Monday, September 12, 2005
Live-in relationship Vs. Marriage
Last week, we saw the release of 'Salaam Namaste', starring Preity Zinta and Saif Ali Khan. Although i have yet not seen the movie but it is quite evident from the movie trailors and write-ups in newspapers and online that, the movie is promoting itself by claiming to be 'haatke philum' since the story is based on 'Live-in relationship'. Well it is indeed, as far as i can think the first Bollywood movie showcasing 'Live-in' situation between a boy and a girl. And me thinks that Mr. Yash Chopra could'nt have found better actors then 'Preity' and 'Saif' because they both actually do follow somewhat similar pattern in real life other than reel life. (obviously not together but with different partners).

Saif since his spilt with long-time wife Amrita Singh, is currently living with his angrezi girl-friend Roza and Perity has a part-time live-in boyfriend Ness Wadia. Anyways the focus of my post is not the movie but the theme of the movie.

With the increase in number of couples opting for 'cohabitation' over 'marriage', be it in western countries or India, i would like to ask my fellow bloggers, what would they prefer if given the option to choose between the two ?

As for me, well i would rather stick to the old school of thoughts and choose marriage over the other.

My reason is simple -

The love that we all want from a partner is not possible without both having the commitment to try to make it last. Cooperation, compromise, that sort of thing. There's a saying, "Happiness in marriage is not so much FINDING the right person as BEING the right person."

If it's easy to change one partner for another, where's the incentive to develop staying power in a relationship? Instead people will think "I'm upset at my partner which means I'm with the wrong person. I'm going to get out so I can hook up with the right person." It's human nature, and and i think that this approach is creating increased numbers of people without the ability to sustain a long-term relationship.

I came across this interesting article based on a research findings published in 1991, which basically outlines 'Eight Reasons Why Marriage Is Better than Cohabitation'. And they are :

1. Cohabitors have a different perspective on time than marrieds have. Marriage, by definition, means, "I will always be here for you." Marrieds' longterm contract encourages emotional investment in the relationship. In contrast, cohabitation for most seems to mean, "I will be here only as long as the relationship meets my needs."

2. Cohabitation also affects the cohabitors' children. In general, children's emotional development is poorer if a parent is cohabiting than if a parent is married. This poor development is partly due to the high risk that the couple will break up. If the couple does separate, the children pay an economic price, since they have no right to child support from a partner who is not their biological parent. They also pay an emotional price when they lose a caring adult who may have taken a parental role but will do so no longer.

3. Cohabiting women are more likely than married women to suffer physical and sexual abuse. Some estimate that aggression is at least twice as common among cohabitors as it is among marrieds.

4. Although cohabitors try to protect their economic futures (with separate bank accounts, for example), married couples are better off financially.

5. Married men earn more than single men (nearly twice as much) and married women have access to more of men's earnings than if they are single or cohabiting. This may be explained by the increased financial responsibility men feel when they marry many men have been heard to say, "Marriage made me get more serious about my career and making a good living."

6. Cohabitors generally do not reap the physical health benefits enjoyed by married couples. Non-married people feel less healthy and have higher rates of mortality than the married. Compared to singles, married people as a group are also emotionally happier. Married couples are better connected to the larger community, including inlaws and church members who provide social and emotional support and material benefits.

7. Some people would be surprised to learn that marrieds have better sex lives than cohabitors. Although cohabitors have sex at least as often as marrieds, they are less likely to say they enjoy it. Marriage adds the essential ingredients of commitment and security to one's sex life, making it more satisfying. In addition, marrieds are more likely than cohabitors to perceive love and sex as intrinsically connected.

8. Cohabitation may affect relationships with parents. In some families, cohabitation is no longer associated with sin, pathology, or parental disapproval. But in many families cohabitation is still considered morally wrong and embarrassing to extended family members. Cohabitors from those families risk damaging their relationships with their parents and experiencing the withdrawal of parental and extended family support for the relationship.

Another very interesting article which discusses certain facts behind Cohabitation.


Here is another interesting article which states 'few problems with cohabitation' whether it is with or without the goal of 'marriage' in the future.

Many people imagine that living together before marriage resembles taking a car for a test drive. The "trial period" gives people a chance to discover whether they are compatible. This analogy seems so compelling that people are unable to interpret the mountains of data to the contrary.

Here's the problem with the car analogy: the car doesn't have hurt feelings if the driver dumps it back at the used car lot and decides not to buy it. The analogy works great if you picture yourself as the driver. It stinks if you picture yourself as the car.
posted at 9/12/2005 11:03:00 PM | comments (17) | permalink


  1. In my experience I have found that after getting married I become emotionally a more stable person. Now I am better at financial managment. I have become more responsible and I feel most of the time happy and have discovered the sense of humour that lied dormant inside me before my marriage. I am all for the marriage than 'living-in'.
     — Blogger sandy sinha, at 9/12/2005 08:32:00 PM 

  2. This article is completely bogus! It's just defending the traditionalist agenda using pseudo-statistics. What's next: married men less likely to become terrorists that cohabitating ones?
     — Anonymous raven, at 9/12/2005 11:01:00 PM 

  3. The problem here is that the fundamental basis of this article seems to be that it assumes that people who are sharing a live-in relationship have the same goals and aspirations they might expect from a married relationship. But this might not be the case. Live-in relationships have more similarities with living with say a roommate than a spouse. In case of a roommate relationship, the common goal is sharing of rent, in case of living together, it's sharing sex. It's a case of comparing apples and oranges. In fact, two people living together, might, in the future, decide to take their relationship to the next level and get married.
     — Blogger gawker, at 9/12/2005 11:59:00 PM 

  4. 1. I agree with gawker. Who said they both look for the same things?

    2. Even if you are comparing only cases where the aspirations are similar, I do not think I need a contract (religious or legal) for me to be committed to someone. If I need to be married for me to feel secure in a relationship, then its time to end the relationship.

    3. As for kids being more happier in a marriage, there are enough studies out there to prove that kids turn out to be really bad when raised by homosexual parents. Does that mean homosexual couples are bad parents? No. It is a reflection not of the parents but of the way society treats them.

    4. The only reason to get married, imo, is the convenience factor - tax benefits, visitation rights etc. The current setup is so skewed towards married couples that if you are not married you end up having to run after bureaucracy to get anything done. Remember the case of the Dutch diplomat's partner who wasn't allowed to come into some Middle East country because they weren't married? Did it matter that they had raised three kids together? No. No marriage certificate? Go to hell.

    And wait, how can I forget the most important reason to get married? Parents. Make parents happy. :)
     — Blogger Veena, at 9/13/2005 01:32:00 AM 

  5. You have summarized it beautifully! Cohabitation, in my opinion, is based on convenience - "I'll stick around as long as the realtionship meets my needs" - while marriage is based on love and commitment. There is likely to be more effort into getting along well and adjusting to each other's needs in a marriage than in cohabitation. I am not saying people who are cohabiting don't love each other. They most definitely do(or maybe they think they do), thats why they are together. But if the relationship starts failing, they are more likely to leave to find the "right partner" as they have nothing invested in it.

    I would choose marriage over cohabitation any time. But I do undrerstand that not everyone is same and not everyone wants the same things out of a relationship. So while marriage is right for me, cohabitation might be right for someone else. We always tend to judge things from our perspective - but IMHO they are not always black or white. Their are some grey areas too....
     — Blogger GettingThere, at 9/13/2005 01:35:00 AM 

  6. I think live-in relationships are a good first step towards a successful marriage.

    With the divorce rate that is going on today, it is better that couples live together and iron out the kinks and make sure they want to lead their whole lives together. It is a check mechanism.

    In a relationship, each one knows the others good points....thats why the fall in love.

    Living in allows them to know the irritants and the idiosyncracies of each other, and then allows them to make a decision as to whether the irritants are something that can be overlooked for the rest of their combined lives or not.

    I agree with raven that this is a very traditionalist and conservative view.
     — Anonymous arZan, at 9/13/2005 02:59:00 AM 

  7. Raven : I went thru many articles and MOST of them suggest same outcomes as mentioned in the article on my post. So i doubt that the article is bogus and supporting traditionalist agenda.

    Gawker : I agree the basis of the article is assuming cohabitants couples share similar goals to married couples. BUT to say that live-in relationship is just limited to 'SEX'...well i dont completely agree to it. When you are living with a person for a long time...physically and in some way mentally sharing yourself with them day in and day out...they are bound to more between then two then just plain SEX.

    Veena : I consider marriage to be much more then just legal formalities. Its the just the matter of the way you look at it.

    Ps...what wrong with making your parents 'Happy'... :).

    Arzan : I know it sound good, when you say that its better to cohabit before know the pros and cons in the relationship...but that means you got to draw the line some where, which would be hard to do where you are living day in and out with eachother. I mean..what if the women becomes pregnant during the cohabiting period..and but the guy realises that he doesnt like a few things in his partner..and he wants to break-up. So where does this leave the women ??

    Another interesting stats i noticed was the couples who cohabit before marriage are more likely to end up in a divorce...than the couples who didnot live together before marriage.

    Well with all said and heard..i feel it basically depends on the two individuals in a relationship...People can make things work if they want it in Marriage or Live-In situations.
     — Blogger Sakshi, at 9/13/2005 12:08:00 PM 

  8. re: the car analogy -- it's not that one person is the poor dumped-upon car and one is the powerful arrogant driver, it's that the car represents the relationship and both people are trying to see how it works. They're both presumably equally invested in finding out what happens.
     — Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/13/2005 08:13:00 PM 

  9. The more I read your post the more I tend to disagree with it.

    You base your whole arguement on a 1991 study. That is 14 yers ago. If the study took a year or two that makes the actual results even older.

    The whole world has changed since the 80's.

    At best your post can be a hypothesis, nothing more than that.

    In your comments you say that what if a woman gets pregnant in cohabitation and then the relationship breaks up.

    The same happens in marriages too. What about that ??

    I think that its not fair to criticize something because of all the possible negatives. There will be negatives in everything. What if the marriage does not work ?? In that case dont marry !! why waste all the time and money and effort.

    Especially in India, many people go thru lives tied to a loveless marriage they cant get out of. Societal pressure is so immense that it seems to be the impossible thing to do.

    I personally think that if two individuals are mature and cohabitate, thats better than blindly marrying and then finding out that things dont work.

    The operating words are maturity and understanding.

    I wonder how many of the commenters are talking with experience of both...marriage and cohabitation.

    For me i talk with experience of the latter and very soon the former too.
     — Anonymous arZan, at 9/13/2005 09:08:00 PM 

  10. Arzan : Well, firstly i dont know where you get the impression that i am voteing for 'marriage' and consider 'live-in 'situations as a offence. All i am doing putting aruguements of OTHERS who think that way.

    Personally, yes..i choose Marriage over cohabitaion...but as mentioned in my earlier comment...'Its Each to Its Own'...Failure can happen in any relationship whether it is Marriage, Live-In situations or Marriage between couples who have cohabited earlier.

    As for the article that i have mentioned in the post, though it is 14 years still stands true in many aspects...and this i am saying after reading a few Recent articles. The reason choose to refer to this particular article because its states its reason in simple words and with research backings.

    As for your comment....saying that the women gets preganant and then her marriage spilts...then what ? Well then i would ask you to refer to your comment in my post on Alimony..where you choose to be the Devil's advocate. If the women gets pregnant in Marriage..then she has the legal support and in many cases family support to help her and the child to get thru life. Whereas in 'Cohabitation', there are no financial bindings...the man can actually just walk away...without any liability. Even in 2005...there are no proper laws regarding Cohabitation.

    As for your views on 'Love-less marriages'...i agree that there are loads of societal pressure..BUT its all changing now, these days people are no longer sticking in Love-Less marriages...and there are stats that prove so..thats why Divorce rates are on a high as compared to earlier years. And tell me is it better then being in a relationship which is purely on based on 'Sexual needs'...BUT no emotional attachments...for me its as bad as a 'Love-less' marriage.

    And i dont know..what impression you have of 'Arranged Marriage'...cause those days are gone when people use to blindly marry on their parent's a days a lot more time..thought and in a way research is put into 'arranged marriages'. Couples who have had 'Love marriage'...also divorce....inspite of knowing each other before way before marriage.

    I agree, The operating words are maturity and understanding. People who are matured and marry...can also make their relationship work..without the need of Cohabitating before hand.

    Well as for exprience...i dont have in either of the too. But i feel there are certain issues in life...that you dont need exprience in, to base your judgement.

    To end it, All i will say is that not all are LUCKY as you are and 'Good Luck' to you with the latter.
     — Blogger Sakshi, at 9/13/2005 10:27:00 PM 

  11. i am in an arranged marriage of 12 years with 2 kids. yes we still do have our adventure of getting to know each other as we r dynamically changing. plus i have many friends- american, jewish, christian, indian, afro-americans etc. in live-in relationships and all of them come to me for advice (after seeing our marriage). they want to get married and settle down but fear to commit. they all feel unanimously that arranged marriages are a lot easier on the emotional wellbeing of individuals who wish to stay in a monogamous relationship. lower stresslevels and breakdowns & improved efficiency at the workplace as there is no "guessing". yes, u can say that ours was a "loveless" marriage. but after 12 years, I can say that ours is very much a love marriage & we r still hot over the stove and in bed;) living in is for shit-scared people who let their egos run their lives rather than love.
     — Blogger blokes, at 9/14/2005 10:46:00 AM 

  12. IMO Co-habitation is like a test drive. the urge to compromise to make a relationship work is much higher in a marriage. the same may not be the case in co-habitation.
     — Blogger Kaps, at 9/18/2005 02:10:00 PM 

  13. My two cents.

    The real issue is commitment. A live-in relationship or a marriage has to have the same level of commitment if they are to be sucessful. In cases of love marriage the commitment is already there and in arranged marriage the commitment enforced. But you cannot simply rule out that there's no commitment in live in relationships. Maybe there's love and care. Or maybe its sex. Even if its just for sharing the rent, a commitment is there.

    As long the commitment is shared and followed upon and met, I think live-in relationships can provide what a marriage does today. The rest is just mindset.
     — Blogger Rajiv, at 9/18/2005 09:37:00 PM 

  14. I'm all for co-habitation. Marriage, might be a step from that.

    there are many good reasons to choose it. And its a personal choice.

    Now, getting to your points against co-habitation:

    a) the number of co-habiting people is much lesser than the married folks, so statistics are skewed.

    b) people who co-habit invest too - in each other, in the relationship, with time, money etc.,

    c) the test drive analogy is very, very faulty. Cos its two people taking the relationship for a test drive. Not the other person for one.

    d) living-in is not the same for everyone, some might take marriage as a logial step frm there. Some might just use it as time-pass, say.

    e) your argument of it being very easy to get out of a live-in. Divorces are pretty easy. as are separations.
     — Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/19/2005 12:50:00 AM 

  15. “Both men and women live longer, happier, healthier and wealthier lives when they are married. Unmarried co-habitation doesn't cut it. Cohabitation typically does not bring the benefits - in physical health, wealth, and emotional wellbeing - that marriage does. And, married people have both more and better sex than do their unmarried counterparts.”
    - Linda Waite, coauthor of "The Case for Marriage"

    "As a foundation for family life and raising children, marriage is better than its fast-growing alternatives. It is our society's most important institution for bringing up children, for fostering high parental investment in children, and for helping men and women find a common life of mutual affection, care, and sexual intimacy."
    - Marriage in America: A Report to the Nation, 1995.

    Quotes from:
    "All About Cohabiting"
     — Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/01/2005 07:22:00 AM 

  16. yes ser/mam why you siad that if a man -woman is married is a reason to bringing up their chilgren
     — Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/02/2006 09:24:00 PM 

  17. I am married, but personally prefer cohabitation. I have always observed more space and respect in cohabiting ones than in marriage where couples tend to take each other for granted. Marriages last longer because of social pressures and because of this life tends to become more bitter.
    If society accepts cohabiting ones as much as they accept married ones, cohabitation definitely will be the way to go.
     — Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/14/2006 03:30:00 AM 

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