By Ayush Bhuyan:
Last year, the Supreme Court legalized live-in relationships in India. The concept of living in the same house with the opposite sex before marriage and maintaining sexual relations has always been considered taboo for ages in the Indian culture. With this new law, unmarried couples can live more freely and comfortably in the open, and more importantly, in the same house. The society today has a more “modern” perspective at things, a more mature and rational mentality. This primarily has paved way for increasing acceptance of live-ins in India. In fact, such relationships have also been in existence in history and mythology. The court reacted on the issue by stating “even Lord Krishna and Radha lived together according to mythology”.
Some people have had, and will always have moral and social issues in accepting it, and as always there’s not much you can do to stop this behaviour. Unfortunately, there are some who have a hostile way of opposing this form of relationship. These are the people who label the women in live-ins as “character-less” and sometimes even as prostitutes. They don’t approve of it, stating it violative of the principles of the Indian culture. Well, it won’t be surprising if these turn out to be the same men who beat up girls for wearing western clothes and going to bars, and they talk about culture. This is predominantly the ignorant sexist crowd that cannot tolerate female freedom.
Personally, I think the acceptance of such relationships is a beneficial step by the government, and is beneficial for the society. Of course, like everything else, it has its cons as well. Let’s have a look at the advantages.
The biggest advantage of a live-in relationship would that the partners can try and see if they want to spend the rest of their lives with each other before actually getting married, or going “officially wedded”. It reduces the possibility of a divorce later which is a prime cause for stress and depression, apart from the legal hassle that comes along with a divorce. Secondly, it gives a couple more time to know each other and strengthen their relationship instead of rushing onto a decision as crucial as marriage. Such a relationship also suits those couples who desire the company of each other but at the same time want freedom and flexibility.
The second topic of concern is premarital sex. Again, it has always been considered taboo in the Indian society. Abstinence till marriage is a valued trait in our culture. But the law does not prohibit pre-marital sex as long as both the partners are above the legal age for sex. Two adults are mature enough to decide for themselves. According to me, sex should not be associated to the act of marriage. It is more of a relationship and not a ceremony. Two adults should have sex when they feel it to be right, both mentally and physically, and when they are responsible enough to bear any consequences that may arise from it. Marriage is not the indicator of Freedom to have sex, the relationship and love is. Although the act should be carried out with proper protection as it could lead to infections and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. A healthy relationship is never immoral or sinful, whether it’s a live-in or not, whether it involves pre-marital sex or not. Primarily, Consent is the most important factor while judging the “morality” of live-in relationships and pre-marital sex. And this arises from making Informed Decisions — decisions that both partners are fully aware of, in terms of effects and consequences.