Live-In Damages Marriage Structures, Says HC: But Do They Really?

The Allahabad High Court recently observed that live-in relationships were "a systematic design that is working to destroy the institution of marriage in India and that films and TV serials are contributing to the same."

Kalyani Ganesan
Sep 01, 2023 18:32 IST
science of flirting, live-in relationships ,indian marriages

Image Credits: File Photo

The Allahabad High Court recently noted that it was "very difficult for a woman to find a male partner for marriage after coming out of a live-in relationship" while granting bail to a man who was accused of raping his live-in partner.

The court observed that women who’ve walked out of live-in relationships are subjected to social ostracization and indecent public comments.

Allahabad HC On Live In Relationship

The Allahabad HC further explained how difficult it would become for a female partner to find a male partner for marriage, especially given the social middle-class norms regardless of the religious status of the female partner, which hindered her from regaining her "social status."


The court stressed that live-in relationships were "a systematic design that is working to destroy the institution of marriage in India and that films and TV serials are contributing to the same."

It is utterly disturbing to hear such a statement from a high court in the country. Marriages deteriorate and couples part ways because of patriarchal norms, incompatibility, irretrievable differences, or abusive relationships, not because live-in relationships have become a recent trend!

Why Women Choose Live-In?


Sahithya Jagannathan, a model, actor, and host who has been in a live-in relationship, told SheThePeople in a "It’s absolutely amazing that every morning we wake up and make a choice to be with each other. No legal document or symbol of marriage is holding us accountable; it's completely our choice to stay with each other, and that's very fulfilling."

She also shared that she never wanted to get married because she has always found marriage as an institution to be very problematic. "We are a country that hasn’t criminalised rape yet. So, I decided that I’m not giving away my right to take a man to court if he dares to touch me without my consent," she said, adding that to her, the only benefits of marriage were that it made a lot of paperwork, like insurance, taxes, inheritance, etc., easier. Notably, Sahithya and her partner, Cary Edwards, are proud parents of twin children.

A single mother who works as an IT professional shared that although she would love to get married again someday, she is unsure about it, especially because of the system of marriage in our country. "Marriage in India is mostly between two families rather than two people. There’s a lot of regressive customs and social norms that come along with it, and as a divorced single mother, I wouldn’t want to get entangled in that web again." She also said that she would be glad to find someone compatible to share her life with, adding that it needn’t necessarily be a marital relationship, considering the obvious.


"I’ve seen the women in my family—my aunts, my older cousins, and even some of my friends—being forced to turn into a completely different person after marriage. The complexities and patriarchal practices that come along with marriage in our country don’t allow a woman to live life on her own terms. The very thought of turning into a typical "Indian Baahu" discourages me from getting married, even though I would love to have my own person," said a 29-year-old banker.

Why Are Women Hesitant To Get Married?

It’s evident that today’s women aren’t against getting married but are hesitant to get into the system because of the regressive norms associated with marriage. Right from the rituals followed during the wedding ceremony to every step along the way, men have the upper hand according to traditional social norms. Today, women are reaching great heights, quite literally, from being a part of STEM to skydiving. They value their self-respect and are not ready to continue the cycle of being submissive women. Women dare to dream of big things, and they wish to get married to the right person at the right time and for the right reasons.


However, society pressures women in their mid-20s to tie the knot at the earliest. With big hopes, dreams, and aspirations, today’s women don’t want to let marriage confine them. While societal standards accompany the structure of marriage, it’s not so in live-in relationships.

Why is it hard to comprehend that independent women too wish to have a partner to share their lives with? If marriage wasn’t as regressive and confining as it unfortunately is, even in today’s time and age, maybe women wouldn’t be hesitant to tie the knot.

Society needs to understand that a woman’s value doesn’t reside in her chastity or relationship history. Today’s women have realised their self-worth and are confident to live life on their own terms, regardless of society’s oppressive means to subdue them. It’s high time society focuses on reconstituting the structure of marriage instead of blaming live-in relationships and criticising women for choosing to be in one.


Suggested Reading: Women Endure Challenging Ordeals Post Live-In Relationships: HC

Views expressed by the author are their own

#Allahabad High Court #live in relationships