In a time when an increasing number of couples are eager to live together before marriage, a unique trend is occurring: married couples are choosing to live apart after marriage. Called "living apart together", or "LAT", couples who happily and mutually choose this non-traditional living arrangement cite many reasons, one being LAT has improved their relationship, as they can be committed, exclusive and still independent.
Living with another person is difficult at times, especially someone you love. Not only do the everyday demands of laundry, dishes, cooking, bills and other chores take away any feeling of romance or spontaneity, this person makes other demands on your personal time and space. Remember the days when you were just dating your beloved, and how much fun it was to get ready for the date, anticipate the fun evening ahead, and call your friends to talk about the details? Now, once you are married, this butterflies-in-stomach feeling of anticipation is gone, and the reality sets in that this person is there. Always.
Not only do you need to compromise, negotiate and share constantly with another person, it is difficult for many couples to regain the surprise, spontaneity and romance when they are together day-in-and-day-out. Jokingly, a few of my girlfriends and I have talked about how great it would be if our husbands lived next door. We could see each other whenever we wanted, there is still all the commitments, but we could decorate the way we wanted, not have the stress of preparing meals that another person may not like, not have to worry if one person is a clean-freak and the other one is messy. You could send the kids next door to play, while you get some much needed alone-time in your own house.
Happily-married couples who go beyond the fantasy and actually choose LAT describe how this plays out in their life. (One note: these couples are 100 percent in love and faithful to each other; it is not being used (in this context) as one-step away from divorce...quite the opposite!) Some couples marry later in life, and each want to keep their respective houses.