Here are some commonly heard arguments against Live-in Relationships. (I picked these from the comments on ‘Live-in relationships in general are inherently advantageous to men and disadvantageous to women?‘)
The basic premise seems to be that Marriage gives women and ‘their’ children ‘Respect and Acceptance’ in society while Live in Relationships don’t.
1. How have women and their children (and even the society) benefited from this dependence of women (and their children) on ‘Respect’ and ‘Acceptance by Society’?
2. Could this Respect be a trap that restricts and rules women’s lives, choices, sexuality, happiness and freedom?
3. Is it possible that women might live better lives if they did not have to depend upon the ‘Acceptance by the Society;? (Like most other people?)
Here’s the comment.
“If a woman is not careful in her selection, she may end up becoming a bed partner of the man , without the associated commitments and responsibilities.
The man gets a temporary disposable wife. A use and throw kind of wife.”
If that is true, then doesn’t the woman also get a temporary disposable partner? If both are uncommitted, and if neither is being forced or exploited, then why is it seen as wrong? How and who does this harm?
But it is believed that women do not want ‘temporary disposable partners’ while men don’t miss a chance to find one.
Gender Stereotypes. Men are insensitive, commitment-phobes, women are desperately looking for marriage (and if they dare to admit they aren’t, they must be sluts – this doesn’t apply as strongly to men because ‘men are like that only’).
“Women I like to believe will not chase a man for the sole purpose of sharing his bed. Their needs are emotional and much more sophisticated.”
Women are people too. They may want to do all the things that everybody else does. Not all women are emotional, and men can be emotional too.
And of course a woman can chase a man just for sharing his bed, with no desire to marry him.
This is one of the reasons why Patriarchy disallowed premarital sex (mainly for women). Maybe because in the past, it put a man at risk of raising a child who did not carry his genes. To ensure ‘purity of lineage’ strict rules were laid down, unwed mothers were not allowed to raise their children on her own. Widows could, but that was acceptable, because they were married when they got pregnant. It was made mandatory for every child to be known by their father’s name.
Did it harm some children?
The child’s well being was not a big concern. Lineage was.
“At the risk of putting it crudely, a live in relationship in some cases may end up as a multiple night stand instead of a one night stand for the man. Mature men and women may be an exception to this rule.
I don’t expect this statement to go down well with live in enthusiasts. But this is my secret inner fear.”
Assuming this is the case, if there is no force, exploitation or abuse – how does it matter to anybody else what two consenting adults do in their personal lives? What makes it wrong?
“It is always the woman who bears the brunt of pregnancy.”
That should, can and is being changed. If a woman wants, she can ensure that the man provides child support. This would be only as inconvenient as dealing with an irresponsible but married father.
“It is the woman more likely to be emotionally and psychologically scarred if the relationship terminates.
Men are crude thick skinned creatures.”
Any relationship exposes those involved to pain. Men are not thick skinned creatures, although they are expected to hide their feelings. Devdas was a man too. Drinking, smoking, violence, acid throwing, stalking, aggression, murder, and suicide are seen as manly ways to deal with pain or rejection.
“They will simply look for fresh prey.”
Relationships are not about trophies, hunting and preys. Men and women both might see relationships as conquests.
“After getting pregnant, if they choose to have the baby, they are denying their children a legal and socially acceptable father.”
Sushmita Sen has two adopted daughters, no husband. Neena Gupta has one biological daughter – no husband. Thousands of widows in India have no source of income, they suffer abuse and raise children alone. Which children of these single mothers do you think have better lives?
In the past Indian society never cared about children (and not just girl children) – children were seen only as ‘budhape ka sahara’, brought up on Shravan Kumar stories. Children were told the parents did them a favor by ‘bringing them to this world’ and by caring for them.
Thankfully parents are becoming more matured and responsible now, one hears about mutual respect, love, care and support. And less about a child ‘repaying’ the parents’ karz’ (debt).
“Right or wrong, men will find it easier to get married later if they walk out of a live in relationship.
Right or wrong, women will find their live in relationship another handicap if they change their mind.”
That is if she wants to marry. And if she wants to marry a man who wants to marry a woman who has never been in a relationship.
Which brings me back to this post – what if women saw marriage as just another option in life and not their life purpose? Don’t you think that might open up a universe of previously unseen options for them?
“A loving caring environment is not enough. A child needs a father. Ask any orphan. It needs a mother, a grandfather, grandmother, cousins and uncles and aunts too.”
If the society realises that children need all this then why do we deprive children born out of marriage from all this?
Our social rules are not child-friendly.
Live in Relationships might actually bring more acceptance to children of both gender.
1. Independent women who see more to life than Geting Married and Staying Married will make being a woman easier in our society, they would then be seen as an asset to the society, and so more girls would be allowed to be born/live.
2. All children, no matter whether their parents were married or not would be able to live with their mothers/families. I know of a mother who did not sign the documents for her child to be made available for adoption, for three years after the child’s birth, because she was hoping the child’s father would marry her. Now the solution is not that she should not have had the child (because that solution has not worked for centuries) – the solution is she shouldn’t have had to bother whether she was married or not. Today this is possible, and high time.
The society/law makers are becoming aware of every child’s right to live with dignity.
Live-in Relationships might just help make this easier…
“Will a child from a live in relationship enjoy the facility of sitting on the lap of its grandparent and be told a bedtime story? Couples in live in relationships will live by themselves. They may not even welcome the parents of their partner to visit them and neither will these parents like to embarrass their son/daughter by visiting them.”
This would depend on the families and the couple. Married couples could prefer to stay away from their families, and Live in couples might enjoy mingling with their families.
“When a child born out of live in relationship, meets and mingles with normal children of married parents, how can you gauge what feelings it experiences?”
If the families(/extended families/social circle) care for their grand children(/their children’s friends) they will not misguide their children to treat other children differently for any reasons.
If they don’t understand, then the parents might choose to avoid those who treat their children differently. Remember the need to mingle is mutual and given a choice, matured parents would rather have their children playing with well brought up children, irrespective of whether or not their parents have a marriage certificate.
“What next? Will live in enthusiasts accept the next stage in this progression?
What if some of you feel ” Why have a live in relationship with just one person? Why not have more these and experiment with A, B, C etc.? Let the other partner also experiment with P, Q, R at the same time. Live with different partners for a month each and see which partner is best””
This can happen in a marriage also. And much worse, when consenting partners are not found, they might stoop to force, Strauss Kahn and Shiney Ahuja are just two examples.