Are live-in re­la­tion­ships a lit­mus test for mar­riage th­ese days?

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - Sapna Mathur sapna. mathur@ hin­dus­tan­times. com

Rahul Pat­naik*, a 25-yearold Delhi res­i­dent, com­pares his live-in re­la­tion­ship to the beta ver­sion of a web­site. He calls it a trial pe­riod, dur­ing which you can check whether the web­site has any bugs. “You see what liv­ing with some­one feels like, be­fore get­ting the mar­riage tag,” he adds. A mu­si­cian, Pat­naik has been shar­ing an apart­ment with his girl­friend for two years now. “My mother was al­ways cool, but my fa­ther had is­sues. I didn’t tell him about it for the first six months,” he says. Fi­nally, when he did in­form his fa­ther, Pat­naik says he wasn’t “scared”. “I am liv­ing on my own. I’m not ask­ing them for money. And I’m not do­ing any­thing wrong,” he states.

A few kilo­me­tres away, some­where in cen­tral Delhi, 25-year-old graphic de­signer Tahira Ba­heti* has been liv­ing with her part­ner, Aa­van Singh*, for over five years. In­ter­est­ingly, she also lives with her boyfriend’s par­ents. What be­gan as in­no­cent sleep­overs at Singh’s house, grad­u­ally “spilled onto other as­pects” of her life. Ba­heti says, “I started teach­ing his sis­ter, shop­ping with his mother, and help­ing his dad with work. Af­ter col­lege ended, his par­ents told me to not look for an­other apart­ment, and move my stuff to their place.” The par­ents’ in­ten­tion, though, was not to get the cou­ple mar­ried, in­stead let them spend time with each other.

To­day, sev­eral un­mar­ried In­dian cou­ples live to­gether in metropoli­tan ci­ties, with the con­sent of their par­ents. Liv­ing to­gether has be­come a tried and tested for­mula. Last year, even the Supreme Court ruled that live-in re­la­tion­ships have be­come “an ac­cept­able norm”. “It is like get­ting mar­ried,” af­firms Pat­naik.

But so­ci­etal pres­sures of­ten force many to re­frain from talk­ing about it openly. Some peo­ple, how­ever, feel that a live-in re­la­tion­ship is a de­ci­sion against mar­riage. But, is it?

VALUE AD­DI­TION

Is a live-in re­la­tion­ship be­ing looked at as a pre­req­ui­site for mar­riage in In­dia? City-based psy­chi­a­trist and sexologist Shyam Mithiya dis­agrees. “It is def­i­nitely a step to­wards mar­riage. I have seven to 10 pa­tients who live to­gether. Their in­ten­tion, while mov­ing in to­gether, was to get to know each other bet­ter. Even­tu­ally, they got mar­ried,” he says, adding, “Mov­ing in with some­one is not easy. Only peo­ple who are se­ri­ous about their re­la­tion­ship and are think­ing long-term do it. It is also more com­mon among cou­ples who don’t live with their fam­i­lies.”

NAT­U­RAL NEXT STEP

Mean­while, in Mumbai, Kan­ishk Sharma* (26), a con­sul­tant, has just moved in with his girl­friend of sev­eral years. “It’s been three months. But we’ve been dat­ing for a long time, so mov­ing in was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion of sorts,” he says. He hasn’t thought about a wed­ding yet, but he af­firms his in­ten­tion is a “long-term co­hab­i­ta­tion”. He adds that his life has be­come “more adult than it was be­fore” and that while he and his part­ner had a “rocky start”, “things are get­ting ironed out now”. “I know what I want out of a life part­ner now,” he adds. *names changed on re­quest

Mov­ing in with some­one is not easy. Only peo­ple who are se­ri­ous about their re­la­tion­ship and are think­ing long-term, do it SHYAM MITHIYA, PSY­CHI­A­TRIST AND SEXOLOGIST TO­DAY, SEV­ERAL UN­MAR­RIED IN­DIAN COU­PLES LIVE TO­GETHER IN METROPOLI­TAN CI­TIES, WITH THE CON­SENT OF THEIR PAR­ENTS.

PHOTO: IMAGESBAZAAR

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