Red flags in arranged marriages
The ability to spot red flags in arranged marriages can potentially help you avoid lifelong misery and get you closer to finding your soulmate. Spotting red flags in arranged marriages has assumed a lot of significance due to a variety of reasons.
1. Arranged marriages have spread beyond your social circle
Our grandparents usually married within the extended family circle or social network in their town or village. In these instances, the need for extensive background checks on a prospective match was not required as everyone knew everybody else in the town or village. Our grandparents probably met each other only on the day of their wedding!
This is definitely not the case nowadays. You are probably meeting prospective matches who are strangers and you need to quickly spot red flags in arranged marriages before its too late. The stakes have just gone up!
2. Families have gone nuclear
As families move away to cities, the joint family system has declined. The traditional social network has shrunk significantly and more parents are relying on online matrimony sites and newspaper ads to find suitable matches for their children than ever before!
All the trust associated with knowing another family for decades has vanished and your word is as good as mine!
3. Increased mobility and relaxed criteria
More and more Indian are travelling to different parts of the world for a better life. The huge NRI diaspora in the US, UK, Australia, Middle East and Africa is a testimony to the migration. A lot of these populations have young men and women who still want to find prospective matches in India.
Even within India, people are migrating to different parts of the country. The increased mobility has reduced the ability for parents to find suitable matches from their communities or hometown.
As matchmaking through arranged marriages become more difficult, the qualification criteria such as sub-caste, profession, lifestyle are also being relaxed so that more prospective matches can be lined up.
In summary, spotting red flags in arranged marriages have become more important than ever before. If you are careful and deliberate, you can spot red flags upfront even before you meet a prospective match!
Typically, arranged marriages go through the following phases before marriage
1. Evaluating an online profile or marriage biodata of prospective matches
2. Initial conversations and meetings with shortlisted matches
You can spot red flags in each of the above stages of arranged marriage. We have lined up practical tips to help you spot these red flags. Ignore these 9 tips at your own peril!
Spotting red flags in biodata for marriage
When you are scanning a biodata for marriage from a prospective match, watch out for these red flags.
1. Education: Make sure the names of the university or colleges mentioned in the marriage biodata actually exist. A simple google search will tell you if the college/university is genuine. University Grants Commission (UGC) publishes blacklisted colleges/universities and a simple scan of their page and the press releases pertaining to derecognised universities can throw up interesting information quickly 🙂
2. Professional background: If someone claims to work for a company, just make sure that’s a real company and the information is consistent. Just google the name of the company and make sure the company has a website with contact information (telephone number). When things get serious (or at later stages), you can even try calling up the company and ask to speak with your prospective match.
Most professionals will also have a LinkedIn profile and you can look up their profile in an anonymous mode to not only verify their professional credentials but also look at the other details like their education and personal interests.
Use LinkedIn to verify employment credentials of your prospective bridegroom. This is a simple way to make sure there are not blatant mismatches in the marriage biodata.
3. Lifestyle claims: A Facebook and Twitter search can also help identify red flags. A “strict vegetarian” having a great time at KFC is a cause for concern.
Here is an example. A girl met a boy at a club. They hit it off well but the girl did not have the contact information of her crush and she posted a Facebook post asking for help in finding her man. Her post goes viral and she discovers that her crush already had a girlfriend!
Most people may not think through the implications of sharing everything on Facebook and this is helpful for once!
When you indeed find red flags, keep in mind the fact that most online matrimony profiles or marriage biodata are created by parents. Sometimes, parents may be in the dark about their children’s preferences and lifestyle.
If you find contradictory information in the marriage biodata, it may not always be a premeditated scam. But, you should keep your eyes open and verify everything.
Red flags during arranged marriage first meetings
Arranged marriage first meetings is a breeding ground for red flags! When you meet your prospective match and the family members, observing the body language, the questions they ask you, and their behaviour can throw up red flags. Here are some practical approaches to spot these red flags.
4. Is that the same person? Does the prospective match look similar to the profile photo online matrimony profile/biodata? This is very important as people sometimes go to great lengths to project a completely different image of themselves to attract prospective matches. If there is a big difference in how the prospective match looks when compared to that of the photograph you may have seen, it’s a big red flag!
5. Lack of interest: If the prospective match seems uninterested in a conversation, there could be several reasons – shyness or no interest in getting married. In some cases, they may actually be in a relationship and showed up for the meeting under pressure. In any case, lack of interest is a red flag that needs further investigation.
6. We just want the usual: If you hear the word dowry or any other question that hints at ‘gifts’, it’s a big red flag. Check out some of the indirect ways parents of prospective matches can bring up the D word!
7. Run from the crazies: If you hear anything strange or unbelievable, it’s probably true. Run! Here is an example.
Red flags after the engagement and before marriage
In some arranged marriages, the skeletons will start tumbling from the cupboard after the engagement! Here are a couple of red flags in arranged marriages that you should keep an eye for after the engagement.
8. Strange behaviour: Behavioral quirks during one-on-one dates after the engagement can be big red flags depending on what you consider as appropriate.
Here are some examples:
a. Your fiance mistreats waiters at restaurants or does anything else that’s culturally and socially not OK.
b. Demonstrates controlling behaviour about what you wear, what you eat, and even tells you how fast the fan should be running on a hot day!
c. Dwells on past relationships. This could mean your fiance hasn’t moved on.
d. Forces you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable or anything you are not ready for.
9. Turncoats: Change in the behaviour of your future in-laws. Sometimes, people can put up an act to mask their real intentions. But after the engagement, when they know you are committed to the relationship, their real intentions come to the front. Example: If they start asking you about dowry or if the bride’s family suddenly starts putting pressure on the bridegroom to find a better job. Beware of turncoats!
In summary, pay attention and share your concerns openly when you spot red flags in arranged marriages. Never come under any pressure to sweep these red flags under the carpet. Indian society values tolerance and places great emphasis on tolerating hardships without complaints. However, if you choose to ignore red flags you will be left holding the pieces of a ruined marriage.
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