Companionship and not necessarily marriage is what millennials seem to need. You want a companion who understands you, whom you are attracted to, has your back and hangs out with you in pjs on a Sunday morning. This companion may be exactly who you need in life right now, but not five years down the line, and that’s perfectly okay. Parting on friendly terms has become quite the norm. Many today believe that marriage in your early 20s is disastrous because one really doesn’t know what they want at that point in time. Many believe that that’s the time to date, concentrate on your career and yourself.
One can argue that they can do all this while being married too. Relationship counsellor Gita Khanna believes that getting married in your 20s and growing together is beautiful too, but by putting a ring on it, you are embracing all the responsibilities that come with marriage.
When you are someone’s girlfriend/boyfriend or live-in partner, it’s really not your job to be there for the extended family, you don’t have to make decisions regarding your life considering a dozen other feelings and you can enjoy the perks of a relationship without the excess baggage that marriage inevitably brings.
If movies and actors set trends, then Bollywood is leading the way in making people realise that marriage isn’t the end goal to a happily-ever-after. Actor Shruti Haasan has previously been in committed relationships which has ended sans drama. She and her boyfriend of two years, Michael Corsale just parted ways and it’s been perfectly amicable. So much so that he tweeted, “Life has just kept us on opposite sides of the globe unfortunately and so we have to walk solo paths it seems. But this young lady will always be my best mate.”
Then you have actor Kalki Koelchin, who is pregnant with her boyfriend’s baby. Commitment is not lacking, it’s just the ring. Clinical psychologist Dr Pulkit Sharma says people today are aware of what they want and need. They don’t see why something should be done for society’s sake.
“You don’t need an ‘institution’ or legal system in place for a happily-ever-after,” says Dr Sharma. And for some reason, if things don’t work out, you can always part without the hassle of waiting for a divorce. The nice thing about a live-in-relationship is that people give it their best. Gita Khanna observes, “You don’t take each other for granted, which sometimes happens in marriages. In India, no matter how much you deny it, there is a probability that you will have to deal with a few people rolling their eyes at your live-in-relationship. But if you have taken this step, you are probably fully committed already.”
Of course, none of this means that nobody wants to get married. “The definition of marriage remains the same, only one’s goal posts have changed,” explains Gita, adding, “You sometimes delay marriage because you want to prove yourself in your career first.”
Ultimately, whether you want to be in a marriage or a committed relationship is a personal choice, but it’s important to emotionally invest in your relationship. Gita says, “If you haven’t been in a relationship for a long time or haven’t found anyone in your 30s, it gets increasingly harder to find a companion in your 50s and 60s, when you suddenly feel a void as your parents have aged and your friends are busy with their own families.”
So be open to finding love and sharing your life with someone who you feel is on the same wavelength as you, even if the prospect of walking down the aisle is not really a priority....