Every single one of my undergraduate friends had an arranged marriage. Not a single one of them had any serious relationship before they got married. When I was in college, only one person had a cell phone and it was huge and ugly.
Kids also had access to social networking sites like Orkut. Indian boys and girls, who grew up learning to suppress their natural instincts and hormones, suddenly found that the barrier of entry into the world of dating was significantly lowered. Cell phones and Orkut made flirting easy and discreet. As dating was relatively a new trend in India, most of these kids kept it a secret.
The fear of persecution still prevailed. A large fraction of my friends from this generation only had a platonic relationship which never went any further than the first base.
Most kids only had one partner, who in many cases, they ended up marrying. It is very hard for me to believe that so many of these kids managed to find a great match for themselves in the first attempt, that too when they were teenagers. A more likely explanation is that these kids simply did not think they had the option of breaking up. Breakups did happen and the most common reason for breakups was parental opposition. Dating has become more acceptable in the society.
Several kids from this generation seem to be dating simply due to peer pressure and to look cool. Since it is very easy to always stay in touch, people want their partners to always stay in touch. Relationships are not given the due time to build.
People go from strangers to lovers very very fast these days. Thus, relationships break up just as fast. With the surge of hormones and societal pressures, hiding behind the veil of technology, people find no guilt in leading others on. The also find no guilt in breaking up when a better avenue appears or when the relationship becomes inconvenient for them. Breakups are hard — I have seen a lot of my friends go through a phase of mourning after breakup.
I totally understand people getting heartbroken due to breakup from a long term relationship. However, I think that spending a year mourning the breakup of a three month old relationship is unhealthy. I have only been in one relationship in my life. Thus, I have no real credentials to give dating advice to anyone.
However, I have completed a decade of happy marriage. It has to count for something. Also, I have been a good friend to a lot of younger people and I have learnt from their experiences.
So, here I go… No two people can be perfectly compatible and every relationship needs work. Do not give up without giving your relationship a fair chance. On the flip side, do not keep clinging to a wrong partner either. There needs to be a healthy balance of how much effort you put into a relationship and when you decide to break things off.
Do not put your relationship or your partner on a pedestal too soon. Everything looks rosy in the early stages of the relationship but know that no one is perfect. It takes time to get to really know a person. Guard yourself in early stages of the relationship and let the foundation of trust and understanding slowly build before you dive all in.
Say what you mean. Do not lead people on. When someone breaks up with you, do not expect them to give you the closure. No matter what you might have done for them, do not expect them to reciprocate.
You need to move on by finding comfort with other friends and family. You need to know that something better will come along. You need to know that being single is better than being with the wrong person.
I know that all this is easier said than done. However, I believe that a slight shift in the mindset and approach can make dating and relationships a lot more fun.