For Nyla, a 36-year-old Pakistani expat, marriage is not a top-of-mind priority. From the last many years, Nyla and her family tried to find a suitable match for her in the UAE, but it was a wild goose chase and she has given up the dream of getting married. “There were so many proposals that came her way, but none could be solemnised into marriage for various reasons,” one of Nyla’s close friends told Khaleej Times.
Nyla, who lives with her family in Dubai and works in Sharjah after giving up on the idea of marriage, now keeps herself busy working and pursuing new courses. Like Nyla, there are many Pakistani expats who are struggling to find suitable spouses and the struggle is becoming bigger and more frustrating with every passing day.
“The major reason is the lack of social circles here,” says Ayesha Sohail, a Pakistani expat who is involved in various social works. SA*, a worried mother of two adult daughters who is facing difficulty in finding partners for them, said, “We may be knowing a lot of people here, but they belong to different countries and communities. Besides, there are limited family and social gatherings,” says SA*.
She maintains that the lack of social intersection limits marriage options for the youth, adding that back home in Pakistan, marriage and other social gatherings largely help people in getting to know each other and also facilitate marriages, “which is absent here.” Some even choose to go back to the home country to find Miss or Mr Right after failing to get married here.
Expat parents like SA spend years looking for a match for their children. “Not being able to find a match for their children is frustrating Pakistani parents,” says Ayesha, who recently started a free group on social media to help Pakistani youth find their match.
It is not uncommon here to see women or men working as matchmakers, says Ayesha while talking about fake online matchmakers. “Most take money from the families and never turn up”.
Ayesha spoke of 25-years-old Sakeena, who lives and works in Dubai and was a victim of a fraudulent matchmaker. she was overjoyed when one such matchmaker told them that the family of the suitor will not be taking any dowry. The family of the boy visited Sakeena’s family to finalise things. But to her dismay, Sakeena found that the boy would only be willing to marry her if he was offered help in establishing a business in Dubai.
Not just a women’s issue
The problem is not limited to women either; men face the same hurdles. Ayesha’s initiative is gaining popularity among Pakistani parents and youth. Within a week of forming the group, she got almost 300 enquiries from unmarried men and women and their parents.
“My mother has been looking for a match for my brother for a long time. Whoever she pays, they introduce us to families. But when we show interest in them, they say they are already engaged or interested in another family. This is very upsetting and annoying for us. We don’t know many people in Dubai. Help us find a match please,” reads one of the messages sent to the group.
Social communication platform
Pakistani expat Tehmina Urooj, who knows the struggle of finding a partner, tried to ease the difficulty of Pakistani expats who are struggling to find suitable spouses. Around three years ago, she decided to provide a social media platform for those wishing to get married. The group has 600 members, of which about 500 are girls. And so far the group has helped 14 members find their partners.
While talking about the lifestyle and expectations of independent Pakistani young girls in UAE, Tehmina said, “The problem of getting a match is grave when it comes to girls. The reason is that Pakistani women are now more independent, educated and open minded. They need a partner who is a step ahead of them, which is often difficult to find.”
Maimuna, who has been living in Dubai for over 20 years, spoke of the surprising demands families make. “Be it the family of the girl or the boy, they want perfection. The youth are not ready to make adjustments.”
As Pakistani women living in the UAE have a higher standard of living and are independent, they prefer to live an equally independent life, post marriage.
“They want to live alone with their husbands, who have perfect jobs, are good-looking, and don’t want to settle in Pakistan. The demands are so many that it’s almost impossible to have them fulfilled. For boys, they want a working wife who cares for him, his family and is also religious. And not to mention, she has to be beautiful.”
Maimuna showed her concern about delayed marriages and said, “Parents also have a role to play. They need to look at the real picture and help their children settle down in life.”
* Some names changed on request.
This article is from Khaleej Times.
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