Dating In-Between in Sri Lanka

Dating in Sri Lanka — where the internet penetration is lower than the global average — is stuck between tradition and change.

Haley Ray

May 14, 2019

Dating In-Between in Sri Lanka

“It looks like you are your own boyfriend,” Ms. Confidential, a Colombo-based blogger, was told by a man she dated for all of 36 hours. Her independence had made him too uncomfortable to keep seeing her.

At age 14, Ms. Confidential read her first Cosmopolitan, which inspired her blog. Now in her 30s, she shares her quirky dating experiences in posts like Sri Lanka Dating Advice and Sri Lankan Weddings - Then and Now — all while balancing her full-time job in hospitality.

Sri Lanka’s dating scene doesn’t always condone progressive behavior. “The independent ones, like us, we forget that we don’t need to account for anyone,” she said. “This guy couldn’t take the fact that I refused to tell him when, and if, I stepped out…or met with friends.”

“There are so many unwritten rules and regulations,” said Dr. Marcel de Roos, a psychologist from the Netherlands who moved to Colombo in 2010. “It’s still a huge thing here for girls to keep their virginity until marriage. Over the past nine years, things have changed with Tinder and other social media. As far as I can judge, young people still find the approval of their parents very, very important.”