Is arranged marriage for me?

I don’t want to marry the last guy who proposed… but I’m so lonely!

That’s no reason to rush into marriage, says our elder. Expand your network while you figure out what you want.

Dear EWC

I’m 21 and I live in a Muslim country, which means strict rules about dating. So the only option here is arranged marriage. Now I lost my mom when I was 15 and never had a dad. He remarried when I was a baby and only visits once a year. When I was in high school it was still fine for me. But now I find myself feeling so lonely all the time and I feel like I need love and a good relationship. I’m so tired of being strong and by myself. I have friends but it’s not the same love that a family provides. At the same time I feel like arranged marriages are bad. You get married without knowing the person. So it’s like a random luck. Also, most guys near my age are still not settled in life or ready to get married yet. So only guys aged 29 or 30 propose.

Now a guy who is 30 proposed but his paying job is so low. He works in fixing cars. And I feel like he is way older than me. Of course half the women in my country don’t mind the age difference but I feel it’s wrong. I’m in business college right now and I feel that after I graduate I will move to a different place. I feel I might then meet a good person to marry who I will know before at least. Or even if I got an arranged marriage there won’t be a big age difference and he may have a decent job. I’m really confused lately since I have an urge for company. I’m afraid I might be making a mistake if I agree to the last guy who proposed. Since I’m now desperate for love. What should I do? Do I accept or do I wait? How can I bear my loneliness? I have been lonely for a long time now and I’m starting to go nuts. I realized that I started to talk to myself loudly even. Like having conversations with myself, and it scares me when I realize I’m talking to myself. Before I used to make relationships online. But now it feels shallow to me. I want real relationships. Please can you give me any advice?

Loving-Grandmother replies

I am so happy that you wrote to our community of elders for advice on this important situation you are facing. You have expressed some very clear feelings and opinions and I commend you for giving this a lot of thought.
You say you are in business college and this is very impressive! You also state that you are open to the idea that when you graduate you may be interested in moving to another place. This is also important information and tells me that you are not a traditional woman and think for yourself. You are resisting “arranged marriage” and I hope you stay strong to that position. I agree with you that arranged marriages are a real “luck” situation; they work for some people but not for others. Who is the best judge of finding a man that will suit you? You are! If you had loving parents who were available to help you find the right man, that might be a good thing. But, since you are independent of parents, the choice needs to be yours. Don’t settle just because you are currently lonely. Focus on your school and bettering yourself. When you graduate, you’ll get a job, right? You are still very young at 21. There should be no rush or pressure on you to marry. Keep an eye open and notice the potential mates that are on your path. Maybe someone in the business world will appear when you graduate and get a job. Maybe a close friend will introduce you to an appropriate marriage partner. Just be open and willing to meet people and get to know them.

Figure out what you are looking for in a marriage partner. Make a list of the traits that are important to you. Then, expand your search through your entire network of friends, teachers, aunts/uncles, extended family, cousins, neighbors. Let people know that you are looking for a deep and lasting relationship and describe the person you wish to find. If status is important to you, include that. Don’t be embarrassed to list the traits that matter to you. This is an important decision. And then be patient. The right person may not appear for a few years. Just keep looking and be willing to meet with any potential mates. Don’t compromise! Pursue your career and even move if that seems appropriate.

In terms of talking to yourself… don’t worry about that. It’s actually a sign of great intelligence! You might want to expand your network to include more friends. Have friends over for dinner and join clubs or groups who participate in activities you enjoy. Do you have hobbies? Are you a singer? A painter? A hiker? A seamstress? Volunteer to help others. Do what you love and find others who appreciate your hobbies and also like to participate. Join groups of like minded people to take action on your loneliness. Don’t just accept loneliness as a normal state. Stay busy and involved.
By being active and involved you will find that your network expands and friendships flourish. From friendship as a base, romance can bloom. Just dive in, be busy and be open to all the friendships that are out there waiting for you. Good luck and be well.

Letter #: 452326
Category: Marriage

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