"If you can’t be honest with the guy you're marrying, then you know he isn’t the right one"
Global matchmaker Anuradha Gupta tells us when to bring up sex, money and other difficult conversations during ‘arranged introductions’
When was the last time you saw your parents profess their love for each other? My mother can’t even call my father by his name. But that doesn’t mean their marriage isn’t romantic — like most Indian couples, they just have a different love language. My father makes sure my mother’s phone is fully charged every night. He makes the morning chai and packs her bags when they are going on a trip. My mother, on the other hand, cooks his favourite foods and ensures he doesn’t break or lose his things. When they got married, there were no elaborate courtship rituals or 100cr weddings. Just a simple promise to be each other’s rocks while they built a life together.
The very idea of romance has evolved through the generations, but the objective remains the same — to find someone you can create a future with. Here’s where it gets tricky though. It’s not easy finding the real “Mr. Right” who’s most probably struggling to breathe in a sea full of Mr. Wrongs in various disguises. And dating apps are only adding to the mindless chaos. Our lonely little hearts desire a more personal touch.
Enter the modern-day luxury matchmaker. Anuradha Gupta’s brand, Vows For Eternity, has an established presence in New York, Mumbai, Delhi and London, and has perfected the art of ‘arranged introductions’ when bringing together two like-minded individuals.
The CEO and Founder is a sounding board for all her clients, who look to her to decode their goals and needs. For her, an arranged introduction is “all about getting to know you better and then connecting you to a special someone, who you can connect with”, she explains.
We sat down with Gupta to ask all the questions about finding “The One” that you’ve always wanted answers to.
Will there be a neon sign or litmus test during the arranged introductions proclaiming ‘he’s the one?
Gupta acknowledges this to be a rather “touchy” subject. “When someone is right for you, they understand you — you can be your authentic self around them,” she explains. “Mutual respect, companionship and friendship, those are the things that count. I always say that one can live with someone, but when you find someone you can’t live without, that someone is your person.”
Let’s talk about sex… wait, is that allowed?
There are a few conversations that are too awkward to have when you’ve just met someone even if they’re like food and water to a relationship. Talking about sexual intimacy falls in this category. Some people are more reserved than others. Some come from backgrounds where just the word ‘sex’ causes people to raise their eyebrows higher than the International Space Station. So, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this.
Gupta says, “I think the time when you should really bring this up is directly proportional to how comfortable you are in a relationship. For someone, it might be month 1, for someone it might be month 6 or month 10. It’s different for different people. There must be an attraction that both people want to act on and talk about. Discussions like these must take their natural course.”
How do I ensure my future in-laws’ ideals don’t get forced onto me?
“While mutual respect for each other’s parents is vital, there is a line that should not be crossed. I think it’s very important to set boundaries,” says Gupta, adding. “Familial camaraderie is important to sustain the happiness in any marriage and strong points of view all around can be respected but not necessarily followed. I would always say, listen to what others have to say and follow the path where you feel true to yourself.”
What if I earn more than the guy, should I hide that fact so I don’t hurt his ego?
Gupta advises, “If you can’t be honest with the guy you are getting married to, then you know that this isn’t the right person. Anything that is built on a lack of transparency is not a strong enough foundation. It’s just a matter of time before it crumbles. Should I have to hide that I earn more? Absolutely not. It’s very important for anyone, man or woman, to be proud of where they are at, to be proud of their achievements. And if you’re going to think about egos, it’s not the right fit. The right person for you has to be someone who respects everything you have created for yourself. So, there has to be no reason for you to downplay your success or hide it.”
Though, she cautions restraint, adding. “An overt display of success in the personal space is off-putting for anyone, so own your achievements but don’t flaunt them.”
Compatibility is essential, but what if they don’t like the same TV shows as me and I’m forced to watch something I hate?
Gupta says, “Personally, I believe there need to be shared values. That is absolutely non-negotiable. I think it’s very important to have some things in common for sure. In school, we would learn about Venn diagrams. You have two individual circles that come together to form that overlap. It’s here, in this overlap, that you form an interdependence that sustains your marriage. If you don’t have that overlap, you are just two circles floating around. It doesn’t work.”
It’s not necessary for two people to like the same book or the same shows to be compatible. These choices will shift and evolve. According to Gupta, it all comes down to whether you are willing to learn from each other and embrace each other’s likes and dislikes. It’s about having shared experiences, and a willingness to participate in things for the other person.
Where should we meet the first time?
Everyone’s idea of the perfect first date is as varied as their choice of dessert. Of course, it rarely plays out the way you want it to. This is why when you’re meeting someone you think has the potential to be your chosen one, there is immense pressure to have a good first meeting. Anxious already? You needn’t be. Gupta has a few rules for arranged introductions.
She says, “It should be a neutral ground, definitely not someone’s home. Generally, the right etiquette is to find out what the girl likes and plan something that puts her at ease. You can take a walk by the beach or have a cup of chai together. It can be as simple as that. It’s more about the quality of the meeting and how it flows. Also remember, it’s very important to put some thought into it. Find a quiet restaurant or bar that has comfortable seating. A good conversation takes time, give it that. Think of somewhere with low music and space between tables so you are both comfortable with what might start off as an awkward conversation, but has the ability to turn into something meaningful.”
Should I air out my laundry lists of dos and don’ts on the first day itself or gradually reveal my preferences?
Gupta says, “It’s the most irrational thing if people start airing out their dirty laundry on the first meeting. If you do that, you can be certain it will be the first and the last one. It’s all about timing. For anything to develop, you need to give yourself time. To understand, to get to know each other before all the complex, complicated things come into the equation.”
It’s very easy to close the door on someone before you are emotionally invested in them. But it’s only when you give them a chance, do you know whether what you have will turn into something meaningful.
Gupta emphasises the fact that it’s next to impossible to judge people on the first meeting. Some people are more defensive, and some are awkward and have their guards up. So, definitely no airing of laundry on the first meeting.
Invest in getting to know someone before spilling all your deepest dirtiest secrets. Talk about the little things that give you a sense of the other person before laying out your life in front of them like an all-you-can-ingest buffet.
Can I try multiple arranged introductions at the same time?
This is a tricky one that toes the line between appropriate and playing with someone’s feelings. Why do we feel so guilty if we are considering more than one person to be our forever partners? At what point do we zero down on one person? What criteria are we basing this choice on?
Thankfully, Gupta has a decisive answer. She says, “No, I don’t think it’s wrong to see multiple people at the same time. But that’s only till two of the people involved develop a bond and emotionally invest in that relationship.”
Gupta mentions there are people who meet with more than one person during the initial stages of all relationships. Although she believes that anything over three is a tough number to maintain.
She says, “Over time, you naturally gravitate towards one person. You’ll know who you are connecting with more and who you want to get to know better. Out of the two, there is always someone who understands you better, who you feel like spending time with, who you see things going somewhere with.”
Help, I need a lifeguard to save me from red flags!
Spotting red flags should be considered a talent. If you’re one of the few blessed souls to have a knack for it, it needs to be on your resume in bold.
But if you are in the same rickety-rockety boat as the rest of us, Gupta says, “Things like their take on family, parents, future, kids, work are all important conversations to have. It’s during these conversations that the red flags become visible. Of course, it’s very subjective. Everyone makes different choices and so what they consider red flags may differ too. Ultimately, if you are going to have to fight to do something, it’s going to turn your home into a battleground, no one has any chance of winning. It needs to be two people who anchor each other, and give each other wings to fly.”
Vows For Eternity is a tailor-made matchmaking experience that helps you spot your significant other in an ocean of potential choices, while you set off on an intrinsic journey to understand yourself better.
For more information, call: +91 9967861267, office: +91 22 6864 3999, or email: [email protected] To visit their website, click here. Also visit Vows For Eternity Media for heart to heart videos, podcasts and blogs.