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Wed, 19 Jun 2019

Northeast Today

In a Live-in Relationship…

In a Live-in Relationship…
February 14
16:28 2018

NET Bureau, Kingson Chingakham

First Words

India has experienced a lot of transformation in its way of living and its culture in the last few decades. Some call it modernity and some criticise it for being influenced by the western culture. Modernity, in itself, is a vague concept and owns various interpretations.In our country marriage is treated as sacred, but when it comes to live-in-relationships it is treated as taboo even though the Supreme Court proclaimed in 2015 that ‘it has now become an acceptable norm in society’.

The divorce rates in India have hiked. Some blame it on the trend of arrange marriage and a few on the modern ways of lifestyles. Compatibility between partners is of utmost importance. Many experts have advised couples to check emotional and physical compatibility before getting married. Thus,the experts believe that considering a live-in-relationship will help in building a healthy relationship for a lifetime or even save oneself from the nuances of marriage.

The modern lifestyle has taken away the share of time we used to spend with our near and dear ones. There is a craze over ambition and career rather than maintaining a balanced life. This has affected a lot of marriages. No break-ups are easy. It is emotionally very exhausting to part away with someone. But many prefer “We broke up” rather than “we are divorced”.The divorcee has had bad consequences because of how the society looks at it.Divorcees have been judged at multiple levels.Most of the time women are blamed for the failed marriages: they are disowned by their parents, they have been treated as a disgrace to the family and if the divorce becomes public, they have to bear the abuses.

For the fast-paced life,live-in-relationships gives you space and time. With no commitments,the couples live with their own responsibilities and relinquish the added responsibilities couples usually get after the marriage. But, undoubtedly, live-in-relationship will never receive the level of depth and stability of marriage. If a child is born from a live-in-relationship,the child becomes a question of legitimacy and the mother of questionable character. Live-in-relationships also attracts a lot of cases involving rape and other cases of sexual abuses.

The Experiences

Some couples who wished to be anonymous expressed their live-in experiences. The following are some of the excerpts from the conversations.

Shreya and Nikhil are two research scholars studying at the Jawaharlal Nehru University,Delhi.Recalling their experience, Shreya said, “I remember, two years back when we decided to move in together, we started searching for a place that will accommodate unmarried couples.But we didn’t get any.So Nikhil made fake ID cards that showed that we were brother and sister.That is how we started”.

She continued, “One day, the landlord got suspicious.He landed on the doors asking for amarriage certificate.Luckily,Nikhil was not in town that day.So I told him that we will furnish the document once he’s back.We had to make a fake marriage certificate (giggles)”.

In another story, Akash and Shilpa moved in together a year back in Gurugram.Shilpa belongs to a very conservative family in Haryana.Though Akash’s family knows about this, they never endorsed it.Neither his parents visited him nor talked about this to any of his relatives.He has taken extreme care not to spill out this information as this might harm Shilpa.So they did not have the freedom to live their lives openly.There was a constant fear of how the society and her family will react if they get to know about this.

Akash and Shilpa are engaged now. Akash said, “My parents insisted me to hide the fact that we were in live-in-relationship.My mom got very nervous when my aunt speculated that we were in live-in.She also speculated that we were getting married because Shilpa is pregnant”.

The mentality and positive views on Live-in vary from place to place in our country.In metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai, it is not a big hassle as compared to make it work in some small towns or conservative states. Harry Singh lived in with his girlfriend in one of the cities in Punjab. He expressed his agony, “It was a nightmare.You can not even walk with a girl there.People could not digest the fact that I was in a room with a girl.It was beyond annoyance looking at the nearby aunties murmuring about us the whole time.”

How Different is of the SameSex?

Relatively,it is easier for the same sex to move in together. People do not suspect- two guys or girls living together can be two friends living together. But it comes with its own limitations, beyond the life in there is no further growth towards a marriage(because of the illegality and other societal issues). Another drawback expressed by those who have experienced the same-sex live-in is that most of it happen just for the sake of sexual pleasure.The life in duration in most of the cases of the same sex is very short.

Conclusion

It is not advisable to move in immediately after entering a relationship. There are many horrifying stories because of this mistake.Take some time to know and understand each other and develop some amount of trust. In India, themajority of the people consider it as immoral.There is hardly any law that deals with the concept of live-in relationships and rights of the partners and the children born out of it.Even if there is legislation,it is very ambiguous. Therefore, there is a need to change the mentality and be more accepting towards the decisions of two individuals to live in together.Utmost care should be taken by law to protect women and children born out of it.

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