Having some alone time can feel so good, but there is only so much alone time that a relationship can endure before it breaks and falls apart. I have always been a fan of Living Apart Together (LAT) relationships because such arrangements allow both people to have their own independence while still being part of a couple. Independence can be much needed when you need time to work, think, exercise, sleep, read, and do any of the things that you used to enjoy before entering a relationship.
While there are some obvious benefits of living apart together, you should think twice before deciding to give it a shot. If you are serious about your relationship, you must question whether or not your partnership is strong enough to withstand objections that you and your partner may have about such an unconventional union. Here are some of the disadvantages of living apart together that you may want to consider.
1. Lack of intimacy
Happy couples usually like to express their love through physical actions such as hugs and kisses. What happens when you want a hug at 2 o’clock in the morning? Waking up in an empty bed when you are in a relationship can get old when you suddenly want someone to cuddle with.
The only way to become proficient at something is to practice doing it daily. Relationships grow when people work at cultivating them on a regular basis. LAT unions are missing the proximity factor that makes it possible for two people to develop emotional intimacy and to show each other love daily.
2. Strained communication
Communicating means more than just speaking. Non-verbal communication can be even more important than verbal in a relationship. A quick text and a phone call can never replace the thrill that you get when you make eye contact with your soulmate and you say good morning to each other while exchanging smiles and kisses.
I have always encouraged people who use dating websites to meet other singles to create a plan to meet face to face sooner rather than later as the best way to develop and maintain chemistry with someone is to communicate with each other in person.
3. Trust issues
It is easier to build trust with someone when you are present to observe their behavior. How will you know if you are being cheated on when your partner is not around you most of the time? Being in a LAT relationship should really only be pursued by people who are strong believers in their abilities to stay faithful.
Some people use LAT partnerships as opportunities to see who else is out there and explore open relationships. If no strings attached relationship is something that both you and your partner agree on, then living apart might be ideal for both of you. If you want to keep your relationship exclusive, that could be hard to do when you see each other only once in a while.
4. Attending events solo
What happens when you need a date to attend your cousin’s wedding with you and your boyfriend is unable to attend? You will likely feel very lonely when you see other couples at events and you do not have anyone to hold hands with. Scenarios like this can make you feel as if you are not even part of a couple.
What is the point of being in a relationship if you feel as if you are a single person? LAT unions often have these inconveniences. If you are a social butterfly and you want a partner who will share social experiences with you, a LAT partnership might not be the best fit for you.
5. Missing out on shared experiences
There are experiences in life that you would regularly share with the people who are closest to you. Experiences such as eating your favorite meals, recounting jokes that you learned from your co-workers and your new favorite movie are all situations that would typically be shared with your favorite people. When you live apart from your mate, you miss out on sharing those treasured experiences on a regular basis.
You will find yourself needing to put much more effort into getting to know your mate and having your mate get to know you when you live apart together. The small things that make up a part of your day grow to be a part of your life. And, when you find yourself having to educate your partner on areas of your life that he or she does not know about because you are not together frequently, you will start questioning if the relationship is solid enough to build and move forward with.
6. Disapproval from friends and family
Most people believe that real relationships are ones in which the couple lives in the same home, shares the same bank account and the exact same goals. It can be hard to convince your family that your living apart together relationship is real in spite of the fact that you do not live in the same home, you do not co-mingle your finances, and your goals are not aligned.
Having to defend the status of your relationship in front of your friends and family can feel very tiring. Your relationship could feel very healthy and functional to you, but your loved ones might view your relationship as being dysfunctional due to the fact that you and your partner live apart. The fact that some LAT relationships are healthier than some non-LAT unions does not matter in the minds of some people. There is prejudice about LAT relationships that you will need to be ready to encounter.
7. Negative impact on finances
When I was in a long distance relationship, I was very motivated during the early stages of the relationship. I focused more on the possibilities of what I and my former flame could have together, and I had hoped that we would eventually live in the same area. However, the cost of traveling to see each other took its toll on us and on our pocketbooks.
When traveling by airplane is the fastest way to travel to meet the person who you are in a relationship with, be prepared to fork out a lot of cash and travel reward mile points to make this happen. After a while, you will realize that it is too much of a hassle to continue in the relationship, especially if you are meeting other single people who live in your area and are available to meet for dates at any time. Even if you are in a LAT relationship and living in two separate homes in the same town, living apart will be more expensive than living together and sharing expenses.
8. Too much effort to maintain
All of the reasons that I listed here about disadvantages to being in a LAT relationship will serve as huge reasons why you will rethink staying in the situation. All of the obstacles and frustration of not being in the same surroundings as your mate will cause you to question whether or not the relationship is worth it.
As wonderful as your mate may be, there are plenty of other fish in the sea. When you meet other single people who are interested in dating you, you will be tempted to end your LAT partnership that requires more effort to maintain and has a questionable future.
9. Other love interests meddling in
If you are spending a lot of time separately the chance of other love interests meddling in is pretty high. Other people who are interested in pursuing either you or your mate might view your LAT union as a sign that the relationship you share with your partner is not stable. Even if your relationship is genuine, you will have to keep an eye out for other people who are actively trying to sabotage the love that you and your mate share.
I know someone who lives in my local area and he is engaged right now. His fiancée lives on another continent than the one he is living on. This man is not taking his recent engagement seriously, which is clearly evidenced by his recent actions; flirting and pursuing other women. I strongly suspect that both of these people are not being true to each other, but only time will tell how this situation will unfold.
10. Feeling of loneliness
Having some alone time is good, but being lonely most of the time is not healthy. People who are apart from each other more frequently than they are together might grow to feel lonely and vulnerable.
Relationships are more real when moments are being created day by day and memories are being made. What kind of memories are you going to make with someone who you only see occasionally? How much of a connection will you feel to a person who you have to coordinate schedules with so that you can find time to spend with each other? When your best friends are happily paired up with their partners and you feel left out at group date functions because your love match is unable to be in your local area to get together, how much longer do you want to continue feeling lonely and left out?
There are obviously living apart together relationships that work out just fine. Some couples in LAT unions live within an hour’s commute of each other, and some couples live even next door to their spouses. Your LAT relationship might work out too, but there are many odds stacked against LAT unions being successful. Think carefully about all of the potential disadvantages before embarking in this type of relationship. You need to make sure that you are ready to handle all of the potential situations that could happen when you are not in close proximity of your partner. Your time is valuable, and before you invest more time in a LAT union, you should talk with your partner and determine if you are both equally committed to making this type of arrangement work.