weekly blog--one for the ages
I tried to come up with a clever introduction for this topic, but came up short. Married or not, a growing trend in recent years has seen older adults choosing to maintain intimate relationships without living together. The phenomenon is known as Living Apart Together (LAT) and the concept has a particular appeal to older couples that have long-established routines and patterns that can cause friction in a relationship if cohabitation is compulsory. They also may have a strong desire to stay independent, maintain their own home, sustain existing family boundaries and remain financially independent.
LAT couples also say that the arrangement can help prevent relationships from becoming monotonous because they spend less time with their partners, and have to put more effort into planning activities together which can lead to more exciting adventures.
Of course there are some disadvantages. If one partner falls or doesn't come home because of a problem, the other partner may not immediately know about it. Also, there's no one to share the household chores, and if a health issue arises that requires hospitalization, a strict policy of "family only" can be invoked which cuts off the unmarried.
LAT couples account for around 10 percent of adults in Britain, which equates to more than one quarter of all of those not married or cohabiting. Similar figures are recorded for other countries in northern Europe including Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Research suggests similar or even higher rates in southern Europe, although here LAT couples often remain in parental households. In Australia, Canada and the US representative surveys indicate that between 6 percent and 9 percent of the adult population has a partner who lives elsewhere.
In China, walking marriages have been increasingly common. A walking marriage refers to a type of temporary marriage in which male partners live elsewhere and make nightly visits. A similar arrangement in Saudi Arabia, called misyar marriage, also involves the husband and wife living separately but meeting regularly.