Living Apart Together: Advantages And Disadvantages

Learn to traverse the ups and downs of this modern relationship arrangement.

Reviewed by Joseph Moore, Certified Relationship And Life Coach Joseph Moore Joseph MooreCertified Relationship And Life Coach
Written by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Experience: 4 years
Edited by , MA (English) Asmita De MA (English) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Fact-checked by , MA Sangita Goel MA
 • 

Living apart together is a new relationship trend popularized in many counties. Surprised, what exactly is it all about? Well, LAT (Living apart together) relationship is where the partners live in different homes yet are together. Many people are following this trend as a part of modern times. They also say that it has a quite easy living arrangement. This article explains more about LAT, the advantages of this relationship, how exactly it works, and if there are any disadvantages. Continue reading to know more.

What Is Living Apart Together?

When two people who are in a romantic relationship choose to live separately, it is known as living apart together (LAT). It is a non-traditional or unconventional way of living or an urban phenomenon. It is suitable for people who want to live independently and can afford a separate home. In LAT relationships, couples can be married or unmarried. The decision depends on the couple some choose to marry and remain to want to live separately, and others avoid marriage entirely.

LAT relationships can be suitable for couples of any age group. In general, it is preferred by people who feel it is too early or who are not ready to live together yet. Even couples who do actually want to live together but cannot, due to various reasons, opt for this relationship. Also, while older couples consider this relationship as their lifestyle choice, younger couples choose this type of relationship to avoid issues that come with a breakup in a relationship. In LAT, people enjoy their own space and the pleasures of intimacy with their partner.

Why Are Married Couples Opting For LAT Relationships?

Over time, as a married couple, people can develop different interests and lifestyles. For instance, one of the partners may turn into a compulsive keep everything-in-order while the other is messy; one may like to go out partying every day while the other may want to stay home. This will lead to unnecessary arguments and misunderstandings among married couples. They may love each other and want their relationship to work but may not want to share the same home. If you feel that living under the same roof can’t solve your problems with your partner, you may try the LAT relationship.

Even individuals who feel suffocated by their partners’ constant presence opt for LAT relationships. Even a married couple can live apart and maintain a healthy relationship. Most married couples believe it can rebuild or strengthen their bond.

Many times now couples live apart due to work or financial, familial, or work conditions. Bianca, a blogger, shares her experience of being in a LAT relationship with her husband. She says, “We’ve been able to maintain financial stability during this transition and in so many ways our relationship has grown stronger. I don’t recommend it for fun, but I can say that with hard work from both partners it’s possible to come out happier in the end (i).”

Is it possible to live apart together with children involved? Many people stay together for the sake of their children. Even if the couple doesn’t fight in front of their children, a marriage with no affection can’t stay longer. Instead of fighting every day and abusing each other, many married couples with children also tend to opt for the LAT relationship.

What Percentage Of People Are In LAT Relationships?

About 10% of adults in much of North America and Western Europe seemed to have adopted LAT relationships (1). This LAT relationship is increasingly seen as a better way for modern couples to live (2). A study on LAT in Britain demonstrated that up to a quarter of people in Britain who were defined as single by data, actually had an intimate partner (they just live somewhere else) (1). About one-third of adults in the United States who are not married or cohabiting are in LAT relationships (3).

Advantages Of Living Apart Together

There are many advantages of this type of open relationship as people nowadays want to pursue long-distance relationships, remote working, and virtual relationships all together. People in a LAT relationship can have a strong sense of independence while also enjoying the benefits of intimacy. When they come together after time spent separately, they can bring more romance, passion, and novelty to the relationship.

1. You Will Have Your Own Space

A girl enjoying her own space
Image: Shutterstock

Personal space is essential to being oneself in any relation. Being together every time can suffocate the relationship. It is vital for couples to have their own downtime. Engaging in outside interests is one good way to develop a strong sense of self and it can help you know yourself more. Without knowing your own interests, you are unable to develop your personality. It helps you to maintain your own individuality, and have more solo time personal growth, and self-discovery. It also allows you to give more to your relationship.

2. You Will Argue Less With Your Partner

Couple arguing with each other
Image: Shutterstock

In LAT relationships, you will spend less time with your partner. If you spend less time with your partner, you will argue less. In general, many people argue about matters like household chores, finances, or living conditions. But, in LAT relationships, there is less scope for such arguments. Arguing for everything can create unnecessary tension and can result in resentments that decay a relationship. Fewer arguments can strengthen the bond and individual happiness.

3. Independence

A woman enjoying her independence living apart together
Image: Shutterstock

Independence is more than just spending time apart it is about having your life to pursue while still being in a relationship. Successful relationships are about two independent individuals who decide to share their lives and build their relationships stronger. The LAT relationship offers people an opportunity to make their own decisions. Also, it offers the most self-reliant people a valid option for a long-term covenant. For this reason, many people who are widowed, divorced, or even elderly people tend to opt for LAT as an alternative.

protip_icon Quick Tip
In this setup, all choices pertaining to your home are yours to make. For example, if one of you likes blue walls and the other prefers yellow, having separate houses eliminates the need to compromise.

4. You Will Spend Less Yet Quality Time With Your Partner

Couple spending quality time with each other
Image: Shutterstock

Spending time together with your partner is precious. Absence makes your heart grow fonder, which is an advantage in a LAT relationship. Communication is improved and is more appreciated in LAT because facetime is not guaranteed every day.

5. There Will Be More Intimacy

Do you feel that being in a structured routine has a negative impact on your sexual desires? Too much familiarity could be one of the causes. In LAT relationships, you can have a reverse effect because people live separately, and this will reduce the familiarity. Together yet apart can boost your intimacy levels, and you can experience greater sexual frequency and satisfaction.

While these are the good reasons to consider a LAT relationship, it does have certain disadvantages too.

Disadvantages Of Living Apart Together

The LAT arrangement only works if both people are fully on board. In LAT relationships, couples try to avoid dealing with issues instead of sorting them out. Following are some of the disadvantages of this relationship.

1. Expensive

If you consider the cost of living, LAT can be expensive. Maintaining separate households is a costly affair and requires more time and energy. Also, it is really hard to deal with the relationship when you have children. If you think about house rents and other expenses, LAT relationships are not something most people can afford.

2. Trust Issues

Couple having trust issues living apart together
Image: Shutterstock

It is essential to build trust with your partner if you are in a relationship. If you are in a LAT relationship, you should stay faithful. But some people use LAT relationships as an opportunity to start other relationships and cheat on their partners. If you want to keep your relationship stronger, you should value your bond and have transparency in your relationship.

3. Socially Less Acceptable

There are a lot of misconceptions about the LAT relationship. Most people believe that real relationships are the ones in which couples share the same home and life goals. It can be hard to convince your family about your LAT relationship. As this is a modern lifestyle phenomenon, it is not readily acceptable by many people. Also, there is prejudice about this relationship, and you must prepare yourself to encounter it.

4. You Will Feel Lonely And Left Out

People who are in LAT relationships often feel lonely and vulnerable. Spending some alone time is good, but being lonely most of the time is not so good. Relationships work and look more beautiful with moments and memories that are being made by a couple being together. But in LAT it is not possible to spend much time with a partner, which in turn may make you feel left out.

5. Missing Out On Shared Experiences

There are some treasured moments in everyone’s life that they would want to share with someone very special and close to heart. When you are living away from your partner, you may not be able to share such wonderful moments with them.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Even if one of you frequently stays over at the other’s home, they can still feel more like a guest than like they are “at home.” Unless you live together, it could be difficult to resolve some of the bigger issues in your relationship.

Does The LAT Relationship Work?

Be it online dating or face-to-face relationships, it works on mutual understanding and trust between couples. If you want to enjoy the benefits of a LAT relationship, then you should work hard to keep it. This arrangement can be a great option for those who want to try cohabitation while also enjoying the emotional intimacy of a committed relationship however, such relationships require a high level of commitment. Many people stay together because they know splitting up is difficult. But if you decide to spend some quality time separately and trust each other, the LAT relationship will work and make you happier for sure.

Infographic: Top Advantages And Disadvantages Of Living Apart Together

A living apart together (LAT) relationship is mainly preferred by those who wish to lead an independent life and feel it is too early to live together with their partner. However, couples who want to live together but cannot, for various reasons, also practice LAT.

In LAT, people often have personal space, time, and enthusiasm to explore their interests while being rooted and invested in their romantic relationships. However, such a relationship has its pros and cons. Take a look at the infographic below for more details.

top advantages and disadvantages of living apart together (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The nature of relationships changes according to the changing times and evolving couple needs, and one of the more recent types of relationships to emerge is the LAT. As people have grown more independent with time and need their personal space, LAT is a good option for couples that do not share many similarities in their lifestyle but want to make their relationship work. It helps reduce arguments between the couples, and you can spend less yet quality time together. However, everything comes with its drawbacks, and LAT can be expensive, lead to issues like loneliness and lack of trust, and raise many eyebrows in traditional society.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can living apart save a marriage?

Possibly. Living apart can provide an opportunity to revitalize a struggling marriage. It can bring a fresh perspective and help couples grow both individually and collectively. By setting clear expectations and maintaining open communication, this time apart can positively transform the relationship.

What happens if a husband and wife are not living together for one year?

When a husband and wife have stayed apart for a year or more, either or both can take the opportunity to file a petition for divorce in a supportive and amicable manner.

How do couples make living apart together work?

Couples who follow a living apart together lifestyle work at their relationship just like other couples with some independence that they might not have if living together. They share each other’s life without relinquishing their personal space or social life. They are intimate and have quality time together without getting over-involved in each other’s life.

How often do couples who live apart together see each other?

Couples in living apart together lifestyle should follow 70-30 rule. They should spend 70% of their time with their while the other 30% should be spent apart to allow each other enough freedom to delve into the interests of each without disrupting the equation of their relationship.

Can living apart together be a long-term solution?

It differs from couple to couple. Some couples might find this arrangement perfect for their relationship while for others it might be a temporary arrangement until a problem or situation subsides.

Key Takeaways

  • When two people who are in a romantic relationship choose to live separately, it is known as living apart together (LAT).
  • In LAT, people enjoy their own space and the pleasures of intimacy with their partners.
  • It is important to consider the pros and cons of LAT before opting for it and hold respect, honesty, and trust as the foundations for a strong LAT relationship.
  • The LAT relationship is one that is unique and gives a lot of freedom, but the freedom it offers should be handled carefully.
  • It is easy to ignore your partner’s needs because most times, you are not physically present. LAT is great, but couples should realize they would need more sacrifice and trust to make it work.
living apart together

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team


Living apart can be the key to a happy marriage. Learn how to make it work for you and your partner in this insightful video. Check it out!

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Practices and perceptions of living apart togetherhttps://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/19424620.2014.927382
  2. Regulation of Intimacy and Love Semantics in Couples Living Apart Together
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03906700020030983
  3. Living Apart Together relationships in the United States
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3091814/
Was this article helpful?
thumbsupthumbsdown
Joseph Moore

Joseph MooreCertified Relationship And Life Coach

Joseph Moore is an ace relationship coach and public speaker who started coaching in 2015. Although Joseph is a trained electrical engineer from the University of Chester, he found passion in helping people get it right with their love life. His passion and experience of over 6 years made him set up a relationship blog where he shares relationship advice...read full bio

Latest Articles