Different views on live in relationships Essay Example
Different views on live in relationships Essay Example

Different views on live in relationships Essay Example

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  • Pages: 8 (1957 words)
  • Published: August 18, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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What steps should we take next? Change is an essential aspect of life.

Any change brings about conflict and disrupts the existing order of life. According to Marxian doctrine, this disruption is a result of the interaction between the current state of affairs (thesis) and the new alteration (anti-thesis), ultimately leading to the formation of synthesis. Economic changes not only affect the economy but also bring about societal and moral transformations.

In this century, globalization has triggered a range of social changes in India, specifically in terms of family and marriage systems. Globalization encompasses numerous global economic, social, technological, and political shifts.

The alterations in the Third World states, particularly in India, due to globalization have greatly impacted human relationships in an unprecedented way. Many family ties are permanently lost during the process of globalization, which has affected all rela


tionships. The traditional values of loyalty, responsibility, obedience, and selflessness in family life are slowly being replaced by the standards of personal fulfillment, company, sexual satisfaction for one's partner, egalitarianism, and compatibility. These changes are especially evident among the upper classes in developing countries. Essentially, man is a social being.

The journey of life is filled with challenges and responsibilities. Instead of facing it alone, we desire companionship and loyalty from another person who can provide support and share some of our burdens. This gave rise to the institution of marriage, where two adults of opposite genders formally enter into a socially and legally accepted bond that is intended to last a lifetime. However, in recent decades of globalization, this traditional agreement has been threatened. Surprisingly, marriage has started to lose its significance and sacredness. People now openly question the

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need for marriage when they can have all the benefits it offers without the formal commitment. The secular education and scientific mindset that encourages questioning everything, combined with women's newfound social and financial independence, has led them to see no issue in living without marital ties.

In Maharashtra and India overall, there is a growing prevalence of live-in relationships, leading to debates about their legality. However, it is important to question why more people in India's conservative society are opting for temporary live-in arrangements instead of committing to marriage. Marriage is traditionally seen as a sacred bond between a man and a woman, whereas the concept of live-in relationships challenges this belief. Although the government has recognized and implemented legal measures supporting live-in relationships in India, it remains a controversial issue within society.

Ultimately, whether someone chooses marriage or a live-in arrangement should be an individual decision with minimal interference from society. In democratic nations like India, individuals have the freedom to choose their life partners without being judged based on moral or ethical grounds. This perspective should be based on logic and reasoning.

Perspectives on Live-in Relationships

The concept of legalizing live-in relationships in India finds support from various individuals and couples. Shyam Benegal, a renowned film producer, asserts the significance of safeguarding women's rights and ensuring the future rights of children born out of such relationships. Mangala Samant, a Marriage Counselor, adds that approximately 20 percent of IT professionals opt to cohabit before marriage due to factors like long work hours, stress, and limited social life. Social Activist Shobhaa De highlights how the dynamics of marriages have transformed as women have become financially independent, leading them

to question the traditional patriarchal system established by men.

Women now have the power to choose their desired type of relationship and believe they can conveniently select partnerships. According to a survey by The Journal of Marriage and the Family, live-in relationships are seen as less committed. Social geographer Soma Das explains that those who choose live-in relationships lack faith in marriage.

Live-In Relationship

In India, significant changes in family structure occurred during the 20th century due to globalization, Westernization, industrialization, modernization, and increased mobility across the sub-continent.

The Indian society has experienced significant societal norm changes in the past century, posing challenges for households. These changes include a decline in traditional joint households in urban areas, an increase in women's life expectancy from 23 years (1901-10) to 65 years (2009), which is three years higher than men. There has also been a rise in female-headed households and a decrease in the average age of household heads. Factors contributing to these transformations are higher separation and divorce rates, leading to increased tension between spouses, as well as greater freedom for marital choice and women's involvement in decision-making.

Furthermore, there has been an increase in the average age at which females marry from 13 years old (1901) to 18 years old (2001), accompanied by improved female education levels. These changes signify various alterations within the family system concerning its structure, functions, core values, and regulatory norms. The emergence of "Live-in Relationships" has also impacted traditional household and marriage systems. Legally defined as cohabitation between unmarried individuals establishing a long-term committed partnership similar to marriage.

In today's era, more couples choose not to marry but still desire enduring relationships without the legal institution

of marriage.

Therefore, they cohabit without being married, similar to partners. This arrangement is known as a 'Live-in Relationship'. Live-in relationships among urban, educated, upper-middle class young individuals began as a declaration of independence, as a way of avoiding the constraints of traditional marriages. In fact, it is a deliberate rejection of the institution of marriage and its associated limitations and inequalities. Live-in relationships, pre-marital sex, divorces – terms that were strictly prohibited just five years ago – define the changing dynamics of relationships in India today. Live-in relationship is an extremely progressive concept that allows couples to determine their compatibility over time.

Statistics on Violence against Women and Family Structures in India

A survey conducted by the United Nations Population Fund revealed that 60% of married Indian adult females experienced rape, beating, or sexual abuse from their husbands. The National Crime Records Bureau documented 155,553 crimes targeting women in 2005, but underreporting due to fear of social stigma may result in an inaccurate reflection of the true extent of such crimes.

Kavita Jain, a certified counselor and trainer specializing in 'Parenting', reported a significant 60% increase in live-in relationships in India since 2004. According to the India census data, nuclear families comprised about 70% of all households, while single-member or multiple member families without a partner (also known as eroded families) accounted for approximately 11%. Extended and joint families represented only around 20% of all households.

In urban areas, there is a slightly higher proportion of atomic households compared to joint households. According to the National Family and Health Survey-1 of 1992-93 (NFHS), joint households make up no more than five percent of all households in urban areas (Singh,

2004:137). In Maharashtra, a state with a high divorce rate where two out of every five marriages end in divorce as per figures from 2005.

Reasons for increasing Live-in Relationships in India

Economic Factors

One reason for the increase in live-in relationships is the enormous growth of Indian call centres. This has resulted in significant socio-economic and cultural developments in Indian society.

  • No legal fuss, financial complications, or complex negotiations for dividing assets and debts between partners.
  • The increased career options available to Indian youth have helped them improve their personality, knowledge, become more mature and ready to take on different challenges.
  • The BPO industry has brought about key changes including increased financial independence for today's youth. They earn an average salary of Rs 10,000-15,000 working in call centers and live with their families. This allows them to have higher buying power.
  • The current trend emphasizes prioritizing experiences such as dining out, entertainment, purchasing branded consumer goods, electronics, cars, and houses ("live life king-size"). Both higher and lower income groups are embracing new types of relationships. For instance, a girl from a disadvantaged background may choose to cohabitate with a man who has slightly better financial means without getting married if she needs housing. The emergence of sectors like information technology (IT) provides job transition opportunities that empower women economically through globalization. In Maharashtra, women excel in the IT sector, outsourcing industry, and service-oriented fields. Divorce rates are increasing as couples prefer ending burdensome and unsatisfactory relationships rather than continuing them. The extended and irregular working hours coupled with excessive workloads negatively impact the mental and physical well-being of these individuals.

    The BPO sector employs thousands of women every year, providing new and

convenient forms of work. This allows women to better take care of their families. Call centers prefer women because they are seen as hardworking, patient, loyal, and have better interpersonal skills. While some families still view employment in a call center for women as taboo, this perception is gradually changing. The international secure working environment, higher wages, gender-neutral policies (zero-tolerance for sexual abuse), and home pickup and drop-off facilities make BPO a popular choice for many women. This has given them more confidence, a positive attitude towards life, and has empowered women in terms of age at marriage, divorce rates, and more equal gender roles. Today, career is everything for Indians.

The preference for live-in relationships over marriage has increased as many prioritize their careers. These relationships are becoming more diverse and contract-based, potentially leading to varying expectations from each other.

Subjective Factors

  • Avoiding responsibility is one of the main reasons.
  • Lack of commitment.
  • Disregard for social bonds.
  • Lack of tolerance in relationships.
  • The convenience factor plays a role.
  • Freedom is valued.
  • No need to relinquish rights or accept duties.
  • Testing emotional and physical compatibility is a factor.
  • Partners have the freedom to end the relationship whenever desired.

In our society, live-in relationships are not new. The difference now is that people are more open about them. They were previously referred to as "Maitri Karars," where individuals of opposite genders would enter into a written agreement to be friends, live together, and care for each other. Ancient Indian laws included the concept of Gandharva Vivah (consensual marriage). Our society has shifted from arranged marriages to love marriages and now towards "live-in relationships."

Even though there was initial resistance arguing that it contradicted Indian values and traditions, the number

of live-in relationships in India has increased. In recent times, there has been a significant rise in couples opting to live together without legal marriage ties. The Indian government now acknowledges live-in relationships as being on par with marriage according to a new law on domestic violence. Given this context, let's delve into the notion of marriage in India.


Marriage is considered a sacrament representing a lifelong partnership between two individuals rather than just a contract. It requires wholehearted commitment and is seen as a social union. Despite facing challenges, many Indian women choose to remain married. According to the 2001 census, India has 192.7 million households in 0.59 million villages and around 5,000 towns.

Reasons for the Longevity of the Marriage System in India:

  • Divorced or separated women face difficulties when seeking remarriage.
  • Cultural norms create a stigma around divorce, making cohabitation more acceptable for women.
  • Marriage provides emotional support and commitment for couples.
  • Spouses trust each other and combine their financial resources to acquire assets for the family. No other relationship offers the same level of emotional support, social recognition, and legal rights as marriage.
  • Marriage is socially and legally acknowledged, earning respect from society.
  • The institution of marriage is protected by law with well-defined rights and responsibilities for spouses.
  • There are strict provisions in place to ensure children's well-being in case of parental divorce.
  1. A significant amount of money would be needed to dissolve a marriage due to its formal and binding nature.
One cannot easily walk away from it. Children thrive when raised in a secure home by both parents. Home is a comforting place for them to return to

after a long day and allows them to flourish. It is crucial that we preserve the sanctity of the home for the sake of future generations. Society has always held both respect and fear towards social values and public opinion.The institution of marriage and family has been greatly influenced by religious beliefs.However, the increasing divorce rate in urban areas suggests that either marriage is facing challenges or people have higher expectations that they are no longer willing to compromise on, unlike previous generations who accepted dissatisfying and empty marriages.The significant number of remarriages indicates that people are ending their marriages due to unsatisfactory relationships.Sadly, our societal norms tend to blame women for any failed marriages resulting in violence or divorce due to how we have been socialized.

Cultural beliefs and traditions that promote discrimination against adult females may be officially discredited, but they still thrive at the grassroots level. In India, family relations are guided by personal laws. This social transformation highlights the need for an alternative to marriage, such as a live-in relationship, which offers certain advantages over traditional marriages. It allows the partners an opportunity to truly understand each other and live without the burden of social obligations and guilt.

Cutting down divorces and the mental anguish of households, a live-in relationship offers personal freedom to spouses and can reduce domestic violence. It provides an alternative to living together for incompatible couples, with less harm than divorce which can involve false and hostile allegations. However, there are drawbacks to live-in relationships in India, including the societal stigma and lack of acceptance. Detention and custody of children can be an issue, and the lack of social

responsibility may lead to abuse and frequent partner changes. Live-in relationships can also hurt sentiments of various communities. In a country like India, where love is not simply give-and-take, the success of living relationships is doubtful. Married couples may find it difficult to let go of social and domestic duties that they could casually disregard in a live-in relationship. Additionally, live-in relationships are not as socially accepted in India and can create discomfort for those living around them. Furthermore, living relationships often go against family norms.The household accepts the union, allowing the couple to freely engage with each other. Individual choice has always been subordinate to communal or public sentiment. In January 2008, the Supreme Court recognized long-term live-in relationships as marriages. A bench led by Justice Arijit Pasayat and P Satasivan declared that children born from such unions will no longer be considered illegitimate. The legalization of 'live-in' relationships has sparked a fierce debate in society, with some supporting it as a practical move, while others fear it will undermine the sanctity of marriage. In a country like India, this is an unconventional step but still a positive one.

After 61 years of independence, Indian women are increasingly recognizing their rights and exercising personal choice. The Maharashtra provincial government recently proposed an amendment of Section 125 of the Criminal Penal Code to protect the financial and other interests of the "other woman", with a change in the definition of the "wife". The legislation aims to provide security to women who enter into cohabitation with a man out of choice or may have been deceived into it. The bill now awaits the approval of the federal

government and the president's consent. Live-in relationships have been part of the Indian ethos for a long time, although a legal endorsement has always been missing.

Live-in relationships may have gained legal recognition, despite the controversies surrounding it. However, whether it is socially accepted is a completely different matter.


In our Parliamentary Democracy, the legalization of such a relationship itself is progress. Perhaps it is time to reassess our views on marriage and align with natural inclinations instead of opposing them. It is unfair to expect adults around the age of 30 to remain celibate if they do not get married. It goes against nature.

Perhaps it is time to reconsider the importance of marriage, allowing two adults the opportunity to assess compatibility before committing to a lifelong union. These ideas may be too advanced for our modern society and may take time before they are universally accepted. However, the fact that these discussions are openly occurring confirms that these concepts have arrived. Commitment is a crucial aspect of any relationship - whether it is a cohabitation or marriage, it should prioritize preventing domestic violence and its harmful effects on the mental well-being and emotional development of children.

In terms of Karl Marx's philosophy of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, the existence of the live-in relationship can be seen as the antithesis of the family system based on marriage, which serves as the thesis. A synthesis is expected to occur with the universalization of this concept in a country like ours. Perhaps the synthesis would be the widespread acceptance of the term DINK (Double Income No Kids).

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