In a relationship but unwilling to get married? We weigh pros and cons of singlehood
An increasing number of people are skipping marriage in spite of being in relationships. But is staying single all your life really worth it?sex and relationships Updated: May 17, 2017 18:39 IST
Marriage is often lauded for its benefits and the happiness it brings people, and a lot of people go to great lengths to make their marriage feel and seem perfect. However, wedlock just isn’t for everyone. During a recent interview with HT Café, when asked why she never tied the knot, Asha Parekh said, “I would just say that I wasn’t destined to get married. Now, when I look back, I feel I am happy that I never got married.”
When it comes to the average Indian, you’re not likely to find many single people in their third decade. Most people are married by the time they turn 35, and even if one doesn’t want to get married, societal and parental pressures often convince people to take the jump. However, times are changing, and an increasing number of people are preferring to stay unmarried, despite being in relationships.
Consultant psychiatrist Dr Ambrish Dharmadhikari says that people these days are of the opinion that marriage is just a social contract and relationships are something that are built through effort and not by social compulsions. He says, “Living in, or cohabitation, offers the advantage of freedom. This understanding, along with additional space and independence, is prompting people to stay unmarried.”
But clinical psychologist, Tanushree Bhargava has a different take on the issue. She says live-in relationships are popular only in larger cities. She says, “In traditional families, the compulsion to get married at a certain age has not changed much. Marriage is still considered very important. The change has been seen in metros, where highly qualified and professionally competent individuals or youngsters are living a life that is different from their traditional backgrounds.”
However, there’s a big difference between a person who didn’t choose to marry and someone who is unmarried because they didn’t find a suitable partner. Bhargava says people who chose not to marry may have fewer problems in life than those who couldn’t find the right partner. But Bhargava maintains that staying unmarried can be problematic later in life.
On the other hand, staying out of wedlock also has its benefits. Dharmadhikari opines, “Independence is the benefit of remaining unmarried. A person is less dependent on others and they are not driven by social pressures. Unmarried people can live life as they want to without familial and social compulsions.”
Staying unmarried because you’re already living in with someone has its benefits as well. Dharmadhikari says, “Living in with someone and staying unmarried for life makes both people work hard on their relationship. You don’t take each other for granted, because you know your partner can easily walk out. In case of a split, such couples don’t have to go for a divorce, get involved in legal matters, or split up financial assets. There is a combination of interpersonal freedom and personal responsibility.”
Celebrities who have chosen not to get married
The 77-year-old actor has three children, but he has never been married. Pacino has one child with acting coach Jan Tarrant and two with actor Beverly D’Angelo. He has also dated Diane Keaton, Tuesday Weld, Jill Clayburgh, Marthe Keller, Kathleen Quinlan and Lyndall Hobbs.
The actress has preferred to stay out of wedlock and has stayed mum about marriage.
Theron has said marriage is ‘not her thing’. She once said, “Even when I was a little girl, I never dreamed of a white dress and all that stuff.” The actor has dated Stuart Townsend in the past.
Diaz believes people shouldn’t live their lives in a certain way because tradition says so. She has said, “I don’t think we should live our lives in relationships based on old traditions that don’t suit our world any longer.” Among others, she has dated Matt Dillon and Justin Timberlake.
Winfrey has been in a relationship with Stedman Graham since 1986. Reportedly, she got engaged to Graham many years ago, but the marriage never happened.
The actor dated Elizabeth Hurley for 13 years and is the godfather of her child. Grant has a child of his own with Tinglan Hong, a woman with whom he reportedly had a brief affair.
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