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“Knotted but unmarried”

Live-in relationships are a common trend of the changing face of India. With the needs of man and woman in a relationship taking a sharp turn towards convenience, ambition and avoidance from the responsibility of marital tasks; moving in together without getting married seems like an idea too alluring to ignore.
It is a borrowed concept and the reasons of it gaining popularity in 21st century are mostly because of globalization and strong western influence taking over the mindset of Indian youth.

Meaning and concept

Unmarried couples who willingly decide to live together without getting married on a permanent or long term basis are said to be cohabitating or living in together. It is also referred as De Facto Marriage. There are no legal obligations involved in these relationships.

It is a transitional stage between being married and being single. Even though this is the most prevalent scenario there are many individual expectations that give a different meaning to the word “Cohabitation”. In some cases it might mean rejecting the idea of marrying. It serves a handy option of providing a union as marriage is not desirable or possible (in the case of having ill parents one might want to avoid marriage in order to abstain from further responsibilities as it might require change in priorities).

An alternative view of understanding cohabitation can be in terms of being single. People who cohabitate share a lot of commonalities with those leading a single life. So, it can offer a good substitute to being single giving the person leisure to date amicably.

Origin and history

Cohabitation is not a new phenomenon it has been in existence since the 1970’s in many countries, particularly Europe and North America which experienced a rapid growth in the rates of cohabitational relationships. It was a hazy concept throughout the 20th century and was mostly unacceptable and a taboo compared to marriage.
As the meaning of family relationships refashioned with burgeoning rate of divorce, remarriage, blended families, single parenthood and same sex relationships it transformed the structural family units. This resulted in non-marital unions gaining popularity.

Cohabitation has emerged because of expanding financial independence of both genders, strong need for actualization, rejection of patriarchy and marriage as a social obligation.

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