It’s OK to want a better life an a life patner
Giving an important clarification on live-in relationships, the Supreme Court has said that if a man and woman “lived like husband and wife” for a long period and had children, the judiciary would presume that the two were married.
A bench of Justices B S Chauhan and J Chelameswar on Monday issued the clarification on a petition filed by advocate Uday Gupta, who had questioned certain sweeping observations made by the Madras high court while dealing with the issue of live-in relationships. Importantly, the SC said children born out of prolonged live-in relationships could not be termed illegitimate.
We’ve often heard “you have to kiss some frogs before you find your handsome prince”. But it seems that women today are not interested in plunging into holy matrimony even if the prince were to pop up. Good bye child marriages and good bye arranged marriages! It’s now the era of career-driven individuals. Women no longer want to be born, brought up, and become just an extension of men.
Someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s wife and someone’s mother is no longer the desired identity. Women want to explore their potential, establish themselves and rise to great heights professionally; they enjoy their economic independence and the fact that their lives are a masterpiece coloured by their own choices. As a result, marriages are a “later in life” agenda for most. Instead of being married off in their teens, women are waiting till as late as 40 and consequently premarital sex and live-in relationships seem the obvious options to keep life and hormones in balance.
I’m not going to moralise or sermonise the obvious merits and demerits of such options, to each his or her own, but there’s a certain ruthlessness I see in the fervour for self-gratification which is honestly quite off putting. Random sex, one-night stands and flings with multiple strangers (sometimes in 100’s), just because you can, or just for the fun of it, seems actually purposeless, rather than purposeful. Fact is, it’s a very personal space you’re sharing, and there are bound to be major emotional and physical repercussions to such indiscriminate actions. I can understand enjoying and exploring sex with no strings attached as an experience and not wanting to jump into commitment, but I just can’t understand the desire to be a public toilet. It’s not just about the numbers; it’s also the mechanical ruthlessness of it.
Gupta had challenged the HC’s observation that “a valid marriage does not necessarily mean that all the customary rights pertaining to the married couple are to be followed and subsequently solemnized”.
His counsel, M R Calla, sought deletion of the HC’s observations terming them as untenable in law. He apprehended that these remarks could demolish the very institution of marriage.
The bench went through the judgment and said the HC’s observations could not be construed as a precedent for other cases and would be confined to the case in which these were made.
Pre marital sex is a reality. As much as some may be against it, it is not behave in a against the law to indulge in it. Sometimes couples forget to use condoms, or the condoms may burst. A girl may get pregnant. She may opt for an abortion. As much as some may be against it, it isn’t the law to do so. What’s horrible is bearing a child when you’re not ready to be a parent. Sometimes relationships do not work out. It isn’t a crime to date someone and not take it to the altar. If you don’t feel the person is the right person for you, you have every right to walk away from it and look for someone you feel is a fitting life companion. It’s not against the law to want a better life partner. Sometimes relationships bring out the worst in you. You manner that is perhaps alien to even you.
To recognise this and move away from destructive or violent dynamics is not a crime. Why is it, that when two consenting adults decide to enter a relationship, its okay, but when one of them feels it’s time to move on it’s not okay? If you’ve invested a few years into trying to make a relationship work and despite all efforts it doesn’t work for one partner, why is it that you expect that person to stay on in a compromise for the next 50 years of their life? Why is it that a man is the “user” and woman the “used”? Did she not enjoy the sex,
the romance or the relationship as much as him? So what if in loving moments there were commitments of marriage made? Isn’t that normal when you’re in love and everything is hunky dory to want that? Isn’t it equally normal to opt out of a bad or boring relationship? Those that expect sex= marriage should simply get married first. Everything else is just a blame game and blackmail by a once consenting adult.
Justices Chauhan and Chelameswar said,”In fact, what the HC wanted to say is that if a man and woman are living together for a long time as husband and wife, though never married, there would a presumption of marriage and their children could not be called illegitimate.”
In 2010, the apex court had in Madan Mohan Singh vs Rajni Kant case said, “The courts have consistently held that the law presumes in favour of marriage and against concubinage, when a man and woman have cohabited continuously for a number of years. However, such presumption can be rebutted by leading unimpeachable evidence.”
The same year, the court had in another judgment hinted at the legitimacy of children born out of such relations. “It is evident that Section 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act intends to bring about social reforms, conferment of social status of legitimacy on a group of children, otherwise treated as illegitimate, as its prime object.”
Section 16 of Hindu Mariage Act provides,”Notwithstanding that a marriage is null and void under Section 11, any child of such marriage who would have been legitimate if the marriage had been valid, shall be legitimate, whether such a child is born before or after the commencement of the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Act, 1976, and whether or not a decree of nullity is granted in respect of the marriage under this Act and whether or not the marriage is held to be void otherwise than on a petition under this Act.”
You must understand that marriage is an institution and apart from social and familial consequences, legal angles financial implications, emotional reasons and a whole lot of paper work makes you try, try and keep trying, even compromising your entire life if need be, despite it being a bad marriage. But I can’t understand the need for people to suffer obviously bad relationships. In a planet of over 6 billion, with over 1.2 billion individuals in your own country, and probably lakhs or crores in your income group, social strata etc. it’s incredulous that people ‘compromise’ so dearly on their happiness just because they are ‘now involved’ with each other. Of course there is a saying, ‘look before you leap’, but for those that dived in head first without looking, there’s no reason to continue with obviously cruel, incompatible or emotionally torturous relationships. It isn’t rocket science to tell you that it’s not working despite best efforts. It takes an ability to recognise it and not emotionally delude yourself into staying for ‘various reasons’. Relationships either strengthen you or drain you. They either better you or embitter you. They either make you live your potential and realise your potential, or they keep you in a permanent state of compromise and conflict. Live, learn,
kiss it, bless it and let it go. No relationship is perfect, but the good to bad ratio cannot be severely lopsided. The ‘right’ partner is as much a reality as a ‘wrong’ partner. Don’t be stupid, lazy or emotionally weak about wanting the better for yourself. Marriage may be a compromise, relationships don’t have to be.
Relationship addiction, when you research it, is quite startling. There are so many of us who don’t even realise we are addicted to being in relationships only because it fuels our self-worth, alleviates our fears and that it’s often at the cost of our self-esteem, not recognising our own voids, and holding onto damaging relationships.
If you put all your energies into ‘fixing people’ and plunging into the chaotic lives of others because being needed makes you feel worthy, if you feel responsible for other people’s happiness, buy extravagant gifts for those you care about, offer unsolicited advice, feel lonely even when surrounded by people, are unable to accept compliments, and constantly focus you attention and time on controlling, protecting and making people do things your way, you have relationship addiction.
There’s nothing wrong about helping others or looking out for them, but not at the cost of your own needs, your feelings and your own growth. Most people glorify their giving nature by claiming it to be selfless and that martyring their own lives is ultimate sign of caring, but what they are essentially doing is compromising on their values and needs or spiritual self in order to avoid someone’s anger, displeasure or rejection.
If you’re the kind of person that can never say “no” and never ask for help, it’s time to ask it from yourself and for yourself. You must change your patterns. Stop being controlled by your fears and release yourself from past worries and regrets. Plunging into someone else’s life is a silly way of escaping your own miseries and self-perception. You are an equal and do not need the validation of others to determine your sense of self-worth. Let the best relationship you share, be with yourself.