KOCHI:Leah Samuel and Jinu Joseph have been married for six years now, but they started living together eight years ago in 2010. Five months into their relationship, they decided that hanging out wasn’t going to be enough to determine whether they were compatible.
“It started out by us saying that we were going to be staying over at a friends house, but slowly everyone knew about it. My parents had met him and they knew we weren’t fooling around. And they gave me my freedom as they trusted me to make the right choices,” said Leah.
Many couples like Leah and Jinu decided to take this bold step even in the light of current social attitude and response to the supposedly ‘outrageous’ act of living together without being married. They have many reasons for doing so. Some think marriage is not important. For some it is a trial run of compatibility while others see it as ‘companionship’, and some of them openly challenge the social restrictions.
Accommodation is a major issue for live in couple. They are often subjected to immense scrutiny and put under moral scanner while doing so. When talking about how they got a place to live Leah said, “We moved into an apartment that Jinu’s brother used to live in earlier, so that wasn’t an issue. There wasn’t much trouble at the flat, everyone knew we were dating. But there were always whispers behind my back. Every time I entered the building, the guard and the maids would talk about how I was ‘that girl’. Of course, it all immediately changed after we got married, then they were doting over me."
Kanishka Mishra, 19, from Lucknow is pursuing her undergraduate degree in Bangalore. She is in a live-in relationship for a year now, with Alok Emmanuel.
They started living together instead of opting for standard dating norms.
They started searching for a decent place to live but found it difficult even in an advanced city like Bangalore. Their first question to the owner generally would be “Is it okay if we stay together ?”
“ The answers we got were funniest including some strange ones. One of the owners even threatened to call our parents and teach us a lesson on how uncultured we were. After a long search, we found a place near college putting their difficulties to rest. Not everyone is against living together, but, people do give us the looks.”
The judgmental eyes of peers and coworkers are another matter entirely. This measurement of morality often tires out the couple who are living together. Some grow to not care about it. “ Classmates and friends are still very rigid in their ideologies but there are a few who think otherwise and accept it. Hopefully, the attitude will soon change,” she added.
(Inputs from Theres Sudeep and Maheswari)