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Live-In Relationships
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Live-In RelationshipsIndia is a country, which is slowly opening its doors for western ideas and lifestyles and one of the most crucial episodes amongst it, is the concept of live-in relationships. We can witness the number of unmarried partners living together is scaling high. Just a generation or two ago, it was scandalous for an unmarried man and woman to live together. Today, most couples, who marry, live together first has gone mainstream. But that change happened so quickly, it is no wonder things are inconsistent.

Some couples find living together is easy. Others find themselves attacked by angry family members, excluded from faith communities, baffled by how to introduce each other and discriminated against because they are not married. In some places and situations, unmarried partners can share a policy and get certain legal protections; in other situations, they are considered legal strangers with no rights, even if they have lived together for decades.

Whenever we think about live-in relationships, we ask the question as to why do couples believe in having such a relationship, then there are many answers to it. Research show that most couples who live together would like to get married someday, and within five years, slightly more than half of them definitely also do. Couples move in together mainly because they are in love and they want to spend more time together. They also want to make sure they are compatible before they make a lifetime commitment to each other. Many people we talk to say they could not imagine marrying someone if they had not lived together first.

Some couples who are engaged and soon to be married also decide to move in together before the wedding since they do want to save the money for a wedding and they are spending most nights together anyway and don`t want to pay two rents.

However, some couples also might live-in together if they decide not to get married or they figure out that in due course they cannot marry each other. They also know their partner is not a good match for a long-term relationship, but want to stick with this person for now. They would also lose significant financial benefits if they were to marry. This predicament is especially common among senior citizens (who would sometimes lose a pension from a deceased spouse if they married) and disabled people.

These studies receive a great deal of publicity because conservative groups use them to try to revive "traditional" marriage (with no cohabitation and no sex before marriage). Rather than trying to scare people away from living together when it`s already so widespread, it is important to help the couples living together to have strong, healthy relationships. Married people may be happier on average, but this may be the result of some other factor -- it may not be marriage that makes them happier. For instance, marriage is strongly tied to financial issues. It has been shown repeatedly that when finances improve (an individual`s or a region`s), marriage rates rise.

Some couples who live together do not want to get married, and some (like gay and lesbian couples) are prevented from marrying. But if lifelong marriage is your goal, as it is for the majorities of male-female couples who move in together, here are our ten recommendations for how to increase the chances that your marriage will be a success.

  • Make the decision to live with a sweetie slowly, seriously, and with great care.

  • Before you move in together, be very clear about what you expect. You should both have a clear sense of what moving in together means to each of you.

  • Keep your expectations reasonable. Living together will not magically transform an "I`ll never get married" guy into one who proposes on one knee. Sharing a kitchen and bedroom will not sweeten a volatile relationship. Live together because your relationship is going well, not to try to make it better.

  • Similarly, do not marry your partner because you hope marriage will change her. If you do not like what you see in an unmarried significant other, you definitely will not like it in a spouse.

  • Define the amount of time you want to live-in together. One way is to get engaged and set a wedding date before you move in together. Another possibility is to set a future date (six months or one year) at which time you both promise to have another serious conversation about marriage and make a definite decision about it.

  • Write and sign a "living together agreement" to help clarify your expectations and define how you will handle finances and property. The conversations you will need to have in order to done this will strengthen your relationship and protect you later if you decide it is best to go your separate ways.

  • Take couple education classes together. Research suggests that all couples have the same number of conflicts, but some handle conflicts well while others break up as a result of them. Couples` classes, which teach how to make sure your relationship can survive conflict, are often targeted for married or engaged couples. Before you sign up, make sure they believe in strengthening cohabits` relationships, too.

  • If you are considering or planning to get married, talk about what will change and what will stay the same.

  • Use birth control. It is a lot more fun and romantic to get married because you want to, not because you accidentally got pregnant. The unplanned pregnancy rate is high among cohabits, but kids do best when they are wanted and planned. Whether you are married or not when you become a parent, your family will be strongest if it is fully intentional.

  • Talk about marriage with people you respect who have been married a long time. Ask them about the hardest times, how and why they stayed together, what it was like when the relationship felt rocky, how they feel about it now. The insights from long marriages can be inspiring and a good reality check.

  • Apart from the reasons of a live-in relationship, people feel that couples who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce. However these studies` conclusions are frequently misrepresented in the media. Most couples today live together before they marry, and research shows that on average, the minority of couples who marry without living together tend to be more religious, more conservative, and more opposed to divorce, as one would expect.

    So these studies actually show that people who are more opposed to divorce are less likely to divorce -- which is not particularly surprising. Researchers have found that when you "control" for the differences between the two groups, the cohabitation-divorce link decreases considerably or vanishes entirely, depending on the study. The idea that living together ruin relationships is not supported in any research.

    However, even live-in relationships come under the scrutiny of the moral brigade leaving very little options left to the couples actually staying together. So will this continue or is there an end to such questions and expectations from the older generations?

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