Do Young British Asians Have Time to Date?

When are you going to get married? It’s a familiar question for young British Asians. However, do they even have time to date? DESIblitz finds out.

Do Young British Asians Have Time to Date f

“A lot of young guys aren’t interesting in dating - just hooking up!”

Young British Asians today are up against it. With the housing crisis, high rates of unemployment and more, there looks to be little room for love on the list. Do young people even have time to date between the unpaid internships, work or study?

Certain research suggests that young people are having less sex in spite of an apparent ‘hook up culture’.

Theoretically, this could mean they are dating less too.

With technology making it easier to go solo or apps changing the state of romance today, perhaps today’s society conducive to finding a special someone.

Since it’s such a personal topic, DESIblitz seeks out the personal stories and we ask young British Asians on whether they have time to date.

Looking To Settle Down?

Historically, dating is all about the endgame: finding one person and settling down.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, which are less widely accepted such as polyamorous relationships or asexuality.

While marrying at an older age was a formerly a taboo, many now make the ultimate commitment far later in life.

Indeed, Fahima, a single 24-year-old writer tells us:

“I’d like a boyfriend but I’m not looking to settle down.”

Hasan reinforces this stating:

“I’m looking to meet a nice girl but I’m too young for anything serious. I’m 23, just out of university and I’m not going to make a huge decision like getting married.

“I’ve just started real adult life – getting a proper job, renting a place with a mate. I want to be with my boys, go on holiday and go on nights out.”

He adds:

“It’s not like girls don’t want to do that too. I didn’t act like an old married couple with my ex.

“I had my fun going out. She had her fun. We’d even go out together but we kind of knew it was a university thing.”

On the other hand, for many young British Asians, parents can be an issue.

24-year-old, Asma explains:

“I’m looking for a relationship with the pressure of getting married. I used to have an age by which I wanted to be settled down by 24. But now I’m 24, so I can’t do that any more!”

But she has her own reasons too, confiding in us that:

“I genuinely miss having someone since I broke up with my ex.”

Gurpreet echoes this with her explanation:

“I’m staying open-minded and waiting to see what happens. I’m not determined to have a serious relationship but I enjoy the companionship.

“It’s nice to have someone who’s on your side, you tell them about your day, they’re your person. It’s fun to go on dates, go to the cinema and have someone to spend time with – who’s not your friend!”

However, she complains that:

“A lot of young guys aren’t interesting in dating – just hooking up!”

Indeed when looking at heterosexual dating and relationships, gender often can cause a different experience.

The Wrong Time

Do Young British Asians Have Time to Date - wrong time

A common complaint from many of the young British Asian women was that guys were interested in “just one thing”.

Simran reveals:

“Constantly, I’ll meet a really nice guy – or one of my friends.

“It’ll be going so well, we’ll be whatsapping, flirting and the second, the second thing I suggest more than just “chilling”, he’ll freak out.

“It’s got the point where I don’t have time be disappointed again and again. It’s too hard to find the one guy who doesn’t even have to be really serious, but will do more than hook up.”

She summarises her thoughts as:

“Guys are too immature right now, they want to have their cake and eat it too. I’m waiting till I’m older or finding an older guy.”

Attitudes like Jeevan’s reflect this:

“I don’t want a relationship while I’m at university. It’s cool hanging out with a girl but I’m trying to get through my studies, carry on with my football and the breaks are way too long anyway.”

“When there are so many girls on campus, I haven’t met one I’ve liked enough.”

Although, 24-year-old Aditya, provides the opposite point of view:

“I’m open to a relationship. It’s just that I haven’t met the right girl.

“More than anything, it’s harder now I’m working in the law. I’m concentrating on progressing up the ranks as soon as possible.

“I don’t think age is an issue for me. You can meet the right person for you even younger than me. If it’s the right person, you’d be a fool to let that go.”

Of course, then 26-year-old advertising consultant, Priya offers a completely different perspective as a lesbian:

“It’s really hard to meet someone as a lesbian anyway. I’m friends with so many lovely women but I just haven’t fancied them.

“I struggle to find women outside of this friendship circle and then I worry about something serious at this age in case I get found out and my community rejects me for my sexuality.”

But even Priya’s experience reinforces that timing is everything.

Having the time to date means different things to different people. For some, it can mean having a sufficient quantity of time but when dating seems fruitless, ultimately it isn’t enough.

For others, the excitement of their youth means they aren’t willing to compromise in other areas to find time to date.

Furthermore, as many have mentioned, professional ambitions can take precedence.

Hustling to The Top

Do Young British Asians Have Time to Date - top

When considering whether young people have time to date, it’s important to ask what they’re doing instead.

While rates of youth unemployment have fallen over 2018, there still seems to be a climate of fear over unemployment.

In fact, when speaking to Jabeen, she tells us:

“I’m in my first year of university and I’ve always found it hard to find time for dating because of my career ambitions.

“First it was A-Levels and now it’s university. The fashion industry is super competitive and I’m focusing on getting experience and creating my own work.

“I don’t have actual time but also I’m also not in the headspace to date. It takes up so much of your mental energy of accommodating another person’s expectations.”

Jaspreet puts it simply as “I’ve got too much to juggle – never mind dating!” Whereas Iqra, a 24-year-old Masters student has similar sentiments to Jabeen:

“I’m unemployed but studying. Post-masters and for my career, I want to be with someone that respects my profession and can deal with that.”

At 29, Harpreet thinks there’s still an inequality in how understanding a guy might be of her career, versus her attitude to his, explaining:

“When I was younger, as soon as a guy called me over, I’d jump. If I had extra work to do, an ex-boyfriend would kind of whine until I gave in.

“Every guy hasn’t been like this but so many friends have said the same bloody thing. Like a guy isn’t the only thing in my world! Whereas I’d make sure to respect his time.”

She adds:

“Even the fact that I did a ‘lesser’ science of psychology than another ex-boyfriend was a joke. He’d say it was just talking – what’s the big deal?”

“Now I’m older, I can’t be bothered. I date but take it slowly to not waste my time.”

Nevertheless, some of this lack of respect for professional ambitions occurs across genders.

Shiv is a 27-year-old freelancer in graphic design and animation and does so successfully. On the other hand, he admits these same rewards aren’t seen in his dating life.

“I work awkward hours so it can be difficult with dating. Late nights working are when everyone else is out.

“I want to get to the point in my career where my life is more stable. I’m making sacrifices now to get that. My parents didn’t even want me to do something creative so I want to prove myself to them.”

He shares more details of his own experience:

“One ex-girlfriend was understanding but so similar that she took a job abroad and long-distance didn’t work out. But the one after that? She didn’t get it at all.

“I was seeing her for a short time but it was all about quantity for when we spent time together. I get that dates are important but it’s more about quality – let’s do something fun. You sitting on your phone isn’t a proper date.”

Conversely, Mahir, 28, doesn’t think this is an excuse, stating:

“I work in property so yeah, I don’t have a lot of time. I make time. I’m not constantly going on dates but I’ll get a girl’s number. If I like her, I’ll make the effort to see her.

“Yeah, I don’t always get it right. When I was younger, I ghosted on a few girls or now, I might be busy for a few weeks. But I’ve learnt from mistakes, I let a girl know if things are a bit mad and it’s cool.”

Still, for some, this doesn’t seem like a feasible solution. As Shiv has mentioned, other pressures can affect your personal life in a way that’s particular to British Asians – the parents.

Family Pressures

Do Young British Asians Have Time to Date - family pressure

It’s a stereotype for young British Asians but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a grain of truth. For many young British Asians, dating can feel more intense with the weight of parental expectation.

Amira, a 24-year-old student, immediately conveys the pressures she’s facing:

“I am looking for a relationship with the pressures of getting married.”

Laughingly, she mentions that how she’s currently finding dates is:

“My mum and the Rishta aunty!”

Nevertheless, she does highlight how difficult this added pressure can be if you’re not a natural a dating:

“I date but not too often. I try and flirt a bit but I’m shit at flirting and I’m quite innocent too so I just try and find excuses to talk to them and try and see if I can pick up any signals.”

This is very different from Amira’s past experiences:

“I never used to be too scared to put in too much, but now I am too scared to go for it.”

Indeed, her current situation, unknown to her parents, appears much more stress-free:

“My friend hooked me up with her mate so we’ve been talking.”

Likewise. Mandeep doesn’t tell her parents who she’s dating, even if they’re open to the idea:

“I’m only in my early twenties but family already nag. They knew about my previous long-term relationship but now that I’m a tiny bit older, I can’t go to a family event without an interrogation.

“My mum even suggested that I should go on Asian dating websites or singles events.”

With great frustration, Mandeep reveals:

“Now I’m casually dating a few people but I’m not telling my parents anything about as they ask too many questions.

“They don’t get modern-day dating and how much the rules have changed about how people date today”.

Indeed, this is a key factor to understand how much time young people have to date. Dinner and a movie aren’t always the go-to.

Modern Romance

Do Young British Asians Have Time to Date - modern

Somewhat flippantly, Jaidev, 21, informs us that his ideal date is: “Netflix and chill.”

Before adding: 

“I don’t have the money to be sending on constant dates especially when I first start talking to a girl. Some girls will pay on dates but if I can, I still like to.

“It’s better to get to know a girl, do Netflix and chill and if anything changes, sure – I’ll go on a date.”

24-year-old Dina shares this concern, saying money is a barrier to her dating because “you can’t date without money right?”

Despite this and saying that she very rarely goes on dates, she adds that she’s on loads of sites like Bumble.

In fact, the Bumble application is known for going against the traditional style of dating. Instead, a girl must message a guy first to talk.

Otherwise, it flows the Tinder model of seeing another’s profile and mutually liking each other.

19-year old Sadia is also on these apps for its unique advantage:

“I like Bumble as I don’t get as many creepy guys as Tinder.”

Yet, it’s Keval who offers an interesting counter-point of how technology can take over our lives.

“Tinder was great a few years out of university. They saved me time as I would chat to a nice girl – or girls – and know she liked the same kind of stuff. I didn’t even have to move out of bed.

“But it never goes past that. You’ll chat for a bit and now nothing happens. After a while, it’s just a habit to swipe through.

“To be honest, I think loads of people just use it for attention. Like some girls will unmatch you as soon as they know you matched them.”

Jaspreet concludes:

“Honestly sometimes I think there are too many options out there. There’s always something better.

“I just want to go on a nice date with a guy who isn’t on his phone, probably chatting to a bunch of other girls.

“People think they haven’t got time but it doesn’t have to be about apps or fancy dates. The nicest dates I’ve had were something simple like a film but talking to each other.”

Time is Relative

Do Young British Asians Have Time to Date - time

Young people value their time differently. The issue isn’t always the quantity of time but what that time signifies.

For some, their professional aspirations must be the priority for their own personal reasons. Less weighty matters like enjoying your youth is a fair concern for others and at times, the expectations of family.

In fact, the cultural expectations of young British Asians seem to be a hindrance. The intensity of sometimes good intentions appears to push relationships to progress before they’re ready.

There are many differences of opinion from using lack of time as an excuse, to technology having its advantages and disadvantages.

Above all, however, it does feel that the combination of these factors mean that many young people don’t have time to date.

Young British Asian are having to deal with the balancing act between traditional culture and contemporary issues.

While there isn’t a clear solution, the complexity of whether British Asians have time to date is becoming a little clearer.

An English and French graduate, Daljinder likes travelling, wandering around museums with headphones and getting over-invested in a TV show. She loves Rupi Kaur’s poem: “If you were born with the weakness to fall you were born with the strength to rise."


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