Waiting for Mr X

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Reader’s Question

I am a 26-year-old female. I have completed my 18 years of education and was a ‘topper’ at university.

These are my personality traits:

  1. Aggressive
  2. Short-tempered
  3. Impatient
  4. Honest, truthful
  5. Fat and ordinary-looking

I have never been proposed to by any boy in my life. My parents have a huge list of relatives and friends, but none has ever asked for their daughter’s hand.

I have had three relationships, but those boys were after my body; they flirted, then ditched me.

I have stayed single since my last breakup four years ago.

My sisters got married at the age of 26, but I have not even got engaged by that age. My parents are worried.

A month ago, one of my parents’ acquaintances approached them and said their son named “X”, who is 30 years old, was looking for a girl who is educated. They asked for my picture first, and my parents sent one via email. They called back and said that their entire family liked the picture. They live in another city, very far from here. They sent their son named “Y” to visit us first; he was a very intelligent guy, 28 years old. My parents asked me to meet him in their presence, and we talked about career, education and other activities. A week later, X’s mom and sister came to visit us for two weeks, and they brought gifts. I felt both the ladies were quite conservative. Since I am fat, the first thing they asked me about was my weight. X’s sister asked me if I have been fat since childhood, or gained weight recently. She also asked about cooking and things like that.

After our meeting, my parents asked them if they liked me, and both ladies said yes, and added that they would arrange an engagement in three months’ time. My parents asked them for X’s Skype ID so they could have a chat with him. X’s sister provided his mobile number.

Two days after their departure, my younger brother sent a text to X to say that my parents wanted to talk to him, and asked for his Skype ID. It’s been 10 days now, but X has not replied. Initially, my parents called X’s mom and said that X may not have receive the SMS. His mom confirmed that he did receive the message, but did not reply because he was tired, and that he would talk next Sunday. Now Sunday has passed, and X still has not replied, nor sent a message.

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Can you please tell me if I should wait longer for this proposal, or should I move on?

Psychologist’s Reply

There is clearly a strong cultural difference between the courtship rituals adhered to by your family and the ones I am used to, so forgive me if my unfamiliarity leads me to err in my answer. Evidently it is a value held in your family that young women should be married, or at least engaged, by their mid-twenties. Given that you have not achieved this ‘goal’, and also that your description of yourself is not particularly flattering, I wonder about how these circumstances have impacted your self-esteem, and thus your willingness to wait for a man who may not be interested in your finer features. You describe your previous relationships as ‘false’ ones where men were interested in physical and not long-term partnerships with you. As you have been single for four years, and now it seems you are feeling family pressure to find a husband, I wonder whether you may be interested in X’s proposal simply for the sake of pleasing your family, and not as a result of any strong personal interest you have in marrying.

You must be an intelligent woman to have been a ‘topper’ at your university, so I encourage you to think more critically about your reasons for waiting on this proposal. You have not said that your family will force you to marry just anyone, so I am assuming you have some level of autonomy in choosing your husband. If it is your choice to marry the first possible suitor in order to please your family or be able to begin your own, you have every right to pursue that path. In that case, a delay in X’s response is ultimately immaterial, as his interest in you is not as important as whether or not he is willing to proceed with a marriage.

If, on the other hand, you are more interested in finding a partner who is more invested in you as an individual, and not just a willing wife, you might be better served to forget about X and pursue other avenues for meeting eligible men. These might include alumni activities through your university, job or business related events, or religiously-sponsored social gatherings. Any of these options would be a way to meet a man with whom you share at least one common interest, which might be a good starting point for conversation between you and your families. You might also consider discussing with your parents what your plans for your future will be if you are not able, or choose not, to marry. Having this issue out in the open might relieve at least some of the pressure you feel, as everyone will have their expectations of each other brought to light. As long as you are clear about your goals and expectation of yourself, your family, and Mr. X, you will be able to make a choice that is congruent with your beliefs and values, and one which you will not regret later.

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