When 40-year-old Manisha Agarwal (name changed) logged on to a dating app for the first time, she was paralysed with fear. Married for 15 years, she needed a distraction from her sexless and loveless marriage, but was scared she would be caught in the act. “Kolkata is such a small city. Here someone always knows you or one of your acquaintances. I knew I was taking a risk, but I had no choice,” she says.
Unhappy with her unfulfilling married life, Agarwal desperately wanted to find someone she could connect with. She knew she could not risk having an affair with a friend, so she decided to look for potential partners on a dating app.
She was looking for casual sex, and knew nobody would swipe right for her if she only mentioned her name and age. “Who would want to match with a 40-year-old mother? I had to use my photo, but that left me feeling completely vulnerable,” she says.
Agarwal is just one of the many married women in India who use dating apps to find companionship. According to a recent survey, 77% ofIndian women who cheat are bored of their monotonous married life. Although affairs and meetings with men bring excitement to their lives, they also live in fear of the embarrassment and shame of being found out.
The survey, conducted by Gleeden, an online “extra-marital dating” community primarily meant for women, also found that four out of 10 women admitted flirting with a stranger helped them improve intimacy with their ‘official’ partner. Gleeden, incidentally, claims to have 5 lakh members in India, of which 30% are women. Other popular dating apps in the country include Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge.
Reshmi Singhal (name changed), a 29-year-old married woman from Delhi, says she became curious about dating apps after her single friends began using them. As men started approaching her, she felt desired and enjoyed the attention,...