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Ask a Therapist: Arranged Marriage or Wait For Love?

Hi. At last I have found one good place to open up myself. I’m going through the very common quarter life crisis… And I’m really confused. A little of background about me. I’m from India and 26 old. As typical orthodox family in India my parents started seeing for marriage proposals. During the same time I started liking a friend in my office. It was around after 3 months I felt within very strong feeling towards him. I proposed to him but he was not ready for commitment. I decided to wait for him and be friends with him. But after that he happened to meet a gal and she fell in love with him and proposed him too.

Things went worse in my life – seeing her being and mad about him. After 2 and half yrs. he decided to go ahead with other gal and coincidentally my parent were able to find a good marriage proposal at the same time. He got married to other gal and i went ahead with my parents. After this, the marriage proposal also didn’t go well, as I found the guy to be very rude and never understanding me. I decided to quit it and conveyed to my parents, and after a lot of discussions, my parents dropped it. During all these tough time in life I had a very good friend who supported me and understood me and cared for me a lot who proposed me for marriage as well but I never had any feelings for him more than as a friend. I’m really confused what I should do. I always wanted my life partner to be as a good friend and lover and I’m not sure whether my feelings would change towards him. Any guidance?? Please help me. I’m really worried to go ahead with my parents marriage proposal again. I don’t like anyone in my life now.

A: What a difficult situation you’re in. While I am unfamiliar with the cultural norms of arranged marriages in India, I do know that it’s painful to have a man you love choose to marry someone else. If I’m understanding your question correctly, you’re wondering if you should marry your “good friend” with the hope that romantic feelings develop, or if you should go ahead with the arranged marriage with to a man who doesn’t treat you well. A man who treats you poorly during courtship is likely to continue to mistreat you after marriage. If your parents agreed to “drop” the arranged marriage after you shared your concerns with them, then I suggest you let go of that relationship for good and seek out other options for marriage. There is a third option I’d like to suggest and that is to not move forward with either option. Please take some time and figure out what you value most in your life and what you want in your relationships. The decision to marry is one of the biggest and far-reaching decisions you’ll ever make. You may want to consider continuing to date your “very good friend” nonexclusively and see if any deeper feelings develop, while you continue to meet other people. While romantic feelings can develop over time, there’s no guarantee that they will. Since it seems that your parents responded to your concerns before, I encourage you to consult them again and ask for their help in finding other men to court.

Take good care of yourself! Julie Hanks, LCSW

Originally posted in my column

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