Living Apart Together (LAT): An Emerging Living Arrangement

Written by Harini Natarajan , Certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner

Living apart together is a new relationship trend popularised 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 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 €œtoo early€ or who are €œnot 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.

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 living arrangement. 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

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 also allows you to give more to your relationship.

2. You Will Argue Less With Your Partner

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

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.

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

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

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.

Does The LAT Relationship Work?

Relationships work 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. 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.


LAT, the modern living arrangement, has its own pros and cons. LAT relationships work best for all age groups. This LAT relationship is the best option for people who are in a relationship but far away from their partner for different reasons. It also could be suitable for older people, the divorced, and those who want to try a new type of relationship. Remember that if you want to make your LAT relationship stronger, respect your partner€™s decisions and be honest with them. More importantly, carefully consider the pros and cons and discuss with your partner before opting for the LAT relationship.


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  1. Practices and perceptions of living apart together
  2. Regulation of Intimacy and Love Semantics in Couples Living Apart Together
  3. Living Apart Together€ relationships in the United States
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