I’m a first-generation Indian man who came to the United States for grad school, and while I expected to connect with Indian girls here, I find that they tend to have preconceived notions about Indian men. Any thoughts?

Your question hits upon a phenom–enon I have noticed. Many first-generation Indian men encounter Indian women with biases about Indian men, including that they are seeking a marriage with traditional gender roles; “momma’s boys” for whom their own, as well as their partners’ viewpoints are likely to be eclipsed by those of their mothers; likely to hang out with other Indians exclusively, and unlikely to be able to relate to and with non-Indians.

To be sure, there are certainly first-generation Indian men for whom one or all of the notions do apply.  In my opinion, interacting together before marriage would reveal that.

That said, Indian women are not well-served by adopting the following  misconceptions wholesale:

• These notions apply to ALL first-generation Indian men;

• These notions are much more likely to apply to first-generation Indian men than Indian men born and raised in the States.

In addition to the empirical evidence from the countless first-generation Indian men I have encountered in my work, I offer the following for Indian women to consider before unwittingly allowing those two misconceptions to close them off to first-generation men with potential:

i) The level of independence and self-sufficiency demonstrated by first-generation men (and women) who have left their countries of birth is considerable (in many cases much higher than the level demonstrated by U.S.-born Indians);

ii)  If one is exclusively seeking the company of other Indians, certainly India would appear a better choice for that person than venturing out to a country where Indians are a minority;

iii)  Having likely lived on their own in the United States without family and domestic labor support typically enjoyed by privileged Indians in India, first-generation Indian men often have domestic skills on par with (and at times greater than) men (as well as some women) born in the United States

iv) India is a very different place on multiple levels today than the India of our parents’ generation—the mindsets of Indian-born men reflect this (in a way the mindsets held by some U.S.-born Indians raised by parents with mindsets frozen in the India of the past may not).

To be sure, I am certainly not putting first-generation Indian men on a pedestal above Indians born in the States. I am, however, of the opinion that Indian women who recognize that there is a continuum of mindsets, and that assuming where on that continuum an Indian man falls based exclusively on his country of birth is likely to result in missed opportunities.

Jasbina is the founder and president of Intersections Match, the only personalized matchmaking and dating coaching firm serving singles of South Asian descent in the United States. She is also the host of Intersections Talk Radio. Jasbina@intersectionsmatch.com.

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