I have realized my love for someone comes from admiration. So there has to be something admirable in in that man whom I can love.
Sadly, of all those men (read boys) I have dated in 2002-2005, I did not find anything admirable in any of them. I was left wondering later, as to what I saw in them to have spent (wasted) so much time in knowing them, only to later realize that they are neither caring (he did not care that I hated his smoking), nor understanding (he did not understand I did not support patriarchy) nor admirable (he stuck to traditions).
Since then, I have never dated anyone.
I have realized I scare off men more often than not. One of my dates had once said, "You don't need a boyfriend. You can do everything yourself. You do not give your boyfriend the oppurtunity to be chivalrous and chauvanistic."
That summed up the matter : I do not look good with a boyfriend. I look better as an individual. I look better with an standing straight, rather that leaning my head on my boyfriend's shoulder.
Also, I give the appearance of a serious, no-sonsense person, who is too busy with her career, ambitions and achievements; who has no time for love and relationships, who has big dreams and would not settle for the normal love-marriage-sex-family routine.
I noticed Indian guys think several times before falling in love. They are too scared of the society : traditions and 'norms'. A lot many of them back out because they know their parents won't agree to the relationship, due to several reasons like race, religion, caste, age, language, education.
Also, in 2006, I began my PhD and moved to a different university, place and country; with different people, different environment and different culture. My experiences of relationship-failures made me fear relationships : as if they are very difficult, complicated and saddening processes/experiences. So I focused on my PhD and my career.
I have learnt to love myself much later in life. This is true for a average Indian woman. I also learnt to have a relationship with myself first. An Indian woman plays the usual gendered roles for her whole life, without usually having a self-relationship. I learnt a woman's life is not about 'sacrifices' and 'adjustments' as always said. It is about leading your own life, in your own terms, happily, with someone whom you love.
It is wonderful if a man loves me, but it is more important to understand whether I love him or not.
The person I will love will be a MAN : brave, courageous, risk-taking, accepting challenges, standing up for his convictions, believing in himself, strong backboned and daring to take the initiative. He will not require the crutches called patriarchy to prove himself to be a man.
The person I love will not be BOY : testosterone-driven, impulsive, egoistic, callous about relationships, insensitive, thoughtless, irresponsible and an escapist.
I have also begun to believe in self-arranged marriages : neither the rosy-cosy love marriage between two dreamers, nor the traditional arranged marriage between two strangers. I would rather like a comfortable marriage between two friends, who have known each other for a few years, and feel they have a lot in common, know each others' pluses and minuses, yet are acceptable of each other, and find they can share a 24/7 life together with at least 70%-80% success.
I have understood I cannot force myself to fall in love. Love happens by itself. My love for my country just happenend automatically. I had to never force myself to love it.
Listen to this song : it says what love is.