Twelve differences in random order, mainly from women’s point of view. Do add more.
1. Legally, marriage doesn’t permit murders and violence, but sexual assaults on the partner are legally allowed. (even if the spouse is minor)
Socially – some violence and sexual assaults are tolerated. Complaining or even speaking about these crimes is seen as ‘washing dirty linen in public’ – considered condemnable and ‘shameless’. Murders are generally condemned though one doesn’t hear of many convictions or sentences.
Live in relationships do not permit murder, violence or sexual assaults, socially and legally. There have been news of reporting and convictions of sexual assaults in Live in relationships.
2. Financially, ending a marriage seems to put women at a disadvantage. Most women seem to find it difficult to end even abusive and violent marriages.
Many women find it easier to separate, and settle with custody of children, loss of stree dhan, and no child-support, maintenance or alimony.
Live in Relationship – No legal procedures or lawyers are required if the couple decides to end the relationship. Women are more likely to get the custody of children (if any).
There is less financial loss for women because there was no dowry and wedding expenses. There is also more chance of the father paying for child support.
The chances of being paid maintenance or palimony seem to be equal if not more, in a Live in Relationship. [Link: a man in a live in relationship… expected to provide palimony to a partner]
3. Pressure to have children (or male children) only in Marriages.
In Live in relationships, the couple might face pressure to get married, or to separate and submit to an arranged marriage.
4. Less chances of demands on the woman to serve the in laws (ladke wale) or to live with the partners’ family (Patriarchal Joint Family), or to follow their customs in Live in Relationship.
5. Marriage is mainly a Patriarchal institution in most (not all) parts of India, made more so by the law. It also involves Patrilocality and Patrilineality.
Live in Relationships are not bound by Patriarchal traditions. The woman is less likely to be expected to give up her identity, ‘western’ clothing or financial independence, by the man’s family/community. The man is less likely to be seen as the Provider, ATM or Guardian.
6. The man might still have patriarchal ideas, but it is likely to be easier for her to walk out, legally and socially, if she is in an abusive relationship and if she does decide to do that.
There is likely to be lesser expectation and pressure on the woman to stay in an abusive relationship. (partly because there was lesser investment made by the parents in the form of dowry, social approval and wedding expenses etc).
7. Parental or community’s approval; caste, subcaste, religion, ancestors and compatible horoscopes could be a consideration in many Marriages.
Live in Relationships are more likely to be based on compatibility and ‘choice’ of the couple.
8. Live in Relationships are more likely to be viewed as exploitative of women because they are easier to end – something, it is felt, that no woman would (or should) ever want. Withholding of divorce in Marriages, even when the couple is ‘separated’ is seen by many as empowering for Indian women.
Marriages are generally not seen as exploitative of women, though Supreme Court did point out: ‘Daughter-in-law should not be treated as domestic help, says Supreme Court‘
And even though concerns about daughters’ marriages are the biggest reason for Indian parents not wanting to have girl children.
9. Women are expected to view patriarchal symbols of marriage (sindoor, taali, mangalsutra, a change of name etc) as privileges, and Live in Relationships do not award or take back traditional symbols.
Divorce could require women to change their name back to their ‘maiden’ name. (A name of your own, to keep or to change.)
10. Couples in Live in Relationships might find it more difficult to rent a house. (Unless they claim to be married and no Marriage Certificates/photographs of the wedding are demanded)
11. Live in Relationships do not require training and ‘saving’ from the time of the birth of a girl child.
Concerns about the marriage of a girl child are seen as the biggest reason for male child preference and skewed gender ratio in India.
12. Generally, traditional marriages require fitting into predefined roles. Women are more likely to find themselves free(er) to be themselves in Live in Relationships.
Marriages are sold to Indian women in a glossy cover…?
Live in Relationships: The man gets a temporary disposable wife?
Live-in relationships in general are inherently advantageous to men and disadvantageous to women?
Instead of eyeing their husbands’ ancestral property, why don’t Indian daughters in law make their own homes?
Indian women and their Easy Wealth.
A comment- ‘Reverse the gender, and it is marital rape.’
Why exactly do we disapprove of Live-in relationships and Premarital sex?