I am so excited to write on this topic that you can’t fathom, mostly because live-in relationships are a relatively new concept in India. And couples still don’t openly talk about it. If you have ever experienced life in Mumbai, you must have a fair idea about how many couples live together without any obnoxious glares. It may be because of the high rent or just because they were curious about the arrangement. I realised that this was because people were so liberal there. Nobody cares about what is happening in the house next door. And I feel that this behaviour/culture/attitude has its perks, although it is not entirely ideal. Everyone gets to live their lives the way they want to.
When I was staying in Mumbai, I got to observe live-in relationships very closely. Most of my friends were living with their partners. In fact, I have a firsthand experience of a live-in relationship, too. Though it was for a brief amount of time, it gave me a clear view of how living with your partner feels like. So I thought of using this blog to offer factual information about live-in relationships. Here are 20 things you must remember before getting into a live-in relationship in India.
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1. Know Your Rights Beforehand
Live-in relationships were illegal in India until last year. In May 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of live-in relationships. Unmarried adults (girls and boys above 18 and 21 years, respectively) can live together without being married if they both consent to it. Let me summarise the law for you. The law also promises women to have complete protection. The couple’s relationship has the same rights as any married couple, as per the Hindu Marriage Act 1955. So, you can’t harass the woman for dowry. And if you have children, they will be considered as legitimate children. Lastly, women cannot claim maintenance as no marital contract is signed between the individuals.
2. Sometimes, it is fun
Phew! That was serious stuff. But live-ins don’t have to be serious necessarily. They can be enjoyable. You get to explore the world with the one you love. You enjoy the perks of marriage without the label. And this is an excellent thing because you get to have a firsthand experience of what it is like to live with your partner. It is kind of a test to see how strong your relationship is and if you are compatible enough to get married. Pass this test, and you have a wonderful life ahead.
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3. Sometimes, it is quite a lot of work
Live-in relationships may not be serious, but they are work. They are not as tough as marriages, but they require the same amount of efforts if not less. It is not rainbows and fairytales. Live-ins demand hard work. You have to manage your schedules. Many couples who are in a live-in relationship are often working professionals. They have to plan their household chores and office work accordingly. But planning is not everything. You need to divide the work. You can’t have just one person doing everything. That is how relationships break, and things go south. Creating a balance may be difficult, but it is essential.
4. Fights don’t lead to a breakup
Since you are just like a married couple, you can’t break up every time you fight. So if you are not serious about the relationship, you are better off without living together. Some instances of live-in relationships have shown how this arrangement is not for every couple. It works in favour of some and doesn’t work for others. And that is okay. At least you get to experience what your married life would have been like. Just like any marriage, you have to pick up and dust each other off after each fight. You have to carry on. The only other option you have is leaving the house, which cannot be an impulsive or immediate decision.
5. There is nothing called exclusive “dates” anymore
Small things like going to the mall to buy groceries, going out for midnight walks and 3 a.m. coffees turn into dates. You work at home and in your respective offices. You spend all your time together so there is really no motivation to go out and spend your money so that you can spend some time together. Candlelight dinners happen at home especially when the lights go out. You might not enjoy these if you live in Mumbai, where power cuts happen once in a blue moon. Basically, there is nothing called exclusive dates. You either find happiness in the small things, or you break up fighting over the same things. The choice is yours.
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6. “Netflix and chill” is a weekend bliss only
Living together does not necessarily mean that you will be spending all your time together. Some couples don’t even get to see each other as much as they should when they start living together. Depending on your schedule, you may have to actually take some out to ensure that you don’t forget each other.
Most couples who are in a live-in relationship say that they only truly spend time with each other during weekends. They love to put on their favourite movies or binge-watch a new TV show. This helps them to still keep their relationship alive amidst their busy schedules.
7. Social life is practically inexistent
So what happens to your social life when you start living together? Well, it dies. It won’t be such a huge deal for people like me who don’t have any friends anyway. But it is undoubtedly bad news for people who enjoy a large social circle. Some would argue that that’s not the case. Couples can always call their friends over and have a good time together. In fact, this is all the more reason to have frequent house parties. But nobody wants to host a group of 20 at their home after coming from work. And since the weekends are already booked for movie and TV show marathons, there is no way you can fit a house party in that slot.
8. You may get fat since you are eating together
If you don’t already know this, you tend to become healthy if you are in a happy relationship. Your body responds quickly to food so even if you are eating the same amount of food, you will get fat. However, happiness is not the only reason. Our schedules are so packed these days that we skip meals no matter how much we claim to love food. If you are in a live-in relationship, you might your enjoy breakfast and dinner together. Some couples also find time to meet for lunch. Since you are not skipping meals anymore, it is natural for you to gain a few kilos and look chubbier. Wear it as a proof of a happy life.
9. Sex is there, but cuddles are ‘definitely there!’
You have to say goodbye to many things when you get into a live-in relationship. Sex is one of them. When people imagine a live-in relationship, they imagine two people having lots of monkey sex. Couples don’t just go around humping each other every chance they get when they live together. You are so used to seeing each other that you don’t get as excited to see them as you otherwise would. So sex becomes infrequent.
On the other hand, cuddles are something that keeps happening naturally. Couples enjoy that more than sex. It helps them feel protected and loved. And that is something that is essential for every relationship. So while sex may not get eliminated entirely, you will find yourself spooning and cuddling more than that.
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10. It isn’t always Game of Thrones; it is grey-joy!
Couples fight… for chores! We can all agree that errands were made by Satan to trouble us for life. And nobody wants to be responsible for them. So you will time and again find yourself negotiating on who will do what. But are you really civil enough to negotiate? Not really, right? You will scream and shout to make the other person do the job because you both will be tired as heck after a long day at work. There is your Game of Thrones season 9, right there! But there will be times when you will finish the chore yourself because you love your partner. And you want to do good to them.
11. You can go green and save resources, for ex: water
I really feel every couple has a responsibility toward the environment, so you must engage in at least one environment-friendly activity. In this case, you can save water by showering together. It is one of the best parts of living together according to a lot of couples. Showering together not only saves water but also allows you to come closer to each other. As we have already established living together does not mean you get to spend all your time together, this little raunchy activity seems to be a great way to spend some quality time with each other.
12. Dishes and disses are an everyday affair
Where there is love, there is war! So obviously, there will be fights and conflicts. You practically live as husband and wife in a live-in relationship. It is just the two of you. Every. Single. Day. There is nothing wrong with t. Don’t get me wrong. But most couples would agree with me when I say that it does get a tad tedious. Seeing the
same person the only person in each other’s daily lives can make your relationship monotonous. And that can lead to fights and disagreements. There is really nothing much that you can do about it but be patient and keep putting yourself in your partner’s shoes. Go out even if you are tired. Having dinner at a decent restaurant never killed anyone. Do everything to reduce the monotone from the relationship.
13. You will get the same personal space as your dog would have allowed if you had one
This one is so true that I want to include the slow clap emoji in between the words ‘this is so true.’ This may not be such a big problem if you are used to having people around you all the time. But saying goodbye to space will bother you significantly if you are a lover of solitude.
Your partner will definitely not be blocking your way or licking your face or even sniff your butt when you are walking around the house. But they will definitely take up the empty space in your house. And if either one of you is jobless or basically does nothing, then it will surely be a problem for the other person.
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14. Coming to a unanimous solution gives the exact feeling of winning an Olympic medal
It is a different thing if you work great as a team, but it is a whole another thing if agreeing on one thing is difficult for you. For instance, my boyfriend and I never agree on the same movie to watch. We literally spend hours deciding and never reach a decision without one of us being miffed. However, once in a while, there is a show or a movie that we do say “YES” to. In unison! And that is the best thing ever. But it is not just about a movie. There are more important decisions that need both your agreement. Like, deciding where to eat? Just kidding! Slightly more important than that such as finding the ideal house or getting a pet. And honestly, if you can’t agree on which pet you should get, living together won’t be the best arrangement for you.
15. “What do you want to eat?” isn’t just a question, it is a life-altering decision
Speaking of eating, here is a heads up for you. You are going to spend an eternity trying to decide where you want to eat. Most couples who live together rarely find time to make their own food. Especially given the lifestyle that people lead these days. So that is when food delivery apps are going to become your saviour. Since you are going to be spending on outside food so much, you might have to prepare your budget accordingly. That tip will go a long way for you. But that is just not all. You will be making a lot of cuts and doubling expenses. More on that later!
16. “I love you”s are shown more than said
You know how married people keep complaining that they never hear their partners tell them how much they love them? Once you start living together, you know how true that is. It is one of those things that happens to every couple. You should know that words are often not enough to appreciate the other person. They can’t even accommodate the feeling you have towards your partner. After a certain point in time, you begin to feel that showing your love is easier and more thoughtful than saying it. And that is why it is more beautiful and holds more importance.
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17. Never come home to an empty nest
Like a dog waiting for its parent to come home, your partner will always be waiting for you. Open the door, and there they will be. Most people agree that is the best part about living together. You always have a familiar face that greets you when you walk into the house. Moreover, you have someone who cares about how your day was and made it a point to ask you about it. Nothing says ‘I love you’ better than someone who asks you about your day. That is truly wonderful.
18. Your house is either a dumping yard or a five-star lobby
How your house looks depends entirely on the kind of people that live in it. I have observed that most couples who have conflicting ideologies related to the tidiness of their homes are usually the ones who don’t last long. And my observation was confirmed when I came across studies that provided evidence for the same. Two contradicting personalities can never make a happy home. Not just couples, any two people. Some couples really put in the effort to keep their house clean by going the extra mile. Other couples don’t care about how their house looks. Whatever is your preference, remember that your house definitely affects your mood. You are less likely to feel suffocated in an organised home. On the other hand, you may feel depressed easily in a cluttered home.
19. Budget fails, budget suffices, budget stabilises!
Just like life. Your wallet will be empty on some days, and it will be full on others. It will never be the same. Your life and the relationship that you share with your partner will never be the same. It will keep changing just like the seasons. And one of the major reasons that relationships break and live-ins don’t work out is the money factor. Deny it all you want and claim to be the couple that does not care about finances. When reality hits you hard, you realise that money was necessary all along and that the only way you can survive without it is… not! So don’t let finances take over your love. And if you think it would, it is best to live in separate homes.
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20. Finding a house is no less than a struggle
Kept the biggest obstacle for the last! I have lost the count of couples who just wake up one day and say that they want to move in together and never do. And the number one reason for that is never finding the right house. You will either have to adjust in a chawl or really stretch your rent budget to afford an expensive society. There is no in-between. And if you do find an in-between, be prepared for sneak-ins, coverups and the society’s tantrums. I don’t want to scare you, but this is the truth about live-in relationships. So good luck!!