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    In this age of instant gratification and tenuous relationships, there has been a sea change in attitudes towards age-old institutions like marriage. Over the past two decades, marriage rates have fallen while cohabitation rates have increased. Whereas a generation ago only about 10% of couples lived together, today almost 50% live together before marriage. Although the numbers are higher in the West, India and other Asian countries are catching up fast.

    Living at home seems a far more attractive proposition than the bondage of marriage. It’s a “fun thing” and the partners believe in taking each day as it comes. They do not see the need to formalize the relationship. The standard answer given is that “neither of us are religious, and a piece of paper makes no difference in our relationship”.

    Stephanie Coontz, co-chair of the Council of Contemporary Families, says, “Cultural acceptance and science have broken the age-old equation of marriage and child-rearing. All forms of families claim legitimacy and obtain it.

    Many tend to blame the feminist movement for the devaluation of marriage. Germaine Greer has derided the “myth of middle-class love and marriage”. If they were caught in such a trap, they should have no qualms about breaking free.

    An Indian feminist Radha Thomas said, “Marriage is nothing but someone else’s rules imposed on you by society. Cohabiting relationships are not out of the ordinary.”

    In their book “Open Marriage – a new lifestyle”, George and Nina O’Neil call marriage “archaic, rigid, old-fashioned, oppressive, static and decaying”, and believe that monogamy should be shattered. But long before them, Sigmund Freud was convinced that sexual liberation, as opposed to sexual coercion, was the panacea for all human emotional ills.

    Bertrand Russell was also a champion of the great liberal sex. He said: “Adults have the right to live together as long as they have no children.”

    Today’s younger generation is an ambitious, work-oriented class that is determined to reach the top of the career ladder no matter what. Heady for power and wealth, they have neither time for moral commitments nor lifelong monogamy. They cannot lose sight of their hopes and dreams for a legal document. They don’t have time to play loving husband or adored dad to a brood of brats. Their economic stability gives them the feeling of being “the masters of their destiny and the captains of their soul”.

    Many educated women have chosen a “professional only” role and feel good about it. A career offers the possibility of remaining single. Staying single is no longer a handicap. Marriage is seen as a threat to their career goals. They have economic independence, personal freedom and a glamorous social life. Husband and children would only disrupt a pattern they have grown accustomed to. Sexual liberation provides pleasure without commitment. And since everyone does it, why not them? However, they are likely to squeeze their way into the feminist cage of unrealistic expectations and a distorted understanding of love, which could distort their value systems.

    Secular humanism is another ideology, which has created a lot of confusion in the area of ​​sexuality, as it depends entirely on the wisdom and ability of man. The rights of the individual must take precedence over all else, no matter what destruction they leave in their wake.

    The cohabitation relationship goes by different names. Living Together (LTR) has neither emotional nor legal security. The Gestalt Prayer sums up their ideology.

    “I do my thing and you do your thing,

    I’m not here to live up to your expectations,

    And you’re not in this world to live up to mine.

    You are you and I am me,

    And if by chance we meet again, it’s beautiful,

    Otherwise, there is nothing to do.”

    In common law marriage, the man and woman call each other husband and wife even though there is no legal license to seal their relationship. There are many such couples in all walks of life and the public recognizes them as such.

    However, a contractual cohabitation involves two people in a master-servant relationship. The master can be the man or the woman. A written contract specifies the duties, salary, benefits, time off, medical benefits and the length of the contract. There are probably clauses that deal with premature termination of the contract.

    The advantage of a cohabitation relationship is that it is not oppressive. In fact, it is considered a liberating experience. It gives individuals their own space for growth and plenty of scope for creativity. The partners usually have the same level of intelligence and consider each other equal. They are not the “hanging on the vine” type who need constant attention and reassurance. The woman does not like to mother the man either, knowing very well that this could compromise her erotic role. Both partners value their independence and yet remain good companions and friends. Each seeks fulfillment and is blind to the underlying selfishness of their individual characters. Children are not in their equation because responsibility is furthest from their minds.

    Some cohabitation relationships end in marriage, especially if the wife becomes pregnant or the couple decides to start a family. This happens when there is stability and a deep commitment to each other.

    But the majority are only looking for a short-term high. After trivializing what is sacred, they move on to new partners. Sex is reduced to a simple biological function that can be performed anywhere. There are no ties that unite, and boredom sets in because of the very little personal investment.

    Some believe that marriage destroys sex. In Esther Peret’s book “Mating in Captivity”, she says that domesticity dulls sexual interest. While living in gives the feeling of being temporary and is therefore more exciting.

    Some separate because of disputes over funding and sharing of expenses. Going Dutch may not be acceptable for a partner who receives a lower salary than the other and whose requirements may be lower. The distribution of household chores can also become a bone of contention.

    There could be a capricious incompatibility, one trying to dominate the other. Quarrels may become frequent, or there may be long periods of silence or even violence. Character quirks considered cute earlier in their relationship can start to annoy. Familiarity, as they say, can breed contempt.

    Some psychologists claim that when there is mental compatibility alongside physical closeness, the relationship lasts. And the supposed sage of all wisdom Mahesh Bhatt agrees, believing that sex is more about “mental coupling” than a physical act.

    Living together does not constitute marriage. It’s an arrangement between two consenting adults, who believe they can get out of a relationship whenever they want. Many believe that premarital sexual experiences will help choose the right partner when it comes time to finally settle down. But how many of these short-term relationships must one experience before making the right choice?

    Life has been made easier by permissive legislation. Judicial liberalism has given a green signal to adulterous relationships. The basic assumption is the individual’s right to choose. There is no violation of the law and it is perfectly legal, but the choice must be made responsibly. According to a legal luminary, “Living together is a good thing because it leads to fewer broken marriages. It’s the older generation that needs a total reorientation.”

    Dr Rakesh Chandra, professor of women’s studies, says it’s a wise statement because “it takes notice of something that’s going on. It protects a woman’s rights and gives her the freedom to get out of a relationship. unsatisfactory”.

    Advisor Amrita Das believes that “a living couple should be driven by responsibility and commitment, and should see the relationship as a prelude and not a substitute for marriage.” She goes on to say, “We have to distinguish between living in license and living with moral intent.”

    Technology has certainly come to the rescue of these relationships. The problem of unwanted pregnancies is taken care of by various methods of contraception. Infections like STDs and HIV can be prevented by safer sex and antibiotics if needed.

    The voices defending morality are lost in the warlike cries of a libertine society. Even religious institutions, which once advocated chastity, are silent, for fear of alienating young people. The media glorifies these lifestyles.

    Living at home brings mediocre gains and a plethora of psychological problems like disillusionment, insecurity, guilt, depression, loss of self-esteem and self-confidence. Ultimately, it is the woman who suffers both physiologically and psychologically. When the breakup finally takes place, it can be a long time before another partner can be found. Living together has also become unstable. The frequency with which couples break up shows the fragility of such a relationship. Many find themselves single in middle age, and women may even lose the chance to have children.

    Some studies show that couples who marry after a cohabiting relationship most often divorce because they find the responsibilities of marriage stressful. Of course, unmarried couples get similar rights as married couples in some countries. Scandinavia gives alimony and inheritance rights to the children of these liaisons.

    While cohabiting relationships aren’t legally bad, the ethics are questionable. An ancient prophet said, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. ”

    What is legal is not always moral; what is possible is not always prudent. The “I – me – my” syndrome has become contagious in today’s society. The world would be a better place if life was lived in a way that enhanced our dignity and self-esteem.



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