In the year 2015, the Supreme Court of India stated that live-in relationships should not be considered a prohibited relationship, it is still looked down upon and still considered a taboo. Specifying a region or state will not summarize the problem of people’s perception as it is their way of looking at such a relationship which is problematic, not the area to which they belong. The collectivist culture of India has believed the only possible way for “heterosexual” couples to live together in a house is by getting married. The idea that marriage should not be a necessary tag to live with your companion is still an alien and outrageous proposal for them. Homosexual couples have to wrap their relationships in a lot of lies as it is not legal in India.
Live-in relationships are not bound by the sanctity of marriage, which most of the people nowadays believe is a more liberal way of living with your partner. Indian couples find it a friendly idea of staying together, getting accustomed to each other’s ways of living and keeping it intimate without rushing into larger commitments. Most of the people in live-in relationships may not be comfortable with the idea of marriage or the heavy version of commitment attached by the cultural norms, and all they want is an intimate relationship with his/her/their beloved under the same roof.
In India, we are already pretty shy about sex education, this whole concept of live-in relationships comes out as a bitter pill to swallow. The opinion of society on this concept comes later since first there are a lot of contesting opinions within the families. The problem arises within the families itself as parents often have a perception that it is a relationship without responsibility and the marriage tag would apparently inculcate seeds of responsibility in their relationship. It is hard for them to swallow the idea of choosing not to get married and yet staying together. Some parents accept the idea gradually over the years, some understand initially and some do not consider it conventional and think that it is disgraceful to live like that. With the change in time the last category of parents have reduced significantly as they perceive that for their children, marriage will not give them the epitome of bliss, but just waking up next to his/her/their loved ones might give them the same. Indian parents are not their yet but they have definitely come a long way into understanding their children’s need to giving them the space to live on their own terms.
Another crucial aspect of this relationship which is highly debated upon is a child’s legitimacy born out of such relationships. The judiciary considers these children legitimate and the parents’ relationship status should not determine a child’s legitimacy. Yet they are termed as illegitimate according to the cultural norms, children born outside a marriage are considered impure/bastard. Perception of people in this aspect is still too rigid and it is a hard yet achievable goal to make them realize that it is completely fine to have children without getting married.
Live-in relationships thus give couples their free space to live with each other as they may or may not consider marriage as their ultimate goal. It is an acceptable norm in the eyes of the law and now it is the time that people to consider it acceptable regardless of one’s sexuality.