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Title: Keeping It Casual: Exploring Experiences of Casual Intimate Relationships Amongst Adults In India
Authors: Nair, Aishwarya
Keywords: School of Human Ecology
Chetna Duggal
Intimate Relationships - Adults - India
Issue Date: 2018
Abstract: There was a time when being in an intimate, romantic relationship meant that two people would be committed to each other forever, or be soulmates. However, the 1960s and 70s witnessed a slew of movements that called for freedom and liberation which led to the emergence of several different kinds of relationship forms, including swinging (where couples exchanged partners) and polyamory. Recent times have shown the emergence of newer relationship forms, which have come to replace the traditional notion of an intimate romantic relationship where commitment was seen as both sexual and emotional exclusivity. Existing research on these relationships not only have western origins but have also only reported the perspective of people between the ages of 18-25 years. The current qualitative study aimed to explore the experiences of people between the ages of 26 and 45 years, who are currently engaged in different kinds of casual relationships. In-depth interviews were conducted to understand the participants experiences of being in a casual, intimate relationship. Participant narratives revealed the existence of varying forms of casual relationships, ranging from one-time meetings to longer engagements. Furthermore, all of these relationships were characterised by a lack of commitment and exclusivity. Factors influencing participants’ current choices and their future trajectory have been depicted in an emergent model. Findings from the study have implications in future research and relational therapy, where there is a need to acknowledge the existence of these relationships and to understand their features and the ways in which they are conducted, particularly in the Indian context.
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