Live-in Relationships – My Take
Live-in Relationships – My Take
Marriage was a sacred institution in India, attributed to seven lives and beyond. This institution is fast crumbling under the weight of modernity. With the normalization done by movies/media and blind aping of the West, Live-in relationships / Cohabitation has become a popular concept with the urban youth.
Come to think of it, actually there is nothing wrong between two adults deciding what they want to do with their lives, whom and how they want to share it with and for how much time.
But as it normally happens, when we copied the West, we copied only the part which was easy. We did not copy the social discipline, neither did we copy the commitment part. We only copied the part which is hassle free and responsibility free.
In Indian context, cohabitation / live-in relationship is actually a one-sided game for the male because there is no legal recognition to this relationship. Hence, the female cannot receive any kind of maintenance from her counterpart if the relationship is abandoned/ broken up. Worse, if she gets pregnant or bears a child, she has to fend for him/her alone, her male counterpart has no responsibility of this whatsoever.
Children born out of the wedlock have then to face the stigma through out their life for none of their mistake. Also, they have to make-do with a single parent or step-parent. It isn’t a big deal in high society but middle-class families still make a big deal out of this.
Also, if the female is not financially independent, she does not get any right to property or assets with cohabitation. This leaves her financially stranded if the relationship goes haywire at any point of time.
If the female is financially independent and she also invested in the common assets during cohabitation, the division of the assets will be another jeopardy now as there are no clear laws for the same nor there are any social rules set. So, this is going to end in a sour taste of mouth for one or both.
Furthermore, these kind of relationships still are a social stigma across small town families. So, the male walks away with his head held high and the female might have to undergo a lot of social / family pressure.
The main reason for couples entering live-in relationships is mainly the fear of marriage /commitment. They plan to know each other more before tying the nuptial knot or it can just be a short term relationship for pleasure with no strings attached.
In the latter case, it is of not much consequence. But in the former, it actually finishes the charm of the impending marriage itself. In getting to ‘know’ each other more, they actually get to know so much about each other, that at the time of marriage, the novelty factor is fully lost. The bubble bursts. Earlier marriages were all about discovering each other for a long time which kept the interest of a couple alive in each other. Now marriages after cohabitation, become a mere formality / a stamp with nothing much to look forward to.
Also, in cases where long term cohabitation doesn’t work out, it leaves a lot of emotional baggage on both the partners which psychologically impacts their future conjugal relationship too.
In cases where a male/ female have gone through multiple cohabitation before marriage, there is always an underlying comparison which breeds a lot of dissatisfaction. So, it was fun earlier, but now it is only a pain.
If the purpose of cohabitation for a couple was only physical relationship, it is even more disappointing after a certain period of time. Looks / muscles are temporary things, they wither with time. Humans are emotional beings, physical bearings don’t come to them alone without the emotional blanket. Physical sparks / hormonal desires are short lived. What keeps a couple together is the emotional bond, the solid wall-like feeling to trust and depend upon each other. A feeling that someone has your back when you are at your worst or the best.
Getting tired of each other is a very common phenomenon for the cohabiting couples. Since, there is actually nothing strong binding them together in the first place. Life doesn’t remain the same everyday, it throws challenges in your face every single day.
Yes, Marriage has its share of problems. But cohabitation only seems to be adding new ones, not solving any. It is like jumping into the fire from the frying pan.
Nothing is perfect, neither the people nor the circumstances. Whenever we try to take a shortcut to reduce life’s woes, we end up creating big alleys of endless troubles. The only thing we are equipped to do as humans, is to face them, take them as they come. Take them in our stride.
You cannot jump a pit in two jumps. It is the same in life. It is always a prerogative for a couple to choose what they want to do. In my view, they should not try to take an easy way and end up having a laundry list of problems later. Even if problems are expected in a marriage, they should face it together, stick to each other through thick and thin.
No point being a couple, if you can’t complete each other, fight for each other.