This question carries the India tag but is really about how to deal with some people's reluctance to enter into relationships, so I welcome answers from members all over the world!
This is about the close friend I described in a question here on IPS.SE 2 months back:
Let's call him by the code name Robert. We are long-term school friends and went to the same 'boys junior school' in older days.
Robert is one of my very few really close friends and is nearly 40 but unmarried. Through some unintended events I came to know that he is intensely attracted to women (more physically than emotionally) but lacks the confidence to engage them in any sort of relationship, and he is also very mistrustful of the famous Indian institution of arranged marriage which he considers an 'emotional lottery' and a potentially loveless, business-minded social transaction that has significant risk of relationship failure.
His mother (not my real aunt but code name Aunty) is my mother's best friend and she is very worried that Robert will end up a lifelong bachelor unless he takes a chance with arranged marriage. She feels he will soon be 'too old to marry anyone except a divorcee', and is also anxious that the 'wrong type of unsuitable girl' should not take advantage of the 'socially and financially well-endowed bachelor.'
That really means Aunty wants Robert to marry precisely the type of socially acceptable girl Indians try so hard to find by setting a large number of inclusion and exclusion criteria in arranged marriage. His as-yet-unidentified prospective bride is likely to be an 'upper-caste middle-class well-educated Indian girl of medium height, aged between 34 and 38' by current standards of Indian matrimony.
I am not inclined to intervene in anybody's personal matters but Aunty repeatedly requested me to try and convince him and even got my mother to request it: so in a weak moment I agreed to make a sincere effort. My goal is to give Robert the understanding that he could actually give arranged marriage a chance and make a good effort to succeed in the relationship. He is a type to be rather convinced by well-reasoned logical arguments.
Outline of my proposed argument:
- Robert loses nothing by giving himself the chance to get into this type of relationship which he is otherwise unlikely to find by romantic means.
- Since arranged marriage is an ancient and socially accepted Indian tradition, and moreover entirely voluntary in modern society, the 'girl' will also come to the relationship with a committment to make it succeed.
If things don't work out, divorce is now socially acceptable in India. Many of my relatives have taken the divorce option after a few years of arranged (or even love) marriage due to irreconcilable differences or even simply for lack of general compatibility, and many went on to make another good marriage!
That would have been unimaginable in India even 30 years ago and it makes arranged marriage much more viable for Robert as a 'trial and error' option.
Problem: Although I am supposed to 'advise and convince' my friend about the virtues of arranged marriage, I am 2 years younger than Robert (juniors' advice is less influential in India) and unmarried myself, hence no authority on 'the marital life'; I am also absolutely not an expert on interpersonal or romantic relationships and fear that I shall not be in any way useful to Aunty in this matter. I am not even convinced about the advantages of arranged marriage myself, because all 4 of my real aunts have had to various degrees love-impaired arranged marriages.
On the other hand, Aunty knows nobody else that is a close friend with significant influence, and Robert is an intensely private person who would never ask this question himself online -- that's why I need the advice of the relationship gurus here on Interpersonal.SE!