Cohabitation is an important phenomenon which is on the rise in the hectic and fast-paced modern life but it exists on the sidelines of Indian society. In order to gain deeper understanding of the contentious issues, three focus group discussions were conducted with each group comprising of 6-10 participants. The total sample comprised of 24 female college students in the age group of 18-21 years. This was followed by semi-structured interviews with two co-habitating heterosexual couples. The thematic analysis of FGD and interviews revealed that cohabitation is a consensual arrangement with perks of a marriage but without too many legal implications. The social media and films were the most important source of influence in understanding and actualizing such relationships. There was a lot of social stigma and parental opposition to such arrangements. Partners faced a lot of insecurities, harassment and trust issues. Another unresolved issue was whether the couple should have children or not. Many young people were postponing or rejecting marriage but the sexual and companionship needs remained unfulfilled. Thus, the society has to provide alternate and safe methods to do so and co-habitation was one such alternative.
Pooja Jaggi, University of Delhi, India
Veena Gupta, University of Delhi, India
Anuja Razdan, University of Delhi, India
Gayatri Rawat, University of Delhi, India