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Social reforms required to built more safe and secure society in wake of legality of live-in relationship
The phrases like 'We're dating'; 'We're going steady'; 'I'm in relationship'; 'We're a live-in couple' and 'I'm single again' are becoming common among the working-youth living in metro cities and such relationships are being seen as a social status symbols ever since the courts have recognized the live-in and cohabitation among consenting and legally permissible adults as a "relationship in the nature of marriage" as a protection against domestic violence in live-in relationships.

It seems that treating the live-in relationship between late TV actresses Pratyusha Banerjee, 24, and Rahul Raj Singh as a 'relationship in the nature of marriage'; she was dressed like a bride in a designer lehenga in red for her last rites.

Pratyusha's friends have said that she had placed an order for a bridal lehenga from designer Rohit Verma before she was found hanging by her live-in partner Rahul Raj Singh, who took her to the Kokilaben Ambani Hospital where she was declared dead.

"It is alright to legally approve a live-in relation that resembles a marriage and allow couples cohabit. But, it also requires some social reforms too since such relation are also resulting into social isolation and disappearance of social support which required both the live-in couple and their parents. This is leading to a lot of psychological stress, since we as human beings are psycho-social beings," said a retired couple in Jaipur during the morning walk discussion whose son is working in far-away metro city refusing to marry and hardly calling them because of being the part of new trend of 'living a life as good as being married' with 'no-strings attached'.

When a live-in relationship sores, often the female partner suffers the most resulting into stigmatization, suicide or being eliminated, which implies that currently, there is a lack of social sensitivity and working on the social front equally. With legal approval to live-in relationship, it is being not being frowned upon, however, there is no need to glorify it but treating it yet another way of living in society by keeping wider social relationships intact. The legality of the live-in relationship on the provision that the 'couple must hold themselves out to society as being akin to spouses'.

Unfortunately, among the new generation actors in the entertainment industry, it has become common to openly articulate about live-in relationship or glorifying it. A B-town actor had recently said that she was open to the idea of a live-in relationship since it provided a situation in which each of couple was on its own and yet enjoying relationship of co-habitation.

However, such glorification leads to making live-in relationships a fad devoid of any psycho-social bearing, believe sociologists. Often, such couples cohabit, rather than marry, for a variety of reasons including shirking social responsibilities and harbouring ulterior motives, it is being felt.

There is need of social reforms among the live-in relation advocates and cohabitating couples, as well as well as general populace, to provide a sound psycho-social bearing to live-in relationships which are earning the label of 'high society adultery' leading to higher 'vulnerability of female partners and their future sufferings'. Efforts are required for social reform for aiding live-in cohabitation in building 'building a safe and secure society', I feel.

Madhu Kishwar, a woman activist and a writer, holds the opinion that along with legal reforms there is a need for the social reforms too. Both the live-in and marriage need to be based on the principles of mutuality and reciprocity of rights and obligations. According to her, the principle of mutuality should not merely be privately agreed on by the couples that wish to act on them, but should be publicly affirmed also.

Thus, there is need for the cohabiters in live-in or marriage to retain their human rights and responsibilities as individuals consciously and thoughtfully as psycho-social beings.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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