Living Together

It is not a practical solution in India where we rarely have to or need to or do move out of our parents’ home if living in the same city. And living together with your girlfriend/boyfriend is not exactly an option then. But of course, these constraints notwithstanding, living together in India is not quite the social norm. It is, has been and for still quite some time continue to be a recipient of raised eyebrows and reprimands, especially when the families become aware of it. The extended families are bound to try and stop “such an act” even if the immediate family may tentatively or wholeheartedly agree. And in a country such as India where families matter, their pressurizing and publicly-aired opinions matter also, sometimes. So, living together without being married is living in sin. Because this time everyone knows for sure, you are having sex! 😉
But when traveling out of the country, these restrictions fade away with every air mile you cover. It is not thought of as much in the Western countries. It is not something to be compared, and said that this is better and this is not, but is actually just a difference in lifestyle, cultures and society. Primarily as when you come of age, you are supposed to get your own place, people don’t stay with their parents etc, it allows them to choose if they want to stay with a partner or alone. And obviously because it is practical for them.
For the Indians, who travel abroad as unmarried couples, it is also practical. Financially and emotionally. And what happens in the West stays in the West. So there rarely is a chance of the previously “feared” extended family getting a wind of your living arrangements. 
Strangely enough, having a physical relationship before marriage that is the primary concern of not allowing living together in India, reduces to be the least important aspect of living together when away from your country of birth, your family, and everything that you ever were familiar with.

The most amazing aspect of couples living together is the growth of the involved as individuals, as a couple and as human beings. Living together as a choice is quite a step ahead. It involves responsibilities, maturity and being “shackled” when you could choose to be “free”.

Irrespective of age, people actually grow. They learn to share, give more than they take, they learn to make do, give up and go without. And they get more in return! They realize, and epitomize, what happiness and love is. Not the dreamy kind with just flowers, confetti, hearts and burning passion in it. But the kind with all of the above but tangible and real.

It’s different from being married as it is the urge to stay and be together, getting to know the real person, without any compulsion, as a choice, just because you want to and not because they had to. And marriage is just another step where you let the families revel in your joys too. But this is just for the actual two in the relationship that one day is going to hold the families together.

Some say getting married and being unable to live with the person is worse than living together before and knowing they’d be incompatible, and hence having the freedom to move different ways before it’s too late. However much it is frowned upon, it’s difficult to argue that a bad live-in experience is much less worse than a bad marriage. Only one of them is easily reversible.

Then we should go back and wonder why we get married. Is it because we are supposed to? Or to procreate? Or is it to not live unnoticed, a life un-witnessed, unshared, unloved and die alone? If we marry for nothing but the promise of being together, being there for the other, what is wrong with living together? Every one of us don’t get signs, placards and arrows pointing “This is The ONE!!”, even if we do, we are too steeped in our day-to-day survival to understand or even notice them!

Living with the “prospective” one, and even this step is not a one not lightly taken, is way to re-discover your love and realizing all over again, why you had once told your friend, “I can’t imagine life without him/her”. And the couples who do, do it marvelously and makes one smile at their obvious affection and shared bliss that is more significant because of all the crossed bumps on the road. This is more real than the on-screen, in-books love stories. More special.

And yes, they probably have sex. But then just because some don’t live together, it doesn’t mean that they don’t… it is just the others don’t know for sure! 😉


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About Guria

An Artist in Science - I am a Misfit 'cause I choose to be one. "Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform" And I am a Maverick, because, I'm... umm... brilliant?
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7 Responses to Living Together

  1. Harini says:

    I agree. Living together before wedding helps a relationship. Even if you are in a relationship for 5 years and meet each other everyday you wont know them as much as you would know them while living together. I just so wish in India people would understand that living together is not a sin. But its a wish I know which will never get full filled :).

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  2. aativas says:

    'Living Together' is just a practical arrangement for people sometimes – whether within marriage or outside marriage.What matters most is the comfort level!

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  3. Samadrita says:

    I don't have anything against people in a live-in relationship but on a personal level I don't really feel comfortable with the arrangement. I guess I'm kind of 'old-fashioned' when it comes to such things. Although I agree with the fact that it's far better to live-in with a person and break off the arrangement rather than go for an ugly divorce after 3 months of marriage. That will really suck a whole lot more!

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  4. I dont understand the need for “living together”.. when one knows that they will spend life with that other person, then one can just get married.. whether you are living together or you are married, you are emotionally bound to that person.. so you will anyway get hurt.. I know am pretty old-fashioned 🙂

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  5. Guria says:

    I don't think I could explain very well but I think just hearing about it doesn't let one understand the big step they take and how admirably they hold to it. Marriage is always not an option, I think. I don't want to go into the issue whether it is right or wrong. As generalizations are perfectly bullshit. But seeing people who have done, who do and their healthy relationship, their happiness… it is palpable. The post does has some lame jokes, obviously, my signature style 😉 but it's not your opinion of what you would do, but what they do and how near-perfectly they do it. Plus tell me one thing: why do people don't get married right away if they are in a relationship with 'the one'? I think the same answer applies here too.

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  6. Aditya says:

    The last line of your post sums up everything you said!

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  7. Wow. Your article reminds me of The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh, which deals with similar cultural differences between East and West and how, for some people, the cultures of the other part of the world is smothering. Read it, if you have time.
    And also check out my blog http://www.impulse.org.in

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