Living Apart Together, also referred to as LAT is an arrangement in which couples who have an intimate romantic relationship choose to live in different locations. More and more couples are choosing to commit without having to cohabit. Here are the benefits of the increasingly popular choice to live apart together.
Reasons for the rise of Living Apart Together
Living together in theory has many benefits which is why choosing to live apart may appear to be a strange development. Living together in theory means shared financial burden and splitting household chores as well as increased intimacy and partnership. The only problem is this is often only the case on paper.
Previous negative experiences
Cohabiting is expected as a logical step in romantic relationships as they progress. This means many people have found themselves in situations where they were cohabiting with a partner. It stands to reason that enough of these people have negative experiences from it. LAT is a way to prevent and mitigate these potentially negative aspects of a relationship.
Societal value changes
Older women who are either widowed or divorced are one of the largest demographics represented in living apart together. They are huge proponents of this arrangement in their present relationships because societal changes have allowed them the freedom they did not have in their previous setups. For example, LAT allows women to be in intimate relationships with men without being forced to perform domestic labour for them. Win-win.
Societal changes also allow for more flexible arrangements where people who for example love their own space have an opportunity to be in intimate relationships without being forced to sacrifice their own space. Some people just want a flexible arrangement and LAT makes this possible.
Marriage is also no longer viewed as this goal and for many people, it’s enough to have companionship without having to make it legal or meet that societal expectation.
Benefits of Living Apart Together
Living Apart Together allows partners to maintain their independence and their own personal space. Personal space and privacy are essential to some people and without it, they feel suffocated and like they’ve lost their sense of self. You get to for example design your space just the way you like without having to make concessions for someone else.
You will argue less with your partner if you choose LAT. If you spend less time together and are not always in each other’s space, you spend less time arguing. Common disagreements over things like household chores and personal habits are heavily minimized.
Better quality time
Although you spend less time together in LAT, the time you do spend together is deliberate, intentional and overall better. Communication is improved and the time spent together is more valued. It can even lead to increased intimacy.
For women in particular, living apart together frees them from their traditional caregiver and domestic labour provider for men. In almost any heterosexual relationship in which they live together, the woman will bear the burden of housework. LAT frees today’s women in a way that would have been impossible to imagine a couple of decades ago. It gives women an opportunity to be in more equitable romantic arrangements.
Drawbacks of Living Apart Together
There’s the risk of drawing apart instead of having absence make the heart grow fonder. Communication and being intentional about spending time together can help you get ahead of this.
If the relationship has insecurities and jealousy, living part together can exacerbate the same and put even more pressure on the relationship.
If nothing else, living apart together reminds us that relationships are flexible and don’t have to remain within the traditional framework which has its drawbacks, especially where women and the disproportionate burden of housework are concerned.
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