Living Apart Together: Does Distance Forge a Stronger Bond?

Living Apart Together is a modern relationship model where couples maintain committed partnerships while living in separate households.

Updated on Nov 09, 2023   |  04:35 PM IST  |  192.3K
Living apart together
Living apart together

Living Apart Together (LAT) is a modern and imaginative approach to romantic partnerships, defying the traditional norms of living together. In LAT relationships, couples consciously choose to maintain separate homes or marry but live separately while nurturing a dedicated and affectionate connection. This arrangement offers a unique blend of personal independence, the pursuit of individual aspirations, and the joy of a romantic bond. 

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As modern relationships continue to transform, LAT demonstrates how couples can discover happiness and satisfaction while honoring their unique identities. In this introduction, we'll delve into the concept of Living Apart Together, unravel the reasons driving its popularity, and navigate the different facets of this unconventional yet increasingly embraced love model.

What is Living Apart Together?

What is Living Apart Together?

Living Apart Together, often abbreviated as LAT, is a unique situation where couples maintain a committed relationship while living in separate households. In this modern approach to love, individuals in LAT relationships choose to keep their residences rather than cohabitate. They enjoy the emotional connection, companionship, and shared life experiences of a traditional relationship but retain their personal living spaces and independence. 

This arrangement of couples living apart is prevalent among couples who value their autonomy or have circumstances that make living together challenging, such as geographical distance or diverse lifestyles. It's a testament to the evolving landscape of romantic partnerships, offering an alternative way to maintain deep connections while respecting individual needs and choices.


Why Live Together Apart?

Why Live Together Apart?

1. Prioritizing Careers: In today's fast-paced world, many married couples face demanding careers or job opportunities that may require them to live in different locations. LAT enables them to pursue their professional ambitions without compromising their romantic relationship.

2. Blended Families: Couples with children from previous relationships often find it challenging to merge households. LAT allows them to continue living with their respective children, offering a stable environment for the kids while maintaining their romantic connection.

3. Geographical Distance: For couples who are separated by geographical distance, LAT provides a practical solution. It allows them to sustain their emotional bond and connection while living in different cities or even countries, avoiding the complexities of relocation. They are married but living separately.

Geographical Distance

4. Personal Space: Some individuals highly value having their own living space. LAT offers the opportunity to maintain a separate, comfortable living environment while still enjoying the emotional benefits of a romantic relationship. It can be a refreshing alternative for those who've previously struggled with cohabitation.

5. Privacy: LAT ensures that couples enjoy a high degree of privacy in their relationships. It's especially valuable for those who appreciate keeping certain aspects of their lives private or have experienced discomfort due to a lack of privacy when living together.

6. Cultural Or Religious Reasons: In some cultures or due to religious beliefs, cohabitation before marriage is discouraged. LAT allows couples to adhere to their cultural or religious values while maintaining a committed relationship.

7. Taking It Slow: Some couples opt for LAT as a transitional phase. It allows them to take their time, understand each other better, and build a stronger foundation before making the more permanent commitment to living together.

Cultural Or Religious Reasons

7. Health Reasons: When one partner has specific health concerns or requires caregiving, LAT can be a practical solution. It allows the couple to remain emotionally connected while ensuring that the necessary health-related arrangements can be managed effectively. So, they choose to live separately while married.

8. Maintaining Passion: For some, the physical separation in LAT can help keep the passion and excitement alive in the relationship. Partners may continue to "date" and look forward to the time they spend together, which can help maintain the spark and novelty in the relationship.


Why Even Get Married If You’re Going to Live Apart?

Why Even Get Married If You’re Going to Live Apart?

1. Commitment

Marriage is often seen as a profound commitment, signifying the intention to build a life together. For many couples, this commitment is significant, even if they choose to maintain separate households. It is a formal and emotional pledge to support each other through life's journey, demonstrating their dedication to the relationship. So, they choose to stay married but live separate lives.

2. Legal And Financial Benefits:

Marriage brings several legal and financial advantages. Spouses may enjoy tax benefits, inherit property without complications, and gain access to health insurance, pension plans, and other spousal benefits. These practical advantages can be compelling, regardless of whether the couple decides to live apart.

3. Cultural Or Religious Reasons

Cultural or religious beliefs often emphasize the sanctity of marriage. Even when a couple chooses not to cohabit, adhering to these values may lead them to marry as a symbol of their commitment to each other and their community. So they decide to get married but live separately.

 Cultural Or Religious Reasons

4. Love And Emotional Connection

Marriage is a powerful expression of love, emotions, and intimate relationships. Couples may feel that formalizing their bond through marriage is a way to celebrate their affection and devotion, even if their living arrangements differ from the conventional norm.

5. Personal Choice

Some couples have practical reasons for living apart, such as demanding careers, personal space requirements, or other circumstances that make cohabitation challenging. For these couples, marriage represents a choice to have a loving, committed relationship while respecting their individual living preferences. Thus, they choose to have a separate address.

6. Future Intentions

Couples who currently live apart might have plans to reside together eventually. In such cases, marriage can serve as a way to express their long-term commitment and intentions, even if logistical constraints keep them apart for the time being.

Future Intentions

7. Security And Stability

Marriage offers a sense of security and stability to partners. It provides legal protections and ensures that each spouse is recognized as the legal next of kin, with access to decision-making powers and inheritance rights. This can be crucial for couples who wish to safeguard each other's interests, regardless of their living situation.


How Does Living Apart Impact Kids?

Security And Stability

Positive Impacts

1. Stability: In some instances, living apart can provide a stable environment for children. This is often seen in co-parenting arrangements where parents remain actively involved in the child's life. Predictable schedules and well-structured visitation plans can offer stability and consistency in the child's routine, which can be reassuring.

2. Reduced Conflict: If parental conflict was a recurring issue before the decision to live apart, physical separation can lead to reduced conflict in the child's life. This decrease in tension and arguments can create a more peaceful and harmonious atmosphere where the child can thrive.

3. Quality Time: When parents live apart, they may become more intentional about spending quality time with their children during their visits or shared custody periods. This can lead to more focused, enriching interactions and a strengthened parent-child relationship.

Positive Impacts

4. Learning Independence: Children in families where parents live apart often have opportunities to develop independence and self-reliance. They may need to adapt to different living environments, manage responsibilities, and build resilience as they navigate the challenges of living in two households.

5. Exposure to Diversity: When parents live in different neighborhoods, cities, or countries, children can be exposed to diverse environments and perspectives. This exposure can broaden their horizons, enhance their cultural awareness, and promote adaptability.

Negative Impacts

Negative Impacts

1. Emotional Distress: One of the most significant adverse impacts of parents living apart is the potential emotional distress it can cause children. They may perceive the separation as abandonment or rejection, which can lead to feelings of sadness, anxiety, confusion, and a sense of loss.

2. Inconsistent Routine: Maintaining a consistent routine can be challenging when parents live apart. Children may experience disruptions in their daily lives, which can be disorienting. An inconsistent routine can contribute to a child's feelings of instability and unpredictability.

Negative Impacts

3. Communication Challenges: Effective communication between parents and children may become more difficult due to the physical separation. Misunderstandings, missed opportunities to share experiences, or limitations in contact can affect the parent-child relationship and the child's overall well-being.

4. Logistical Challenges: Coordinating a child's school, extracurricular activities, and other logistics can be more complex when parents live separately. Children may feel the strain of these logistical challenges and the need to adapt to different living arrangements.


5. Social Impact: Children may face social challenges related to their living arrangements. They may need to explain to peers and friends why their parents live in different places, which can lead to feelings of being "different." This can sometimes result in teasing or social discomfort.

Pros And Cons of Living Apart Together

Pros And Cons of Living Apart Together

Pros of Living Apart Together 

1. Personal Autonomy: LAT provides both partners with personal autonomy and independence. They can maintain their individual living spaces and have the freedom to make decisions and pursue personal interests without compromise. This particularly appeals to those who highly value their independence and personal space.

2. Less Conflict: LAT relationships often have less potential for conflict than couples who cohabit full-time. With reduced time spent together, there are fewer opportunities for disagreements, which can contribute to a more peaceful and harmonious relationship.

3. Focused Quality Time: When couples in LAT relationships do spend time together, they tend to be more intentional and focused in their interactions. This can lead to deeper and more enriching conversations and shared experiences as partners appreciate their limited time together.

Pros of Living Apart Together 

4. Stability And Predictability: Sometimes, LAT relationships can provide stability and predictability. For instance, co-parenting arrangements can be well-structured, ensuring that children have consistent routines and can depend on spending time with both parents.

5. Lower Living Costs: LAT can be more cost-effective, as couples only share living expenses. This can result in financial benefits, especially if one or both partners own homes or leases.

6. Independence And Growth: LAT relationships allow individuals to maintain independence and pursue personal growth. This is essential for personal and career development, as it permits partners to work towards their individual goals and aspirations.

Cons of Living Apart Together 

Cons of Living Apart Together 

1. Emotional Disconnection: Living apart can lead to emotional disconnection between partners. With less time spent together, there is a risk of feeling isolated or distant from each other, which can impact the emotional bond in the relationship.

2. Communication Challenges: Effective communication can be more challenging when partners are physically separated. Misunderstandings, limited opportunities to share experiences, and the reliance on technology for communication can all be barriers to maintaining a solid connection.


3. Logistical Complexities: Coordinating shared responsibilities, such as childcare, finances, and household maintenance, can be more complex in LAT relationships. This can lead to logistical challenges and requires efficient planning and organization.

Cons of Living Apart Together 

4. Social Challenges: Couples in LAT relationships may face social challenges, especially when explaining their unconventional living arrangements to friends and family. This can lead to social discomfort or the need to defend their choices to others.

5. Intimacy And Physical Connection: Maintaining physical intimacy and a strong sexual connection can be challenging when partners live apart. Physical closeness and intimacy are essential aspects of many romantic relationships, and the lack of this can impact the romantic part of the relationship.

6. Inconsistent Routine: For families with children in LAT relationships, kids may experience an irregular routine. This can affect their sense of stability and predictability, potentially leading to feelings of insecurity or disorientation.


Living Apart Together (LAT) relationships, offering couples individual living spaces alongside a committed connection, grant personal independence and minimize conflict, making them attractive to those valuing autonomy. Still, they can lead to emotional detachment and communication hurdles. The success of LAT arrangements hinges on transparent communication, trust, and dedication. In evolving relationships, LAT showcases the diverse paths couples can take to harmonize personal freedom and partnership, shaping a love tailored to their distinctive needs.


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Is living apart good for a relationship?
Whether living apart suits a relationship depends on the individuals involved and their circumstances. For some, it can offer personal space and independence, reducing conflicts. However, it may also lead to emotional distance. Open communication and trust are crucial to making it work.

What is a living apart together relationship?
A Living Apart Together (LAT) relationship is when a couple is committed but chooses to maintain separate residences, living independently. They retain their romantic partnership while enjoying personal autonomy. LAT relationships can vary in terms of living arrangements and commitments.

What are the disadvantages of living apart together?
The disadvantages of living apart together can include emotional disconnection, communication challenges, logistical complexities, potential instability in routines, and social challenges related to explaining the arrangement to others. It can also impact physical intimacy and developing a shared home life.

How long can a couple live apart?
The duration that a couple can live apart depends on their individual preferences, circumstances, and the strength of their relationship. Some couples choose to live apart temporarily, while others may maintain LAT arrangements for extended periods or indefinitely, depending on their needs and goals.

How long is too long to wait to live together?
There is no fixed timeline for how long a couple should wait to live together. The decision to cohabit should be based on the readiness and comfort level of both partners. Some couples may choose to live together relatively early in their relationship, while others may wait for several years. The key is to ensure that both partners are on the same page and ready for this step in their relationship.

About The Author
Aastha Pahadia
Aastha Pahadia
Certified Relationship Coach

Aastha is a certified Relationship coach and she strives to help those who seek expert advice on relationships.



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