Help! I’m 30, Tamil… and Not Married


Recently, TC Magazine commissioned a poll surveying the marital status of Tamils in the diaspora. The poll revealed that over half of all Tamils remained unmarried at ages 30-35.

Family is an important aspect traditional Tamil values. So how does a family-oriented culture with a strong tradition of faith, marriage and family end up with over half of its community unmarried into their 30s?

Over the next few months, TC will interview members of the Tamil community to discuss why this trend exists, to relate from personal experiences, and to address what can be done about it (all names are pseudonyms).

Sanjiv, 27, from Scarborough writes:

While I’m not in the age range polled, I feel obliged to comment. There is definitely a growing rift between young men and women in society, and I think it’s even more pronounced in the Tamil community. Certainly the low marriage rates from your survey attest to this. I’ll try my best to explain my reasons for why this is. Be warned that much of my commentary is not politically correct, but I think it needs to be said if we are to discuss this issue openly and honestly.

First, there is no doubt that Tamil women are outperforming Tamil men both in education and professionally. There are more girls than boys pursuing post-secondary education. And while this is true for all of Canada, this trend is exacerbated in our community. Almost every Tamil girl I’ve met who grew up in Canada has some form of post-secondary education – at minimum a Bachelor’s degree or a college diploma. Numerous women in our community also hold graduate degrees and PhDs.

However, the same cannot be said of our Tamil guys. Tamil women with degrees far outnumber Tamil men. And because most women prefer to marry men who are above them in status, educated Tamil women are finding that there is a shortage of men who meet this criteria. Most are unwilling to compromise their standards and “settle” for a less educated partner. And many will hold out until the right guy comes along, not realizing that a handsome, educated Tamil man with a professional job has plenty of options. With each passing year their marital prospects decline… until they find themselves still alone well into their 30s.

Another critical aspect is that there is a huge element of superficiality in the modern Western society we live in. Given that most young Tamil professionals today marry for love, physical attraction undoubtedly plays a factor. Most men have a preference for slim, fair-skinned girls. A girl who is dark or fat will find it more difficult to attract a partner.

In our parents’ time, such a girl would have found a husband (provided a sufficient dowry) because physicality wasn’t a deciding factor in arranged marriage back home. Most parents sought an educated man for their daughter and a girl who was “adakam ozhukum” for their sons. But with Western media pumping out images of blonde bombshells and Kollywood pushing Shreya as the aesthetic ideal, every guy wants a fair-skinned girl on his arm and not the plump, dark girl with the heart of gold.

So why are so many of our men still single into their 30s? The truth is many Tamil guys today are lonely and embittered. Many Tamil “nice guys” still harbour resentment from Tamil girls ignoring them and going for “gangsta” bad boys back in high school and university. Of course, when these girls mature and realize the gangsta guys are going nowhere in life, it’s too late. You ignored me before, but you’ll settle for me now after being pumped and dumped by bad boys and run out of options? No thanks.

Furthermore, Tamil guys – even educated guys who grew up in Canada – are very judgmental about a girl’s past. Even today, Tamil men have different standards for whom they’ll casually date and whom they’ll marry. And a Tamil girl who has had several boyfriends or sexual partners will not be viewed as marriage material. Tamil men won’t settle for what they perceive as “used goods” with baggage from past relationships. While this double standard may seem unfair to the ladies, it is still the reality in our community.

At the same time, Tamil guys today can’t go “back home” to marry a virgin bride as their uncles or older cousins did. Most guys who grew up here can’t hold a conversation in Tamil , and there is a significant language and cultural barrier between Tamil guys who grew up here and village girls back home. Unlike Indians, the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora does not have a huge pool of attractive, educated English-speaking girls to draw from back home. So a lot of Tamil guys here are stuck in limbo – either marry a girl whose had multiple past boyfriends in Canada, or sponsor a village girl from Jaffna. Not content with either option, many men still remain unmarried well into their 30s.

As a young Tamil-Canadian male, I find this trend worrisome. If Tamils who are born or raised here don’t form families and reproduce, it will be the demise of our community. We should not be a community of underachieving bachelors and overeducated spinsters. So what can be done to bridge this rift between our young men and women?

Tamil guys – you need to step it up educationally and professionally. Our ladies are doing extremely well, so there’s no reason why you can’t. And don’t be so judgmental about a girl’s past. The archaic values you’re clinging to are from a bygone era when women didn’t have the freedoms they do today. They’re incompatible with today’s modern, egalitarian society.

And Tamil girls – you need to do a better job of picking the right guy while you’re still young. Instead of wasting your prime years with the “exciting” bad boy who’s going nowhere in life, find a smart dependable guy with a good future and stick with him. Your biological clock is ticking and soon it may be too late.

Looking to create your love story? Join the other couples who have dated and married through!

* * * * *

In Part 2 of our series, “So You’re 30 and Still Single? Don’t Blame Tamil Women”, Sriram shares a contrary perspective.
In Part 3, “Single, Tamil, Female… And I’m Divorced”, Niluja reveals her perspective as a divorced Tamil woman.
In Part 4, “Self-Arranged Marriage: The New Tamil Trend”, Jana discusses the growing “self-arranged marriage” phenomenon in the Tamil community.
In Part 5, “How to Find a Husband”, a guest writer shares advice for Tamil women.
In Part 6 of our series “Why I’ve Decided to Get an Arranged Marriage”, Vidhurah expresses her views on modern marriage.
In Part 7, “So You Won’t Be Marrying a Tamil Girl?”, Penn E. shares his thoughts on the challenges and idiosyncrasies of interracial relationships.

Want to share your input? E-mail us at We will get back to you shortly.

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22 thoughts on “Help! I’m 30, Tamil… and Not Married

  1. There was a country called Canada, held strongly in catholic and protestant beliefs. A lot of Europeans. Abortion was illegal, contraception was illegal. Divorce was tough to get..Family values were valued. Then in 1960s, a man by the name of Trudeau came. He listened to a bunch of women during the swinging 60s. They wanted to legalize abortion, bring contraception ( pre-marital sex) and have more freedom in divorce. He bend to their views and brough about legal changes. 20 years later, not many white europeans wanted to have children. Come on, freedom for women. They can choose quality males eh? But the country need to run their economy. What did they do? Brought immigrants,  welcomed refugees (1983 *cough *cough) too. Soon Brampton became brownton. Vancouver became beijincover. Visible minority became majority. Oh yeah who were the bunch of women? FEMINISTS!

  2. Don’t matter if she get around or still has a German citizenship, if there’s a girl I like I put a ring on it real talk.

  3. I think nowadays we are against marrying our cousins. So yes one will think it is harder but thank god for Internet.

  4. “Unlike
    Indians, the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora does not have a huge pool of
    attractive, educated English-speaking girls to draw from back home.” It appears that Sanjiv has a lot of opinions that are pretty one-sided, biased and not really drawn from facts on why he believes there is an increasing number of single 30 something year old Tamils here in the West. I’m not sure why Tamil Culture decided to use what he had to say in this article because it is very offensive, unless TC is trying to show us how “backwards” Tamils even from Western countries can think. Sriram wrote a great response to this article in “So You’re 30 and Still Single? Don’t Blame Tamil Women”
    As Sriram mentions in his article, the main reason why there is an increasing number of single 30 something year old Tamils here in developed countries is because of individuals attempting to establish a career, financial stability  before they settle down, JUST like any other 30 something year old regardless of race. This pushes the time and even need of starting a family back a couple of years.

    Sanjiv, I wish you the best. I’m sorry you are almost 30 and still have that kind of mentality.

  5. Sanjiv,
    I do believe your commentary on the plight of unmarried single Tamils (in their 30s) is uttered from a place of sincerity on your part but you lost all credibility of actually engaging in any productive discourse about the subject when you use terms like “pumped and dumped”.   Your opinions are peppered with stereotypic vitriol – dark and fat girls will have a hard time meeting someone, Indian girls are more attractive than Sri Lankan girls, girls are prone to loving gangsters and then ditching them to marry nice guys – which you mistake for astute observation on your part.  The issue at hand is complex.  This sort of reductive and ignorant assessment simply propagates and begets more ignorance. 

  6. mena overeducated tamil girl, the man said that his comments may be politically incorrect.  Don’t take it too seriously.  However, there are reasons why stereotypes exist, and is not just based on just on an individual case.

  7. chocolatewonderboy mena For the love of GOD, the comments from female commentators show the problem with tamil women. Educated too arrogant, judgmental and bossy. Awesome combination

  8. Opinion_Puli chocolatewonderboy mena – chocolatewonderboy – I am not taking the article seriously. That’s exactly my point!  Like I said I am sure he wrote the article with sincerity but it misses the mark on me and I am sure on a lot of others simply b/c he uses childish stereotypes.  If fat girls, dark girls, Sri Lankan girls as a whole lot (who are apparently less attractive than Indian girls) etc. have a hard time meeting a match then I can definitely say that so will Tamil guys with this mindset.  Opinion_Puli –  If “you” can’t handle educated, strong Tamil women with the ability to voice their opinion then just say that.  Arrogant, Judgmental and bossy?  For the love of GOD, MAN UP! lol

  9. mena Opinion_Puli chocolatewonderboy  The mere argument that surrounds such articles is that women are allowed to whine and men are not supposed to because it is not “manly”.
     Honey, men are not Humphrey Bogart or Sean Connery especially in the current context.  You find a guy who can deal with a strong Tamil women as you say ( I personally call them PSYCHO ), go ahead. If you led a good life, good for you. But if things don’t work out, don’t complain about culture?
    Appuram kannu! mAN UPAAA??? Whatever happened to gender roles etc? I thought we were told not to use such words anymore cos its sexist? Adangappa.. When its for your argument, you can use it eh?

  10. While this article points out that women outperform in education, it fails to point out why this becoming an issue. There is an untold social pressure has much more contribution to this unbalance. This is not the Tamil young men’s problem. A family and the society in general expects a Tamil young man to share the financial barrier of his family as early as in his late teenage. This expectation generally doesn’t apply to a Tamil young women. This barrier leaves that young male in limbo, whether focussing on his education or focussing on labour job. If you generally take a look at families where every single person contributes their shares evenly, both men and women perform well. Instead of blaming men or women both should take steps collectively.

  11. Having travelled and having seen some things my self the pumped and dumped candidates are not welcomed in any culture.So tamil is no exception and in all fairness I don’t see why we have to put up with it now that our maidens are more “educated ” . Does education  means a ticket to liberal sex?  
    I have friends who have married “educated ” girls who were 
    quite liberal paid a heavy price after marriage because the demons from the care free days came to haunt her .She treated he husband like she treated her boyfriends(rudely as she had more education and her husband is “not very bright”.(in her own words)” and she had gynaelogical problems from having sex too early and  multiple partners,smoking and alchohol.A miscarriage on the second child sadly.Things got worse and the whole marriage imploded and exploded.The guy was broken ,by then his kid was 12yrs old and has put up with it along . Now, the educated woman wanted a “LIFE”. So she dumped him and went around pumping others more intelligent “educated” man.
    Well she is still looking for a life.My friend he is content and found a woman not tamil,but one that is taking care of him and they are happy.

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  14. Opinion_Puli chocolatewonderboy mena You do know that close-minded and bitter men like you are keeping women away from posting here, right? They’ll thrive in the real world while you post nonsensical comments like this on message boards where no one knows who you are.

  15. “And don’t be so judgmental about a girl’s past. The archaic values you’re clinging to are from a bygone era when women didn’t have the freedoms they do today. They’re incompatible with today’s modern, egalitarian society.”

    A huge problem I see with a lot of the people posting on these boards is that they are so against what is already happening around them. It’s out of their control. Learn to live with it. Your family WILL go through changes in the coming years, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Embrace it. It’s not the end of the world.

  16. youvelookedbetter Man its been awhile since I last posted here.  I don’t really remember what the original conversation was during that time.  However I will admit that my last comment was insensitive and wrong, and I apologize for it…I was younger and more immature at the time.  Please forgive me for my wrongdoing. Thank you.

  17. youvelookedbetter  All the Western people who have NOT understood Tamils — listen up — 
    Our Tamil girls are virgins when they marry– unlike your girls. 
    A married Tamil woman will NOT open her legs out for anybody,  other than her husband– unlike your women. 
    There lies the difference .  
    Or do you have the perception to understand this?
    Think hard –you will get it soon enough.
    Grace and peace!

  18. “And don’t be so judgmental about a girl’s past. The archaic values you’re clinging to are from a bygone era when women didn’t have the freedoms they do today. They’re incompatible with today’s modern, egalitarian society.”
    Most of the Tamil unmarried girls are 30+ and probably were not serious about their virginity when they lost it. Now they have to compete with their much younger counterparts in the marriage market who have the advantage of their virginity. Their only hope now is to make videos like this to underplay the importance of virginity. In most conservative societies virginity is associated with chastity and commitment. Not to say that a non-virgin has a loose character but definitely that person prefers s#xual pleasures more than moral commitments and therefore such persons are less likely to stay committed in long relationships such as marriages. Our culture taught us to control our Lust and many other negative things. MAN and WOMEN both should be VIRGIN otherwise they should not get offended when society doesn’t accept it.

  19. youvelookedbetter 
    Are you talking about yourself? Because it seems like you are a bitter individual posting nonsensical crap anonymously online. Just so you know plenty of women like myself are posting on this board. Idiot

  20. trancefat   Hi I am a smart south indian guy almost 50 (but (don’t look like it at all) very successful in carrier but unhappy in my marriage cannot leave because of society kids are married and settled but feel my life going waste.If any married south indian ladies (preferred) who is  in my same position please do contact me we can chat atleast to get this life more meaningful…my name has been changed hope you understand
    My Email Ricknash

  21. Hi I am a smart south indian guy almost 50 (but (don’t look like it at all) very successful in carrier but unhappy in my marriage cannot leave because of society kids are married and settled but feel my life going waste.If any married south indian ladies (preferred) who is  in my same position please do contact me we can chat atleast to get this life more meaningful…my name has been changed hope you understand
    My Email Ricknash

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