There truly is no one size fits all solution when it comes to marriage vs live-in. It depends upon each person’s preferences and phase of life. However, love is a beautiful emotion that brings two people together, irrespective of their color, caste or class. But, today’s youth want to explore that love, so they spend more time with each other and maybe live-together as well. So, is live-in relationship better?
Live-arrangements are no doubt influenced by several factors, such as socio-economic status, financial well-being, social support and availability of social services, and the social milieu that one is living in.
Advantages of Live-in Relationship
Marriage in some countries is becoming slightly outdated as young couples prefer living together, rather than marry. They feel that marriage is binding and also one has to go through legal hassles in order to separate. A live in arrangement allows much freedom to the couples as they can break the tie any time without any legal laws to be taken care of.
In summary, live-in relationship brings some advantages as listed below.
- The couples are not forced to remain with each other in case they do not like. They can just decide to break off the relationship, unlike in marriage, where they have to approach the court to do so.
- Those who do not want to have the responsibility of children can opt for this arrangement.
- Now the law has approved the legal property claim of a child born in a live-in relationship, so therefore many young people find this arrangement a better option.
- Those who are not emotionally prepared for the responsibility of a marriage prefer to have a live- in arrangement as it provides them the opportunity to live with someone in case they are unable to stay on their own.
- The feeling of no strings attached make the youngsters feel that living with someone in a live-in arrangement is a better option.
Let us go deeper into what advantages live-in relationship brings compared to marriage.
Marriage vs Live-in Relationship
There are many reasons people go against getting married in this age, important ones are discussed below.
Marriage is formalization for the sake of society
Marriage is merely a formalization of a relationship, in the eye of law. If I were to truly love and commit to someone, formalization or no, it would not really entail any change in the quality of the relationship. The added formalization to me is therefore a redundancy.
Easy to break-off from live-in when things go wrong
It is far easier to break off a live-in relationship than a marriage. The dissolution of a marriage can be done either by divorce, or annulment, both of which are tedious at best, leaving both parties a mess. In case of a break up, the parties just walk away. Moreover, for divorce or annulment to be granted, specific legal grounds ought to be satisfied, the lack of satisfaction of which grounds precludes divorce proceedings. This is not restricted to fault based divorces, but even to no-fault/mutual divorces.
In case of live in relationships, there is no such prerequisite; even boredom with each other is perfectly valid a justification to initiate breakup. While proponents of marriage criticize this aspect of live in relationships by condemning such relationships as volatile, proponents of live in relationships, such as myself consider it as freedom.
No legal obligation to share assets after break-up
There is no redistribution of money and assets (of course, this can be done even in marriages using prenuptial agreements but that’s additional effort – and it also starts the marriage on a note that it could potentially end; marriages are often intended to be life long, while live in relationships have no such entailment.)
Live-in can bring you financial autonomy
In marriages, there is a tendency to share earnings and own assets jointly – although this is neither a prerequisite, nor even an absolute norm. Couples are choosing to keep their finances either entirely separate or partially shared and partially separate, with a bulk of the finances going to the latter. In live in relationships, almost always, the partners choose to maintain their finances separately. This doesn’t mean that partners won’t spend money on each other, but merely that they deposit their earnings, and invest separately.
Myth: Marriages are more stable
Statistics show that marriages are more “stable” than live in relationships, in that their longevity tends to exceed that of live in relationships. This is not because live in relationships are innately less stable or more volatile, but because many people use live in relationships as trial periods, or for relationships to which they are not willing to commit on a long term basis, but who wish to cohabit in the present. Marriage entails a more serious connotation than live in relationships. It would only logically follow that should two couples, one residing in marriage, and another in a live in relationship, where the love between the partners, and their compatibility are equal, the stability would remain the same, as long as there is no value attached to the institution of marriage in the latter couple.
Marriage does not de facto lend stability, it is more because of the subconscious element in people who are led to believe it does because of social influence. Also the difficulty involved and in some cultures, the stigma attached to divorces, is a dissuading factor w.r.t. divorces, therefore marriages tend to continue despite differences between the couple.
Disadvantages of Live-in Relationships
In our social structure and times are still ‘marriage centric’ and often harsh/judgmental to girls specifically. In that light its a huge responsibility for the boy to ensure her dignity in case the relationship does not take the marriage route. With that aspect, here comes many disadvantages of being gin live-in relationship
- It can make a couple feel insecure with each other as there is no legality involved as far as the relationship is concerned. A person can walk off any time. This could leave the other partner in the lurch.
- In case one partner gets emotionally attached and the other partner ceases to have any affections then it could create problems. Sometimes a partner involved would like to settle down for good with the other person, who perhaps may not like it that way. In other words, one of the partner may want to marry and settle down in a long-lasting relationship.
- In the Eastern countries like India, live-arrangements are not accepted socially although some couples in the urban areas and in the elite sections of the society are preferring such arrangements. Among the celebrity circle all over the world this is a very common arrangement, even in the East.
- A live-in arrangement may not be all that good for a woman. The man may go for a younger woman and ditch the earlier woman. Of course, this could also happen to men, but usually women are on the receiving end. Usually, women are treated as sex symbols.
- Although the law has allowed legal claim of property of a child born to live-in couples, they do face social ostracism. Society easily accepts children born out of legal marriages, and tend to look down up children born out of live-arrangements.
- The live in arrangement can also turn out to be sour in case both partners are not made for each other. One may end up trying too many relationships in order to get the perfect match. This could lead to exploitation of a partner who may be emotionally weak.
- Some partners go in for live-arrangements with the hope that they will get well accustomed to the partner, but this situation may not arise at times.
Despite the hassles that one faces in a live-in arrangement many urbanities particularly in the well-off sections of the society are going in for this type of arrangement. They prefer to understand each other before marriage, or just remain in that form of relationship.
Live-in Relationship in India
Westernization and Modernization has introduced live in relationships to the people of India. Few sections of the society still has difficulty in accepting it.
In the West, couples often live together for sometime and then decide to marry or perhaps not marry at all. However in the East, particularly in Asian countries such as India and Pakistan this live-in concept is not accepted. Also such couples face social discrimination. Sometimes, in the locality they are living they may get isolated.
However, in the past it used to be considered amoral but times are changing. It is socially acceptable now in cities, among the educated classes. Additionally, supreme Court has recently ruled out that having relationship with out marriage is not a crime.
For some people, marriage means a lot. Not just legally, but sometimes emotionally or for religious reasons. They would probably always be wanting the marriage, and not be happy just living with someone.
So it does work for some people and not for others. As said in the beginning, “there truly is no one size fits all solution”. Marriage and live-in relationships are choices that should be free from societal pressures. One may believe in the idea of holy matrimony, but one should not be criticized for his or her decision to consider a live-in relationship, right?
Lets us know what is your perception of live-in relationship.