Here’s a surprising bit of science: studies show that married couples who live apart have the same levels of satisfaction as those who live together.
Here’s another: it’s a growing trend; especially, it seems, in Britain, where ten percent of married couples have separate addresses. It’s somewhere between six and nine percent in the US. The New World is often much more conservative than the old.
There are even acronyms for it: LAT, Living Apart Together or LDR, for Long Distance Relationship. Take your pick. Once something has an acronym, it’s official.
It may not be your cup of tea, but just imagine the advantages: you don’t have to step around his underwear strewn all over the floor. You have room to shave because her makeup has not taken over the bathroom. Then, when you see each other, the spark of romance ignites.
Men and women are often such different creatures, that perhaps they shouldn’t live together. Maybe they should live next to one another and visit sometimes.
Many LDR and LAT couples have little choice in the matter. Some are deployed by the military, some are forced to follow jobs that split them apart. The interesting thing is that, if they try to make their relationship work, they can do so. The rates of infidelity and split ups are no higher than couples living together.
How do you make it work? LDRs and LATs work for the same reason relationships work when people are together. The partners act like adults. They take responsibility for themselves, can comfort themselves, and accept temporary hardships for the sake of meaningful objectives. When you can do those three things consistently, you can go anywhere.
If you are having trouble with your relationship, then living apart is unlikely to improve it. Trial separations when partners are battling seldom result in reconciliation, they are more often a prelude to divorce. However, if you and your partner can act like adults, then you can change the terms of the relationship as conditions demand and be more flexible to match the relationship to your career and other interests.