Every couple, that has been in a long term relationship and wishes to take serious decisions of the future, has come across the question,  to Live In or not to Live In?

Tribhawan Kaul, a renowned bilingual writer-poet from India, gives a piece of his mind on the subject and it’s worth reading.

“Bad dreams have now become almost reality. Live-in relationships, though in its infancy is yet alarming. An off- shoot of western culture has been taking roots in India and there is no doubt that it has spread octopus like tentacles mostly  in urban India.  Equating it to a terrorist attack on the institution of marriage in India may not be out of box theory.

The observation made by Hon’ble SC, while hearing the famous case of South Indian actress Kushboo in Mar 2010, that pre-marital sex and live-in-relationship could not be construed as an offence,  has in fact boosted the fast growing tendency to have a live-in relationship amongst our young generation. A boy and a girl living together, without any social or legal sanctions, as flat mates/hostel mates/ PG mates is fast becoming norms with our western minded, music-fun loving, junk food eaters. With the waning of family stability, opening of various avenues of employment opportunities to boys and girls within and abroad, open mindedness, and with rising graph of economic growth, youth population of urban India has become more adventurous in their relationships with opposites sexes. Family heads are putting their heads together to ward off this intruding evil in the lives of their children but they are unable to restrict the activities of their wards once they become mature enough to decide their future life.

It is the thinking of orthodox people of India that social ethics, family honour, moral values are getting devalued with the advent of the concept of live-in relationship. Can we really call these people orthodox ? Is our institution of marriage  fast becoming redundant?  The question itself is intriguing .

We already have three types of marriage.

  1. A)        Arranged marriage :- Totally arranged by parents of both sides.
  2. B)        Arranged but  love marriage :- Couple in love but marriage arranged with the  consent of both parents.
  3. C)        Love marriage :- Without consents of both parents and getting married in court overtly or covertly……

These three types of marriages have either social or legal sanctions which is absent in live-in relationship.  It is also observed that the rate of divorces has also registered an ascending graph in B & C type of marriages though cases of divorces in type A marriages also show increasing trend but to much lesser extent. Moreover it becomes hell for a girl particularly if she is living with a male friend and enjoying sex too outside marriage norms.

Where does the term live-in-relationship fits in our children’s lives cannot be gauged. Younger people take their parents as old -fashioned, set-minded and socially irrelevant duds as they fail to fall in line of their thinking. They feel live-in-relationships will bring down the cases of divorces & caste bias. It will give them  an opportunity to gauge compatibility of each other if they stay together for a longer period before they come to the decision of marrying each other.  So far so good as It helps indulging couples to understand each other better over a longer period of time and think of marrying each other if so desired by both the partners. There are no liabilities on each other. No demands and pressures. Household luxuries/responsibilities and financial liabilities are equally shared on the basis of equality. Compatibility becomes the hall mark of this type of relationship. Non- compatibility over a time period gives both parties a chance to change their partner.

Their point of view is understood due to the change in perception of having a life partner in present scenario and nature of adjustment with the times by the modern parents. It is also understood  that instead of saying ‘ marriages are made in heaven’ we should now say ‘marriage are through live-in-relationships’  But million dollar question is CAN THEY REMAIN ALOOF FROM GRATIFYING EACH OTHER SEXUALLY while living in. It is highly improbable. A big NO. Fire attracts fire and cannot be doused by fire. Resultant pregnancies are either terminated for fear of attracting social backlash or the child has to live with the tag of illegitimate in case partnership is not legalised by marriage. Living-ins may provide a chance to be an independent in personal likes or dislikes yet girls are made to suffer more than a boy in India. It is a established that living in relationships not only bring harassment and insecurity to girls in India but emotional breakdowns also become frequent ruining the life of a girl involved.

The society also does not sanction such relationships whatever the law may say.  Why is it then honour killings are taking place openly now? Why suicides are on the rise amongst the young unwed mothers? Why abandoned fetuses are found every now and then?  We still abhor the idea of westernised thinking  of the concept of leave one, take one.  We need to re-educate our children about pros and cons of such an adventure, our traditions, our culture, our ethos, our moral and ethical values, our social obligations, our sanskars  which they have lost in the age of TV soaps, internet, smart-phones, movies, clubs, bars etc.

Or  should parents/society allow them to say, ‘this is our life, allow us to live as we want.?’  Matter will always remain debatable.”