Dating sites viewed with trepidation in Southern Asia

Survey reveals 60% of United Arab Emirates see internet dating as untrustworthy

An investigation undertaken in UAE of almost 800 people reported that tradition is holding firm over the global rise in dating site numbers.

A professor from UAE University attributed the attitude towards online dating communities as suspicious due to the sanctity of marriage being a life commitment, not just something you can buy on the web and return it if it doesn’t suit.

In other areas, the survey did show the populace as active on the internet, with 7 in 10 respondents trusting the platform to pay bills and 6 out of 10 see it as a viable medium to air their views on society as a whole.

In further reflection, Dr Al Oraimi acknowledged that, although the region was going through a transitional period, given that it is only 40 years old long-standing customs show no signs of changing any time soon; therefore searching for a partner online is, more often than not, ruled out as an option.

Another insight, from a Palestinian living in Dubai, added that family units have become extremely protective of their own, sometimes overly so, since the second world war. Indeed, anyone from outside of that unit is viewed as a stranger; that would include anyone introduced to the family via a dating site platform, regardless if they had been invited by someone within.

Following on in that vein, Dr Al Oraimi reminded us that parental vetting is still very much a part of the courtship process, including knowledge of the background of anyone entering a long-term relationship with their children. However, given the lack of support any offspring would receive should the potential marriage fail, many do not even consider searching online dating profiles as a viable option in the first instance.

Shaadi, which means marriage, is one of South Asia’s more prominent ‘introduction’ sites. Gauruv Rakshit, the contact site’s business brain, is of an opinion that underlines another aspect foreign to the Western World.

He understands that the custom still favours arranged marriages, where families meet to discuss their compatibility and that of the intended life-partners; if the two parties are agreed, the wedding will happen, regardless of any objections by bride or groom.

His attempt at reversing this trend via the personals site has several options for singles wishing to meet outside this tradition, attracting 70,000 members to date, with a further 8,000 new members joining, month on month.

So, although tradition holds firm in most regions, there are signs that individuals are starting to grip their futures by the horns, and step outside the practises held dear for so long.

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