She: So you are living with your boy friend?
Me: Yeah, since past four months
She: So its like.. you guys are like… husband and wife?
Me: Yes, kinda.. except that we are not legally married….yet.
She: Oh.. but other things.. you know what I mean.. like husband and wife?
Me: (stabs myself )
I never ever guessed living-in with a partner was so looked down in a place like Bangalore—This city which is known for its ultra modern crowd and mixed culture! Back in 2003 while we were doing graduation, I had lots of friends who used to stay with their boyfriends (Even before co habitation was legalized). Two of our close friends stayed with their then girl friends-now wives respectively. And now since they have been promoted into the status of married couple, I sometimes feel left out.
When I decided to move in with John, it was indeed a tough decision. My mind played the ‘to be or not to be’ game for a long time. One moment I will make up my mind to stay back with parents, next second I knew, I can’t miss him anymore. And after so many rounds of battling with my thoughts, social stigma, trauma of long distant relationship; I decided to live-in with him.
There comes the problem of convincing parents. I must say my parents are not conservative but broad minded in almost all situations. But when it comes to staying with him before marriage, it was a no-no. So I was left with just one option—I lied to them. I said I am staying with a friend before packing my bags. And soon after reaching and getting engaged to John, I confided the truth in mom. And she being the most understanding person, actually supported me, to my surprise.
But the worst was yet to come. When I joined the new office, everyone wanted to know about my whereabouts. “I am staying with my fiancé” was usually accepted by a ‘Oh!’ ‘Aha?’ and a sheepish grin. It looked all clandestine from their point of view. And trust me, I felt so awkward. And when it comes to guys, they took it more awkwardly. They reacted like I had done something really wrong that I owe them an apology! And then there is this naughty smile, nods and smirks when I discuss something about John. But as time went by, they got used to the fact and I am no more a subject of insult.
Luckily, our neighbor is a great woman who seems to be fine with our co-habitation. She even asks me about our future plans for starting a family and all with utmost interest. And our house owner? Ah, I really don’t know. I still can’t decipher her expression even now. She sometimes looks at me scornfully, sometimes with hatred and sometimes with pity. Anyways, it is so disheartening. But to be frank, I am really relieved that my mom is with me in spite of all this.
Coming to the physical relationship part, people are still skeptical or are they interested? I am confused. I am sure that people imagine things in the weirdest way; I could find that from their smile and nods. Initially I used to feel embarrassed and felt like looked down when actually we have our own decisions regarding love making. Later I realized it’s no sin. And as long as I am with my man, I don't have to be scared of anyone.
Now, it’s just a matter of two weeks and we are going to be man and wife. Praying so hard for making our dream come true and escape from the scornful looks thereafter.