Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Have you noticed how much social pressure there is to be in a relationship and, if you are, the expectation to be romantic? For me, the pressure comes from various self-proclaimed matchmakers who regularly ask the question, “Ankita, why don’t you just get married?”
My mother wants me to get married because it’s time for me to ‘settle down.’ Friends of my family want me to get married because they know a successful Indian man who is looking for a ‘family-oriented girl.’ My attorney informs me that marriage is the best and easiest way to obtain citizenship in the United States.
None of these pass the laugh test, let alone provide a good reason for me to get married.
But I do wonder why no one is:
- asking me what I want, or what I am looking for in a relationship;
- coaching me on the skills I need for a great relationship – voicing my needs, negotiating compromises, respecting one another’s autonomy;
- assuring me that it is all right for me to set my own expectations?
In communities where parents and extended family have a lot of input into marriage decisions, young women like me are often advised more than they are listened to. And that can lead to unhappy – even violent – relationships.
To my self-proclaimed matchmakers: I challenge you to ask, coach, and assure me. This will help me lead a healthy, full life, whether I am in a relationship or not.