Abida Mian's Blog

An outlier that's living, learning and being myself…

Archive for Dating

Protected: Quora: What is a controversial topic that isn’t openly discussed amongst those of Indian & Pakistani heritage?

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Quora Question: Have you ever left a date midway?

Before I begin, I want to make clear that apart from this one time, I would never get up and leave without good reason. Even most recently when one of my colleagues went to the trouble of organising a night at the opera, everyone else bailed during various stages of the performance, but I stayed for the duration. When my colleague asked if I would go too, I simply told him that although it was an awful play giving me a migraine, I wasn’t abandoning him.

Anyone that has been on an internet date can relate to the issues that arise when meeting a stranger for the first time. This goes back years ago, I was 20, and had joined match.com. At that point, I was incredibly shy, never had a boyfriend before. My profile had respectable photos of me, and I made the effort of writing more than a few lines.

This man sends me a message, we communicate back and forth (nothing remotely suggestive), and eventually plan to meet up. It transpired that we lived two streets away from each other, so we met at a pub mid-way between us. I don’t drink alcohol, but he offers to buy me an orange juice, we sit and chat. At first he appears charming, confident, chatty, the complete opposite to me at that age. He proceeds to drink a few beers. Then randomly the conversation takes a turn. Him: “Drink up, let’s go back to mine.” Me (nervous): “I think that’s far too soon, I don’t know you at all.” Him: “If you don’t come back, don’t expect a second date.”

Wow! What an arrogant, obnoxious twat. I calmly got up, took £10 out of my purse and put it on the table (I didn’t want to “owe” him anything). I walked out. Funny thing was, he tried to contact me again, but his attempts were ignored.

Even a few years ago, he sent me a message, I didn’t even read it. Despite all those years that had passed, first impressions count, and my memory hadn’t forgotten him.

There’s a twist to the story, which was to make my skin crawl.

Four years ago, I was reading the newspaper, there was an article on him. He had been convicted of raping women (spanning years – one brave woman who he assaulted came forward, others were too scared initially, but then followed suit) and was jailed for life. It came as a shock, because this guy had it all, a lifestyle most would envy. A banker, earning six figures, his own home in a nice area. Yet, he had a dark side, controlling women to think they were beneath him.

I honestly didn’t think he was capable of that, but why would I? Despite the naivety of my youth, thank god, I didn’t drink alcohol, and had enough self-respect to instinctively walk away when someone spoke to me like he was in charge.

Be careful of meeting strangers, always tell a friend whom you’re meeting, and don’t get yourself drunk that you’re in a vulnerable position. I read recently that a teacher was murdered last year by their match date!

Abi

Quora Question: The only woman I’ve ever fell for doesn’t want me. How can I make her feel like I do?

I’ve been crazy about this woman for years, we went on a few dates, but then she became distant and I had to push to get her to see me. Now she says I shouldn’t put my life on hold, as she’s not ready for anything. I don’t like any other woman. I tried turning up at her work, her home, but she gets really awkward. Do women like persistence?

Dear Anonymous,

Whoa there, you turned up at her work and home unannounced, do you think this is normal behaviour?

Now I’ve scolded you for that, let’s get to the crux of your dilemma. I’m going to let you into a secret women won’t tell you. If she really likes a guy, she will continue to go on dates with him, period. If after a few, you don’t hear from her, it’s means she’s not particularly interested in pursuing things further. Women find being direct hard, because they don’t want to hurt the guy’s feelings, so they withdraw and hope they pick up on the signals.

It seems some men confuse this ‘take a hint’ lack of interest signal as ‘she wants me to chase her’

It’s possible that if you pursue intently enough, she may fall for you, but be warned, the attraction element maybe missing, and it becomes a one-sided relationship.

Kudos to her for being straight with you after a couple of dates. Rather than string you along further, she told you to not wait for her

Being pushy and not respecting her decision is one thing, but stalking her at work & where she lives is damn right disgraceful. Pull your socks up, and listen up dude, stop thinking you know what’s best for her. She knows her own mind, and wants to move on, you’re not right for her. It’s a hard part of life realising that the people we fall for don’t always feel the same way. You can’t control or make feelings happen for her. 

You’re contradicting yourself by saying that no other woman makes you feel the way she does. If that were true, then shoe on the other foot, if a woman liked you, but you had no desire to forge a future together, it would be OK for her to harass you without your consent?

Someone has to tell you straight for fear that you will get yourself into a lot of trouble. There’s a fine line between showing keenness and becoming obcessed. Do you want her to get a restraining order, because that’s where you’re heading sunshine. 

Take my advice, as a woman who’s had to deal with men like you, including ex’s I haven’t seen in many years, who think it’s ok to keep my number and send me random messages. This is what you do:

  • Delete her number and any other contact info from your phone
  • Delete any past email correspondence between you
  • Keep your mind preoccupied, so you don’t ‘online stalk her’ by looking at her social media accounts
  • Never turn up to a woman’s place of work or residence unannounced
  • Take time out and pursue interests 
  • Don’t whine or mope around, deal with it and start dating again

Contrary to this widely held delusional belief that there’s only one person you’ll ever fall for, the reality is that it’s simply bull s***!

My dad re-married my mum after having his heart broken, and he admitted he was extremely lucky to find such a warm loving person. My brother broke up with his ex of five years, but went on to marry the only woman that I considered a complete package for him. There are other people out there…

For God’s sake, have an ounce of self-respect. If you really love someone, you will sacrifice your own happiness for theirs, even if it means they are with someone else. Life’s too short to chase after something that only exists in your mind and not theirs…

Best wishes,

Abi 

Quora Question: Please help, I feel like I’m never going to be as important to my girlfriend as her ex.

I’ve been dating my girlfriend for three and a half years. Her previous relationship was with her first ever boyfriend. He split up with her, and broke her heart, but they still keep in touch. I know I will never replace the love she feels for her ex, it makes me feel insecure 😦 

My Answer:

Oh dear 😦 I can certainly relate to how you’re feeling.

The first person I fell really strongly for was over a decade ago. He came out of a longterm relationship, but to my discomfort also kept in touch with his ex. I will throw him a bone, he was always honest about it. I split up with him over it, then they got back together. A few years later they split again, and he intently pursued me saying he never forgot how kind I was. Anyway, his ex started contacting him again, and that was it, I walked away. 

Funny thing was the reason he split with her first time was because she was messaging other men on Facebook. Second time, she treated him like dirt in front of her friends. I don’t like a man or woman to have no self-respect, it’s the number one most unattractive trait a potential partner can have. He was letting her treat him badly.

Despite this, they ended up getting married and having children. I heard from a mutual friend, who doesn’t like her, that she still makes him unhappy at times, but do you know what, I never once was jealous. Sure, I was hurt, more about feeling used, but if being with his ex is what made him happy, then good luck to him. He has his family. 

In certain circumstances, if a couple splits and they either have children, or the relationship wasn’t working for both of them, then remaining in contact as friends is fine. There’s no threat to subsequent new partners for both of them.

Clearly in your case, your girlfriend still holds a candle for her ex. A decent person would cut contact and move on with their lives, and show some respect to their new partner. No one wants to be second option, in case her ex decides he wants her back. Then you’re dropped like a sack of potatoes. Nah, no thanks, is what you should be thinking. I’ve met both guys and girls like this, and they’re what I call emotionally unavailable.

She may not be intentionally using you, but be cautious. Tell her honestly how insecure she is making you feel. If she disregards your feelings, move on.

No one wants to date someone who’s not over their ex years later! People like that are selfish in my opinion. Don’t feel sad, I would rather be you than her pining after a guy, who lets be honest if he really wanted to be with her would. She’s delusional, if her ex really loved her, would he split from her for years? 

She shouldn’t be in a relationship until she’s ready! If you’re really in love with your ex still, would you be f***ing another person in the meantime? No, you’d stay celibate, that’s a test of real love. 

Golden rule in life, never bring s*** to anyone’s doorstep, it’s an incredibly unkind thing to do.

There are loads of lovely girls in the world that will treat you better, go find one…

Best wishes,

Abi x

Quora Question: How attractive would you rate your physical traits, on a scale of 1 to 10?

And please provide reasoning as well. I’m curious about what people find attractive about themselves and how it affects their confidence. (Please try to add photos of yourself because it is much preferable to just text.)

My answer:

I wouldn’t have answered this question of my own volition, but it was an A2A from the beautiful Aimon. As the saying goes, there always has to be one who doesn’t follow the rules. Here’s my take on what I value (not rate) about my physical traits:

It’s been a bit of a journey to get to a point where I’ve learnt a lot about what it is about me that makes me feel attractive.

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From an early age, I was overshadowed by my mother’s beauty. My friends would always comment on how stunning she was. I would watch her in awe, but my father was strict on education, he didn’t want me to be preoccupied with looks.

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I grew up as the only ethnic minority (Pakistani immigrant parents) child in school. I stood out like a sore thumb. The first memory of knowing I was different was in primary school when my friend asked me why I wasn’t White like everyone else. I remember tears falling when we had to describe each other’s eye colour, mine were the only ones that were referred to as black.

My dad had to console me. It was from there he was able to educate me on why I was different, and there was nothing to be feared.

The teenage years were difficult ones. I was a reclusive child, while the girls at school talked makeup and boys, I was reading books on pure Mathematics and Physics. Being the top student was more important than how I looked to the outside world.

Then the rebellious years came where I was trying to find my identity. I remember as a teen finding a Playboy magazine under my brothers bed one day. I looked nothing like any of those women in the pictures, Carmen Electra was unbelievably curvy. I was olive skinned, tall, flat chested and lanky. I’d try and stuff myself with chocolate to put on weight, but I always weighed the same. Frustratingly, I was envied by the anorexics, that I took as an insult and it made me hate my skinny frame even more.

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I went through a phase of being interested in the exterior, and started to notice people reacting to me differently. I’d walk into the pub and the whole room would go silent. In a rural village in the middle of nowhere, they never saw a non White girl looking very Westernised before.

I may look confident in that picture, but it was all a front. I attracted the wrong kind of men. My ex boyfriend wanted to book me in for breast augmentation. He saw me as a doll that needed fixing. He was “rating” the physical traits of a woman that were important to him, those I didn’t possess, which was to the detriment of my self-esteem.

I was crazy about him, to the extent where I allowed him to control every aspect of my life. But then I was to watch someone suffer the indignities of a terminal illness, witness them die beneath my very eyes.

I took time out and did charity work with children. It was mentally challenging to look at young children who were disfigured, but they were also my source of strength. I admired their spirit, their exterior may have changed, but they were still the same person inside. I was able to walk away from my ex boyfriend.

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Now this is the woman I’ve become and accepted.

It’s ironic that after all the years I battled through the insecurities of being different, now those are the physical traits I’m grateful for. Olive skin has helped in the ageing process, being naturally slim means I can enjoy food without the guilt, breast health over shallow concerns of being flat chested. Ultimately, comparing myself to others and then giving myself a rating based on that “ideal” perception of beauty is futile, as my exterior is what I’ve been born with and cannot change. I have my imperfections for sure, but in the grand scheme of life it’s unimportant (not for my ex but for me at least). I’m finally comfortable in my own skin.

The above forms the basis of my answer. While the “1–10 rating system” is more notably a male activity, females are guilty of using this entirely subjective point based system too (there is plenty of variance in male/female opinion).

It would be remiss of me if I did not concede that it’s simply human nature for us to want to be considered attractive. We can all say what we want about universal ideals of beauty, but in the end it’s all a matter of taste. Without question, we all have opinions and standards, and a way of categorising it. I just prefer to not reduce people to mere numbers…

For the record, it’s the way my lips smile that I value. I get a heck of a lot of free Pret coffees thanks to that 😉

Thanks Aimon for the A2A.

Best wishes,

Abi x

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Quora Question: How is Indian Dating different from that practised in the West? What are the starkest dissimilarities?

This is from the perspective of a British woman born to immigrant (Southeast Asian) parents.

How does Indian dating differ from the West?

Parental influence:

Without question, this plays heavily on our conscience when dating.

In Southeast Asian cultures, the family is an individual’s religious, economic, political, and social core. Parents are a big influence on our lives. You only have to look on Quora and there are a plethora of young people with dating woes:

  • My parents won’t accept me dating someone from another caste
  • I’m a Hindu in love with a Muslim
  • I’ve got a PhD but he/she isn’t educated

Let’s be honest, we all worry about whether our parents will accept the person we fall in love with. There’s an enormous pressure we face balancing wanting our own happiness with acceptance from our parents, to the extent that it can tear us apart.

For those of us that are born/brought up in the West to immigrant parents, this East/West culture conflict is harder to reconcile, and makes dating us more complex.

Respect for our family is of the upmost importance to us. There is a great fear of disobeying them, and a lot of complications and heartache if you do. My best friend (British born from a strict Hindu family) dated an English guy for a few years. She cried because her parents told her they would never accept him, but despite this he persevered and won them around. He was clever enough to know to never antagonise or disrespect her parents. Eventually they got married in a Hindu ceremony, and I admit to shedding a few tears when I saw her mother kiss his forehead. All those years of hanging on in there paid off 🙂

My brother married an English woman initially to my parents dismay, but they love her like their own daughter. Both my brother and best friend were lucky that their parents came around in the end, sadly that’s not the case for all, with those that are strict disowning their children. The consequence of not being able to fall in love with someone of your own choice is heartbreaking. This is not common in the West, there’s freedom pretty much to date whomever you like.

We’re traditional:

My boss (Caucasian) said it straight. “Abi, you’re lucky, any guy that’s interested in you is more likely to be a serious dater, because of your ethnicity. Guys looking for one night stands wouldn’t even consider you.” On the whole, I think that’s a fair statement. The men I attract tend to be cultured, well-educated, older; they assume we’re more family orientated/respectable.

Asian girls tend to take dating more seriously. I admit, even on the first date, if I don’t consider him longterm/marriage material, there won’t be a second one. There are exceptions to every rule (due to strict upbringing, rather than openness in western dating, some girls/boys go wild/cheat). I could sleep around if I wanted to, but it holds no interest to me, despite how open western society is, personally, I’m more conservative, sex is special. There is a big stigma attached with being pregnant and unmarried, to our parents it’s brings shame on the family. In the West, co-habitation and being a single parent is becoming increasingly common. In our culture, it’s frowned upon to live together as a couple unmarried. My brother once had a girlfriend for 5 years, in the West this is normal, my parents thought it was weird, and was always asking, “when are you getting married?”

Perhaps we come across as ‘prudish’. Being older, I’m not ashamed, in this day and age, having self-respect seems to be a rarity. In the UK, we are bombarded with trashy programmes where women demean themselves by having sex on TV, and celebs who constantly take naked selfies, then have the audacity to complain when they’re not taken seriously, or someone has leaked their sex tape. It’s not classy, and not an example I want setting to my future daughter. You know the world has gone mad when you can be convicted for revenge porn, thankfully, you won’t find me taking naked photos and videos of myself 🙂

For us, marriage and children is our goal. We don’t see it as “just some piece of paper” However, unlike the previous generations, we are pursuing higher education, and are more progressive, juggling careers with family (similarities to the West).

Religion:

Marrying someone of the same religion or caste is important to most families to maintain their cultural traditions & identity. When a couple come from different religious backgrounds: Muslim & Hindu, either they’re not allowed to marry outright, or it’s such an issue that one has to convert. Loyalty is paramount. One must never bring dishonor or disgrace to the family. In the traditional Southasian family, parents define the law and the children are expected to abide by their requests and demands. Failure to do so results in disownment.

In the West, men & women won’t have such restrictions imposed on them. They’re highly independent in contrast, and don’t fear parental approval like us. They will marry who they want, a partner’s cultural & religious background isn’t a dealbreaker.

Meeting the family:

Bear in mind, I grew up in a small town where everyone was White. School friends would date a guy, and they’d be quickly introduced to their parents, sleep overs in their parents house, go on holidays. Relationships in the West are open. Asians are more reserved, we will introduce someone only when we’re serious/ready to marry, particularly girls. This is hard for non-Asians to understand, with only men that are in love with us able to accept that they aren’t fully part of our lives until we’re sure they’re the one. A man will know I’m serious, the day I introduce him to my older brother (father deceased).

Arranged Marriages:

I have a few British born Asian friends that had arranged marriages, but it’s nothing like that of my parents era. My mum & dad knew each other’s families, but they didn’t even date, they got married first. I know it sounds crazy, but nevertheless, they had a successful, loving marriage.

These days, a lot of parents realise that doesn’t work for the modern generation, and they will allow the couple to date for a period and get to know each other. I agree with this, personally, I would need a minimum of a year/two before committing to marriage.

My overall thoughts:

I have a lot of respect for Asian culture: loyalty, primary obligation (caring for elderly), importance of education. Someone that shares the same core values will end up being my lifelong partner.

There are downsides; Southeast Asian parents are significantly more controlling, restrictive and protective of their children than Anglo parents. The one thing that I would like to see change is tolerance and acceptance of one’s sexuality. I have a good friend (Asian/Hindu) who has been shunned by his family for being gay. They haven’t spoken to him in years. You should never be made to feel afraid for being who you are. That makes me sad. In general, the West are more understanding that one’s sexual preference is something we can’t change, nor should we want to.

Thank you, Arka, for the A2A.

Kind regards,

Abi

Quora Question: How do I move on after four years of waiting?

I was in a longterm relationship, but she left me over four years ago for another man. They are now married and have a child. I can’t get up from under the bedcovers, and don’t want to delete her number from my phone.

My Answer:

Dear Anonymous,

Four years! I think this lack of acceptance and unwillingness to move on is emotionally holding you back.

In the past, I used to dwell on missed opportunities and failed relationships, but a culmination of growing older and the death of two important people in my life has made me more pragmatic.

Whether you wish to believe this or not, the truth is that each and every one of us share this in common: we’re born alone and we’ll die alone. There’s ultimately only a limited time we have to fulfil our goals in life. However morbid this sounds, without question, I know in X time in the future, my fate will be realised, and I will be in some box underground.

The journey between birth and death is all about taking risks that only you can choose. Those people you welcome to join you along that path may cause heartache, disappointment and sadness, but there is also the opportunity for friendship, passion, commitment and happiness.

I’m afraid there’s no way of predicting which direction your relationship takes, that’s the uncertainty of life. Failures we learn from: I’m never going out with someone that has a,b,c instead the next one will have x,y,z. Overtime, you’ll recognise within a short period of meeting someone whether they’re right or not, a skill that comes with age old wisdom (making mistakes + learning from them).

The problem with ruminating over your ex is that it has led to depression, your ‘hiding under the bed covers’ tells me this. Your behaviour is understandable. You are alone in your comfort zone. It all stems from our childhood, being put to bed at night by our parents, given special attention and kisses, and our duvet cover tucked in tight around us. We feel safe. You can see nobody else, and on a subconscious level you think nobody that might want to harm you, can see you either. In reality, all you’re doing is burying your head in the sand.

Sometimes you need a proverbial kick up the backside. That’s what my close friends do, never sugar coat a situation to make me feel better, they offer advice that will benefit me in the longterm even if it hurts. When women have problems we talk about them. Men complain that women “always want to talk about things” – yeah, because it’s a healthy way to work through emotions! Half of my close friends are male, they probably feel more comfortable talking to me than another man. That’s what I’m going to do to you. Your ex girlfriend has moved on with her life, she’s married with a child, in years to come she may also have grandchildren, while you grow into a lonely old man, not letting anyone that has the potential to make you happy be part of your life. Don’t you think that would be a real shame? I don’t even know you, but I feel it would be.

Keeping her contact details. I’m sure many of us can relate to this. For me, it was about sentimentality. One day, I saw the dress I wore when I switched my dad’s life support off, it was in mint condition, but everytime I looked at it in my cupboard it made me sad. So, I put it in a bag with the rest of the clothes I’d never wear again and gave them to charity. My dad was gone, keeping hold of something I was never going to use again was pointless, instead I was giving it away to a new owner.

The same analogy applies to phone numbers. My phone has no trace of any past ex’s contact information, I delete anyone I know I won’t ever see again. I genuinely wish them health & happiness, but those doors of getting back together are firmly closed. In any new relationship I start, I don’t want to bring s*** to their doorstep. I think it’s important to always look forwards than to remain stuck in the past.

Despite leaving you, the memories will always be in your head & the love you felt for her will still remain in your heart. Your ex maybe gone but she’ll not be forgotten. I’m not cynical but a realist, I don’t believe there’s only one “soulmate” rather that there are a number of “companions” out there in the world that share the same aspirations as I do.

The “one that got away” is a myth that allows us to hang around feeling down on ourselves, instead of going forth into the world and meeting new people. Do yourself a favour, kick those covers off, place one foot in front of the other, and start living again… (think of those young innocent people who lost their lives in that horrendous Orlando gay club massacre. They had no idea that would be their end. You’re still alive with the world at your fingertips, don’t waste a second more wallowing in self-pity!).

“Perhaps our eyes need to be washed by our tears once in a while, so that we can see life with a clearer view again” – Alex Tan

Thanks for the A2A.

Best wishes,

Abi

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