Live-in relationships in India are fast becoming an alternative to marriages, did you say? Wrong! Although the youth have adopted the idea of living in with their partners, statists say they are only being used as a conventional route to the ‘Big, Fat Wedding’. This unique channelising of live-in relationships is unique to India, and indigenous to our customs and traditions. Let us examine this trend in detail:
Indian parents are still conventional
Indian parents still maintain that living with your partner before marriage is wrong. Hence, they cannot be convinced if their offspring want to enter into a relationship like this one before marriage. The best way to have your cake and eat it too?Tell your parents you are in it only for the ‘experience’ and then, going to get married to the same person. This will immediately soothe their frayed nerves!
Getting to know your partner
The beauty of a live-in relationship is that you get to know your partner well and decide if he/she is the right person to eventually settle down with. Confused about your life partner? Well, here you get to test the waters and see if the person is compatible with you, before you settle into holy matrimony with them. You will find out whether the person is everything you ever wanted, or whether the person is completely opposite to you in habits, manners and tastes! It will help you in deciding what to do further!
Live-in relationships and the law
The law is still ambiguous about live-in relationships. In many other countries there has been a broader understanding of the idea of a couple and a family, which can be seen in their legal recognition of prenuptial agreements, cohabitation, civil union and domestic partnership. In India, the Domestic Violence Act 2005 included within its purview live-in relationships under which a woman having with a man “a relationship in the nature of marriage” can go to court if abused. Hence, a live-in, is equated to marriage, and there is no space to analyse the institution for itself.
Marriage is still the ‘big thing’
Marriages are big in India. They are celebrated with pomp and fervour! They are considered as the norm and the rule. Most couples don’t want to miss out on the fun and parties associated with marriage, and a chance to celebrate with elan! Hence, live-in relationships are not seen as an institution by themselves, but as an institution which paves the way for marriage.
More than just rebellion
Contrary to popular belief, live-in relationships are not devoid of work but confer much more responsibility upon both the partners since in many ways they are on their own. This means, it brings about a set of ideals which are just as strongly etched as marriages! Indian youth are therefore, of the mindset that live-ins are merely a way to test the waters before they plunge into the ocean. It is all about finding the ropes, but the larger aim is to see it as a space where they can taste freedom, but only enough to convince themselves that it is what they don’t need and want! After all, a support structure of parents and in-laws and well-wishers is needed and marriages offer just that.
Overall,we see that live-in relationships are not the established trend in India. They are merely a way of preparing for marriage! They are an alternative, which leads the way to the more established institution of ‘marriage’.