Married couples are expected to share a house/apartment and have a joint bank account. However, some couples decide to break with tradition and have separate accounts or even separate addresses. Married or long-term couples who don't live under the same roof are described by the term “living apart together” (LAT). Can LAT be good for a marriage?
LAT is a relatively recent trend. It has been increasingly common in Asia, where it is referred to as a “walking marriage”. It is also becoming popular in Europe, North America and Australia, where LAT couples account for between 6 and 10 percent. LAT is more common among younger couples who don't have children, but they are not the only ones who choose to LAT. Can living apart be good for your marriage?
In the 21st century, more and more people are marrying later for various reasons. Some people want to build a successful career before they get married, and some what to make the most out of life before they settle down. As a result, when two people meet and decide to get married, each of them already has their own home and is comfortable with living alone. None of them want to sacrifice their comfort so they decide to live apart.
However, the need to maintain autonomy is not the only motivation for LAT couples. Some couples in a long-distance relationship get married to emphasize their commitment but don't move in together because of their jobs or for other reasons. Sometimes quitting a high-paying job for the sake of moving in with a spouse is financially unreasonable.
Why get married if you are not going to leave together? Official marriage has a number of benefits such as marital tax deduction, social security benefits, legal decision-making benefits (including the ability to make medical decisions), inheritance benefits, health insurance benefits, leave benefits, etc. Getting married makes things easier, but it doesn't mean you have to live together.
LAT couples insist that they don't need to live together to have a strong relationship. They respect each other's independence and need for privacy. Their commitment to their partner doesn't depend on the way they choose to live.
Living apart can make your relationship stronger. However, it also has the potential of destroying it. This living arrangement can work for you if both of you are absolutely sure of each other's motives. You need to trust each other and be open for communication. Before deciding to leave apart, make sure both of you are happy with this situation and you can really afford running two homes.
LAT will probably destroy your marriage if you don't trust your spouse completely, are afraid of committing, or are not sure of your spouse's motives. Remember that living apart won't help to solve relationship issues, it will just aggravate them. You can't ignore problems and expect that they will go away.
- How to Handle Age Difference in Marriage, Tips for Talking About Money With Your Spouse, 5 Reasons Why Separate Vacations Can Be Good for Your Marriage, Is It Wrong for a Married Couple to Have Separate Bank Accounts?