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Updated July 16, 2017


Dear Auntie,
I am 20 years old, a university student and my parent’s only daughter. Naturally my parents are worried about my rishtas. A few days ago my father’s cousin visited with his wife and son who is my age. He asked for my hand in marriage. My parents and the whole family is over the moon because the family is well-settled and foreign nationals. But I am horrified by the idea simply because I am afraid of commitment at this stage of my life and don’t want to settle for someone whom I have met for the first time in my life.

Also, I have many goals in my life that I want to achieve and marriage isn’t in my plans for the next five or six years at least. Moreover, I don’t like to admit it but I have issues with the guy’s looks as well. My parents are convincing me to say yes but they say that they will support me should I say no. However, they want valid reasons of my refusal.

I am so afraid and confused right now. Please help.

‘My parents want me to marry my second cousin but I find him unattractive. Help!’

Dear No-regrets,
The thing about rishtas is that sometimes a ‘no’ can mean you lost a great opportunity. If you do say no to this rishta that your family loves, you should do it knowing that you won’t have any regrets in the future. That sometime in the future if you get married to someone without a foreign passport or a healthy bank balance, you will not kick yourself wondering whether you could have had an easier and better life with this son of your dad’s cousin.

Also since it is bothering you that you don’t know this boy at all, why don’t you give this guy a fair chance by telling your parents that you want to get to know him a little before you say ‘yes’ or ‘no’? We research the field we want to enter several times before we enrol into an academic programme, we check out several options before buying our clothes, and we evaluate people before becoming friends with them, right? Then why can’t you get to meet and know the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with and whose every decision is likely to affect you?

I suggest you tell your parents that you want to meet this man and talk to him several times before deciding whether he is the one for you. Let him know about your future plans and see if he is open to supporting you in achieving them, should you decide to tie the knot with him.

However, if you really believe that you want a few more years of singlehood to explore the world and if you really cannot look past the guy’s looks — and finding your partner attractive is a very valid and important factor— then be upfront with your parents. It is tough to talk to parents about such things but if you want to resolve this you have to take the bull by the horns.

Let your parents know that you have academic/career goals or that you don’t like his looks and cannot imagine being married to him. Your parents may not understand where you are coming from; however, remind them that they said that they would support you regardless of your decision. Best of luck!

Auntie will not reply privately to any query. Please send concise queries to:

Published in Dawn, EOS, July 16th, 2017