More and more couples are choosing to maintain relationships while living apart. There are many reasons why this approach may work.
Staying Together for Religious Reasons
Some couples choose to remain married for religious reasons. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they have to live together. Some couples are setting up separate households and living separate lives, while maintaining the bonds of marriage.
Staying Together for Financial Reasons
Similarly, for some couples, staying married makes sense for financial reasons. If the couple owns a business, for example, dividing the joint assets may seem less than optimal. If the couple is committed to the business, they may choose to remain married and run the business while living apart and pursuing their own love interests.
Staying Together For Love, Living Apart to Stay Married
Some couples just do better living apart. While this is not the conventional way to approach marriage, it works for some people. In fact, some people believe living apart has saved their marriage, often for the same reasons unmarried couples living apart cite. See below for more.
Living Apart Together
On the other end of the spectrum are people who start relationships and choose to remain in separate households. These new trendsetters are referred to as LATs. Couples “living apart together.” It involves a conscience choice to develop a committed relationship without developing a single household.
Gray Divorce and New Love
“Gray divorce” refers to couples divorcing in their 50s, 60s, or even in their 70s. Once divorced, they set up households within intention. When they later meet someone new and fall in love, they are often in no hurry to race back down the aisle. In fact, many are choosing to maintain their separate households – and it seems to be working just fine for many couples.
The Wall Street Journal recently wrote about this topic. There are several reasons why couples may choose not to live together, even while maintaining a long term relationship.
Lifestyle Differences and Living Apart
One reason couples may choose to live apart has to do with lifestyle preferences. For example, if one is an early riser, and one is a night owl, living together may not result in a happy couple. However, if this same couple maintains separate residences, they have the opportunity to cherish their time together, as well as cherish their respective early mornings and late nights.
Along that same vein, often times two people may have different tolerances for the level of cleanliness in their homes. Rather than living together and bickering about dishes in the sink (or on the bedside table), these couples maintain their own spaces. Depending on the distance, they may choose to meet and spend weekends at a neutral location, or they may choose to “tolerate” the other’s home for time together, knowing they can retreat to their own space.
Living Apart When There are Children in the Home
Even for couples where both desire a divorce, the children may not be as “on board” as the adults. Introducing a new love can create conflict. Some couples choose to proactively avoid such conflict by limiting the time they spend with their new love to time when the children are with their other parent. This can work well with couples where one has young children, or where both have children in the home, provided they can get their parenting time on the same schedule.
Absence Can Make the Heart Grow Fonder
For some couples, living apart puts the relationship in a different perspective. They are more able to focus on loving their partner when they are together. They are also able to work late or participate on a sports team on some evenings without it cutting into time with their partner.
Keeping Finances Separate
When living in two separate households, couples may find it much easier to maintain separate finances. There are many reasons this can be a good idea. Adult children may be more comfortable with this arrangement, as their inheritance may not be
Living Apart – Taking Care of the Fine Print
If you are a married couple who has decided to try living apart, you may benefit from a separation agreement. This contract, written by a family law attorney, addresses important topics such as parenting, taking care of the bills, maintaining the household, etc.
At Fait & DiLima, we pride ourselves in working with families of all kinds. If you have family law needs, contact us for a consultation. We look forward to working with you to find solutions tailor-made for your family. Call us today at (301) 251-0100.