Finding the Beauty in Your Live-In Relationship


by Bijaya Biswal

I have often been asked out for one night stands but I could never bring myself to say yes to any even though I am not a traditionalist. I am the kind of person who is often condemned for not being sentimental enough to preserve the culture I come from because what they call dilution, I call evolution and I am the kind who loves choices, sexual fluidity, humanities and the lifelong pursuit of free will.

But it is weird how my emotional desires exceed my bodily desires. My craving for conversations, making coffee for someone else while he sits on the bean bag in the balcony, listening to Indie music and then the brief moment of intimacy when we are not doing anything except witnessing the sun go down behind the skyscrapers, the homecoming of birds and the dance of the clouds. One night stands are all about touching and asking each other the right questions but always sexual, everything constrained to the body, to the bedroom history and preference of positions. An unpaid two-way prostitution.

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Such an investment of time and effort to bridge the awkwardness with ignorant and unmeant compliments and everything for what? Just a night of rolling each other in the bed and smoking them up like a joint. A night when despite your politeness, your brilliant background of being a state level athlete or an expert at playing the violin, you will be still praised for how good you are at blowing. A night when you will be reduced from a woman to a vagina, a mouth to ejaculate into, a thin-skinned condom meant to be used and thrown. Everything consensual, but everything merely sensual. Then when he falls asleep and you spend the rest of the night smoking with your head hanging out of the open window, you will wonder why people value short-term goals over long-term commitments, because at least the former are promising.

Our generation is stuck in some kind of transition period; the uncomfortable interval between a previous world where people wanted to be remembered in poetry and a forthcoming one where people want to be remembered for their thesis papers. The uncomfortable interval between two widely split legs, between ambitions and emotions, and between inconsistency and anti-depressants. It is as exciting as sad, but since despite all the development our work hours are not shrinking with the years, it also feels absurd.

Who has the energy to drag himself through twelve hours of mental labor in front of a desktop, and then fight his way into an overcrowded bus only to come to a house disorganized by fellow roommates, and still manage to save some romantic appetite to call and entertain a long distance boyfriend? Who has the time to keep your heart considerate among the long office meetings and perennially scheduled business trips, to even remember doing the necessary little things that fuel the fire in a lover’s heart like love letters and candle light dinners and wedding vows?

No wonder relationships are defined so cynically because they are always defined by those who have been in bad ones. But after all, there is always a reason why stereotypes exist.

“But isn’t everything we do in life a way to be loved a little more?”

Celine asks in the movie “Before Sunrise.” I do not have an answer.

But millennials never learned to conform. Globalization has taught us one thing and that is to adapt. To be a Roman when in Rome, or build Rome elsewhere within a day. The juggling is taxing, but the juggling has been expertised. The underrated concept of live-in relationships has made love an autonomous process, letting it take its responsibility in its own hands. It has made it a spontaneous process now. Love previously needed a time slot to be separately kept aside but now she is always around, humming in the kitchen or decorating the front porch, being a part of you by just being in your sight.

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Waking up to each other’s faces, brushing teeth together in your nightwear shorts, kissing under the shower and little conversations in the cab you take to the office, texting throughout lunch about laundry, the internet bill or prospective furniture, coming home to someone who is waiting hungrily with dinner getting cold. 

You accept each other’s tired minds, each other’s irritability which otherwise you might have mistaken for indifference while dating long distance. No formalities of sending gifts because there is a ritual of everyday forehead kisses and washing clothes together in the bathroom on weekends. It might sound monotonous because relationships are never expected to be boring and ordinary. They are thought of some kind of dopamine bouts but the thing about expecting chemical impulses from people is one day you don’t want it anymore.

Live-in relationships show you how love has to be monotonous if we want it to be continuous. It is like being on a prolonged date that never ends. It might not feel special anymore but at least it feels comfortable as if love is not another assignment to score well on but an innate tendency.

Sometimes on Sundays, you won’t feel like talking and just sit un-bathed in your sweatpants, watching Youtube on your respective laptops, energizing your lifeless bodies. No formality of having to call only to remind your partner you still love him on Sundays. No compulsion to speak just to show you care.

Laziness in live-in relationships is a competitive advantage. You will fight, but about the division of labor and not division of love. You will shop for grocery together and take each other to the doctor. It will hit you months later that you never think of breaking up, because this person has become indistinguishable from yourself. A few times you will take each other for granted. But when he goes abroad for a few weeks for an undeniable opportunity, you will realize you have nothing to upload on Instagram anymore.

On some days you will look at him and think how the spark is not felt anymore. It will be a little devastating, a little terrifying. Is the love dying out? Should you know a lover too much if you still want to remain in love? Is it possible to stick to a single person all your life despite knowing there are no more surprises left in them to make your heart miss a beat? It will make you anxious and sweaty and make the canvas of your future look dark, the things you always feel during the daily 8 pm power cuts in India. But one day, while you stalk your hallways waiting for the electricity to come back, you will hear him calling from the bedroom. You will let his voice be your only guide and when you reach, you will see the dinner served on the table. A candle light in the middle and his half-lit face, smiling back at you, like a bright future.

Bijaya Biswal is a 22-year-old medical student. She takes a keen interest in politics, economics, history and theater.

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