Why more couples are living apart, together

Frederic Chopin and George Sand did it. Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir did too. They chose to live apart but maintain their relationships. Plenty of less famous people from the past did too, of course. Today, about 10 percent of Britons, and between 6-9 percent of American and Canadian couples opt to live separately. It's called Living Apart Together (LAT) by the people who study such phenomena, and for many it is how they keep their relationships going.

Among couples, LATs (also called non-residential couples) are slightly more common among gay men and younger people, according to sociologists who have studied them, and while they are similar in most ways to couples who live together, those in LAT relationships are less likely to pursue marriage and more likely to "...perceive similar amounts of emotional support from partners, but less instrumental support than cohabiters perceive," according to the study linked above.

Younger people tend to be drawn to the arrangement due to changing norms around what constitutes a healthy relationship, as well as the enjoyment that being independent brings. “Living apart gives you that autonomy you want while also giving you the option for intimacy,” Jacquelyn Benson, a University of Missouri gerontologist who has studied LATs, told Rewire. It's also a lot easier to maintain a relationship while living apart, with free texting, Facetime or Skype, and other communication technologies currently available...more