living apart

You are probably aware of the expression that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and two hearts that beat as one do not necessarily have to share the same postal code. While it is certainly unconventional for a couple in a long term relationship to choose to live apart, there are men and women who happily choose to live in different homes than their mates. Some couples choose to live in the same apartment building or same neighbourhood as their partners. Sometimes, relationships work better when the couple has some time apart from each other.

A common reason for Living Apart Together (LAT) relationships is the two people involved with each other lead different lives in different cities. If you’re committed to living in your home because it is close by your workplace and your family members, those are good reasons to want to keep your life as is. It’s fine to live with your partner, but it’s just as fine to not want to make certain changes in your life. Not every relationship requires compromises to be made with regards to where you live. Plus, not living in the same home does not make you less of a couple.

Think about your family. If you have a sibling, parent, cousin, aunt, uncle, or grandparent who lives in another city or even another country than you live in, long distance between you doesn’t diminish your blood family ties. You are still family whether you live on the same continent or not. The same can be said about your LAT relationship if you and your mate are committed to each other: you are still connected whether you live under the same roof or not.

Relationships obviously grow stronger when there is frequent communication to build rapport, but rapport can be achieved in a variety of ways. So, what are some of the reasons why some couples who are dating each other and even couples who are married to each other choose to live apart? Here are some points why they make that decision.

Personal space when living apart

Have you ever craved solitude for two full hours? Having uninterrupted solo time is one of the many benefits of living in your own home. When you alone pay the bills, you get to call the shots. If your partner has different preferences with regards to interior decorating, you don’t have to compromise if you live in separate places. Living in separate homes is especially beneficial in pairings where one person is neat and the other person is not as tidy.

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Single parents who are dating other single parents can especially benefit from being part of a Living Apart Together set up. Your child wants as much of your attention as you can give him, and living with another person who is not your child’s other parent can create tension. It’s challenging enough for some siblings who were raised in the same household to get along due to different personalities, let alone people who were thrust into living together because of a new relationship. LAT arrangements are ideal if you get along with your partner but you and your partner don’t get along with each other’s children.

Some people are “pet lovers” and some people are most definitely not pet people. While I do love owning tropical fish, I’m personally not a pet person and I have never been interested in living 24/7 with an animal. I often feel anxiety being around other people’s pets because I don’t know how to react around them. Plus, my parents are from the Caribbean, and over there, animals are fed and kept outside in the yard and they don’t dare set their paws indoors. North American attitudes towards pets are totally different, and many people treat pets as members of their families; a concept that I can’t relate to.

I certainly don’t want animals to be mistreated, but I’m not comfortable with the idea of living with pets other than tropical fish. As a result, I have made it a priority throughout the years to date men who are not pet owners. Any man who insists on sharing a home with an animal is not the right man for me because pet ownership is a lifestyle choice that I don’t want to take on. Believe it or not, pets are deal breakers for many other people, and some couples have broken up over differing attitudes towards pets. Have you suffered through living with and loving a pet owner and secretly hoped for the day that your partner’s pet will “mysteriously disappear” so that you don’t have to deal with it anymore? It’s not fair for you and your partner to live with constant tension due to differing attitudes about animals. If pets are an issue but you two really love each other and don’t want to change each other, it’s better that you keep separate homes and spend time together at the home where pets don’t reside.

Reluctance to change

When two people live together, making compromises is necessary for a harmonious relationship. And, although a couple may be in love with each other, living together might not be the best solution to moving their union forward. If you love sleeping in on Saturdays and he enjoys waking up at the crack of dawn to watch the sunrise, then living together might be an irritation for you two. Having your own residences where you could each set your own schedules can be very helpful to your romance because both of you can feel confident that your goals and preferences are respected. If the two of you ever feel lonely, you can always visit each other and have sleepovers. You might find that you value your quality time together more and take each other for granted less when you live apart. The time that you do spend together will be treasured.

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A growing trend is LAT unions between senior citizens. For most seniors who are dating, their current love matches are not the only partnerships that they have built throughout the courses of their lives. Many seniors have been married, divorced, or widowed in their pasts, and they don’t want to have to make any more compromises similar to the compromises they made in previous pairings. The feelings of freedom from being in a loving and healthy LAT union can certainly far outweigh the disadvantages of having to pack an overnight bag to visit your love.

Of course, LAT relationships are much easier when you don’t have to travel further than you are comfortable traveling to see each other. If you are working and your partner is working, an LAT union will give you the space to focus on your career and passions without having to get distracted by a mate who demands most of your spare time. You’ll get a chance to miss each other and actually look forward to your times together because you aren’t in each other’s zones every moment of the day.

Money and security

A Living Apart Together partnership is hugely beneficial when one or both people in the relationship is concerned about forfeiting everything they worked to gain. If you live in a country where common-law couples have the same legal rights as married couples, then you could risk having to share your salary and your possessions with your live-in partner if you two break up. That’s not a position that every person wants to be in, particularly if they have lived through bitter divorce battles where the court system forced them to split their assets with their ex-spouses. Having your own home and living separately from your beloved will keep you in the clear from being put in a position to defend your right to keep your possessions.

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Your family members might feel especially relieved if you live independently from your love companion because your independence signifies that their inheritances from you will not likely be threatened by your partner staking a claim on your assets. This can be especially true if you are a mature, financially successful person who plans to provide for your family after you pass away. While it’s totally your right to live however you choose to live, if your family’s opinions about your lifestyle are of high importance to you, an LAT arrangement might work best for everyone involved.

Sharing a love for each other does not mean that the two of you need to share your bank pin numbers and all of your possessions in order to prove your devotion to each other. Do you feel passionately about keeping your diaries, journals, and financial records private? If so, the best way to feel secure is for you to be the sole proprietor of your home. The security that you’ll feel knowing that no one can legitimately access your belongings unless you give them your consent will help you sleep more peacefully at night. If your mate expresses anger at not having access to your things, then perhaps you should rethink your relationship because it’s not your responsibility to provide for your partner. When you take the LAT path, you avoid being in a situation where you’ll be taken advantage of.

Because LAT couplings are not typical, you will often find yourself weighing the pros and cons of pursuing this type of lifestyle. Your loved ones may mean well when they suggest that you move in with your partner, but don’t allow yourself to feel pressured. A quick start can often lead to a quick end. If you rush into moving in with your lover before you feel completely ready to share your personal space, you might end up resenting your mate. Too much resentment is never good for building a happy connection. You’re not selfish for treasuring your personal space and alone time. If you and your mate decide to eventually move in together after spending time in an LAT situation, then you can both feel confident in your decision because you experienced the comfort and freedom of pursuing a Living Apart Together path.

Image: flickr

Akua is a Canadian born and raised girl with Caribbean roots. She is a journalist, actress, music teacher, performer, owner and marketer of 3 worldwide dating websites, as well as an independent Pure Romance business owner selling passion products for singles and couples.

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