A 95-year-old man was taking his last breaths. He was single. All his life he had wanted to be in a meaningful relationship. Unfortunately, he never found one. Whenever his friends and family asked him why he was single, he replied that it was a secret. So now, as he lay dying, his friends implored him to disclose this secret. They asked him if he had not met enough women, no he said, he had met many lovely women. His friends quizzed him further, what was wrong with them? The dying man let out a long, pained sigh, I was looking for someone perfect, he replied. I even found her, he added. His friends were surprised, what happened then? Why have you remained single? The 95-year-old man closed his eyes and said, she was looking for the perfect man.
We often hear people lamenting about having tried both online and offline matchmaking services but not finding someone to be in a meaningful relationship with. andwemet investigated this challenge by interviewing over 1000 single urban Indians between 30 – 40 years old living in India and overseas. Here are our findings.
Challenge 1 – People tend to build an idea of someone in their head and fall in love with their persona rather than the reality of the limitations and positive attributes of the real person.
Recommendation – Do not be in a hurry to be in love, give it time. Understand your thresholds, what will work well, and what is a complete deal-breaker. 72% of people we spoke to tend to fall in love or be attracted to a persona rather than the person. Most stated that they have been in a hurry to meet someone.
Challenge 2 – Outer appearance is given too much importance. People take pride in how they look, their physical aspects, and expect the partner to look equally beautiful.
Recommendation – Physical attraction is important but being just pretty or handsome should not be a deal-breaker for a meaningful relationship. 85% of our respondents whose deal-breaker criteria was only looks and physical attributes of a match have realized over-time that it takes a lot more to be in a meaningful relationship. Given this had been their main criteria, many from this group have been looking for a partner for decades and are now working on consciously considering other qualities of a match.
Challenge 3 – Assuming that one is in a committed relationship after enjoying several dates.
Recommendation – Assumptions can mislead you. You need to have a conversation and know what the answer is. Meeting often is misconstrued by many, that they have found their match. Usually it is not so. The other person could be undecided and waiting to see where it goes. It is important to have a conversation asking the other their expectations from frequent meeting and if you feel in tandem. 30% of our respondents told us that they continue meeting as they may be bored or feel lonely. Only 10% of this group, told us that there have been times when an unexpected attachment has also been formed.
Challenge 4 – Continuing to interact with several people looking for the perfect match, rather than getting to know any one person well
Recommendation – You are going through a ‘the next match could be better than this one’ syndrome. Having this syndrome not only leaves you confused but you also miss out on getting to know someone. You are responsible for making your relationship perfect. Have a few deal-breakers that are sacrosanct, otherwise spend the time to get to know people one at a time or giving only a few people your attention at any given point. You will have many choices, but it helps to prioritize your top 3-5 prospect matches and interact with them. Move on to the next if things don’t work out. Unfortunately, most of our respondents said that they tend to spend their time on many prospective matches simultaneously, which burns them out.
Challenge 5 – Bonding over how they have been hurt in a previous relationship OR playing agony aunt to an emotionally vulnerable match thinking that doing so will build a long-term relationship.
Recommendation – Remember why you are on the platform, you are here to find a companion, a partner and not to counsel or be counselled. 80% of our women and 30% of the men respondents admitted to playing agony aunt, which they claimed was not fun.
Challenge 6 – Assuming that being physically intimate will lead to something long-term
Recommendation – This is a dangerous assumption. Good sex is not enough of a foundation for a meaningful long-term relationship, for both. 70% of our respondents felt that being physically intimate without discussing the expectation from a relationship would lead to a long-term relationship. All who thought so were women and most also stated that they continue to do this.
Challenge 7 – Being in a relationship out of fear of living alone
Recommendation – The best way to be in a relationship is when you feel self-assured and are comfortable with yourself and in your own company. This enhances the relationship vs weighing it down. Your partner is not a life raft. 90% of our respondents feared being alone. This tendency was more apparent in respondents who are between 34-40 years.
Challenge 8 – Hesitating to make the first move, initiating a request
Recommendation – Be brave. Do not hesitate to make the first move. Your shortlisted match is not aware of your feelings. Its societal conditioning that dictates men having to make the first move. This hesitancy was observed mainly among women, 60% of them said they were not comfortable making the first move. Men who hesitated in making the first move were those who felt they are not physically attractive.