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What’s it Like To Live Together as an Unmarried Couple in India? Couples Tell Us.
We asked couples in live-in relationships in India how it is to not carry the mark of marriage that the Indian society is obsessed with
With the conversation around live-in relationships turning toxic in the country, there’s still hope for those who prefer the arrangement. The recent shocking news of the murder of Shraddha Walkar at the hands of her intimate partner Aftab Poonawala has opened up heated debates on Indian news outlets and the internet about the “dangers” of live-in relationships, and seemingly encouraged hate-mongering. So much so that young girls are writing and reciting poems at school assemblies that condemn couples living together without being legally married.
But in the process of collectively demonising live-in arrangements, everyone forgot to ask live-in couples themselves how they feel about their living arrangements, as well as the positive and negative aspects of staying together without getting married in a society as conservative as India.
Why do couples prefer live-in arrangements?
When VICE spoke to couples in a few Indian metros, who had chosen to cohabit without the marital tag, the reason for their choice seemed apparent. In most cases, it’s like a dry run to check if the arrangement works before getting married – similar to checking if the water from the shower is the correct temperature before you get under it.
Cat, who chose not to share her real name as she didn’t want hers and her partner’s extended families finding out about their living arrangement, is a 27-year-old from Bengaluru, who lives with her partner of the same age. “We had met only once, but I wanted us to live together to test the waters, since we were [already] in a committed relationship.”
For others like digital content creators Maitrayanee Mahanta, 26, and Avishruti Bora, 19, from Guwahati, moving in together seemed like a natural progression in their relationship, more so given the nature of their work. “We frequently assist each other with the various tasks involved in shooting videos and also collaborate [with each other]. So it’s a win-win situation for us,” said Mahanta. Also, since same-sex unions are still not recognised by courts in India, the most queer couples can hope for is a space of their own (and some sanity to boot).
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