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That means in every relationship there is a “Nurture” person and a It will be difficult, and it will make for a problematic and arduous relationship, but the. And, I think using "open relationship" to define a situation you're simply not but it was during one of my many arduous visits to her campus that her true That night, as we crammed our bodies into her single bed, she turned. We long to be in a relationship because we think it's going to bring single means you're unwanted, and being in a relationship means you're.
But the thing is I am from a professional family and a Kayastha caste group background and he is from a business Marwari family, so, many differences crept up, mostly because he wanted me to be like the other Marwari girls who stay at home! I further enquired as to what sort of expectations he had of her. I am a very strong independent girl who has been taught to speak her mind. In fact, this is what he liked about me when we started dating. All other girls were so submissive and girly, but he was attracted to the fact that I had a mind of my own and that I was career driven.
He would tell me that I should learn to adjust and fit into their family. However, she was also not ready to become a typical Marwari daughter-in-law, and hoped to negotiate her way into their relationship.
As I dined with four young women at a restaurant in Gurugram, the conversation immediately shifted to the struggles of being a good girlfriend and their long list of controlling boyfriends. Shweta, who holds an engineering degree from one of the most reputed institutes in India, narrated her romantic experience with Amit.
Not that I have a problem with that, but then I was expected to appease them. Like when I was expected to go see them he said I should also wear Indian clothes. Also, we both enjoy eating meat, however, in his house everyone is a vegetarian, so I was told not even to mention that I eat meat and drink alcohol. They suspected that his parents would perhaps take longer to accept her non-vegetarian eating habits, so they agreed that she would not eat meat in front of them, but she insisted that after a few years of marriage and especially upon the birth of their children she would no longer hide her dietary preferences.
Shweta accepted these disciplining conditions only as strategies for approval of their union and made it clear to Amit that she intended to abide by them only temporarily. However, the very act of meeting the parents for the first time has not received the attention it deserves.
Pre-marital Relationships and the Family in Modern India
In my interviews with the young middle class, I found that much anxiety and preparation governs the first time a boyfriend or girlfriend meets the parents.
In fact, the practices of disciplining are to prepare for the first and subsequent meeting with the parents.
He said, My girlfriend is from the Northeast part of India. She was brought up in Mumbai but she belongs to Assam, and their culture is different than our culture [referring to the fact that he belongs to Uttar Pradesh, a northern state of India]. There are little things like wearing a sari or salwar kameez Indian attire: My girlfriend is a smart independent urban woman and to her maybe this environment will be alien. So, I have been training her [raises his eyebrows and smiles] to be a certain way when she meets my parents.
Surveillance as Cornerstone of Relationships 24These romantic relationships also modeled themselves on the framework of the family in another way, namely, the exercise of control and authority externalized through surveillance. This is indeed notable, for often men and women resist surveillance from their parents, fighting for individual space and freedom. However, this same space is soon occupied by a boyfriend or girlfriend, who puts the partner under strict surveillance.
This was amply clear in my attempts to schedule interviews, where at times, instead of getting permission from parents, my interviewees discussed my request to meet them with their boyfriend or girlfriend. The boyfriends were keen to know the kind of questions I would ask, most fearing feminist conversations on their relationships or in depth discussion of past relationships.
The girlfriends, on the other hand, seemed insecure and suspicious as to why a young woman would request a private conversation with their boyfriend. In either case, it was rather evident that the authority and control had shifted, now lying not with the parents but a romantic partner, who thereby still held up the principle of accountability that governs family dynamics. I met Sneha earlier at a house party hosted by another interviewee where she showed interest in my topic of research and joked that her life story would form an interesting case.
I asked to schedule an interview with her and she immediately agreed. My boyfriend wants to listen to our conversation. Can I put him on speaker phone? Whilst she agreed with me she was petrified of her boyfriend, who insisted that he be made privy to our conversation. Through the course of the interview, Sneha explained that her boyfriend is indeed demanding, for example, expecting her to drive across the city for his work and to pick up and drop off his family from the airport when they visit.
Sneha however, always gives in to his demands because she believes that behind his dominant nature is immense love and affection for her.
In fact, his acute control over her life is indeed a symbol of their intimate relationship and a testimony to the fact that he considers her family, for such interest and control is only exercised on family members, she explained. These narrations made it clear that the notion of control is paramount to Indian relationships—even in pre-marital romantic ones. Whilst the burden of accountability usually lies on the family, the young middle class—perhaps in absence of any well-defined template of experiencing these intimacies—reverts to this model of authority and control to define the dynamics of pre-marital encounters.
The relationships, therefore, are modeled on familial dynamics with the change that the burden of accountability is shifted from the family to the boyfriend or girlfriend. Moreover, often this is viewed not as a constraining aspect of the relationship but a sign of deep intimacy. In fact, agreeing to be subjected to such surveillance serves as a reasonably important test to qualify for marriage, as it indicates the desire to be a part of a new family.
Resistances and Negotiations 10 Jeffery and Jeffery point out that whilst women remained silent on matters of household economics, Some others explained that while they agree to the demands of their boyfriend with regard to his family, they too make demands on his behavior regarding his interaction with their family. Whilst there are also those who claim to conscientiously follow the model of the dutiful wife and daughter-in-law, insofar as their aspiration and desire to be in paid employment is not thwarted.
Rekha, aged 31, narrated that she was in love with Ramesh, who belonged to a different regional and linguistic community and they wanted to marry each other. She said, Once the marriage was on the cards, I saw him becoming more possessive and he would keep track of every movement.
If I was in a bad mood and snap at him he would answer back and say he does not want to be with someone who is so sharp-tongued. I mean suddenly things began to change. He was close to his mother, so maybe he used to discuss things about me to her.
After many months of this constant interference and emotional trauma I decided to call the relationship quits. She added that Ramesh accepted her decision because they had been fighting a lot and he too thought that they were rather incompatible. He said that he did indeed love her but he could not see how they would make it work in the future. It is therefore important to understand the specific relations of the family, particularly to aspects of modernity that aid in curating experiences of intimacies and processes of spouse-selection.
One such dimension of modernity is the use of technology in everyday lives, and particularly the use of the internet for matchmaking. It is to be flagged here that this is not the case for all pre-marital relationships, as there are in fact couples that insist on marrying their chosen mate even against the wishes of the parents.
However, it is equally important to recognize that the family does influence even pre-marital choices. This is most evident in the fact that during my fieldwork I rarely came across inter-religious pre-marital relationships. The few that I was made aware of were usually broken off, precisely for the reason that the parents would not have accepted an inter-religious union, even if the chosen partner was well-educated and financially stable.
There was more flexibility with regard to inter-caste relations. Nonetheless, as we see, the family ultimately does ensure that its choice and criteria regarding a suitable spouse are adhered to.
A key method by which the family does this is to not explicitly express its disapproval in the language of morality, caste, or community but uses the jargon of rationality, pointing to the logistics or impracticalities of the union. She was in fact fond of his last girlfriend, she exclaimed, who did not belong to the same community as them: Her son and his girlfriend were negotiating the possibility of a future together, which called for his moving to another city.
Shete never openly said anything against this to her son. However, she secretly hoped that he would decide not to move away. I was sorry for my son but also relieved that now he would not leave me.
Shete never said anything against the girlfriend but she had another strategy in store.
Ultimately, their relationship broke up. It was interesting to note that the son put the entire burden of the collapse of the relationship on himself and his girlfriend, without ever recognizing the role that his mother might have played. Abhinav belongs to an upper middle-class family in Delhi and his ex-girlfriend Latika is from a well-to-do family in Jaipur.
Abhinav explained that over the course of dating, they also had a long-distance relationship and differences began creeping up with regard to personality and likes and dislikes, and so he decided it was time to call it off. She encourages me to find someone suitable from amongst my friends.
Abhinav is now dating an upper middle class girl from Delhi, whom he met at work. Whilst they can be active in a space that warrants explicit spouse-selection conversations such as with matrimonial agents or on websitesthey take a more careful approach in pre-marital relationships in order not to antagonize their children by questioning their choice, whilst also ensuring that a suitable spouse, adhering to their standards and criteria, is selected.
Herein, lies the modernity of the families.
Conclusion 36Pre-marital relationships are often viewed as spaces of acute individualism or as a social phenomenon that can be a threat to the values and norms of the family.
However, through this paper, I have argued that pre-marital experiences in fact mirror marital expectations, duties, and templates as the family comes to scrutinize and shape these relationships.
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Furthermore, this paper also highlights that the intimacies of the middle class youth and their ideals of marriage are evolving in contexts that are gendered and also influenced by processes of modernization such as the use of technology, global styles of life. It is in this analytical framework of the modern that I situate the current paper, and am motivated to analyze the elongated phase of singlehood that the young adults in India are witnessing, much like other South East Asian societies.
I certainly make the argument that the post-liberalization era in India has enabled many opportunities, making use of which, the individuals also experiment with romances and intimacies. Premarital relationships are publicly embraced and dating is indeed widespread. However, as I unravel the dynamics of the premarital romances, I highlight that these relationships too are gauged and assessed with regard to their acceptability by the family. Whilst the family might be conspicuously absent from this space, it does influence the dynamics of the relationship.
The couple attempts to discipline each other so that the family accepts the partner of choice. Furthermore, these relationships also follow the rules of authority and control as exercised in the family. The men, for example, maintain strict surveillance on the whereabouts of their girlfriend, at times also directly intervening in their social engagements and expecting them to report back. We thus see that the dynamics of authority and control generally espoused and exercised by the parents over their children are now emulated by the romantic couple.
It presents itself as non-confrontational and non-authoritarian and instead of rejecting a union of choice, it implements strategies to make their opinion count, and in due process decide the future of the pre-marital relationship.
The young middle class certainly explore and experience various forms of romantic relationship, yet they continue to construct and present their selves along the norms and rules of marriageability, reiterating the importance of marriage in their social and cultural worlds. My research, as presented in this article, also reveals that the notion of family is central to the construction of marriageability of the upwardly mobile middle-class youth.
Baviskar, Amita and Raka Ray. New York and Delhi: Towards a New Modernity, edited by M. Sociology of the Second Age of Modernity. Marriage Alliances, Vulnerabilities, and Resistance in Bollywood. Choice, Family and the Matchmakers. Ideas and Practices, edited by P. London and New York: Routledge Kegan and Paul. Romance and Media Voyeurism in Public Domain. Being Middle-Class in India: A Way of Life. Donner, Henrike and Goncalo Santos.
In a Relationship? You’re Still Single
Hindu Girls in Patrilineal India. Sex and Romance in Modern India. Democratic Politics in an Era of Political Reform. University of Minnesota Press. The Gift of a Virgin: Women, Marriage and Ritual in a Bengali Society.
Making of a Middle-Class Caste. University of Chicago Press. Facebook, Promiscuity, and Heartbreak in a Neoliberal Age. Modernity and Self Identity: Self and Society in Late Modern Age. Previously both socially uncommon and unaccepted due to perceived roles, public awareness, modern socioeconomic factors and increasingly available popular and lengthier education and careers have made the single lifestyle a viable option for many Americans, especially after the Vietnam War.
In the s, studies found that more citizens were seen to be valuing their career over personal relationships. The increase in single-person households was also partly attributed to the high self-esteem it can offer to some people.
This has been illustrated with many public figures and celebrities. Women typically value friendships over romantic relationships and many continue to have jobs and marry later or forego marriage completely. People have different perspectives on the ways in which relationship status influences health. Lack of social relationships will cause people to gradually lose self-identity, support and purpose  according to psychology professor Peggy A.
Thoits at Indiana University. Researchers explained that single people experience more emotional factors that cause them to die sooner.
Healthy people, with psychological well being, have happy relationships with their partners. Another study of more than 10, adults found that married couples were more likely to gain weight during their process of romantic ventures than single people. Terminology[ edit ] Single men are often called bachelors. Single women are sometimes called bachelorettesespecially in festive contexts in American Englishbut the historic term is spinster.Before The Person :: Relationship Goals (Part 1)
The connotations of the word spinster have changed over time so that it is now considered a derogotary term. The Oxford English Dictionary says in its usage notes for the word: The development of the word spinster is a good example of the way in which a word acquires strong connotations to the extent that it can no longer be used in a neutral sense.
From the 17th century the word was appended to names as the official legal description of an unmarried woman: