
With arranged marriage, intentions are very clear. This clarity often extends into Indian dating, with men stating their intentions, but don’t assume this will be automatic. If the man you’re dating isn’t clear about what he’s looking for, ask him. Casual dating, sex, marriage and family are all issues that can quickly determine the direction — and potential success — of a relationship.
Historically, women had little say in their own matrimonial destinies. By opting to date instead of have her future handed to her, an Indian woman is taking initiative in finding her Mr. Right on her terms. She might still seek a traditional Indian man, or she might want a man who respects her identity, independence and who has a more egalitarian idea of marriage. Essentially, communicating expectations — on both sides — will help get the relationship off to a healthy start.
Indian Dating: Meet the Parents
Indian parents are often products of arranged marriages, and some will expect the same for their children. Others will be open to their offspring finding love matches — with the expectation that they’ll wed another Indian. Others still will be open to their children loving anyone, regardless of culture or heritage.
Be patient and respectful of parents who seem hesitant to embrace your relationship, and of parents who expect your romance to quickly escalate to engagement.
Family is highly valued in Indian culture, with marriage considered to be a matter of karmic destiny. Be respectful of this. Consider honoring your date’s traditional father by asking for his permission — or at least his blessing — to date his daughter.
Be sure to talk about both of your parents and the family dynamics you grew up with. Family of origin directly affects the way you see relationships and marriage.
Indian Dating: Be Patient
Dating takes time. Don’t rush the process, or expect a perfect match just because you’re culturally compatible. Likewise, don’t expect families to immediately get on board with your dating life, especially if you’re choosing to date someone outside of their expectations for your future.