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Cultural Clash, ticking time bomb, what to do?
#1
Hey everyone. Been a long time off (5 years, approximately). Since then I've graduated college, got a full-time job, bought a house (and sold it..) and many other things. But still haven't been on any dates or kissed a girl (that wasn't being paid).

This is going to be a long-winded thread, but I'll do my best to keep it short and summarize.

Long-Version

My parents are from India, where I was born. I came to Canada when I was 4 years old and have grown up here ever since. I'm a Westerner in every sense of the word. I don't have an accent, speak perfect English, and all of my moral/cultural compasses fall within the usual Western setup. And that extends to relationships.

I think it’s completely normal to date as early as high school. You should have a few girlfriends throughout college. Have relationships. Long ones, short ones, whatever. Have flings. Have one night stands. Have Friends with Benefits. Etc.

Problem is, my parents don't see it that way. Hell, they don't even know what a "one night stand" is. And if they ever found out, they'd probably recoil in horror. My parents are from a conservative, rural background and of the "no sex before marriage" type. They are oblivious, literally have no idea that "Tinder" exists and that "hookup culture" is a thing. They don't even know what a nightclub looks like. 


As such, my "loneliness situation" has never really bothered them. They never noticed. If I lived in a normal white family, someone would have said "Hey River, you're 25 and have never been on a date...should we be concerned?" but my parents thought I was just being a good little abstinent boy. They had no idea that I'm a social wreck and miserable because of it. 

I WANT to have a "western" social life (if that's the word for it?). I've wanted one ever since I was an 18 yr old kid. I want to learn how to flirt with girls, go on dates, and that whole thing. 
Problem is - I never cracked the code. I never solved the puzzle. I'm 25 and still have never been on a date. I have no practice in courtship and dating, while every other guy my age probably does. I have an ugly body and no muscles. I make a meager salary and have no nice career forming. I'm too ugly for online dating, and with a global pandemic meeting girls at bars/clubs is out of the question. 


I am working hard to "solve the puzzle" though. I go to the gym regularly, I'm job-hunting actively, I'm going back to school to get educated and get a nicer job. I'm doing all I can to make myself a better man, and in doing so I hope I'll finally be able to attract a woman. I'm of the firm belief that if I work hard enough to improve myself, I'll finally know what it's like to have a romantic relationship. When will that happen? I don't know. Maybe it takes me 3 years to become handsome, muscular, and wealthy. Maybe less, maybe more. I might be 26 when I go on a date for the first time. Who knows. 

What gets tough is I feel like there's a "time limit" on this shit. As soon as I hit 27 or something, the topic of marriage will come up as it's very uncommon in my community to be a 30 year old bachelor. If I don't "solve the puzzle" soon, my parents will eventually are going to get some random girl from India and put me in an arranged marriage. 

I love my family. They are everything to me. So I can't just say "Fuck you, go to hell" and give them the finger. But at the same time, I don't want their wishes to taint the rest of my life. If I marry some stranger I've never met I'll be miserable my whole life and probably commit suicide. But it will be very hard to refuse them. And at the same time, there is no chance in hell I could explain my frustrations to them. 

My dad was a virgin before he married my mom. He had never had a girlfriend before than. So how the f**k do I tell him "Dad, I don't want to get married. I want to date girls the normal way first. The way everyone else does. It's normal for a man to date several women throughout his life, he doesn't just marry the first girl assigned to him. That is some archaic bullshit that should have died off a long time ago!". But he won't get it. We are from two different worlds. 

And please don't misinterpret this as "I want to be a man-whore before settling down", that's not what I want. I just want to know what it's like to date a woman whose attention I have earned through my own hard work. I also want to make it very clear that my parents are not abusive in any way, nor religious zealots. They are good people who just grew up in a much simpler environment, and certain parts of their minds have not adapted to the ways of North America. 

Further reading for this interested: Arranged Marraige

Shorty Version
  • Parents are from extremely conservative rural Indian community, and of the "no sex before marriage" deal 
  • I have grown up in Canada and want a "normal" social life that you see in North America and Europe. Dating, premarital sex, flings, hookups, and everything else in that domain.
  • Due to me being a social misfit, I never had any of those things growing up. I'm currently 25 and have never been on a date nor done anything intimate with a woman.
  • For a "normal" Canadian family, your son reaching 25 as a kissless virgin would ring some alarm bells. But to my parents, it did nothing as they thought I was just saying "true to my roots" and being an abstinent little goodie. 
  • They don't know that I'm miserable inside, and that if I could I would date multiple women and have sex this very second. 
  • And "talking it out" is not an option. Believe me I've tried. I talked to my Dad about dating and the topic of girlfriends, and he looked at me as if I was touring an alien planet. My Dad was a virgin before marriage and had never dated other women, so the idea of having a girlfriend is an alien concept to him. They cannot empathize with my situation. 
  • I'm working hard every day to get myself into a state where I can date women. Exercising, dressing nicer, being more social, making more money, etc. I want to know what it's like to go on a date, to kiss a girl, things like that. I know it's pathetic, this is something that a guy in high school should be excited about...not a fucking 25 year old. But I don't care, better late than never. 
  • But if I don't achieve this endgoal fast enough, the family pressure to get married will surface. And it will be a very difficult fight. 
  • I respect and love my parents too much to say "Fuck you" and blast them away, but at the same time I have too much self-respect to lock myself in a marriage just to please them
  • So my life feels like it exists on a "ticking time bomb", I need to become datable as fast as possible. I want to meet women and develop my own social life. If I'm 30 and still a loner, my parents will try to force me into an arrange marriage at which point the "explosion" will happen. A big fight, where they try to talk me into marrying and I have to fight back. 
I really don't know what I'm asking. Sorry for the long post, this is a very emotional topic for me. I guess I can try to gather my thoughts below. 

1. What do you think I should do in this situation?
2. Are there any other Indian-American men on this forum that can relate?
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#2
Ha! ha! Sorry for laughing but I bought off on the "Normal Western Life Plan" as well. Many of us have. That's what they used to teach in school. Do this, this, and this. Work hard and you will be rewarded. Maybe it worked in the olden days. I'm a fifth generation American as well as part native American. Other then military time, I've always lived in the same 10 square miles in a big city. So, I've been immersed in the "western culture." That's all I know. I did all the things you listed and thought okay, where's my beautiful caring wife? Where's my high dollar income? Why am I not happy? Why is everything the opposite of how I was taught things should work? I worked hard and got my education. So where's all my rewards? The truth is that it's all BS!

The one thing you are correct about is that there is some kind of code that we aren't taught. Some people never figure it out. It's taken me decades to understand that it exists and somewhat how to play the game. So, you are ahead of where I was at thanks in part to the Internet. Most seem to be born knowing how things really work and ignore what is taught to them. The ones that know the code don't realize they know anything you don't because it's natural to them. They'll say just do this or this and be yourself. They just don't realize or see your handicap.

Unlike you, I had some minor dating in my youth due to dumb luck. I even had a one night stand in my 20s. It was very disappointing and never did it again. Later on I ended up having three relationships. Each time it seemed less intense and less special. Looking back, IMO, it's better to only date one or two people and then marry them unless they are a complete mess. So take your time and be picky.

I think your parents are correct. Focus on improving yourself to become the best you can. Then get help shopping a round for an arranged marriage. Maybe after being successful you will be able to get matched to a "quality woman." At 40 or so I gave up on it all. Now, a decade later, I plan on being alone for the rest of my life. Many people are alone nowadays especially as they age. It makes things so much easier if you can handle it.

If you want dating help take lots of time to read the following User's journals: He, bender22, documented his journeys. It's insightful.

https://www.alonelylife.com/search.php?a...19e58afed5
[Image: ?u=https%3A%2F%2Fmedia.giphy.com%2Fmedia...f=1&nofb=1]
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#3
I read through the ‘shorty’ version, so maybe you touched on this in the version I didn’t read - you mention at the top about having a house and selling it. What are your living accommodations like? Do you live with your parents or separately in your own place? If you live alone, it should be easy to live your own life, should it not? Good on the self-improvement front, but I also think you need to try and achieve some sense of autonomy from your parents - if you live with them, maybe it’s time to move out?
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#4
(09-06-2020, 12:04 PM)River Lion Wrote: Hey everyone. Been a long time off (5 years, approximately). Since then I've graduated college, got a full-time job, bought a house (and sold it..) and many other things.


Hey, good job.  Sounds like you've been busy, and have some good things going.  Congrats.

(09-06-2020, 12:04 PM)River Lion Wrote: I think it’s completely normal to date as early as high school. You should have a few girlfriends throughout college. Have relationships. Long ones, short ones, whatever. Have flings. Have one night stands. Have Friends with Benefits. Etc.


I sort of agree.  It's normal to date as early as high school and college.  But I also think it's important to be careful with thinking that everyone else is having that much more sex and relationships than you are.  Probably only a few people are, if any, and who knows what else goes along with that kind of lifestyle.  I think the media gives the false impression think that people are having a lot more sex and partying than most people actually are.

(09-06-2020, 12:04 PM)River Lion Wrote: I WANT to have a "western" social life (if that's the word for it?). I've wanted one ever since I was an 18 yr old kid. I want to learn how to flirt with girls, go on dates, and that whole thing.  [/size]Problem is - I never cracked the code. I never solved the puzzle. I'm 25 and still have never been on a date. I have no practice in courtship and dating, while every other guy my age probably does. I have an ugly body and no muscles. I make a meager salary and have no nice career forming. I'm too ugly for online dating, and with a global pandemic meeting girls at bars/clubs is out of the question. 



Mostly I replied to this thread to tell you that I relate to this part, a lot.  I feel like there is this hidden code too, which, like Finished said, people seem to just "know" instinctively.  So they don't get at all that you don't know it and what that feels like, because they've been taking it for granted that they know it all their lives.  That's why they say things like "just be yourself" because it really has been as simple as that for them.  But if "yourself" is the wrong thing, it might not get the same results for you.  "Yourself" might work, it might not.  It really depends what "yourself" is, and who you're going for.  And it seems there are some "yourselfs" that almost always work, and some that almost never do.

I sort of knew about the code since grade school, but I ignored it because I didn't like it and I didn't want to believe it, and I also didn't think I could do it anyway even if I wanted to.  I felt like I just wasn't born with the right stuff to play the popularity game and be attractive - namely talent, quick-thinking/wit, and power.  As far as I can tell - it seems to all be about competition, survival of the fittest, impressing people, being high adrenaline and exotic, that kind of stuff.  It might feel differently to you, but that's how it's seemed to me.  

And I haven't had any dates or real experience either.  The thing for me is, I don't even want to be a player.  I just want to understand how all this works, crack the "code" like you put it, so I can have options in life instead of feeling kicked around by circumstances, edged out by other people, or frozen out of the experience of physical/emotional/romantic closeness altogether.  The feelings of powerlessness are a big part of what makes me feel angry, hopeless, and sad about this.

But yeah.  I totally understand the feeling of having to figure something out, that most people take for granted as common knowledge that they've never even had to think about.  

(09-06-2020, 12:04 PM)River Lion Wrote: I am working hard to "solve the puzzle" though. I go to the gym regularly, I'm job-hunting actively, I'm going back to school to get educated and get a nicer job. I'm doing all I can to make myself a better man, and in doing so I hope I'll finally be able to attract a woman. I'm of the firm belief that if I work hard enough to improve myself, I'll finally know what it's like to have a romantic relationship. When will that happen? I don't know. Maybe it takes me 3 years to become handsome, muscular, and wealthy. Maybe less, maybe more. I might be 26 when I go on a date for the first time. Who knows. 

It sounds like you're putting yourself together well.  I feel like confidence doesn't come from nowhere, it comes from knowing that there's something you're good at, some area where you have power, control, and know what you're doing.  I wish I'd known this earlier.  

It would be nice if all we had to do was work hard and we'd get there, because even if the journey were long and difficult and unpleasant, at least we'd know that there's light at the end of the tunnel.  The worst part of it is when you've had no positive feedback and it makes you wonder if you'll ever solve the puzzle.

Best of luck finding the answers.

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#5
(09-07-2020, 02:32 AM)ringwood Wrote: I read through the ‘shorty’ version, so maybe you touched on this in the version I didn’t read - you mention at the top about having a house and selling it. What are your living accommodations like? Do you live with your parents or separately in your own place? If you live alone, it should be easy to live your own life, should it not? Good on the self-improvement front, but I also think you need to try and achieve some sense of autonomy from your parents - if you live with them, maybe it’s time to move out?

Thanks for reading and replying. When Covid-19 really took over in March-ish it was no longer financially wise to keep my property. I had to sell it and move back in with my parents. I can't move out because of money, I simply don't make enough to live comfortably on my own. 

I do agree there are countless benefits to living solo, but to be honest I realized I typed my initial post in a bit of hysteria. The answers are quite clear-cut and obvious.

My parents will only pressure me into an arranged marriage if I hit 30 years old and still have no relationship in sight. At that point, I can't blame them. Maybe it is time for me to throw in the towel at that age.

So it's still a "ticking time bomb". I'm 25 now, so I have exactly 5 years to turn this boat around. If I don't, I lose the game. I get married to some Indian stranger. I'll deserve whatever misery comes as a result of that. It'll be my own fault.

What I need to do is actually focus on fixing my situation. There's no reason I can't. I hate to sound like the usual "self-improvement" meme, but it really does ring true. Why am I a friendless loner? Because I spend all my time isolated in my room hanging out online. End that. It's so simple.

Find ways to be outside. Volunteer, join a hobby group, whatever. Meet new people. Make friends. Expand your network. Meet friends of friends. As this goes on you'll meet women and maybe just maybe one of them will want to date you.

While all of that is going on: the usual activity should be occuring. Working out, dressing well, eating healthy, pursuing a passion, excelling in your career. The career is the important one. You should excel so much that your ambition and drive becomes attractive to women. Get promoted, work for big brands, etc.

It really is just a game of hard work. If I work hard enough, I can accomplish my dream. It's pathetic that my "far out dream" is just an everyday reality for most people. Going on a date, sharing a kiss, etc. That's something people do dozens of times throughout their life. For me it's a gigantic odyssey. But I digress.

That's pretty much it. Sorry for another long rant. The TL;DR is "work hard and achieve your goals. If you hit 30 as a dateless, kissless, virgin then it's your own fault and you deserve whatever nasty fate lays ahead".
I'm a lion that hangs out by a river, in case anyone is wondering
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#6
If you're 25 now and you think you have time til you're 30, then don't stress now. 5 years are a pretty long time.  I lived in 2 different countries within the last 5 years, had 4 or 5 different full time employment situations and was twice unemployed and can barely remember some of the things from 5 years ago. Lots of things happen and 5 years are a long time. New people are met, you might meet someone special in the next 5 years. I don't know how things are in Canada, but over here the mean age of marriage for women is more around their early thirties and the trend is going upward, so not many women at age 25 are into getting married anyway. So if you get a girlfriend now, won't your parents be pressuring you to marry her already (which she might not want), and won't that create a new problem then?

You might meet someone next year, date for a few months/years, and then be alone again when you're 30. So again, on the topic of disappointing your parents:  if you happen to get into a relationship with a woman, don't expect it to last and lead to marriage. And even if it does lead to marriage, then expect a divorce to happen at some point (sorry, but it's pretty naive thes days to not expect that to happen somewhere down the road).  How will your parents react if you're alone again, and at that time you might already be 30+? Will they still try to force you into an arranged marriage then?

I don't know what it's like for you, because my parents don't give a shit about my dating life and I never talked about dating with them, ever. So I can't give you advice. But I don't think they'll shun you for the rest of your life, even though they might not take it well at first, but they will need to come to terms with it if you end up single and if you think an arranged marriage will be even more miserable than  singledom. However,  you're still fairly young, life throws in surprises all the time, and you don't have a proper reason to think you'll end up alone.

I didn't read everything you wrote in this thread, but I saw you wrote something like: "people my age are SUPPOSED to have one night stands, friends with benefits, relationships with loving beauties, ..." I think that's absolutely untrue. Lower your expectations and don't compare yourself with others and with what you assume they are experiencing.
Also it's good you are interested in your work because that makes your days at work less miserable, but I also saw you writing that you do it because you say women are into men who are interested above all in their work. I don't think that's true either. Many people hate their jobs and they are still finding dates.  Similarly, focus on your diet because it's good for you, but you see, nowadays every other adult is overweight, but they're still dating, right? So, do that stuff for yourself, and expect your body and your mind to reward you with health, but don't expect women to reward you.

Good luck to you.
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