Even in the year 2023, live-in relationships are frowned upon in our societies, and most couples that are courageous enough to live together reside in metropolitan cities. In a small town, it is nearly impossible to live with your sweetheart unless you behave like you’re married, just like we see in Bollywood movies. This demonstrates the extent to which our society is divided on issues like live-in relationships, premarital sex, and basic freedom of choice.
Every single couple who has or is in a live-in relationship has a unique perspective on how this experience has affected their lives. While some are raving about it, others are not as enthusiastic. Dr. Malini Saba, Psychologist, human rights activist, and founder and chairman of the Anannke Foundation,has highlighted some of the positives and downsides of being in a live-in relationship and how it affects mental health. If you are considering moving in with your special someone:
1. Testing Timeframe:
Moving in with your spouse prior to being married provides a trial period. You get to know a person considerably better when you live with them because you learn more about their daily routines. Also, when you spend a few hours a day with your girlfriend or boyfriend, you typically make the most of that time and behave well with one another. But when you live together, things become real and not always pleasant. It’s crucial to understand the good, the bad, and the ugly about your partner, including their peculiar habits, hygiene, and morning routine, and to ensure that you’re domestically compatible, as the stress, depression, and anxiety that might result from a horrible relationship are not excusable.
2. Managing Wealth:
Believe it or not, living with a companion might save you a considerable amount of cash as you both contribute equally to the household expenses. Plus, you no longer have to spend money every time you see each other; you can have date nights in your living room if you’re both broke. And if you’re going out, you no longer have to drop each other off in separate cabs and pay double the fare. This provides a feeling of accomplishment that alleviates worry. In addition, having an emergency financial cushion reduces feelings of anxiety, guilt, humiliation, and jealousy, which are harmful to your long-term mental health and a leading cause of unhappiness.
3. Freedom to leave, make choices, etc:
In a live-in relationship, both partners have a great deal of freedom of choice. You are not legally committed, so you can exit the relationship at any time if things are not working out. The “Log Kya Kahenge” narrative has not yet entered the scene, as, at least in the Indian setting, your family is not involved in your live-in relationship. You and your partner can live on your own terms with mutual understanding and without the burden of societal pressure, which plays a big role in amplifying the anxiety, stress, and sadness associated with living with the wrong partner.
4. Deeper Bonding:
People can only form real bonds if they are completely honest with one another. And when you are in a live-in relationship, you begin to feel comfortable around each other effortlessly. You begin to reveal your darkest worries and secrets to one another, which is an excellent indication of mutual trust. Happier and better-connected individuals are less likely to suffer from mental diseases and have greater emotional and psychological well-being.
- The honeymoon phase is over:
If you marry your partner after being in a live-in relationship, you may find that the honeymoon phase has already ended. Since you’ve already been living together, you and your partner have become accustomed to one another, and the urge to continuously impress one another diminishes.
The mystique, allure, and exhilaration, as well as the patience required to make them all work, fade quickly after the couple ties the knot because they have already spent years attempting to make the relationship work. Which impacts the two neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine, which are responsible for the euphoric experience.
2. There is a social stigma attached:
You may believe that there is nothing wrong or undesirable about live-in relationships. Regrettably, our culture may disagree. Couples that wish to live together have a difficult time locating an apartment. They are continuously assessed by their neighbours, landlords, and the people around them after securing a decent living space for themselves. The negative emotions and behaviours that can arise from inappropriate judgement can have a major impact on psychological health, heightening levels of stress, insecurity, anxiety, and worry.
- Shared Zone:
This may not occur in all live-in relationships, but it is a prevalent problem for many couples. If your notion of clean and your partner’s idea of clean are radically different, sharing an apartment with them may cause you to feel frustrated at times. The bad quality of shared housing and the behaviours are related to tension, anxiety, and insecurity. For instance, if you prefer a clean environment and your roommate is extremely untidy, living with each other could become a difficult effort for both of you.
A live-in relationship has both advantages and disadvantages, depending on the individual. There are a lot of couples who realised they weren’t meant to be together after living together, as well as a large number of couples that transitioned from living together to marriage with happiness. Follow your sense of right and wrong and watch what happens.