When it comes to South Asian-American dating and relationships, so many of us are caught between the cultural norm of school-career-(hopefully) marriage, the many of us are never really taught how to date, much less navigate healthy relationships. When the time comes to finding a life partner, we are faced with mismatched potentials, lack of quality dates and a looming sense of doom as the aunties around us wag their accusing fingers.
Meet Jasbina Ahluwalia, a matchmaker, South Asian dating coach and radio personality who holds the keys to your future relationship success. A former lawyer with a graduate degree in philosophy, Jasbina found her forte in bringing couples together for a life-long commitment. “This is a passion – something that runs in my blood,” she says and her proven track record of happy marital matching during her seven years as an official matchmaker are testament to her innate gift.
Relationships are about finding and putting your best self forward, adds the love guru. Don’t know what that is? Jasbina can help, of course.
Tell us about why a matchmaker works for the South Asian-American community? “Don’t date, don’t date, don’t date…ok, get married!” is a common refrain heard by South Asians growing up.
South Asians who devote their time and energies to their studies and career can oftentimes find themselves single, with no prospects for marriage, and no interest in an arranged marriage. On the other hand, there’s also a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in our South Asian culture where dating happens under the radar.
In these cases, at times, there’s emotional baggage which has resulted from relationships that didn’t work out which can come in the way of the success of future relationships.
A matchmaker like me who is in tune with both the South Asian and North American cultures can help clients confronting challenges on both ends of that continuum (and in between) find and maintain happy and healthy relationships.
We know your process is proprietary, but can you give a peak into how it works? We offer One-to-One matchmaking as well as Online Dating Support and Strategy. Both service offerings begin with our proprietary “Reinvent Your Love Life Consultation.” After the consultation, the two service offerings diverge. Our matchmaking plans are all custom-tailored to each client whereas our online support and strategy plans are largely standardized.
With our One-to-One matchmaking plans, we act as the headhunter/recruiter to help our clients fill one of the most important “roles” any one person will ever have in their lives – that of their life partner.
We unearth all avenues to find the highest quality matches for our selective clients. For example, we’ll tap into our exclusive proprietary database or we’ll reach out to our ecosystems of matchmakers and dating coaches in our global network. We also have scouts that attend events in various cities on our behalf and look for potential matches. Last but not least, we sometime engage in print/online outreach through our media partners, professional conferences and Ivy league alumni publications.
Before any introductions are made, we run criminal background checks and pre-screen. Once we pinpoint a potential candidate, we handle the arrangements for the one-to-one introduction. After the introduction, our services include a feedback loop wherein I personally get candid feedback from both people regarding interest in pursuing further, as well as any blind spots.
As far as our Online Dating Support and Strategy Plans are concerned, we have designed our plans to leverage the vast potential of online dating while simultaneously removing the hassle factor. The first month of these plans is spent optimizing the client’s online profile and pictures. From the second month onwards, the team begins searching for online matches.
I then coach the clients through communicating effectively with online matches with the goal of moving online interactions offline so that the possibility of a relationship can be explored.
How long, on average, does the process take? For our One-to-One services, the process takes about 9 to 18 months. Expect 3 to 6 months with the Online Dating Support and Strategy Plans.
We see a lot of interracial and intercultural marriages these days as well as “Jain seeking Jain”, “Brahmin seeking Same.” Can you help someone who has a particular race/religious preference when it comes to seeking a life partner? We have an extensive network and broad outreach capabilities and are able to accommodate people all along that continuum. We work both with people seeking matches of the same community/religion as well as South Asians open to non-South Asians.
Now to dating…How many times is it ok to date a man before you decide if there is any chemistry there? And if there isn’t, what’s the best way to end it without it getting awkward? I’m not a believer in hard and fast rules. Every situation has a different context.
Without context, I would generally say the best way to end it graciously is to just say something positive about him and/or your interactions. If you can’t think of anything positive, you can simply say, “I’ve enjoyed getting to know you better,” and then clearly let the other person know that you don’t think it’s a fit. Keep the conversation light and easy and avoid going into details as to why you don’t think the match would work.
On the other hand, if we’ve met a man we really have chemistry with, how can we tell if he is marriage material? There’s no substitute for time and interaction to figure out if there’s marriage potential. This is especially the case when there’s a lot of chemistry — chemistry is great, and at the same time, it can be blinding.
How long should we date before we start discussing marriage? In essence, how do we get him to commit? Again, there’s no hard and fast rule here, and situation/context matters. There are some questions you may want to consider:
1) Is this long-distance?
2) How much time have you spent together?
3) Been through any ups and downs?
4) Have you had enough time/interaction to see if the two of you have compatible values, life goals?
5) If you have to “get him to commit”, why is that?
6) Any chance you’re rushing things?
7) Any chance he told you at the outset he’s not sure if he’s ready for anything serious?
Finally, what are the keys to a successful union? While it depends on each couple, generally speaking, compatible values, life goals, vision, mutual appreciation and respect are key as well as enjoyment of each other’s company and attraction.
For more dating and relationship advice, visit Intersectionsmatch.com