It would seem that the standard for couples in serious relationships, and certainly married couples, is cohabitation. Living together makes sense for many reasons; it is cost effective, it aligns relationship objectives, it makes for convenient partner interaction and, above all, it clearly identifies that two people are indeed, together. These positives have their merits, but two unmarried individuals in a relationship living together would have been deemed unconventional or even inappropriate just a couple of decades ago. We’re not here to criticize or say what is right or wrong when it comes to a couple living together, however the practice of “living apart together” is gaining popularity among both married and unmarried couples for a range of reasons.
Environmental Psychologist, Sally Augustin, Ph. D., defines living apart together as when a couple that is living “in the same area, who could physically share a single home, who select not to do so.” While there are critics of the practice, Augustin grants her support to it rather than her skepticism. For unmarried couples, the benefit of maintaining separate residences is obvious. Eyebrows may be raised toward married couples living apart, but doing so can work for certain couples for varying reasons. It is important to recognize the foundations of a relationship before assuming that certain acts denote being a couple. If a couple displays loyalty and commitment to each other, then there is no reason that living apart cannot be a viable option. Clearly this option is not right for all, but for individuals that are either introverted or individually goal oriented, living apart offers the ability to maintain a personal identity and space rather than being labeled as one half to a whole. Many people would prefer a partner that is complete and independent on their own rather than requiring someone who completes them. For those people, living apart together can potentially lead to a beautiful relationship between two individuals who praise each other’s lives rather than relying upon one another to survive.
Separate households also minimize quarrels that arise from property management. A home is a tangible representation of self and personal priorities. Maintaining your own home can help couples eradicate situations that would otherwise cause one partner to feel disrespected or undermined by actions, like the manner in which the home is maintained, deemed inconsequential by the other.
What works in a relationship differs for all people. Living together under one roof can offer a range of benefits for couples, but this does not make it the best option for everyone.
What do you think of “living apart together?” Please share your thoughts in the comments section.