Matchmaking still as popular among millennials

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Sabrina Almeida

It may surprise millennials to learn that several of their demographic cohorts are comfortable with parents or matchmakers finding a suitable life partner for them. Though perceived as confident, conscious and collaborative, many young people of this generation appear to have a hard time establishing a “meaningful relationship” with that special someone they might eventually settle down with.

Their obsession with technology and the huge amounts of time spent online has been blamed for their social awkwardness and poor interpersonal skills. And could account for their relationship problems. Gone are the days of meeting, dating and marrying a boy or a girl from next door or the neighborhood. Being reliant on digital devices, they are inclined to use dating websites and apps to form these special friendships.

Unfortunately, the focus here on “being perfect” creates anxiety and insecurity as they strive to make themselves attractive to prospective spouses. In many cases individuals have misrepresented themselves with rather unpleasant consequences. The negative experiences create a vicious cycle making them even more relationship phobic.

Being a privileged generation that thrives on instant gratification adds to the problem. Waiting is hard which makes it difficult (if not impossible) for them to invest time in establishing a connection with anyone. After all relationships don’t happen at the click of button. Wanting everything right away, they are likely to move to the next option when they don’t get it.

One school of thought suggests that being highly protected as children with parents constantly advocating on their behalf, they are also incapable of making decisions or handling problems. When faced with relationship issues, they are confused and may unconsciously rely on family to help them out of a jam.

A Harvard study on the dating habits of young adults (aged 18 to 25), revealed millennials seek parental guidance on how to form loving relationships. What we believed would “happen naturally” like it did for us, does not come naturally to them.

In addition to technology complicating relationships and the helicopter parenting, society has also undergone tremendous change. Many millennials have grown up in single-parent families which could put them off long-term relationships. Secondly, with women becoming economically independent, they no longer seek the financial security of marriage (a highly-motivating factor for previous generations) and don’t want to commit to a single romantic relationship.

Psychologists also believe that the availability of more options makes it more confusing for the decision-shy millennials. We had a smaller circle to choose from than our kids whose choices extend from the real to online world.

Given this scenario parents who may have scoffed at the idea of an “arranged marriage” during their eligible years are anxiously tapping into their social networks to help their children tie the knot.

“My daughter said she doesn’t need help,” one mother told me. “But she is 34, how long should I wait?”

“I’m getting old and I want grandchildren,” said another woman in her late fifties. “My children want everything to be perfect but that’s not how it works.”

As a result, what started out with one friend making what I thought was a hobby out of pairing people has now grown into requests from several concerned parents and active searches spanning a worldwide network. Even I was reluctantly drawn in on one occasion.

Moreover, I was astounded to hear that youth in a people-centric country like India are no better off finding partners than their Canadian, American, European or Australian cousins. Possible alliances from India come pouring in as soon as you post family pictures. A friend was outraged at a proposal for her 15-year-old daughter and politely informed the matchmaker that she was not interested “at this time”. Of course, the prospect of immigrating would have made the match even more appealing and worth the brazen inquiry.

A friend in India recently informed me that she had been to matchmakers looking for “alliances” for her 30-something son. “Thirty-two years later, it seems to work the same way as it did for me,” she said laughingly.

Conversations with other friends also revealed that matchmakers in Goa, Punjab, Kerala and other Indian states fine tune searches for prospects from the same “village” if needed.

This lends some authenticity to reports that millennials seek parental approval and are not vastly different from the previous generation in their thinking or behaviour. With some studies suggesting that many young men struggle with making gender equality work in their homes. While accepting and supporting the concept, they resort to traditional roles in the family expecting the wife to manage the home and kids. Young ladies may also expect their spouses to bring home the bread, butter and jam.

I’m told that traditional matchmaking is also more reliable because it brings fewer surprises than dating apps where people portray themselves to be what they are not.

I guess matchmaking has stood the test of time! -CINEWS

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