‘Live-in relationship’ the next thing to marriage ….


10-September-2011

This was indeed something out of the ordinary for our country but not at all new in many Asian countries where even hundreds of couples get married together.

These men and women have decided to live together for better or worse till death do them part, but more are reluctant to make this big step.

For decades now, Seychellois couples have come to favour live-in relationships. Popularly known as ‘menaz’, this type of relationship has been adopted from the west. It is when a man and a woman stay in the same house and do everything as a normal couple but they are not married. This is not to say that marriages are no longer that popular in our country but compared to past generations, young people of this century prefer to cohabit.

According to the National Statistics Bureau 450 marriages were registered in 2009 and 145 divorces. In 2010 there were 459 with 156 divorces. It shows that there has been a slight increase in the number of marriages in the country and at the same time the rate of divorces has also gone up.

Whilst most of our grandparents tied the knots at a very young age, sometimes even at 16, we the young generations are on the other hand delaying or even not considering the option. Even more, many parents are advising their children to keep away from such a commitment if they are not ready.

But people get married for several reasons. They do it out of love for one another; they feel they have to do it because their religion, the society or their family expect them to. Some take the next step for financial and emotional security and others just do not want to be ‘alone’.

There is yet another group who choose not to because they just do not see its purpose or they believe this is just a formality or a ritual imposed on them by religion.

They may feel more independent like this or they want to live with that person for a while, get to know if they are compatible and then maybe pop the question later.

In other cases some people just prefer to remain ‘single’ because a wedding may be too expensive for them or they just want to be together without a legal union.

But still, such cohabiting relationships just like marriages have their commitments.

There are no records on how many people are in a live-in relationship but for sure this figure is very high.

Nicholas Martin has been in a live-in relationship for three years and he said eventually he will tie the knot.

“I consider live-in relationship as a starting point for couples and the way forward for those planning to make the big move.”

“I have been with my partner for more than 20 years and we are not married. We have a 23- year-old son and until now our life has been great and I have never fantasised about wedding bells,” said 46-year-old Josianne Lesperance.

Shayne Camille has never lived with her long time boyfriend, but they got married two and a half years ago and ever since things have not been the same.

“I’m starting to wonder why I got married in the first place, now I just want to get out of it.”
Whereas Theresa Mussard has been married for 17 years, she had both the civil and church ceremony and she is so happy to have made this choice.

The 34-year-old has two kids -- an 11-year old daughter and five-year old son.

She said she wants to be the role model for her children as she is very religious and believes that as a married couple, she and her husband can better educate and bring up their children.

All four interviewees stressed that couples do not need to rush and get married but they have to make the decision together.

The excuses that marriage can lead to complications such as dividing up property, alimony, issue of child custody after a divorce, no longer stands. Being married helps to make things less complicated. When you have been in a long-term live-in relationship you need to have proofs to show your contribution towards any property or belongings that you and your partner have bought together. These proofs, like receipts and written documents, are important in case you have to go to court after the break-up to get your share.

Nowadays, married or not, once you’re in a long-term and serious relationship it’s already a commitment!

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