"It wasn’t plain sailing at first, there were a lot of time wasters"
In today’s age of needing everything now and as fast as possible, finding your partner too has evolved.
No longer just a typical meet up at a function or through a vichola (matchmaker), the rise of online dating sites for British Asians has given access to a different way of dating and finding partners compared to the past.
British Asian dating itself can be difficult with expectations not being met.
With online British Asian dating sites dedicated to helping you find your perfect match, it’s also hard not to be overwhelmed and lose patience.
We speak to women who share their individual experiences from having used a variety of popular British Asian dating sites with some very interesting stories to tell.
Shruti, 31, London
I had both aspects of the traditional get set up and have a meet and greet before moving to online dating when being fixed up didn’t work for me anymore.
The experience of having friends of friends recommend someone was quite stressful, they were constantly wanting updates and hinting at whether or not a wedding was upcoming, so I decided to take matters into my owns and go online!
I started by using Shaadi.com initially, as it seemed to be the biggest site for matrimony among Asians at the time.
It wasn’t plain sailing at first, there were a lot of time wasters, which made me want to give up.
I did end up having to take a break from online dating as it was getting tedious with things not going anywhere, messages being sent by those just wasting my time. I returned one last time it was with a different frame of mind and to be more focused and strong-willed.
After the initial timewasters, again, one guy did take my interest and I decided to give him a go and we arranged a date a month after our first contact.
The first date was in York, he came up from London, where he lived and had planned all the things I wanted to see whilst there, it was the best date I’d ever had. Walking along the castle wall, seeing the sites.
“Online dating worked for me as I met ‘the one’ nothing felt so right, which is why we married almost a year to the date when we first met.”
Shruti’s story had a happy ending, they decided within a few short months to have families meet and were officially engaged by the October of the same year, after their first date which was in June.
Sonya, 26, Yorkshire
After much deliberation, I decided to give online dating a go. Was not getting much luck with the likes of speed dating and introductions from friends and family.
Getting your profile is very important for online dating. Well, for me it definitely was.
While people like to ‘inflate’ their profiles with lots of things they probably aren’t, I wanted to make mine catchy, simple and very much a reflection of who I was and what kind of person I was looking for.
Choosing the right photos took the most time! But got there finally!
So, I was all set and ready and the messages started rolling in.
I had the usual junk mail type of messages guys send, along the lines of ‘your profile is so different’ and then follow through with nothing really engaging.
Along with generic messages came those from guys who stated that my location was too isolated so it couldn’t possibly work.
“The two guys I ended up going on dates with, were both unique and kind in their own way but were just not right for me in the end.”
“It was a pleasure meeting new people that I got on with and learned from – I don’t regret the experience.”
Whilst Sonya is currently single and online dating has yet to work for her in finding ‘the one’, going into online dating with a checklist is not ideal advice she would pass on.
There will be some that will have to be weeded out, but the best thing to do is be cautious keep your wits but be optimistic!
Meena, 34, Lincolnshire
I had two relationships from online dating that unfortunately did not work out but did help in deciding what would work for me next time.
The very first date from online, he came to Lincolnshire to make me feel more at ease, and the date was just the standard, meal and drinks in a pub.
Whilst conversation flowed it struck me how well we got on having only chatted a month beforehand and we made plans to meet again.
The rest of the year we were together, nothing exciting happened regarding dates, all in the same vein as drinks and a meal.
The second date I had from online dating, he was a sweetheart and again he came to me.
We went to the zoo, cinema and Nandos! All planned out and paid for by him. It was different and we did something!
The date was lovely and conversation flowed, and whilst we went on to see each other for a few months, again it didn’t work out long term.
It made me realise how important doing interesting things on dates would be in the future.
For Meena online dating has yet to work its way to a relationship that results in a serious relationship and she is currently offline.
But she notes that changes over the years from just nice simple messages have turned into something more, and she will perhaps revisit dating this way again someday.
Rekha, 36, London
I had a date a few years back that springs to mind as interesting! We had met online and set up a date to meet in person.
When she showed up he looked nothing like his picture and to this day I don’t know whose pictures had actually been used by him!
The conversation was interesting and everything seemed normal until mid-way he decided to grab my foot and started to give me a foot massage!
I was so shocked I just let him carry on. When I finally came to my senses, soon after, I asked for my foot back. I quickly ended the date as I was so bewildered by what just took place!
It was certainly one of the oddest experiences of my life, let alone from an online date.
I received a message from him the next day asking if we were now both a couple?
As you would expect, I was in no state to reply and didn’t.
When I told my friends, they said it seemed he had some kind of foot fetish which he could not contain on the date because he liked the look of my feet! But I can confirm it’s no a kink of mine!
I guess I will be aware of such fanatics in the future and maybe even ask about fetishes before taking a date further.
Rekha’s story realises the different kinds of people you may meet and it is important for you to be prepared for such encounters!
Sameena, 28, Birmingham
After loading up my profile, I waited for responses. Which did arrive pretty quickly, I have to say!
Looks were not something I was looking for, it was personality, what mattered and some good cultural and religious upbringing.
I carefully looked through the replies and came across one which looked very interesting. We communicated on the site, then exchanged numbers, chatted on the phone for a few weeks and decided to meet.
He was from Bradford, so he came to see me. When he saw me, he said:
“You look even more pretty than your photo!” To which I had to smile with some blushing because I am quite shy!
Our first stop was a coffee shop and initial conversations in person were very different from being on the phone!
He was very charming and intelligent, which is what I liked about him. We got on and shared a lot more about what we were looking for in life, a relationship and marriage.
We spent the rest of the day visiting places and talked about common interests. He said:
“I do like to travel and explore places. So, I hope this is something you like too!”
So, I decided to take him to the museum. The visit with him taught me a lot! He knew so much and explained things to me without making me feel stupid!
We kept in touch, I met him again a few times and even visited Bradford! We are planning to get married in about a year.
Kulvir, 23, Oxford
I had broken up with my boyfriend from university and had not dated since. My friends told me I have to get “myself out there” again and forget the past.
So, I tried an online dating app. After many swipes, I hit a profile that looked like someone I wanted to meet. We communicated and agreed to a date.
He came to Oxford to see me and was from Birmingham, aged 27. I preferred guys older than me.
We went for a drink to a bar and the conversation became interesting when he started to talk about his family. He said:
“Everyone in my family had an arranged marriage. I’m not into that and told them I will find my own.”
This showed confidence to me and made me feel this guy knew what he wanted. So, we carried on talking about our likes and dislikes.
We had a lot of similar interests and he was into keeping fit and the gym like me.
He showed me his Insta photos and his progress too. Pretty impressive!
Then I asked him, so, when you get married are you staying with your family? His response was:
“Oh yeh, defo. No way will I want to move out. I love my mum’s cooking too much!”
At that point, I realised despite his amazing looks and appearance, I am not one to compete with his mum’s cooking and the rest of the package that came with it! Besides, I can’t cook and I have lots of other priorities in life!
Pushpa, 27, Leicester
Living in Leicester amongst a major British Asian population, you would think it is easy to find someone who is serious about dating which could lead to something. Not for me.
The two guys I dated after meeting the social way, both were not interested long-term relationships, which is what I wanted.
So, I being single for a year, I decided to try online dating after speaking to a friend who met her partner on there.
I met a guy from London online, who visited me in Leicester and wanted to see the popular Asian area of Belgrave Road.
After a walk and chatting, we went to eat in a vegetarian restaurant. He wanted me to order the food because I’m vegetarian and he’s not.
Pleased with my choices he said:
“I’ve not eaten much vegetarian food before but I have to say that was very tasty and filling!”
I was a great date. We got on and both of us felt some chemistry and attraction.
He told me more about his family and so did I.
He was very open to my opinions which I like in a man and did not make any misogynistic remarks, which do anger me!
I ended up sitting in his car for over two hours still chatting before he left!
He kissed me on the cheek and said he would like to meet again. I totally agreed!
Thereafter, we have been dating for three years now and feel we are moving closer towards thinking about marriage. But neither of us are pressured and agree it is not a decision for one of us, but both of us, together.
Asha, 32, London
After a number of messages sent to me on the dating website, I responded to one and agreed to meet.
This guy turned up 25 minutes late.
Then he didn’t offer to buy me a drink, his response being: “Oh I won’t bother, you’ve still got some left” and he looked nothing like his photos.
He was wearing a godawful combination of pinstripe slacks, t-shirt, “pleather” jacket and a Metallica man bag.
He then sat next to me and chewed my ear off about how jealous he was of his brother.
When I went to the loo I came back to find him on the phone to his flatmate asking to “speak” to his cat ‘cos he was worried about leaving her for the evening.
Then, mid-conversation he just lunged at me without warning to kiss me. I was so shocked I just put my hand in his face (literally facepalm) and shout “NO” so loudly everyone stared.
To his credit, he recovered remarkably quickly and said: “Oh, you’re not ready yet, that’s OK!”
We then awkwardly walked back to the tube and I scurried away as quickly as I could.
To top it all off, when I got my purse out to buy a consolatory chocolate bar, I discovered there was a tenner missing. I’d stupidly not taken my bag with me to the loo.
I was only 24 and it was one my earlier online dating experiences. I now know I must vet guys much more thoroughly!
Asha is currently still single but has not given up hope that she will meet someone.
Jaspreet, 25, Leeds
When it came to dating, I was never forthcoming. I had guy friends at college and uni but never really dated anyone because I was too busy with studies and sports.
So, the pressure to find someone started more or less after university. My parents were happy for me to find someone but told me “not to leave it too late”. Whatever ‘too late’ means!
I decided online dating as it seemed safer and less scary than social setups.
After a number of quick dates, which lasted no more than 10 minutes, to be honest, I began to feel pretty fed up, so took a break.
I let my inbox get full of messages. About two months later I logged back on and found a message from a guy in Manchester who invited me to a concert as a way of going on a date.
This was so different from the rest of the “usual love at first sight” messages after seeing my profile photo.
I replied and we agreed to go to the concert and messaged more in between and then exchanged numbers.
He met me at the train station and made sure I was well looked after.
All I can say is that I had an amazing time and the concert idea was fantastic and fun!
I enjoyed meeting him and getting to know him. He made sure I got home safely and showed lots of consideration.
Since our first date, we met again a few times during a year.
We are really happy and have agreed to meet our families as the next step in our relationship.
Jaspreet and her guy agreed to marry a year later with the families over the moon!
Aaliyah, 26, Bristol
I dated online for about a two years before I met my now husband. We got married after courting for about a year.
One story I remember from the online dating days which is hard to forget!
This guy I met seemed nice and I was happy to meet up after messaging him a few times on an Asian dating app.
We met at a coffee shop and as soon as he sat down he said: “You look different to your photo!”
I just looked at him a little taken back but we carried on talking.
He then said: “You do wear a lot of makeup, maybe you should wear less?”
Then immediately he asked if I did any sports or go to the gym, more or less indirectly saying I was overweight.
By now, I had taken enough of his comments and said to him: “Do you talk to your sisters or cousins in this way? Do you tell them how they should look?”
He looked at me gobsmacked and was stumped for words! I then got up and just left him sitting there.
But I can say not everyone I met was like this guy but he is one I always remember!
Statistics show that 1 in 5 meet ‘the one’ online and it’s the method most are using now to find partners.
Going online to date and find a potential partner, is now embedded into a lot of people’s lives, but going in with a checklist is never going to work, as it wouldn’t in real life situations.
There will be a lot of time wasters, expelling of spam messages and coming across people who are not in reality what you expected.
There will also be bad dates, as you can see that from some of the stories we have!
For British Asian dating, it can mean extra work to get rid of ‘player’ profiles and those not really interested in dating per se.
The key thing is to stay safe and guarded, making sure when you agree to finally meet for that date that it’s in a public place and others know where you are.
But it can work if you are open and willing to give it a chance. For all you know, you could meet the love of your life from online dating.