Warm heart but cold feet

Unresolvable differences between a couple ‘living –in’ together for nine years approached me. While the lady wanted to take the relationship to the next level by getting married, the man was not yet ready to commit. Both in their late thirties – the woman was worried about her ticking biological clock almost resembling a time bomb and the gentleman not feeling ‘settled enough’ professionally to start and support a family. He wanted to wait till he was comfortable enough to provide. Both right in their own ways, wanted a solution to this contemporary problem.
India is emulating the west in terms of co-habiting with one’s romantic partner is concerned. One can attribute a couple of factors to this kind of an alliance – one, decision making process with the youngsters of today is very swift. They don’t foresee the eventualities that can arise from residing with one’s partner. Two, the repercussions it can have, can really take a toll on both involved. While, generally for the man, it is always about his profession and making x amount of money before getting into any kind of commitment, for the woman it’s normally wanting to give a legal status to her association along with the need to start a family – regardless of whether she is a professional or otherwise.
But then my question is, in this case, hasn’t the man remained committed in the relationship for nine years? It’s too long a time and it’s almost like being married – just without a legal endorsement. What’s going to change with marriage? An addition to the family? Well, that can be discussed mutually. The lady here may be justified in thinking about her age coming in the way of her motherhood, but then why did she realize only after nine years about the impending threat to her fertility? Such problems don’t occur over night. They build up gradually. According to me, nine years is too long a time to feel beyond the pale. It’s too late. After investing in a relationship for almost a decade, it does become difficult to make a ‘U’ turn and start all over again. It’s a ‘do or die’ situation. Both caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, need to realize the gravity of the situation and take a call.
My advice to people resorting to ‘living –in’ is, please think about all the ramifications it can have. An ideal live-in period would be anything between one to three years. Good enough to get to know one another, and to gauge if it can be taken to the next level. Waiting till eternity is only inviting demystification to act as a dampener. Cold feet, reluctance and apprehensions are typical to any romantic relationship. But it makes a lot of sense to discuss one’s expectations from this kind of a setting and the probable consequences it can generate. How about replacing short-sightedness with foresightedness? Mature demeanour is what it takes for two to tango. One wrong move and the rhythm can break. After all, one would want to dance attendance on the other…