Some details, names and identifying features mentioned in this post have been changed to protect the privacy of various individuals.
A while back I came across a post by another Canadian woman who is married to an Indian man that really caught my attention. In it she talks about the phenomenon of South Asian men dumping their Western girlfriends in favour of an arranged marriage and while I was reading it struck a chord because (believe or not) I was once a victim of the ‘marriage dump,’ too!
Reading all of the stories posted in the comment section benefited me a lot and after receiving positive feedback from writing a very brief synopsis of my own experience, I decided to elaborate on it here so that someone else going through what seems like a very unusual situation might feel less alone as well.
I met Esthappen* on a dating app shortly after I’d moved back to my hometown following a particularly traumatic break up with a long term boyfriend. At the time, I wasn’t looking for anything too serious because I was just starting to wade back into the dating pool and mostly used the app to play hot or not while keeping a safe distance from any potential suitors.
Normally when I’m dating someone I deliberately go out of my way not emotionally invest in them until several milestones have been reached (I know, I’m such an optimist), but with Esthappen this didn’t happen. I don’t know if it was the sheer amount we had in common despite having grown up on opposite sides of the world or how intensely he pursued me or how well our personalities meshed and the conversation flowed but we really hit it off. Before I knew it we were seeing each other several times a week, talking every night on the phone, messaging each other throughout the day and generally doing the cutesy stuff that all new couples do.
After a few weeks though, instead of asking me to be exclusive liked I’d expected, my would-be boyfriend began expressing doubts about the long term longevity of our relationship and if he would even be able to secure a future for us. For a while, I brushed off his concerns, telling him we’d cross that bridge when we came to it and to just enjoy things for what they were now… but as time went on these comments started to worry me to the point I couldn’t ignore them anymore.
I confronted Esthappen and asked him if he could picture a future with us together. He said that he wasn’t certain, that he wanted there to be, that I was the kind of girl that he’d always dreamed of marrying… but he wasn’t sure that he would be strong enough to stand against the obstacles that we’d face (aka his parent’s disapproval). I told him that ‘I don’t know’ wasn’t good enough for me and that I didn’t want to bet my heart on a maybe. My decision didn’t seem to surprise him, he said he understood my reasoning and hoped we could continue to be friends despite things not working out for us as a couple.
Now this is the part where I should have said: ‘sorry, I don’t think being friends with someone you used to date is very healthy,’ but I didn’t. Instead, I stupidly agreed to his offer of friendship because I still had feelings for him and (I’m ashamed to admit) on some level I hoped that he might change his mind.
For the next month or so I tried in vain to be friends with Esthappen, mourning my demotion from cherished romantic partner to buddy status the entire time while he leaned on me for emotional support due to the pressure his parents were putting on him to get an arranged marriage and fed me just enough affection to keep stringing me along.
It did horrible things to my mental health being lead on like this and in the end I cut him out of my life with some not so kind words after finally growing sick of his games while he returned to India to get married to the perfect bride his parents picked that he never wanted to marry at all.
For a long time afterwards I was very reluctant to get involved with another Indian guy because I was afraid the same thing would happen again and actually turned down a few offers before I met my current boyfriend, Naveen. Hell, I almost missed out on being with him because I didn’t respond to his advances out of fear for a month!
Let me tell you though, if I had given into my anxieties and let my experience with Esthappen turn me off Indian men for good then I would have missed out on one of the best things that ever happened in my life. Naveen is a truly wonderful boyfriend who is always there to support me and pushes me to strive for more every single day. If I had never met him then I would have been much poorer for it, which is why I always tell people who are going through a similar experience not write off an entire group based on the actions of a few sh*tty individuals. For every Indian guys that jerks you around there is another who would fight tooth and nail to be with you if you give love a chance.
If you are going through a similar situation please know that you are not alone and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel so long as you keep on pushing through. It happened to me, and if it can happen for me then it can happen for you, too!
*Not his real name, obviously.
Have you ever been dumped by your interracial/intercultural partner for an arranged marriage or because their family didn’t approve of you? What advice do you have for others going through a similar situation? If you were pressured to get an arranged marriage or dump your partner by your family what would you do? Tell me in the comments section below!