What does an Urban Indian woman in her 40s seek from a relationship

What does an Urban Indian woman in her 40s seek from a relationship

by Sapna

Disclaimer: I am an independent woman, raised in urban India, from a liberal family, who has lived in the West for almost a decade. As a woman in my early 40s, I’ve had three long-term relationships, of which two could have ended in marriage but instead ended after a few years of living together. So, my preferences may not resonate with many but will hopefully provide some insight about women in their 40s from similar backgrounds.

Many of my single friends, including those over a decade older, are still open to getting married. But some, including myself, are becoming comfortable with the idea that perhaps, marriage isn’t in the cards. Or perhaps, it’s not really what we want anymore. Maybe this is because we haven’t seen enough happy marriages or maybe it’s because people of our generation have become too independent to compromise on anything. Procreation is also not a top priority when we think about how overpopulated our country is, how expenses have skyrocketed and how adoption seems to be a more viable option now.

It feels like there’s a major paradigm shift from my mother’s generation, 30 years older, where women didn’t have a choice about getting married, because it was the means for their survival. Today, with so much awareness about the predominance of domestic abuse, and the tediousness of annulments; it seems more practical to opt out of commitments. More often, you come across men expressing their distaste for commitments on dating apps. But I suspect that women will increasingly come around to this idea as well.

However, before you get into a long-term relationship, you have to find compatibility, which at an older age, is a feat in itself. Besides physical attraction (which seems unbalanced between the genders in India as there seem to be fewer attractive men than women at our age), there is also intellectual compatibility and emotional maturity to evaluate in a potential partner; besides other practicalities like religiousness, political leanings, Netflix genres (critical significance in the age of Lockdowns), gregariousness, and sexual compatibility.

So what qualities in a man would women in their 40s find irresistible? Here are some useful tips.

1. Don’t talk about sex. Be romantic, authentic and practice being charming.

2. Don’t be a stinge. Pay for your date. Yes, it’s expected.

3. Don’t share fake pictures or worse still, no pictures. And for goodness sake, write a bio. Even one witty, original line that reflects your core, would do the trick. And a few honest, well-lit, non-blurry pictures will go a long way.

4. Can married men please stop cheating? Take some time after your breakup to find yourself before shopping around.

5. Being a feminist will improve your chances significantly.

6. Grooming, hygiene, a good dressing sense and great cologne are no-brainers and can actually make up for not being all that attractive, in a woman’s book.

7. Many men express their desire to find intelligent women to converse with. Well, women too, admire intelligent men who are modest and preferably wise beyond their years.

8. Integrity, ethics and general niceness is certainly high up on women’s radar.

9. And finally, interesting women would love a man who has a unique sense of humour, good taste and an interest in the arts.

Men with a confident, self-assured, happy air about them are just as irresistible as women with the same qualities. Except that men who manage to achieve all of the above seem to be in short supply in India, have married a non-Indian, or realise that they can be players forever. To be fair, many Indian women aspire to meet non-Indian partners as well.

Eventually, the idea of finding a soulmate seems to fade away in one’s 40s and a more realistic recognition of the need for companionship takes precedence. For me, the goal is to enjoy the journey, rather than the destination, always strive to be healthier, date like-minded ‘conscious’ individuals, nurture a thriving social circle and pursue a stimulating career.

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