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Ask Dr.M

Don’t be second best

Dear Dr. M,

I am a 21-year-old with a relationship problem. I met the man I think is THE man for me at work. We had a two month training session with him. That’s how our relationship started. But after 7 months of associating with him (he’s 30 years old), he suddenly wants to get married to a girl through a proposal which happens to be his father’s best friend’s daughter. It’s like my world is falling apart. What should I do?



Dear Rameena

Thank you for your mail. Love is a great feeling but sometimes there are many thorns.

Sri Lanka is a country where gender roles are still quite specific. Generally speaking boys are raised like “little princes” and are guided into doing studies or vocational jobs. Girls usually have to apply themselves to the domestic chores and while they can do their studies, marriage seems to be the primary goal. As a consequence Sri Lanka appears to be a male dominated society where many women feel second best.

Parents and family often put pressure on girls from their mid twenties onwards to get married. With boys usually the pressure comes at a later age. Proposals are carried in newspapers and through family and friends. Dating is typical in the Western world but is not very much suitable here. The advantage of dating is that you can get to know the other person better, with less fixed expectations and for a longer time than through a proposal.

Women should learn to become more aware of this situation and try to change it where wanted or possible. In order to become more independent an adequate education is paramount.

To answer your question, the age gap (he 30, you 21) could be significant. It all depends on the personalities but at 21 you are probably in a different phase of your life than him. Also, it seems that your partner is of the type that bows to the pressure of his environment. You can ask yourself if you want to be with such a guy. When associating with a partner, it’s usually these kinds of experiences and choices that tell you the most about their character…………

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