Pros of Living Apart Together
More time for you
This is perhaps the most common reason why couples would go into a LAT relationship: more time for yourself. The demand for our time has increased in ways we couldn’t have ever anticipated. Not so long ago the office was a place you would have to commute to, you would work there during the day, and come back home in the evening. For many people, that doesn’t exist anymore. “Work” and “office” are synonyms. Even though we all welcomed not commuting to our workplace anymore, what we got in return was work that doesn’t end. The division between work and home has been blurred forever.
On the more personal side, we now have access to seemingly unlimited quantities of information. Whatever topic you want to explore, anything you have ever wanted to learn, any skill that you have been dying to acquire…it’s there. For the ambitious and hungry for knowledge, this will often result in you wanting to dive deeper into various subjects, learn more, exchange and interact more with others interested in your topics, travel and discover new places, and all these activities will require that one thing: time.
At first glance this might sound like a selfish act, but if you look at the big picture it might show you another side. For many people in a LAT relationship, this time to do your own things is what actually balances out the relationship and allows you to introduce that harmonious element into your shared space. Following the principle that you first need to have your activities, responsibilities, and personal projects under control in order to have your own situation in balance. Having your life in order makes it much easier for you to bring this settled, calm, and fulfilled version of yourself to your partner. Assuming your other half does the same, you now have both parties with their side of the equation in balance. For many in a LAT relationship, this “order” results in a much more genuine relationship, and a superior life experience for both.
Your place, your rules
If you are either a “neat freak”, or the type that is mostly unconcerned with the cleaning arts, this is an important point for you. For those people that like to keep their homes immaculately clean, living with a slob, can be a mighty challenge. Dirty clothes all over the bedroom, toothpaste tube and toothpaste cap nowhere near each other, perennial stack of dirty dishes, garbage towers that never get taken out, papers that never get filled, mail that gets lost…the stuff of nightmares for the neat.
On the flip side of that coin, we have those that simply don’t have this topic anywhere in their top 20. Very often this group advocates:
- We spend way too much of our lives cleaning, only to have to do it again the next day
- If it’s just aesthetics, how much does it really matter?
- This time could be used to work more, learn another language, or simply rest and relax
This argument can go on and on without it ever getting resolved permanently. To say this would be the reason why a couple would consider a LAT relationship is perhaps taking it too far, but it certainly could tip the scales if more reasons pile up. The thought of coming home to the home you actually want to come home to has a lot of weight.
There could be many reasons why someone would give a high value to privacy in a relationship. Some people work in highly confidential areas, or in jobs that require the utmost discretion. With the exponential increase of the working from home culture the last couple of years, this means a lot of this work has been brought to the home office. This might not be the most ideal environment for audible conversations addressing sensitive matters, printing out documents, storing confidential information, etc.
The need for privacy however, does not always mean you want to do something that requires secrecy. Sometimes the privacy you need is simply knowing that you are in a place all by yourself. That no one will walk in and disturb you at any point. You can just drop your guard, and be. Do whatever you want to do, or nothing at all. We all need to create these moments for ourselves throughout our lives, it’s what keeps us on an even keel. For those that need it more often, living with someone might deprive them of this, which could in turn have some sharp consequences.
More control over your costs and expenses
This can be one of the biggest challenges for couples, especially if this is their first time living together with a partner. Consumer behavior can vary greatly between two very like minded people. One could go out to the store, buy groceries for a week, and come back with a bill of $275, whereas the other is used to spending only $90. One researches and inspects every aspect of the available mobile phone plans for days on end in order to get a fully loaded great deal for $25 a month; the other one has been paying $55 for years and has no clue what their plan actually includes. Some spend heavily on clothes and shoes year round, while the other only buys what’s necessary and during sale periods.
In addition to this, you will most likely earn a different income than your partner, which will have a clear effect when it comes to defining what “expensive” vrs “cheap” and “necessary” vrs “unnecessary” actually mean in the relationship.
A Living Apart Together relationship will not have these issues to contend with. Everyone is responsible for their neck of the woods, and you can keep on living in the same opulence or frugalism you are used to.
More quality time with your partner
This is quite possibly the most overlooked plus point of a LAT relationship. Granted, you decrease the overall time you spend together, but the time you do, is pure quality. You have plenty of time throughout the week to get your work sorted out, clean up, buy some nice food and treats, in short, you will have ample time to prepare and receive your partner in the best possible state you have to offer. In parallel to that, and perhaps pointing out the obvious, you haven’t seen your partner in a few days, making your time together all the more special and meaningful than if you would be 24/7 next to each other.
In practice, one of the aspects of a LAT relationship that is very appealing, is that it lends itself so perfectly to “themes”. After not seeing each other for a few days, LAT couples often try and make the most out of their time together when they do. For sure there are moments when a lazy weekend on the couch sounds like heaven for LATers as well, but given that your time together is more compact, it’s more common that LAT couples seek out to make it extra special when they do have it. A “theme evening” is a great way to do it, for example a “Spanish Night Out”.
Spanish Night Out prep sheet:
Buy a new outfit or go through your stack of clothes and find some Spanish clothing or paraphernalia to wear for the evening such as:
- Traje de Chulapo or Chulapa
- White blouse with lantern sleeves
- Polka dot skirt
- Manila shawl
- Spanish hat, “txapela”
- Alpargatas or ballerina shoes
- Red carnations
- Red handkerchief (to be worn around your neck)
- Wear a Zara, Mango, or Desigual outfit
Food and Drink venues
- 1st stop: “Pancho’s Tapas Bar” for some wonderful tapas and great vino tintos
- 2nd stop: “La Casa de la Paella Valenciana” The place for a true taste of Spanish cuisine
- Option #1: Watch a Pedro Almodovar film in the cinema
- Option #2: Go to the theater to see a Zarzuela
All of a sudden a so-so weekend becomes a mini holiday! You create memorable moments, events to look forward to, in this way, you keep the flame alive by having fun together.
You would think this would also be perfectly possible for those in a “living together” relationship…but does it actually happen? And if it does, does it happen with some sort of regularity, or is it the one off? It requires a very unique sort of relationship to keep the mutual interest beating through the years, to maintain the desire to go out and experience things together, and the need to share special moments.
In a LAT relationship, there is space for you, but also plenty of space for missing your partner. There is a lot of time in between to build up the expectation that you will see each other again soon. Once you get the hang of it, you will find it natural to compartmentalize anything that could disturb the relationship into the days you are not together. This concept alone is gold. This is what gives way to living a relationship of -practically- only good times.
Cons of Living Apart Together
From a purely financial point of view, Living Apart Together is not for everyone. You need to be able to afford a LAT relationship to even consider it. You will be paying double house bills, and everything that entails: rent/mortgage, water, electricity, internet, subscriptions, taxes, maintenance, services, insurance, etc.
If you are thinking of a LAT relationship, perhaps the best place to start is with the spreadsheet. Have a clear view of your incoming funds versus your outgoing expenses and make sure you are in the position to even have the conversation. Needless to say, this applies to both.
This is a very relative minus point. If you live in the same area, this may not be a factor at all. If however, you both live far apart from each other, this can add up.
Taking a simple example:
- Mary and Ted live 2 hours away from each other.
- They see each other once a week every week.
- Round trip commute 4 hours.
- Monthly round trip commute 32 hours.
- Yearly round trip commute 208 hours (almost 9 days).
In addition to this you also would need to factor the commute costs of course. This shouldn’t be a deal breaker as there are ways around this if you can coordinate your schedules, but it is a point to consider for any LAT aspirations if distance plays an important factor.
The everyday physical companionship is missing
No way to sugar coat this one. Without a doubt, this is one of the most difficult elements to accept from a LAT relationship. The days when you need this comfort and it is not there, you really miss it. Nothing can replace an embrace, a kiss, or just feeling the warmth lying together on the couch. Sometimes just having a visual of your loved one sitting on the kitchen table can make you feel completely at ease. Sure, you can always jump on a call, write a text, or send some emojis, but it doesn’t replace the actual physical contact. This is just one of the aspects of a Living Apart Together relationship that comes with the territory. .
There are certainly many places in this world where a LAT relationship would still be frowned upon. Depending on how progressive your country/area/region is, this could be a thorn on the side for this plan. Having society close their doors to you because you don’t mirror their expectations of how a relationship should be can be a hard pill to swallow. The situation could become even trickier if this affects only one of the partners. For example, his side of the family is completely against this approach and cuts him off from all family affairs. She might come from a family/society where this is completely normal. It is very likely they might not have the same approach as to how to resolve such a situation, or even if it should be resolved at all.
The term Living Apart Together might sound like a contradiction in terms to those that are not familiar with the nuances of such a relationship format. But to those living one, it is clear that a LAT relationship is as much a full blown relationship as a living together relationship. Having said that, it is important to understand how this approach will work inside the ecosystem of different societies and cultures. At the end of the day, you and your partner will need to decide which environment, from all the environments you co-exist in (society, family, friends, work, partner, you), will receive your priority, and take the steps to make it happen.
- If you would like to learn more about LAT:
If I am happy, but no one sees it, does it count?
What you don’t find in yourself, you will look for in others
Best places in the world to travel after a break up
If you want to travel and work NON-digital jobs, start here
My flirty partner is tearing me apart!!!!!!!!!!!!
Is Living Alone Together (LAT) a phase, or is it meant to be forever?