The Supreme Court of India ruled early last year that any couple that were in a tandem of copulation-cohabitation were to be officially considered a 'married' couple. "Where a man and woman are proved to have lived together as husband and wife, the law will presume, unless the contrary is clearly proved, that they were living together in consequence of a valid marriage, and not in a state of concubinage," the bench had stated when the ruling was made back in April 2015.
And what's wildly refreshing is how the bench has a more evolved view than a huge section of upper class society. While the Indian courts are willing to look at as a long-standing live-in relationship as the ultimate proof of the pudding that the relationship in question is as solid as various cement ads indicate their product indubitably is.
This view, however, doesn't seem to be shared by those on the wedded side of the lawn.
As somebody in a live-in relationship and happily settled into it, at that, there's one thing I, and every other friend I know in a serious, long-term relationship, is entirely sick of hearing.
"It's different when you're married."
There's a certain sanctimonious-ness that creeps into their voices as they say it, like they've got a cheat code to relationship Nirvana and I'm still meditating my *ss off waiting to light to shine on my romantic plight. It's interesting, because the women I hear it from aren't exactly saving-themselves-for-marriage-esque; they're the epitome of the sexually evolved Cosmo girl. Their people who have lived it up and down and sideways, and it's what I USED to love about them.
They're still those women, they reassure me. They've simply compartmentalized it, you know, post the ringing of the wedding bells.
To me, this idea is almost blasphemous for the simple reason that it throws this undue emphasis on a legal document—and there seems to be, in their heads, this little fidelity-loophole, this slender escape route when that notarized-noose isn't hanging around their neck. It essentially disavows the sanctity of the relationship itself, prizing the institution above it in the hierarchy. What's frightening is that society does that anyway—and it is in that social bubble that we living-in-sinners used to hope to find our recourse.
But the truth is that at the end of the day, as 'evolved' as you may claim to be at gallery openings and cocktail dos, the Indian mind is still pickled by the archaic brine of judgment. And for us gals that haven't signed the docs, we still haven't 'taken the plunge'. Because having a home, a life, an expense account, even a pet, doesn't quite count for commit as much as, say, doing the 'I Do' with someone you've know for approximately seven seconds because 'mummy daddy ke childhood friend ka beta hai'.
But I digress.
As wrong as it would be for me to belittle arranged marriage, it would similarly be off-colour to regard a live-in relationship going strong as less of a commitment because a piece of paper wasn't signed and butter chicken wasn't spilled over a series of technicolour sarees. The essential idea would be to respect each others modes and reasons for commitment.
So basically, just never use that phrase again.