Monday, August 29, 2011

Is Living in More Sexy Than Getting Married?

Is Living In With A Lover More Sexy Than Marrying To Get A Husband?

Angela Jolie and Brad Pitt are thinking of got married after years of living together. Why? With half a dozen kids and six years of living in - better late than never, or then not so? 

Quite a feat looking at the long list of live in relationships ending in break ups where the two people who were once inseparable go their own (bitter) ways. And this brings me to the entire premise of live in relationships, should one? Or then should one tie the knot and go for the conjugal bond?

My very personal opinion is that if you’re looking for long term commitment then it may not be a great idea to live in without putting your stock into the marital union which spells long term union. 

There is no such thing really as ‘trial marriage’. You can live together, have sex, put your dirty clothes in the same washing machine and share the same room but that does not a marriage make. It is not even a preparation for marriage. 

It is in my opinion a convenience of sorts without the attendant responsibilities. The live in couple seldom feel secure in the relationship and the desire to create palatable solutions to work toward a future together is absent. 

I've often seen couple’s that live together seldom work out their problems the way a commitment pushes you. In a marriage, despite unreasonable hormones, pms, office stress, you are forced to be rational or rethink a spat. You just have to be reasonable after a pow-wow. It is easier to walk out and look for another partner in a pique, exasperated with some minor problems of the moment or a phase that one of you are going through.  

The issues and their magnanimity pass and you find you could have worked it out -but you've moved on in the heat of those angry weeks. In a marriage it would have entailed sorting it out. You would have cooled down, relatives and friends might have counselled you and you'd have come back equipped with more sense and realization. In a live in relationship, even family tend to take your relationship lightly, and often do not work at helping you through it. 

Lovers that live together - especially in the initial phase- often vehemently insist that a piece of legal paper is of no consequence. Especially in a day and age when divorces are available ‘nearly overnight’. They revel in their companionship and passion when the going is good. When however, they hit a rough patch, they just up and go with cursory efforts to sort out the issues that have come up, most often lacking the tenacity to battle out problems and work at creating lasting intimacy.

There is a clear his and hers where money and material possessions go, the ‘ours’ and sense of sharing is most often nearly non existant.

At a recent television panel discussion which I participated in,  a heated pow-wow on this topic ensued .  Opposing participants pointed out that the stability marriage offers- especially in the Indian context- is more on a functional basis. The raison-de-etre of all enduring ‘arranged’ marriages that so surprises the west, is monetary.  Whereas, a live in relationship- they vehemently argue directed at my stance- is largely derived from an urgent and driving need for emotional and physical togetherness and intimacy. (Never mind the taboos which are dissolving slowly but still palpable). 

Most single people know that on the surface marriage looks like something that will give us happiness, save us from loneliness, is something to strive to have some day, and something that will be a major mile-marker in our lives but that may not always be the case, they argue!

If you've been lucky enough to see the full spectrum of marriage by association to family and friends by now you know that it is not something to take lightly, that it is not a gift that keeps on giving without nurture,  and it is something not to take for granted. If you are married, then you have a deeper understanding of marriage from your personal experience. Not only do you know about happiness and sadness, but you have felt it at a gut level and have grappled with working at and working out things together.

I’ve thought long and hard and been party to perennial debates on the subject and while I agree that a lot can be said for live in relationships , to a large extent my personal take is that I might still prefer the enhanced quality that life renders to the title ‘wife’. However it has to be said that human relationships especially the man woman realm, has ever defied fixed formulas. Henry the eighth changed the rules of the catholic religion to have six wives. It’s about what works best for the two people involved in the relationship . However in the dizzy throes of a relationship serious considerations may not be taken into account in the euphoria and delusionary cloud that a heady romance leads you into. The very basis for these situations is a seemingly genetic need for fulfilment , companionship, happiness- the decision should not be frivolous or transitory and important considerations like family, future, monetary security need to be ensured. 

These days marriages too fall as easily apart as clich├ęd nine pins, with the ripples of pain extending to the offspring’s . This is why both situations should be entered into with much thought, commitment , responsibility and oodles of ability to caring, giving and understanding the need for individuality to ensure any degree of success and happiness. 

Written by Nisha JamVwal for & published in the newspapers Deccan Chronicle & Asian Age 

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