Live-in vs. Live-out vs. Marriage – An Analysis

Marriage may be defined as a ‘Sacrament’ between two persons. In other words it is not a contract between two individuals but a sacrosanct relationship between two human beings placing certain obligations and duties vis-à-vis each other. It is generally seen that marriage is a union for leading a life wherein both the spouses contribute to the union. Primarily, a person choses his / her partner based on either of the 4 reasons below:

  • Virtue
  • Nobility
  • Wealth
  • Beauty

Now a question arises what are these obligations vis-à-vis each other that that marriage entails?

Traditionally, societies have prospered by utilizing a concept of labour specialization. This entails that work be divided into gender based roles such as all activities within the house are taken up by the women and all risky activities outside the house were taken up by the men. The primary reason for this work division was that men were considered as a disposable sex and women were protected. Protection of women was primarily important as they were the sex who could reproduce, therefore allowing the continuity of the tribe. As human civilization started growing, this division of role became prominent and hence the concept of marriage was born. Therefore, historically the roles in marriage were based on division of labour and to ensure continuity of the tribe. Hence, marriage was primarily an unwritten contract between a husband and wife which had predefined roles for them.

These predefined roles are also ingrained in the marriage vows:

Marriage also provided legitimacy to the children born out of marriage. Various succession laws are dependent on a person’s marital status. Therefore in essence, marriage was a social fabric of our society which had mutual rights and obligations and also entailed legitimacy of children and succession.


What has changed?

Post WW2 as the world was comparatively at peace, the women wanted to break free from these gender roles and hence feminism was born. The sacrament which was that men will provide for women and in reciprocation the women will take care of the children and home. Therefore each side had certain rights and responsibilities. What feminism actually did was break this sacrosanct relationship, where men had all responsibilities and women had all rights in the marriage. It gave women an option not to follow their side of the unwritten contract but imposed on the men their obligations. For reference you may read about CrPC 125 (Maintenance Clause) for more info.

In the turn of 1980s and 1990s the unwritten contract kept becoming more onerous. To explain the current situation, read the below sample employment contract and do let me know if you would sign it. (Reference from Angry Harry):

Your employer can, at any time, dismiss you, without justification, and he can have you imprisoned if you object too strongly to your dismissal. For example, if you raise your voice in anger at the way in which you are being treated, your employer may have you arrested for ‘violence’. In any event, your employer can dismiss you regardless of the circumstances, and at his sole discretion.

Your employer can fire you from your job whenever he wishes, no matter how long you have served his company, and even if you have done absolutely nothing wrong. Further, your employer can insist that you are evicted from your own home, and never allowed to re-enter it.

Your employer may further demand that you must, under threat of imprisonment, forfeit part of any future income to your employer for some considerable time into the future.


I doubt anyone will say ‘Yes’ to the above employment terms. Now read the current marriage contract:

A woman can, at any time, dismiss her male partner, without justification, and have that partner imprisoned if he objects too strongly to his dismissal. For example, if he raises his voice in anger he may be arrested for ‘domestic violence’. In any event, a woman can dismiss the man regardless of the circumstances, and at her sole discretion.

She can fire him from his jobs as father and partner, whenever she wishes, no matter how long he has served the family, and even if he has done absolutely nothing wrong.

Further, the woman can insist that the man is evicted from his own house, and never allowed to re-enter it. If she has children, a woman may further demand that her sacked partner must, under threat of imprisonment, forfeit part of any future income to the woman and her children for some considerable time into the future – and, in some instances, this is the case even if her children turn out not to be his.

This is the hard truth regarding the current marriage contract. Refer to this link to understand the legal mechanism to enforce the above contract.


The Effect of this change:

Any one-sided contract is short-lived, and people try to remove its vices by other means. Looking at the onerous nature of marriage, another relationship was born named live-in relation. Here, the benefits of marriage such as companionship, love, physical intimacy etc… were retained without the burden of liabilities of marriage as discussed above. The live-in relationship also gave the flexibility to easily move out of the relation. (Divorce is a painful and lengthy process to end a marriage). There is a saying that a leopard can’t change his spots; this means that though a person can have a pretense during the courtship phase, the true nature is revealed when they live together, as changing the true nature is not possible. Hence many couples started using live-in relationships to judge the compatibility with the partner before proceeding in a marital relationship. Therefore the benefits which a live-in relationship brought to the table were:

  • The couple could know each other before marriage
  • The couple could dissolve the relationship when they wanted
  • The couple enjoys the physical intimacy that of a married couple
  • The couple gets a chance to understand the real behaviour of the partner


Recent Amendments:

In recent amendments, another term, ‘Relationship in the nature of marriage’ has been used, which imposes obligations of marriage on the parties to certain live-in relationships.

So that the couple donot intrude in each other’s personal space and to remove the vices of a live-in relationship, the concept of a live-out relationship is evolving. Wherein the couple choose to be in a relationship but retain their own personal lives and space.

Below is the video of Osho talking on marriage and summing it up very well.

You might also be interested in one of my older post: Why should men marry?


Reference:  The Myth of Male Power, Warren Farrel.

Note:  This post is not to hurt sentiments of any person. If you feel offended in any way do feel free to comment and clarifications will be provided. The author does not subscribe to any views in the links and video given in the post. The views in the links and video are solely the views of the author of those respective links / video. These links / videos have been provided only for a comparative purpose to tackle all the aspects of the above debate.


6 Responses to Live-in vs. Live-out vs. Marriage – An Analysis

  1. We have great bloggers..really

  2. Very well written.. This is the reality of the marital relations… Laws for Women ..One way ..Biased

  3. Som says:

    thanks Partha, verz well written and compared!!

  4. Hussein Ali says:

    The Best Blog on Indian Current Topics that dares to bring out the Truth into Open
    instead of following the herd mentality. Talks about Truth and complete Truth with Facts which in Today’s Times is RARE… Keep it up …Kudos to U.

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