Are ‘Live-in’ relationships a trend, or here to stay?


Are ‘Live-in’ relationships a trend, or here to stay?

Recently I was listening to a conversation of an actress-turned-anchor about her mother's advice to her to be in a live-in relationship before getting married. This made me ponder, whether as a society have we really evolved to that level where parents want children to be in live-in before going for marriage.

Marriages are a man-made institution, and like all institutions, over time evolving and adapting to the needs of the new generation.  I remember, my parents, they did not even see each other before the marriage. But when I look back, they had the most successful marriage of respect and love for each other. Though this cannot be generalised as such but largely true for that generation- low expectation, high adaptability. By the time my generation came in, the era of couples running away and getting married against their family's wishes was over. Parents became more understanding and blessed their children with their choices – either arranged or love marriage.

In current times, most parents are non-interfering with the preferences of marriage by their children. However, live-in is largely not that acceptable in families and, parents advising their children to be live-in before marriage, is very very rare.

But one cannot ignore that young couples prefer Live-in. It cannot be said that live-in relationships are a big-cities trend, it is happening in small cities too but society at large has yet to accept live-in relationships. Many believe that Live-in relationships would destroy the institution of marriage.



In a recent observation, the Allahabad High Court said, that middle-class morality cannot be ignored in a nation like India, the Allahabad High Court criticised live-in relationships and said that there is a “systematic design to destroy the institution of marriage… destabilise the society and hinder the progress of our country”.

Granting bail to a man accused of raping his live-in partner, Justice Siddharth said in his order on Tuesday that “the security, social acceptance, progress and stability which the institution of marriage provides to a person is never provided by live-in-relationship”.

“Live-in relationship shall only be considered as normal after the institution of marriage becomes obsolete in this country, like in many of the so-called developed countries where it has become a big problem for them to protect the institution of marriage. We are proceeding to create great problems for us in future. There is systematic design to destroy the institution of marriage in this country and destabilise the society and hinder the progress of our country,” he stated.

Interestingly, in 2001, the Allahabad High Court had itself ruled that it is not illegal for a man and a woman to live together, even as it drew a distinction between law and morality.


When we look at the new generation, the ‘Live-in’ relationships appear to be the new trend, that stems from the fear of long-term commitment, and in recent times, the cost of divorce, leading to high alimony.

Those who prefer live-in relationships say, 'You don't buy a car without a test drive, then why not for marriage? This logic cannot be applied to relationships,  the fall-out of such relationships emotionally breaks the persons involved, while the car may not.

But one cannot deny the fact that marriage gives more stability and security to any relationship, and also to future generations. So, we have to wait and watch, if this trend will fade away or is going to become more stronger, with the new generations wanting to be non-committal in their relationships.


Rakhi Sunil Kumar





  • Rakhi Sunil Kumar

    Rakhi Sunil Kumar has published three fictions – ‘Dancing Mirrors’, ‘Bougainvillea Anywhere Everywhere’ and ‘Songs of Water’. She has worked in IT for 30 Years, and now pursuing her interest in Creative Writing!

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