Why More and More Couples Are Choosing “Living Apart Together”

There’s a growing trend of a social phenomenon known as “LAT” (living apart together), where couples, married or unmarried, choose to live separately. Reasons for choosing to live this way vary, and each person’s love language is different. The most important thing to remember is that both of you are happy and agree with whatever choice you make. But experts noticed that a lifelong partnership is no longer a very common desire, according to a study.

Bright Side wanted to understand why this type of relationship is preferred by many, and we’re sure you’ll find our bonus at the end very interesting.

1. They have the freedom they want.

They have an increased sense of autonomy, which gives them the so-called “space to breathe.” They have their own living spaces and do what they want while still having a relationship of intimacy with a partner whenever they both agree.

  • “You are not together by default. To spend time together, you have to both agree to it, and you typically have an activity planned, whether it’s a museum date, cooking, or watching your favorite Netflix show. There is very little talk about housework, chores, or the mundane trivialities of everyday living. And obviously, there are no fights about them. There’s no need to compromise on how you use the living space. If you want to throw a party, have friends over, or hang up art, you can just do it.”

2. They’re simply “not ready” to cohabit.

Some think it’s “too early” in the relationship to move in, one study shows. Some partners might have a fear of making the commitment of sharing their living space with another human being. And this can happen because of bad experiences from the past.

  • As someone who never intends to share my living space or finances with anyone, that’s the only way I would ever be in a relationship. I personally have never met anyone who would be happy with this sort of setup in the long term.”

3. They depend on jobs or studies in different locations.

They’re restricted because of independent reasons, like one of the partners’ jobs or studies. When we talk about younger couples, living apart is often due to financial reasons as well. However, a study showed that in Eastern Europe, a LAT partnership is more common among cultured, highly-educated couples. They see it as an alternative living arrangement to the traditional marriage norm.

  • My fiancé has decided that instead of finding a new apartment, he wants us to move back in with our parents. We’re high school sweethearts and have been together for 5 years. He thinks it will be best financially. He will be living 30 or so minutes away from me, and I’m a full-time student and work 30-35 hours a week, while he works full-time. This move is strictly for financial reasons and we don’t plan on breaking up.”

4. Older couples need their space apart.

A great percentage of people that choose LAT consists of older couples that decide, after many years together, to give themselves space. Or perhaps they’re in a situation where they’re starting a new relationship after they’ve ended a long marriage. They want an intimate companionship, but at the same time, want to keep their own homes, their own social circles, and habitual activities — in addition to their finances.

  • I suggested I stay at our summer place and come home a few times a month. We are both retired and the children are grown. We had been sleeping apart a year or so before because of snoring and the need for different mattresses. Nothing changed with our finances, we talk or email every day, and decide together when I need to come home for things that come up. We are more like partners and good friends than husband and wife. But it has kept our marriage together.”

5. They don’t want to overcomplicate things when a new partner comes along.

This way of living is often preferred by people who were married before, had unhappy marriages, and/or have children from previous relationships. They don’t want to be tied down by a new partner again, and a bit of a distance is more suitable. They actually can spend more quality time together than if they were living in the same household.

  • I actually know several older couples (people over 40) who have happy LAT relationships. They’re at a point in their lives where they want to have a committed partner but don’t want to deal with all of the hassle and stress of living together. Most of them are previously divorced and just don’t want to fight over stuff like shared finances and chores and decorating. It seems to work well for them!”

BONUS: There are quite a few celebrity couples that admit to having a LAT relationship.

Some celebrities have also embraced this way of living. Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton lived separately for 13 years in 2 different houses of a conjoined property in London. Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband, Brad Falchuck, got married in 2018, but for one year, they stayed apart. In 2019, they eventually announced that they were moving in together. Another star who adopted this lifestyle for a while was Kaley Cuoco along with her husband, Karl Cook.

What do you think of these couples that are loving together but living apart? Are you part of a LAT relationship?

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