Living apart together: an increasing trend

One in 10 adults live apart from their partner, according to research by NatCen, Bradford University and Birkbeck University.

The research, Living Apart Together: uncoupling intimacy and co-residence, describes this style of relationship as ‘Living Apart Together’ (LAT) and refers to couples who are monogamous and committed but do not live together. In official statistics, however, most of these people are classed as ‘single’.

Two decades ago, dating couples began to move in together more quickly but the research shows that many couples are now choosing to, live apart.

  • 30% of adults don’t feel ready to live with their partner.
  • Other groups in the study can’t live together for financial reasons, because of jobs or education, or because of other commitments, such as children.

Almost 90% of LATs talk to their partner every day by phone, email, text or online messaging. Just under 70% said they have face-to-face time with their partner several times a week.

Lack of face-to-face time can have a direct effect on intimacy in LAT relationships. Just 34% of participants in the study said they turn to their partner for help dealing with problems that require emotional support, and 20% said their partner looks after them when they are unwell

A relationship is usually considered strong when partners can rely on each other for physical, emotional and financial support. However, a sense of independence is also important in relationships. Living apart together gives couples more control over their daily lives, and how they manage their homes and finances – the kinds of things that many couples bicker about. So, while LAT couples may be less reliant on each other for support than cohabiting couples, they may also be more independent and less likely to argue.

What do you think? Are you in a LAT relationship? How does it affect you and your partner? Do you intend to move in together in future or are you both satisfied with the way things are? Share your stories below.

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