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Are Men The Dreamers?

By Anuradha Turner

A Look at the thought process of men and women while they choose a partner

It is believed that every woman is looking for her prince charming, however, what about the men? Have you even wondered why is it that women are mostly heard saying, “He’s good for me or he really loves me”, while men always use words like “She’s the one!”
Let’s explores the psyche and the thought process that men and women actually go through while choosing a partner.

Heart v/s Head

Tanya, 26, interior decorator, was the perfect marriage material girl. She used to wear girly dresses, had great culinary skills and also was a favourite with the neighbourhood aunties. She could fit in a party and go drinking, and yet never do anything outrageous. So, when a girl like Tanya meets a boy like Gautam, her male counterpart in characteristics, you cannot imagine anything going wrong. They made a great Indian modern couple, or so it seemed, and one could almost hear the wedding bells.

But then something weird happened; Gautam confessed he was having an affair with this vivacious girl in office and wanted to marry her. People who met the girl, who Gautam had chosen, unanimously agreed that she was so average in comparison to Tanya. When asked, why would he ever choose anybody over a pretty nice girl like Tanya, Gautam simply said, “She is the one for me, Tanya was just not!”

“When it comes to marriage, the popular thinking is that men may date a hundred girls but they take back home only a girl who is acceptable by their mother. This thinking is actually changing. Men are showing their soft, romantic core and an inherent need to find the ‘one’. Especially in today’s times, when the responsibility of marriage is shared, men want to find that perfect partner and not just someone who fulfils their family’s basic checklist”, says Sneha Singh, marriage counsellor and relationship advisor.

When Rukhsaar was getting married to the love of her life, she was surprised to receive advice and e-mails from relatives (all women) sharing similar thoughts, mostly revolving around, ‘Love is fine, but when it’s time to pay the bills, love goes out of the window.’

Women are considered to be the romantic ones, but the truth is women are the choosers. They always have a few men showing interest in them, and they might love someone, but they take a decision based on what is good for their future. This is because security is of utmost importance to a woman. In the olden days, the requirement was a physically strong man, today, it is money!

Men are traditionally the chasers and women are the choosers, and since there is higher transparency in marriages today with nuclear family system and sharing responsibilities, men actually find it easier to follow their heart. They are more accepting of the challenges that come with choosing the one that their heart wants. The inherent need to find the one and only is much more rooted in men than it ever was in women. Since they are the chasers, they come from a much more free space than a woman (the choosers), who might give in for reasons like protection and security.

Of course, there are women who also take risks and simply follow their heart, but it is never until they make the man chase a bit!

The Mommy v/s Daddy Effect

When it comes to choosing a partner, family upbringing and history actually play a very crucial role.

The traditional belief is that men always look for someone like their mother and women always opt for someone who imbibes her father's qualities.

This is again one of those myths which cannot be considered 100 percent true, especially in case of people who did not have the most apt upbringing. A man having a doting mother and sisters might actually feel too pampered, and would actually wish for a partner who gives him space. The same goes for a girl having a father with temper issues, so she might never want to go for a partner like her father.

In the popular show, Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai, son of Mrs Maya Sarabhai, who is obsessed with cleanliness and high society marries Monisha, a stingy woman, who never keeps her house clean. In brief, the mother and daughter-in-law in this show are complete opposites!

"I never wanted to marry a girl who is too homely, because my mother is, and though I love my mother, I have not had the most compatible relationship with her. Moreover, what I remember mostly is not how my mom treated me, but how my father treated my mother and her reactions. I did not want that in a marriage. I love a feisty, independent girl who is very different for my mother" says, Parminder Ahluwalia, 29, testing engineer.

"In such cases, the immediate environment plays a crucial role in shaping one's personality and needs. When you go out in the world and meet like-minded people, you are much more confident and have a clear understanding of what you want. He has clearly been more observant than just being at the receptive end of his mother's love. Apart from his mother's caring and homely nature, what mattered to him was how a man would treat a woman in certain situations", opines Sneha Singh, relationship counsellor.

The family background and upbringing work as a memory map which helps you shape your personality. Either you break the shackles and explore, or you accept your comfort zone. With changing times, men again are at an advantage here because they enjoy risks and chances, and can take them without any pressure from the society. The need to be braver and come out as a hero, the one who rescues is much more inherent in men while woman are brought up with the thinking that they need to be rescued.

The Ratio Factor

A recent study conducted by Abigail Haworth, The Guardian, showed how Japanese men stay virgin and single till their 40s while women are much more happy hanging out with their girlfriends than getting married. The same goes for a study held in China, which has more men than women in their population. The rule of having only one child is regarded as one of the main reasons for this deficit. The ratio or the proportion of men to women holds another important place in this study. “In earlier times, men used to go to wars, hence a lot of women were left widows. Men used to have multiple wives and the women had to share a husband. You can imagine what kind of confidence a person getting so much attention must have”, adds Singh.

In case of Japan, it is the old rituals and stern traditions that have become a hindrance. The concept of a-woman-must-not-work-after-marriage does not make sense for both—men and women—there. The study done by Abigail Haworth showed how Japan is an expensive city, hence the men cannot afford housewives and kids, and the women do not want to let go of their independence. In this case, it is the country's economy or certain rules and norms that have clearly affected the thought process of both men and women. Their views on marriage and choosing, or rather not choosing a partner is created because of certain external factors.

The same holds true for India, where migration has become a trend and when you migrate, most of your decisions are affected by external factors. This gets us to one of the most important point i.e. the trend—"The trend or ‘the definition of a prince charming’ has always been changing, from a man with ancestral properties to a man in Silicon Valley. The trend now mostly is to go for a man with sound bank balance and security. The trend of wanting a slim and fair girl is still a hit with men, an old habit that has not changed much. This is different for communities in the Southern states of India, where women must work or a working woman is actually prerequisite. The trend, fast building in rich Gujarati or Marwari communities, is of wanting a woman who takes care of parents as well as knows how to dress for a party. Each society comes with its sets of trends and this does help shaping one’s thought process. Hence, the concept of ‘she is the one’ is almost like finding that precious and priceless diamond. There are so many criteria now that finding the right partner is like cracking the right recipe with just enough spice and sweet!

Shaping Your Identity v/s Shaping Future

While women think largely about their future security while choosing a partner, men think of their identity or how a certain person will shape his identity and his future family.

The shy person in a couple finds marital relationship as a way to shape their identity. Hence, you might come across one of those mismatched couples, where you might wonder why they chose each other, but really what they are doing is filling an important void for each other.

So, whether it is waiting for your prince charming or looking for your princess in a crowd, it is interesting to understand that no matter what the approach is, both the parties are eventually looking for their life partner!

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