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Living Apart Together: A relationship status or transition?

Tags: living apart together, long distance relationships
Featured in Microsite: Couples Living Apart

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

The research, titled Living Apart Together: uncoupling intimacy and co-residence, describes this particular style of relationship as ‘Living Apart Together’ (LAT).  In other words, these couples consider themselves, and are viewed by others, as a couple but they do not live together.

However, most of these people are inaccurately classed as ‘single’ in official statistics.

Two decades ago it was becoming increasingly common for dating couples to move in together quite quickly, but this research suggests that for many people involved in the study living apart is the better option.

  • Some 30% of adults don’t feel that they’re ready to live with their partner.
  • Other groups in the study are prevented from living together for financial reasons, because of jobs or education, or because of their commitments to others, such as children.

When it comes to staying in touch, almost 90% of LATs talk to their partner every day by phone, email, text or online. Just under 70% said they have face-to-face time with their partner several times a week.

This lack of face-to-face time has a direct affect on the intimacy in LAT relationships. When asked who would care for them if they were ill with flu, only 20% said their partner. If dealing with problems that require emotional support, just 34% said they would turn to their partner for help.

A relationship is usually considered strong when partners are able to rely on each other for physical, emotional and financial support. So it would seem that despite considering themselves to be a couple and believing that fidelity is important, LATs are perhaps less reliant on each other than couples who cohabit or are married.  

Below you can watch clips that tell you more about LAT relationships:

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 status quo? Share your stories below or on the forum.

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  • User-anonymous sumathi Flag

    When there is no emotional support from your partner, you feel that you all alone in your relationship. Though love and care are very essential for your relationship to survive, emotional bond is of utmost importance for you to feel good. Nowadays relationship has become mechanical and money oriented.You can survive the distance of your physical existence but not the distance of emotions.

    Thu 24, Apr 2014 at 5:22am
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    I was in a Lat relationship for the past 10 years,not through my choice but because my partner cant commit and also financial issues ,however it probably my own fault i let it get this far,however i have found the latter years to be fraught with arguments and misery over the subject of living together as i would prefer to ,being in this type of relationship left me feeling lonely at times and not on the same page as my partner and it was half a life and after yet more arguments over not enough time spent together etc we have now split up ,if i had a choice i would prefer to live with a partner over LAT : (

    Wed 1, May 2013 at 10:41pm