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5 Lessons On Surviving Matrimonial Sites I Wish Someone Had Taught Me

Posted: August 15, 2020

Based on my personal experience of weird messages and annoying suggestions, here are 5 ways to successfully manoeuvre matrimonial websites.

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to condone the extremely regressive marital mindsets being practised in India. I am completely against the superficial concepts of conventional arranged marriage. And strongly believe that women and men must have the freedom to choose their life partners with no impositions or restrictions from their family or society.

Going through the sheer hopelessness of fighting with loved ones and burn bridges to claim a basic freedom was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. This article is for those women and men, who are going through the motions of the digital matrimonial market.

I’d given up hope on love

Having used the websites and having found my partner through one of these websites, I wish to only convey my own experience. And the things that helped me manoeuvre through the rough patches of the digital matrimonial matchmaking. I hope these are helpful. 

No. Not sponsoring for the websites.

At 28 years of age, after a devastating break up, and several short term, but equally harrowing relationships, I’d given up on love. I went into a deep depression after my long term relationship went into the ditches. And for a brief period of time I became a skeptic and cynical of love and relationships in general.

Thankfully, I was able to get over my depression with the help of my friends. Thereafter, I concentrated on self-development. I put in a lot of effort into myself and becoming the sort of person I was before I lost myself.

Life now, was good until…

Now, I was happier than I had ever been in my own skin and I did not want to change this in any way. As a result, I had decided to stay single for the rest of my life. This decision gave me an inordinate amount of happiness and contentment. Life was good and I was grateful. 

It was during one of my usual girl gang meetings, when the subject of my ‘love life’ was brought up. And it was during this meeting that my best friend advised me to try out the matrimonial websites. I brushed aside her suggestion as being a nonsensical way of finding your partner.

But she said to me, ‘Look, you are at a point in your life when you are physically and psychologically in harmony. Having someone with you to share in that harmony is an added benefit. I respect your decision to stay single. At the same time, I also want you to know that being alone is not easy.

She had made sense

“You have never left home and stayed in a hostel. Neither have you been away from your house and your family for any considerable length of time, to know and understand what being alone actually feels like. Agreed you have us, but there will come a time when parents might not be.

There will come a time when friends might not be, and then, you might not know how to be with yourself. Why not try it now, when you can look at it from a practical perspective and move on without any regrets. What have you got to lose?’ 

Four of us sat with full stomachs and a glass of wine and discussed the myriad aspects of love, life and relationships. And as I went to bed that night, my best friend’s words made sense to me, hard logical sense.

I was so done with the anxiety and pressures of the dating life that I did not want to go into a relationship and end up a mess again. And I was not willing to invest in frivolous short term relationships any more. So why not try for long term? Take the uncertainty and anxiety of finding a suitable partner in my own hands and shaping it into something I could control? 

So I set up profiles and it was not great!

I registered on Shaadi.com and BharatMatrimony.com at three in the morning on the night of Feb 29, 2018. It took me a greater part of three to four hours to get my profile exactly how I wanted it to be. My description section was almost (not quite) an essay.

I will be honest, it was also a kind of defence against unwanted attention from profiles/ candidates I wanted nothing to do with. And I put in all the major traits of my personality – feminist, atheist, independent, not a fan of joint family, animal lover.

Then, I uploaded one decent picture of myself. And after filling in all the unnecessary nonsense which somehow was “required” to get more appropriate matches, and I was done! I was officially on the matrimonial market, in search of a suitable groom.

My first week online was pure, unadulterated horror. And I don’t say this lightly, that there are some extremely disgusting men out there. My inbox filled with texts like ‘Sexy pic, buuuuty, and plz be my friend’ and increasingly cheap and demeaning metaphors.

I was stunned and disappointed, most of all angry, at myself on having put so much stock into this method. Here, I am putting down a few examples of the sort of unbelievable crap I had to deal with in my first few weeks on Shaadi.com and BM. 

The suggestions I got were awful!

Make your description shorter, nobody is going to read that essay. Well. We are talking about finding long term relationships here. I mean if you cannot be bothered to read through a description of your potential life partner in 500 words, then this is probably, not for you. 

Add more pictures. No. I have added one, that too, a full length picture. If you are someone who judges relationships by how a person looks / their colour / figure, then thank you, but NO

Don’t write about being atheist, feminist or wanting to be child free. You are a s***, you will never get a decent boy. No boy wants to be child free. 

So, I should write about what exactly. This is who I am, if I remove this from my profile, I am nothing. If you don’t like my profile, kindly move on. Do not tell me what I am supposed to or not supposed to write in my bio. And if religious, non-feminist and child bearing women are all that men want, I might as well just pack up and go for a trip or do something more meaningful with my life. 

P.S. – There are men aplenty who wish to remain childfree. Don’t give up!

The messages I received were even worse

Add details of kundalini, gotra and caste.

Nope. Don’t believe in that. Wouldn’t want to be married to someone who does. Swipe left please. 

We wish to speak to your parents

Excuse me Ma’am/Sir, I understand that you are managing your son’s profile and are probably free to choose his life partner for him. However, this is my profile and I make my decisions. So like it or not, you only get to speak to me. If you are not interested in speaking to me, might I suggest going to another profile and speaking to their parents? 

The girl should be a mix of modern and traditional values, non-working, homely, domestic, devoted and like working in the kitchen

Read. The. F***ing. Profile. Honestly! 

So I changed tack and decided to do something

And so on and so forth. There was a whole pile of steaming, smelly crap that I don’t even remember. But, I reigned in my feelings and decided to get the paid membership.

Anything to not have these creeps roaming anywhere around my profile. So instead of the one month time frame that I had allotted to myself to go over from a free trial to paid membership, I switched within one week.

Somehow, I noticed a decrease in the number of creeps. I guess people gave up half-way through my  profile ‘essay!’ By the end of the second week, an amazing change occurred. I started finding more appropriate men, more in line with my way of thinking. Then I started pings from these men. And for two months I had some of the most enlightening conversations with men all across the world.

And then, I met my partner!

I feel grateful that I met my partner after only two months. We kicked it off like magic! The journey from meeting online in April 2018 to getting married in December 2018 (yes, it was that fast) was not an easy one.

Ours was an inter-caste marriage and we had to cross innumerable challenges throughout. We had two weddings and two receptions in different parts of the country. Along the way, we burned some bridges and have since been able to reform some of them. We have been married for two years now, and I couldn’t have been happier. 

It was interesting to know that there are so many women and men, who are going through the same digital matrimonial search. I have seen friends and acquaintances struggle through this repository of suitable brides and grooms for years and years with no positive outcome.

This is why I decided to write this article. Perhaps my experience will be of help to some of these women and men. So here are a few tips and tricks to help you in your own digital search! Here goes!

Understand your preferences

Whether you’re going through traditional matchmaking, the digital one or have a love marriage this something that will come in handy. It is extremely important to know in your own heart and mind, what you want. Write it down, make a list, everything and anything you wish for in your partner.

Forget about what is allowed in your family, forget about what your parents preferences are. Just be honest with yourself and put down characteristics that you want in your partner.

Having done this, go over this list again, and again, and understand which traits are practical and which are whimsical, prune the list. This is important because it helps you realise which among your numerous preferences, are the ones you can do without. Which are ones you can (if required) compromise upon, or come to an understanding with your partner.

And most importantly, the traits which you will not compromise on at all. All your ‘deal breakers.’ These preferences can then become a sort of guide for you and help you in cutting the clutter away. 

Set up your profile adequately

And I am not talking about uploading a dozen pictures of yourselves from all possible angles. People, please don’t do that. One or may be two pictures are more than enough. What I am talking about is putting in effort in writing down your bio, in as honest a manner as you can.

Write about yourselves, your interests and your wishes. And the things that are important to you, write about your deal-breakers. Remember that there is a whole lot of cyber crimes out there. It is difficult for people to know and trust the other person by pictures or some random words. This is the only way you can let your personality show.

Put efforts into your profile

You want to attract good, decent human beings who wish to know more about you after reading what you have written. And you do not want anti-social elements approaching you for friendship and more pictures.

If you cannot write, or don’t know what to write or how to write, ask your friends family for help. Approach people you know and trust to put down the things you want to be showcased on your profile.

Put in the effort in your profile description. Please do not take shortcuts. Avoid – “Looking for a decent bride/groom for marriage purposes. Contact for further information,” and the likes. Give something concrete to the other party to assess, only then can you expect some concrete results. 

Get a paid membership

I know it’s expensive, and I know you are not sure whether to invest. Trust me when I say this, the experience of using these sites with paid membership is drastically different.

You will see a dramatic decrease in the number of creeps hanging about in your inbox. Remember, you are looking for long term relationships, commit yourself to this effort, mind and soul. In addition, it reflects to the other parties that you are serious in your endeavour to search for a partner and are willing to commit.

I have come across families who will only interact with paid members and not revert to the free trial members. The websites offer discounts on packages frequently, make use of them.

Do not engage 

You will receive about 20 or 50 or even a 100 contacts in a single day. Some will approach you while you will approach some. Don’t engage with negative people. These are people asking for your mobile number in your first interaction, or demanding to see more pictures. Or even giving you their number and asking you to WhatsApp them.

Stay away from people who ask you to ‘trust them’ after speaking to you for one day. There will be clues abound, to understand this behaviour, pick up on them.

For example – Someone from Shaadi.com got hold of my number and called me. The first sentence of the bat? “Han, profile dekhe tumhari Shaadi.com pe. Chalo humko tumse shadi karni hai.” (I saw your profile on Shaadi.com and I only want to marry you) I hung up. He called me 25 times in a row before I could manage to block him.

Really, just don’t engage!

Another example – A guy who seemed decent enough that I hazarded giving him my number. After two days of chatting on WhatsApp this is how he replied – “Okay I think we should meet now and take this forward.”

When I said that it had just been two days and I wasn’t sure if we should meet yet, the gentleman got pretty angry pretty fast. “What do you mean you are not sure? I have told you everything and I am a good person, don’t you trust me? Why don’t you want to meet me? I have four sisters at home, I respect women. How can you judge me without even meeting me. You are one of those girls who spin boys on their fingers. And you will never find a partner.” He was blocked as well.

So yes, I am hoping that you do not have to deal with this kind of crap, but if you do, do not engage. 

Take your time

There is no point in hurrying through this decision and you don’t need me to tell you this. Take your time to give your number, take your time to agree to speak on call/video call, take your time to meet in person. T

he moment you feel you are being pressured into doing something you don’t want to do, or have reservations about, say no; loud and clear. Respect the other person’s boundaries, be courteous and gracious, but most importantly, be on guard and be yourself.

Remember that no matter what persona you showcase in chats/calls, if everything works out, this is the person you will be with for the rest of your lives (hopefully) So there is no point in pretending and lying. Be honest and expect honesty. 

All said and done, it isn’t the only way

Lastly, I want to impress upon everyone, that using these websites that is one way to meet a potential partner, but it is not the only way. You are free to explore whichever options you feel like, or that are available to you.

There is a lot of stigma associated with matrimonial websites and most of it rightly so. Finding a life partner should not be a battle against social norms, family values or time.

Remember that just like other dating websites, Facebook groups and clubs, these websites are a tool, a tool to be used in a way you want, and will benefit you. There are a host of brilliant men and women out there, don’t lose heart if you haven’t met your soulmate yet.

Good things come to you when you are physically and psychologically ready to accept these things for yourself.

Self-work and self-worth are two important aspects of our own lives we must focus on, before we set upon a path to find someone to accompany us. I wish hope and happiness to all who are going through this struggle. 

Picture credits: Bharat Matrimony’s ad on YouTube

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