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Daughter’s marriage

I am Ramesh Shah, a 54 year old businessman. My daughter Vinita, an architect is 29 years old and unmarried. She had a romantic relationship with a boy who was her classmate, but I had refused to give consent for the marriage as he was from another caste. She had complied with my restraint then and let go of the relationship. It had caused extreme pain to her. Two years have passed since then. Initially, she had refused for arranged marriage and put down any proposal that I brought. Gradually, she has warmed up to the idea of an arranged marriage, but now as she is 29 years old, the proposals have also turned into a trickle. It seems that to find the right boy for marriage according to our standards and socioeconomic state is difficult. It is also difficult for me to face the society as they keep on asking me as to why my daughter is not getting married and if there is a problem with her. This situation has led to a strained relationship with my daughter with her claiming that I am bringing up proposals that are full of trash and expecting her to give consent, and me arguing that with her age, her chances have diminished. Please advise.

You are crying after the milk is spilt. Every adult is responsible for the choices that they make. You are trying to infantilize your daughter by making the choice of her marriage partner for her. It is your principle to have your daughter marry in the same caste, however, she should have been free to either adopt that stance of form a stance of her own on that issue. By interfering in that issue, you have already lowered her self-esteem. Today, she is probably reacting in this manner as she feels that she does not want to give a second chance to you for governing her life and lowering her self-esteem even further. Firstly you must look within as to why you need your daughter to uphold your values by force instead of adopting them by choice. It may be your narcissistic needs which may be contributing to this. Your daughter may be seeing this in the proposals that you bring for marriage too. Secondly, it is clear that Vinita is reacting to the loss of the romantic relationship by a withdrawal. You must help her to grieve over that relationship and then to accept life as it is now. You must have a talk with her about that issue and how it is affecting her life right now. Having put that issue to rest, you must restore her faith in you. It is imperative that she has a good rapport with you if she is accept any suggestion or advice from your side regarding her marriage. Try and have conversations with her on issues not related to the marriage front first. You might be feeling that everything is fine otherwise and the only issue is of marriage, but that might not be so. If she is able to trust you on those issues, it might help her change her image of you, which in the longer run would help you on the marriage front talk. So, sit down with her and take an interest in her work, her friends, her hobbies and her philosophy of life. Initially, she will resist by increasing her contempt for your concern. She may become more irritating than before, but you will have to keep your effort consistent. Finally, when she does have faith enough to listen to you, you may able to talk about the marriage. Here, also take care that you do not repeat your mistake again. Do not advise her about whom to marry or whom to reject; that will only serve to collapse the relationship like a pack of cards. Your relationship with her is very fragile and you may need to strengthen it first. Next, try and support her in the choices she makes. This will help her to make the choice on the merit of the match rather than from a revolt against you. As to the fact of her growing age, she herself must be surely aware of that issue and also of the dwindling matches. Do not rub salt in the wound by reminding her of it. Let her decide as to what compromise to make so that she does not blame you her entire life.