In South Asian culture, the pressure to be married by a certain age is very real.
If you happen to be a South Asian woman—especially one over age 30—then take that pressure and multiply it by ten.
The stress doesn’t just come from parents: it also “pops” up into conversations with extended family members and family friends at any function you attend.
The Netflix reality series, Indian Matchmaking touches on some of this pressure. Although in reality, I think the dating dilemmas coupled with the family pressure are glossed over to keep the show “fun” and light-hearted.
Another reality in South Asian culture is that the concept of arranged marriage isn’t so ancient. Many Indians have parents whose marriages were arranged where they only got to meet a handful of times before the wedding—if at all.
While arranged marriages might mostly be a thing of the past, many younger South Asians in the West still have that pressure to be married. Older generations often don’t understand that it takes time to get to know and develop trust with a potential partner.
You certainly don’t have to be South Asian to be in this predicament. Maybe the push to find someone isn’t from family, but from you. Maybe your friends are all married or in long-term relationships, so the pressure to get on par with them is paramount at this point in your life.
The problem is that all this pressure can make people miss—or overlook—red flags when choosing a life partner.
Here are seven red flags to have on your radar as you embark upon finding the right relationship.
1) Beware of being “love bombed”
If you’re the type of person who doesn’t get attracted easily, it can be especially exciting to feel like you’re drawn to someone from the moment you meet.
When the sentiments seem to be mutual, well then, it can be downright difficult not to get swept up in that.
But be wary of the person who lavishes attention and affection on you from the get-go. This can translate to anything from saying they want to date exclusively early on, or telling you that they’re already in love with you.
They might also be pretty forward in talking about the future. Maybe they’re buying you expensive gifts or making plans to travel.
All of this is happening when you haven’t had a chance to really get to know them.
This can be an emotionally manipulative ploy to get you attached—and it can be dangerous.
If any of this above seems to be happening, take a huge step back and seriously think about disengaging from them altogether.
2) The “J” word is jeopardizing the relationship
We’re pretty sure you’ve guessed this word already: jealousy.
Things have been going slow and steady for some time, and you feel like you’re with someone you can see a future with except for one flaw. Their jealous streak is seeming more and more like the third party in the relationship.
Maybe it was “the way” you smiled at the server that got them into a sulk for the rest of the evening. Or “the way” you absentmindedly touched the arm of your partner’s best friend at a party as you were deep in conversation with them.
Some people like to see this type of “petty jealousy” as something flattering. We say, consider this flaw fatal for the real—and for your own emotional well-being—especially if it’s something that is coming up again and again.
Your instincts are right to be tuned into this character trait. If it’s coming up now—then it will only amplify after a commitment.
It’s high time to take stock of the relationship and seriously think about leaving before things get worse.
3) They don’t seem capable of compromise
At first it can be easy to go with the flow of the relationship. They’re always ready with their take on which restaurants they want to go to. You don’t fret about the details, you’re just happy to be out and about on a beautiful sunny day with them.
For your six-month anniversary, travel is on both your minds as a way to celebrate. You express that you’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii, but they want a European excursion instead. Not a big deal right? Who wants to relax on the beach when a world-class city like Paris awaits?
The point is you do. And they don’t seem to want to consider this.
Giving into all the little things will turn into giving up on all the big things, too. Before you know it, you’ll find that you’re losing yourself. It will be mostly (if not all) their choice of which home to buy. Similarly, their family events will take precedence over yours.
This is the time to really contemplate on whether this is the road you want to be on in your relationship.
4) You don’t feel like you can fully trust them
It’s crucial to remember that in the beginning stages of a relationship, both of you should be working to build trust in the relationship.
If you find them frequently flirting with Facebook friends online, but they assure you it’s harmless, that might be a red flag. If this is coupled with the fact that they never seem to let their phone out of their sight, that could be another thing to keep high on your radar.
If they also tend to forget to share important things, such as having to go on a business trip that’s been on the books for months but you’re only just finding out about it.
At the end of the day, it is best to end a relationship with someone you can’t completely trust.
5) Unreliability is a routine issue
This one is another obvious one, but you’d be surprised how quick we can be to give someone we’re deeply attracted to a continuing benefit of the doubt.
Chalking things like their tendency to be late to your dates to a personality quirk isn’t cute. Once or twice once in a while is one thing, but an ongoing lack of regard—especially if they continue the pattern after you’ve expressed your concerns about it—is quite another.
If you also feel anxious about them canceling at the last minute to evenings out with friends or family, then that is also a red flag. You shouldn’t have to live with a knot in your stomach because you’re worried that they might bail like the last time.
It’s well worth it to move on and get over it.
6) Disrespect isn’t something you should dismiss
Signs of disrespect can crop up early on. Maybe they call you “stupid” because you locked your keys in the car.
Maybe they yelled: “What’s the matter with you?!” when you made a mistake with the takeout order.
Verbal abuse can begin with the seemingly small things and it’s easy to think you’re overreacting to their reaction. If you feel like this might turn into a pattern, it’s not worth it to wait around to prove yourself right.
This can also apply to not respecting your boundaries. If you’re not in the mood for sex, they should be mature enough to understand that. If you don’t like to be touched a certain way, but they keep doing it or say “you’ll get used to it,” is another loud and clear red flag.
If they break your boundaries, it’s a deal breaker. Time to draw the line.
7) They’re flippant about meeting your friends and family
You’ve been dating for a couple of months and you think you’re ready to introduce them to your friends and family.
Normally you wouldn’t have even waited this long but every time you bring it up, and also mention that you would love to meet their family, they casually change the subject or keep putting it off. They’re just not that into the idea.
Okay, they may not be quite “there” yet, but over more weeks—even months—things are still at the same place.
Your patience is wearing thin. It shouldn’t be this difficult just to meet the most important people in each other’s lives. You shouldn’t have to convince them. Or if they agree after a lot of cajoling, kicking, or screaming, is it even worth it?
It could very well be a good idea to take stock of whether the relationship will be worth it in the long run. They may not be as invested in the future of the relationship as you are.
Actions speak louder than words.
Some lasting words of wisdom:
Many people often talk about being ready to meet the love of their life—their soulmate. We believe it’s important to evolve our theory on what a soulmate even is.
Psychologist Dr. Nicole LePera who has become something of a social media sensation (@theholisticpsychologist) especially on Twitter and Instagram, says that soulmates don’t just meet somewhere, but rather they are created over time:
“Your soulmate is whoever you put your energy into. It’s whoever you learn to compromise with. It’s whoever allows you to feel safe and accepted as you are,” she says. “It’s [someone] who reminds you that you’re greater than your circumstance. Soulmates are the result of work.”
Remember that your first commitment should always be to you.