Updated: Feb 13, 2020
Another “lifestyle choice” has entered the scene: LAT or “living apart together.” While it’s not new (the NY Times wrote about it in 2013) it’s on the rise—particularly among older individuals and millennials.
Why “living apart together”?
Over fifties, after living alone for a time — perhaps after being widowed or divorced — realize they thrive when they have independence and personal space, and don’t want to give that up for a committed relationship.”*
“LAT relationships are growing among millennials, thanks to women’s increased independence, a globalizing job market, and the normalization of “non-traditional” relationship styles.”*
Seniors wanted to have “intimate companionship” while maintaining their own homes and social circles.”**
Some contend separate spaces not only reduce friction in a relationship, but keep it lively when freed from such mundane concerns as whose turn is it to empty the dishwasher?”***
Research in Europe and Canada suggests that LAT is common among younger people, for reasons that range from wanting more autonomy to just liking their own place and choosing to keep it.****
Basically, I yam what I yam and don’t want to change, but wanting the benefits.
Why LAT would be attractive to ACD
As a group, adult children of divorce are mistrusting, crave safety in relationships, have fears of inadequacy, inferiority, conflict, and divorce, and often feel unworthy.
LAT provides a faux relationship that is
safe - just leave when they’re having a bad hair day
low conflict- what’s to argue about when you have your own space and world to retreat to?
affirming – everyone is wonderful on a date and LAT is really an extended date.
stable – though many LAT relationships are not monogamous.
God’s plan and why it works
LAT thinking like this, “In the end, compromising on what we wanted just to share space made us feel like we'd stopped growing as individuals.”****
misses the beautiful mystery of individual oneness the biblical marriage covenant offers.
Jesus said, “God ‘made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’” (Mark 10:6-8, NKJV). That joining of one flesh requires a relationship of love, compromise, sacrifice, mutual submission, obedience, and perseverance— for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. This love molds us into the image of Jesus—and is true and safe. The opposite of what LAT offers.
Yes, there can be a myriad of problems when two sin-filled people marry, but God offers wisdom and power to overcome those. And research has consistently supported the biblical marriage model. Married active church attendees live longer, are happier, have deeper sexual intimacy, are less likely to exhibit anti-social behavior, less likely to suffer abuse*****, divorce less, and more.
So whether its living together, cohabitation, living apart together, polyamorous, friends with benefits, or whatever comes in the future, hang your hat on what works—biblical marriage—and take the steps to make that work.
divorce by Tumisu Pixabay
man by HAPPY NEW YEARS. Herman & F. Richter Pixabay
matheus ferrero by Mathewus Ferrero, Unsplash