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Why are there so many single Asian people today?

In the last 2 months, I’ve practically lost count of the number of people who have asked me at Tantric Club events, or during their personal matchmaking consultations why I believe that there are so many single people in today’s day and age. Aside from the obvious reasons, which I have covered in various articles, it started to dawn upon me that may be the root of the problem lies much deeper than we ever take the time to consider?

Meet Sunil, he‘s 42, an educated single Asian professional. In the last 20 years he has had limited dating experiences due to his lack of confidence and know-how in the dating arena. From a young age he was led to believe that finding a wife would be his parent’s responsibility. After finishing University and getting a permanent job, his family decided that it was now time for him to get married. At this time the arranged marriage system was phasing out and moving towards family introductions. Unfortunately, despite meeting potential suitors through the system, he did not meet the woman of his dreams. After trying for circa 10 years, his family gave up and told him to try and find someone himself.

Leena, is an attractive and successful professional in her late 30s. Growing up, her parents were relatively strict. Dating was absolutely forbidden, going out socially with friends was more limited to daytime affairs rather than the evening. Whilst she interacted with guys at both college and university, she dated a little bit in secret but never really had a serious relationship. It was difficult to manage and she hated lying to her parents. After completing her education and gaining full-time employment, her parents started working their way through the family & community networks to find her a husband. As Leena started approaching her 30s, the ‘enquires’ started to dwindle. At the age of 32, Leena’s parents gave her their blessing to try and find a partner by herself.

So here they both are – Sunil and Leena, told to find their own partners. But how? From where? Having been cocooned for so many years, they’ve effectively been released into the world to reach a destination without a roadmap. Is it any wonder that they felt overwhelmed and lost? Which is why Sunil and Leena typically exemplify what I believe is the ‘Lost Generation’. This generation got left in limbo in the pursuit of finding their life partner, through no fault of their own.  Predominately in their late 30s & 40s, the 'Lost Generation' got caught in the vacuum in between traditional family introductions and modern day dating services.  Due to stigmas, Asian dating services only really gained momentum in the last 5 years, within the Asian community. Consequently, many people in their late 30s and 40s today, were left out in the cold. To add further fuel to the fire, this generation also did not have the luxury as young single Asian professionals today, to date openly, the freedom to stay out and party, go on holidays and so forth.  In those days, if you were caught dating or out late, you risked gaining a bad reputation, being put under house arrest, or worse still being disowned by your own family. Therefore, many refrained.

When you think about this logically, in addition to being caught in a chasm between traditional introductions & modern day dating service, the ‘Lost Generation’ also had limited opportunities to meet new people and date openly. Consequently, there is a higher population of single Asians in their 30s and 40s today, compared to 20 years ago. Within this group, some lack dating experience and skills, which can often put them at a disadvantage in today’s competitive dating world.  However, if it was not for this generation who (albeit probably unknowingly) made sacrifices in their dating and love life, perhaps the awakening of freedom and open dating in the Asian community, would not exist as we know it today...

Today, dating has started to become an acceptable 'act' within the Asian community. Girlfriends and boyfriends are introduced to parents regardless of whether there is a marriage in sight and people have the freedom to go out socially with no strict curfews. In fact, parents now actively encourage their children from a young age to get out there and start dating in order to find a life partner. For many parents, the change of heart comes as a result of witnessing the challenges to find a partner, encountered by single people in their 30s and 40s within their family and friends network. This is great for the younger generation in their 20s and early 30s but what about the older generation?  Should they be bitter or angry? Blame their parents, or society? Or merely accept their fate and resolve in the fact that this was the sacrifice that they had make to ensure a better future for the next generation?

I will leave you with a quote from the author Gaylord Nelson:

"The ultimate test of man's conscience may be his willingness to sacrifice something today for future generations whose words of thanks will not be heard..."
 



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Comments

Thank you to everyone for your comments.

@Bea we do hosts event for members & guests who fall into the 40+ category, in fact we have one coming up on Saturday 6 October - http://www.tantriclub.co.uk/event-212-detail.php. Please do get in touch with me and I can give you more details. Thanks Alpa
This is a great article it states what I had to deal with and I am a Punjabi female in my 40's, I was not allowed out and did want an arranged marriage either. Today I am lost, I do not know what I want but it is so sad that older Indian people are not deemed as attractive prospects for other older people, the stigma of the biological clock and being too old to be parents is very much attached. I think that everyone deserves a second chance and it would suit to set up dating sites for the older Indian people who are the lost generation and want to meet other Indian people to marry.
This is a really good article, It is something i can relate to....

It's an interesting discussion topic and not the first time I have encountered the term 'lost generation'. I can actually identify with many of the comments posted by some of the female contributors based on the experience of my own family members. Unfortunately it's usually the case second-generation immigrants are subject to unique challenges when growing up in their host country. They are after all doing everything for the first time. In a nutshell there is a conflict in the mindset and value-system of the second-generation and parents originating from the Indian sub-continent
Hello Alpa,
 
I hope you're well. I read the article with interest. I thought I'd share my thoughts with you re the article.
 
The article presents a very plausible hypothesis to explain the high incidence of single Asian's in their late 30's and 40's, the so-called 'lost generation'. In many ways it's an 'inconvenient truth' for an entire generation unwittingly stuck between a rock and a hard place. The unbridled optimism and opportunities of a new life in 'The West' clearly came at a price for some. It's distressing to acknowledge that for many of this generation the experience of marriage and parenthood will never be realised. That's a statistical certainty. For some of this generation, one of the key fundamentals of life (the opportunity of marriage and rearing a family) will simply be beyond reach. I'm not naive enough to believe marriage is a guarantor of happiness rather attempting to articulate an inconvenient truth that for many of this generation marriage is a stillborn reality (but it need not be!).
 
The duty, protocol and value-system of our parents has simply been at odds with the western notions of individualism and choice we have grown up to internalise and cherish. Thankfully there has been a process of compromise and adjustment which has largely benefitted the next generation. So, what's to become of the 'lost generation'? For those of us still searching - we still have everything to play for! It's just come to us at a later stage in our life. We too are beneficiaries of the 'new way of thinking' that we have helped to forge and it's incumbent on us to seize the moment and pursue our dreams which are still attainable.
@Dancing Queen, thank you for taking the time send in your comments. I am pleased to hear that this article struck a chord with you. Just to clarify, it is about looking at why there are so many single people from a different perspective. It simply highlights that some people from a certain generation had more challenges and obstacles that are no longer present today. It is not about writing anyone off, or implying that just because someone does not have a partner, they do not have a fulfilling life. Please do feel free to send me some of your stories about the 'gatherings' that you attended. I am sure they would be insightful!

Interesting article and I think you struck a chord with me and there were some home truths. I am one of those people of 'the lost generation' and do believe I was born before my time! The men I was introduced to in those early days were not right for me - I was always an independent thinker and being asked what my best dish to cook is was quite offensive even then! The guy's mother also played an important part as you ended up checking her out too! I was not permitted to see someone more than 2 or 3 times as if you did that it showed you were interested! Most of my friends decided very quickly - my sister, after a couple of hours! I am indecisive and that was never going to be enough time for me, so if there was no chemistry from day one I would say no. I may have missed some good opportunities, who knows - but what else could I do?

I did see someone for a few years - secretly of course and it didn't work out partly due to the pressure I was under. The whole experience put me of the idea and I decided that I would find out about myself and what it is I actually wanted. However, I did feel that your article was depressing - it's as if you have written me off! Yes it is quite competitive, but I am not competing against women in their 20's - am !? And as for the 'greatest sacrifice' - well how patronising! I do not believe that my life is unfulfilled! I have not based my happiness on the hope of having a man! I like to think there is a lot more to me than that! I am not this sad person you have painted - I have my own place, life and close family and friends. My life is enriched with so much that I would not have been able to do had I got married at a young age. I am a role model to younger girls and also to women who are stuck in loveless marriages, lost their confidence and sometimes even their identity! But you are right - we were caught up between two different ideas and ways of life and there were very opportunities to meet people in a 'normal' way. I won’t tell you of my experiences of 'gatherings' - I could write a book!

Thanks for a surprisingly insightful article.  You're absolutely right - there is so much linked to our particular culture, the conflicts our generation faced, and the way we were forced to conduct our lives.

I would add that for many of us, especially women, there has been a desire to be independent and have freedom.  This is not about being more choosy about partners (as Del suggests - although I don't disagree that there is more of that in this modern world), but actually being allowed to be individuals, make personal choices, have personal opinions and live our lives as we choose to.  For our generation, entering a marriage in an Asian culture often has meant certain conventions and expectations, which many of us feel deeply uncomfortable with.

I am a single 38 year old Sikh man. I totally identify with the above described situations. I am totally bind and have a mild walking impairment and sometimes have found myself concluding that this may be the reason why it has taken me this long to find a partner, but when I go on websites and see singles in their thousands, I am reassured that I am not alone. The one other thing that I might add to my findings is that most people putting themselves out for dating do not even know what they are looking for. This leaves them confused and inflexible. They put up a strict criteria and there is no room for manouver. It then becomes a non-committal arrangement and they keep going round in circles.
In answer to the question "why are so many asian people are single today?" I'd just like to add a couple of different points.

One reason is that todays Asian woman has more independence about them and more they earn more money, all of which is good. The downside is that they can be a lot more selective in their choice of man, preferring to stay single than be with someone that does not match their wants, resulting in more singles of both sexes.

Another point is that today we are in an age where platonic friendships between men and women are a lot more common. This has probably been brought about by mobile phones and social networking. I think this combined with the fact that women are more selective results in us guys not having the confidence to tell their female friend that they have feelings for her because of a fear that the female may never even talk to him again. It's so hard when you care about someone so much but you don't want to lose her by admitting to feelings you have. One day she will move in with someone or marry someone and I will be kicking myself for never being sure if I could have been that guy :(

You have hit the nail on the head Alpa...well written article, which I can so relate to...both my younger sisters (in their 20's) are either married/engaged, and had it way easier with the dating game i.e. bringing boyfriends home did not raise an eyebrow...It seems "The Lost Generation" have just been left to kinda get on with it  & "find the one"...if only it was that simple...

I can totally relate to this, the younger generation do not know how easy that have it!
 

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