Happy New Year, dear readers! What’s on your wishlist for 2023? A new job? A new relationship? A fancy home? Your dream car? Or your dream of having a house filled with spirited children? Whatever it is, may it all come true. And if it doesn’t, here’s hoping you find something else to assuage yourself with.
By the way, it isn’t just a new year but also my twelfth column. Yes, a whole year has gone by since you and I embarked on this journey to discover the bed, bath and beyond of the youth of today. Although, I’m not one for clichés, it truly feels like yesterday when I wrote the first piece in this series. Time flies, and how!
Which is why, this month, I’m doing things a tad differently.
No, this is not a ‘10 New Year resolutions you could keep’ type of list—that’s more passé than candlelit dinners on Valentine’s Day. What I’m doing, instead, is listing a few things that might happen to you, or, around you, sort of a things-that’ll-be-hot-and-happeningin- 2023 list.
Simply put, ethical non-monogamy or ENM is leading a non-monogamous life with your partner’s consent. How’s it different from an open relationship? This one isn’t just limited to sex but could lead to a full-blown relationship(s). Per a 2016 survey in the United States, one in every five adults admitted to having engaged in ENM at least once. And that number is on the rise, across the globe. How are things in India? As per a 2017 survey by Bangalore Polecules (full marks for that name, by the way!), 72 percent of Indians had informed their partners before indulging in a non-monogamous way of dating. Basically, things are only getting more adventurous going forward, so expect lots of nonmonogamous trysts in 2023. Having your cake and eating it too has never been more ethical!
In the words of Delhi-based interior designer, author and columnist Sheena Arora (name changed), “Women, especially financially independent ones, are fed up of heterosexual men and don’t see them as ideal partners with whom to have a child.” Which is why they’re seeking the sperm of their gay friends to have a child they can raise on their own. “It even helps evade society’s taunts regarding the presence of a biological father, and one still gets to enjoy life on their own terms!” Adds thirty something Mumbai-based advertising executive Mehak Sharma (name changed), living life queen-size as a single woman, “Also, gay men are so much more understanding and caring than their heterosexual counterparts!” Such an arrangement bodes well for gay men looking to have a child as well, and it’s getting increasingly popular in urban settings, especially now that homosexuality is no longer a crime, and IVF a credible fertility solution.
The Rise of the Single Woman
Speaking of women not needing men, things will only get more challenging for straight men. According to a report by IndiaSpend, over 73 million Indian women claim to be single by choice. These women include not only those who’ve never been married but also those who’re divorced, widowed and those belonging to the LGBTQ+ community. “When a woman is making enough and more to take care of herself, she doesn’t need a man to be a saviour or provider. What she wants is an equal partner who is willing to be emotionally vulnerable and sexually committed. And she won’t settle for anything else!” Palak Kapadia (name changed) is one of Bengaluru’s most admired young entrepreneurs and has expressed her take on marriage rather publicly in the past. “Unmarried and alone is always better than being married and miserable!” And those who have been married in the past just aren’t in the mood for another round. “Been there, done that, and been miserable. Indian men have still not evolved enough to understand the nuances of marriage—there’s no sharing of responsibilities, no treating their wives as equals. Why would I get married again? I have Tinder whenever I crave some action!” says Mumbai-based ad filmmaker Ankita Agarwal (name changed). Why should boys have all the fun, right?
Love in the Time of Working
While there’s a lot of chatter about work-life balance online, the fact remains that young people spend more time working than doing anything else. Especially with everyone now pursuing their entrepreneurial or influencer dreams, the divide between personal and professional has never been more blurred. And how has that altered their dating lives? Well… they’ve learnt to mix the two. Per a 2015 survey by CareerBuilder India, one in three office-goers admitted to having an affair with someone at their workplace. And while that number did see a temporary decline thanks to #MeToo, the ever-hectic working hours in India have forced millennials and Gen Z folks to look for love wherever they’re working. “It’s convenient, to be honest. You spend so much time together, so it’s also easier to get to know each other,” admits Delhi-based graphic designer Sahil Verma (name changed) of one of Delhi’s most popular advertising agencies. Sahil is currently dating a client-servicing executive at work and their dates are either during lunch hour or for post-work drinks at a nearby watering-hole. According to his girlfriend, Sahiba (name changed), they’re “living in the moment and happy with the way things are!”
Longing for Long-Distance
Just when you thought the debate on longdistance relationships had well and truly settled, here come the Gen Z men and women, eager to make it happen again. A recent Bumble survey showed one in three people on the app admitted to being open to dating someone not living in their city or country. And 12 percent of the respondents admitted to finding it easier to navigate dating in another country. “We’re all online all the time, anyway. And FaceTime has made long-distance dating way easier than it used to be,” shares Mumbai-based fashion stylist Aakriti Khandpal (name changed). Her boyfriend has been living in Sydney, Australia, for the past four years and their equation is stronger than ever. What about meeting in person often enough? “It’s not like our fastpaced lives and hectic work schedules allow us to meet anyone that often!” It’s a tale of two cities and it’s working perfectly fine.
So there you have it, folks. Everything to watch out for in 2023. Though life and love never came with a manual, here I am, giving you all the dope.
It’s a new year so make the most of it. Needless to say, I’ll be watching!