Anytime one writes something like what I am writing - making generalizations about people from a vast and diverse culture like India - one is taking a big risk of appearing to be prejudiced or stupid, of saying something which is totally different from the experiences of others, of offending some people, etc. So, remember that there are exceptions to everything I have written above and I will write on this subject going forward. After all, despite cultural influences, each person is an individual in their own right, and each situation is unique. Also, remember that I am merely stating the truth as I see it. Finally, remember that I am an Indian guy myself. I have dated Indian women as well as (white) Americans. There may be some unavoidable prejudices based on my background and experiences. However, it is important for those who know me - Indians and Americans - to understand that all of the following may not be true of me, as an individual. I am merely stating the predominant trends among Indian men.
In this post, we shall discuss what I think are the most important factors you should know about if you are interested in dating an Indian man outside India: his attitude towards romancing women, money & immigration status, and his family (not in any particular order).
Indian Men's Attitude Towards Romancing Women
- If your Indian guy is quite new to your country and its ways, he may not be very familiar with all the cool places to take a girl out for dating, the nice things to do together in your place, and other basic stuff like that. Also, his tastes in entertainment and cuisine may vary from yours. Don't let this discourage or displease you. This is just a matter of learning for him, and you could encourage/help his learning. You could learn many new things from him too.
- India is still a country where most marriages are arranged (not forced) by the parents and families. Dating is still not the normal way in which people choose their mates. As such, the Indian guy you are interested in may not be familiar with all the rules, do's and don't's of the Western dating scene. There are some Indian guys who are surely adept at this. But most are not. Even if they have dated in India, they may not be familiar with the Western dating conventions.
- The other thing the Indian may not be familiar with is all the verbal and non-verbal signals which encourage or discourage intimacy. A lot of these signals are biological and universal. But there are many signals which are quite specific to a culture, because of cultural differences in the way affection is shown and shared. There might be a learning curve associated with this. So, don't think the guy does not like you if he does not immediately respond to your signals and cues.
- Indians are not big on public displays of affection (PDA) between romantic partners. Such displays are discouraged and frowned upon in general Indian public life. Your Indian man might quite fine or better than fine in private, but he might not be very comfortable with showing affection in front of others - family, friends or strangers. He might particularly be uncomfortable expressing physical affection in front of his family or yours.
- While the last two points were about the Indian guy not expressing affection the way you want him to, there is also a flip side to this. It is quite possible that the Indian might get overly affectionate and attached pretty quickly. While dating is not very predominant in India, casual dating (i.e., dating without being emotionally invested/attached) is even more of a rarity. In the contemporary Western society, when a girl agrees to romantically date a guy, she is pretty much giving him the signal that, "If everything goes okay, I will sleep with you sooner or later." Similarly, in most Indian dating situations, when a girl agrees to go out with a guy, she is letting him know that, "If everything goes okay, we will get married sooner or later." That may sound dramatic, but it's true. Such conditioning might cause him to get emotionally attached to you quickly.
- The other thing that Western women dating an Indian guy might experience is a speedy and overt physicality on his part. For reasons which are too numerous to go into here, many Asians (Indians and non-Indians, men and women) believe that Westerners (men and women) are easy when it comes to sex. Without going into a big debate on whether Westerners are truly easy about sex or not, let us just accept that Asians think they are. This belief, coupled with the fact that women in India normally agree to date a guy only if they really really like him, makes an Indian guy think that the Western lady who agreed to go out with him really really likes him; ergo, he is going to get laid soon. This belief and enthusiasm prevents him from giving the lady the time and space she needs to get to know him, and get intimate with him at her own pace.
- All over the world, in all cultures, men and women know that there are a certain type of people whom they would only date short-term, but never get serious with; and then, there are a certain type of people whom they might like to marry. Indian guys are no exception to this. There are many Indian guys who think that they could date a Western woman for the sex and fun, and then later marry an Indian woman. If this works for you, go ahead and have fun with such a guy. If it does not work for you, ask the guy about this upfront, make your decision and part ways with the him. But do not pass judgment on the guy and say that he is a pig committing a great crime or doing something very dirty. As I mentioned earlier, he is merely doing what men and women all over the world do, or would do if they could get away with it.
- In India, most people marry just once. Divorces and second marriages are still very rare. As such, people are used to marrying other single people, who have no kids and no baggage from past marriages. Since dating is still not very common in India, for many people, their spouses are the first person they are getting romantically involved with. This is a very prevalent cultural thing. Another very common thing is that the woman is younger and shorter than the man she marries. As such, if you are a Western woman, who have been married before and/or has kids and/or is older than the Indian guy she is dating, be very careful about getting emotionally attached to the guy. Better talk to him upfront and clarify what both your expectations are from the relationship. The chances that he would not want to marry you is very high. Once again, don't blame the guy for this. This is just a cultural programming on his part. From his cultural perspective, you are okay to date, but not okay to marry. If you were in his place, you would probably feel the same way. That's just how it is.
Those are some of the main points I could think of right now regarding the romantic attitudes of Indian guys towards Western women. As I think of more stuff, I will add them to the list above. If there is something specific you would want me to add to the list, let me know about it. Leave a comment or email me.
Indian Men's Immigration Status
Before getting involved with any foreigner, it is good to know his exact immigration status. Depending on what kind of visa he is on, he may have a few days, a few weeks, a few months or a few years left in your country. Apart from his visa status, his job situation would also dictate how long he would stay in a particular place. If you are dating the foreigner casually, it might be okay. But if you are getting emotionally involved, it is better to get all the accurate information you can about his visa and his job. Understand exactly how much time he has left on his visa and job assignment, ask him what are the factors which control the possibilities of extension of his stay and assignment. People don't give out a house for rent or a driving license without knowing this information. You should not give out your heart without knowing this. This might seem like an obvious thing, but it is worth mentioning here.
Indian Men's Money
- Depending on how long the Indian has stayed in your country, he may or may not be used to your currency. If you are in a country like the US or UK, the value of your currency is much higher than that of the Indian currency. If the guy has only recently come into your country, he can't help but do a mental conversion calculation before making any purchase. What might cost 20 bucks in the American currency, would by his calculation, cost upto 900 Indian rupees. In India, that could be his entire month's lunch expense. Psychologically, it takes some time for an Indian guy to get used to the foreign spending habits.
- Many Indians who come to the Western countries these days are akin to the baby boomers of the US. The baby boomers grew up in a period of post-World War II hardships. As such, they are careful with how they save and spend their money. Similarly, most Indians who are adults today, probably know of hardships from their childhood. The typical Indian studies and works hard before he comes to a Western country. He probably did not grow up rich. Also, culturally speaking, Indian society is not as consumerist as American society (although that is fast changing). So, although the Indian guy might earn more money than the average American, his spending habits may be more frugal.
- Indians who go to Western countries for a short-term work assignment, look at it as a money-making opportunity, since they get paid in foreign currency which is of greater value than Indian money. So, they might prefer to save as much money as they can on their short-term assignments. Many of them on really short assignments (like 60 or 90 days) do not even bother to buy too many furnitures for their apartments since they have to leave soon anyway.
- Although the Indian guy in the West might appear to be a single guy with no responsibilities and a carefree life, that might not always be true. He may have some financial obligations towards his family (more about this coming up) or a house/apartment he has purchased in India, etc. So, his spending potential might not actually be quite as much as his earnings would indicate.
- We normally don't tip in India. This is another thing which takes time for some of us to get used to. Even if we accept it and get used to it, we might not be too happy about it. We may stick to the bare minimum expected. We are not being cheap. This is another psychological thing. To put this in perspective, imagine that you pay no sales tax on food purchases (which is the case in most American states). Then imagine that all of a sudden, the government starts charging you 5% tax on food. It will take sometime for you to get used to it. For a long time, you will think of this 5% as something additional you are paying, apart from the fair price of the food item. And you will certainly not voluntarily pay 6% or 8% tax on the item just because the checkout person at the store was nice to you, right? That is how it is.
These are just some indicators and pointers about the Indian guy's attitude towards money in a foreign country. You will most probably have no money issues at all when dating an Indian. After all, he is probably quite successful professionally and has his financial situation on a solid footing. However, if it looks as if the Indian guy you are dating is too tight with his money, don't automatically assume he is being cheap. He may not even be aware that he is being too tight. Depending individual situations and relationships, you might encourage him to spend more on dating expenses or even for his personal needs and comforts. Be careful not to push him too much. You might not really know what his reasons for being frugal are. If the money situation bothers you too much, you don't have to stick with him, of course. That is certainly better for both of you.
The Indian family:
Indian families tend to be pretty close-knit. Most Indians have very close emotional and/or economic interdependency bonds with their families. Without discussing the pros and cons of this situation, I just want to state this as a fact with most Indians.
Emotional family bonds: It is not the norm in India for young people to leave the home and live their own lives. Usually young people leave only if there are personal differences with the rest of the family or if job / economic factors force them to relocate. If there are no personal differences which have caused a major rift between a person and his family, the family will influence, or at least attempt to influence, every major decision in a person's life including whom he marries, which job he works on, which/where he purchases a house, etc. If everybody lives under the same roof, the family's meddling and influence will affect pretty much everything about a person's life - major and minor. Depending on the individual and how he relates to his family, their "influence" can range anywhere from being mere suggestions and advice, to being total - almost dictatorial - control over how the person lives his life.
Economic interdependency with the family: This means that the person draws wealth or contributes money to the family, usually the latter. A person could be pitching in to help educate siblings, help marry siblings (Indian weddings are very expensive affairs), pay off a long-term family debt, help support aged parents and/or grand-parents, etc. If the Indian is the first-born or only son in the family, you can be pretty sure that he is expected to shoulder a large part of the family's economic needs. He is also pretty much responsible for the aged parents. Most old people in India do not live by themselves or in old age homes. The expectation is that their sons will take care of them.
Having said all that, there are definite exceptions to the above. There are some Indians who are totally independent of their families emotionally or economically or both, who have almost nothing at all to do with their families. Although such exceptional cases are not very common yet, the increasing modernization of India and reduction in the size of family units, is freeing more and more individuals from overbearing family influence and from family care. Nevertheless, it is easier for Indians to be economically independent of their families, rather than emotionally independent.
There are some Indian guys how are total pansies and defer to their families for every decision big and small. And then, there are some Indians who are totally rebellious. And there are guys of all intermediate types. There are some who will defer to their families when it comes to financial matters, but not in choosing a partner. There are some who will let their families choose the life partner, but are otherwise independent. And there are many who are totally attached to the family before they are married, and then become totally independent after they get a wife. You just have to find out for yourself what type of a guy your Indian is.
If things get emotionally serious between your Indian guy and yourself, you should be prepared for the fact that his family might have misgivings simply because you are a foreigner. This is not hard to understand. If you are older than the guy, if you have been married before and/or have kids from a previous relationship, you can be almost certain that the Indian guy's family will not approve of his relationship with you.
Inter-racial relationships are always a delicate balancing act. One has to not only understand the partner as an individual human being, one also needs to understand their cultural background, motives and influences. Having an open mind and heart, and communicating a lot certainly helps. I hope all the above information also helps non-Indian women who are interested in dating Indian guys. If I think of more things to add or edit, I will do so.
I always believe that sharing the cultures, love, lives and various bodily fluids between people of different races is good for the world and the human race. Good luck and best wishes to everything involved in or considering the idea of inter-racial relationships.