LIVE IN OR NOT!
I love him and I want to stay with him without getting married. What’s wrong in that? Well this is a common question that many young boys and girls have in their mind. Cohabitation or live-in relationships have been prevalent in our country for a long time, but now focus has been shifted. A live-in relationship in India though not illegal, is definitely considered as improper and is socially not accepted. Urban India becoming more open-minded, western influence and students moving out of their homes are some of the reasons why live-in relationships have become more prevalent these days. So, the question that comes to our mind is whether a live-in relationship is a good thing or a bad thing?
There are various positives as well as negative sides in a live-in relationship. The positive side is that one can lead a life without complications as compared to those arising in a marriage. You can be in the relationship as long as you want and the bondage of being with each other for the rest of your life might get heavy on one’s heart and any negligible disruption can make that fear surface. This fear isn’t there in live-in relationships. The negative side is that in India, live-in relationships are still not socially acceptable. India is still not one of those places where unmarried people, especially women, can live together before marriage since it doesn’t leave a lot to be discovered after marriage. Generally the routine between the couple is already set in and their expectation to discover something new after their marriage fails. Another important disadvantage of live-in relationships is the social censure associated with it. As these relationships are socially not accepted most of the people look at it with scorn.
According to Jessica Gomes, a renowned model from Kolkata, “I have a very traditional mind set. I am not really in favour of live-in relationships at all. Live-in relationships do not have much benefit at the end of the day. Though in the beginning everything is mutual, if there is a chance of drifting apart then it’s always the girl who loses everything. Not only physically, but mentally a woman gives her 100% time and love. Men have nothing to lose at the end of it. I dated my husband Neeraj for nine and half years before we got married and while we were dating, a lot of people suggested a live-in arrangement. But I was never up for it.”
Live-in relationships are common place across the western world. There are a multitude of reasons why a couple may want to live together – maybe they want to evaluate their compatibility in a more practical way, or establish financial security before officially tying the knot. Some people may prefer to be in a live-in relationship because in their opinion relationships are their personal and private matters that ought not to be controlled by religious, political or patriarchal institutions.
MoizHanif a model-turned-actor said, “I personally think it’s not a bad thing, though it differs from person to person. I think this way two people can know each other in a better way before taking the next step. It’s a good thing for sure as you get to know your partner properly, you get to know about the good things as well as the bad and then it is of course on you whether you can adjust or not. People say if a live-in relationship doesn’t work out then it’s always a girl who is at loss. I totally disagree with this. If a girl is giving it her best, both physically and mentally then so is the boy. Even we are emotional and if it does not work out, we feel bad too.”
Cohabitation is basically an individualistic approach. Though it is highly prevalent in most of the western countries – the reality of that in India is slightly different. In 2013, the apex court observed that if a man and a woman in love decide to live together as a couple it is well within their right to live and by no means can be deemed a ‘criminal offence’. This verdict however is not accepted by most Indians – especially considering how there are still many who genuinely believe that a premarital relationship between a man and a woman is nothing but a sin! In some jurisdictions, live-in relationships are viewed to be as legal as common law marriages – it may be applicable after the duration of a pre-specified period, or after the birth of a child or for a certain other legally defined reasons.
“I am living in with my girlfriend for the past 2 years and everything is going pretty well. It is definitely not a bad thing at all. It’s rather a good way you get to know your partner better. I know her for the past 2 years now and I know everything will be the same after marriage as well. It’s not just a physical thing. It’s a way to learn to take responsibilities. We love each other, fight, don’t talk for a few days, but still at the end of the day we are staying under the same roof and we know that whatever the situation is we won’t part away,” said Rahul Saxena, a student from Delhi.
In India, live-in relationships have been taboo for a very long time. However, this is no longer entirely true amongst young couples in big cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi anymore. However, one cannot deny that maintaining such relationships in most of the country’s rural areas would be nothing but inviting loads of unwanted attention and trouble. But slowly and gradually, live-in relationships are becoming popular in India unlike a few years ago when social norms were strictly against such relationships even in the urban areas
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