Society alters its shape every decade or so and it seems to be happening faster than before. The way we commute (Uber, Ola, Metro), the way we communicate (mobile, FB, Instagram Snapchat), and the way we consume food (Swiggy, Foodpanda, Zomato) has absolutely no parallel to life a decade back. Today we take these as the way life is. When everything changes can relationships be far behind? The idea of marriage and relationships has started to change gradually in society at least in the urban centres. All is arranged People who married in the era before 1990-1980 never met or talked to their partners before marriage. Love was not even a factor in marriages. Maybe the couple did not fall in love but came to love each other (hopefully ) over time. Most people were married before they were 20-25 and had three-four kids before they hit their thirties. Getting to know one another The society opened up by 1990 and the people who were getting married were allowed to meet and talk. Some of the ‘getting to know the other person happened. Whether they fell in love after getting married or not was not even important as long as they worked to keep the family together. Nobody asked either of them whether they loved their spouses. Not marrying was not really an option for anyone. Why marry? Again a shift has occurred in society with regard to relationships and marriages. When I talk to people in their mid-twenties, the question they ask is “Why to get married at all?” Most of the time you are stumped for an answer as they can give a counter to every answer that you give. “Marriage is for lifelong companionship,” you say. “Nothing lasts that long” comes the answer, “Who wants to be in a relationship that does not work out” “Marriage is for assured intimacy” you hedge your words “Sex is okay before marriage. I have already had it with three partners” comes the blunt answer. And before you give another reason comes the warning from them, “Don’t tell me marriage is for security. I can take care of myself” “What about children?” you ask gingerly “You don’t need marriage for having kids. You can have kids whenever you want. My friend has frozen her eggs too” “There is an age to have kids isn’t it?” you ask hesitantly “I will want to be sure whom I have kids with. I should be married for at least five years before thinking of children” It's still in the Beta stage Marriage is not the only route to companionship, sex is available without marriage, security is by self, and children are not the reason to get married, so why marry at all? Has it become an increasingly difficult question to answer? “You have been going out together for nearly three years. You have been living together, are you still not sure?” you ask someone who is in a live-in relationship. “Not really sure,” she says, “It is nice as it is. I have to be 100% sure before committing to a marriage” “When will you be sure?” “Don’t know” comes an assured confident answer. You don’t know whether they are confused or you are envious of the freedom that they enjoy. Relationships and marriages are shifting shapes. From marrying strangers to getting to know someone before marrying, to live-in and testing relationships, we have come a long way. Marriage is not even on their minds. The beta testing of relationships has to go on for a few years before they are willing to look at marriage. Beta testing used to be restricted to the software before it become public, it has seeped into relationships too, has it?