What Does Living Apart Together Mean And How Does It Work?

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The concept of living apart together involves choosing to be a couple but not cohabitating. Millennials often come up with unique ideas to keep their relationships working. Most people believe that couples find love only if they stay together. However, this seems outdated now, and many are trying to live apart together. Younger couples are believed to find freedom and independence in this modern setup, which promises to keep the romantic flame ablaze. But, what do you think? Does this lifestyle spice up your relationship? Well, keep reading to find out more about this brand-new arrangement.

What Does Living Apart Together Mean?

The term “living together apart” means that two people in a romantic relationship choose to live separately.They are together but live in different homes.It is different from a long-distance relationship because here, the couple willingly chooses to live separately. The couple may live in the same area or even a few blocks away, but they prefer to return to their homes.

Why Do Couples Opt For Living Apart Together?

The initial activities of a relationship, such as preparing for a date, meeting each other,trying new restaurants, and other similar things, make couples excited. After couples start living together, they will adapt to each other.Some couples may not take the trouble to do new and exciting things, which can lead to boredom in a relationship.

Enter the concept of ‘living apart together,’ which can help couples protect their relationship from monotony. Since these couples spend less time together, they can ensure that they make the most of each other’s limited time. They put in extra effort to look good for a date and are happy to communicate with each other about their work and life. However, for some people, the motivation for living apart together is their anxiety and fear of living with another person. They are afraid of exposing their vulnerability to their partner, and so they may choose not to live together.

Advantages Of Living Apart Together

Like every concept or idea, living apart together has its own advantages and disadvantages. First, let us look at the benefits of living apart together.

  1. You enjoy some exclusive ‘me’ time: When you have your own independent space, you can freely allocate time and place to relax and rejuvenate. In your house, you don’t have to worry about your partner not doing the housework. You can complete your housework and relax in any way you want to.
  1. You do not have to let go of old habits: Living with another person requires many adjustments. However, when you have your own place, you can continue to live according to your habits without making any adjustments. For example, if you are an early riser and like to go for morning walks, but your partner wakes up late. This may lead to conflicts in lifestyle habits. In your own independent space, this problem will never occur.
  1. You avoid conflicts on minor issues: ’Familiarity breeds contempt,’ goes the old proverb. When you spend too much time with your partner, you may be troubled by some of their habits and lifestyle. The two of you may be crazy in love, but you don’t necessarily agree with each other on several topics. Your differences may cause conflicts. When you live separately, you seldom engage in petty fights over personal choices.
  1. You continue to feel excited about the relationship: After living apart, the excitement of meeting stays the same. If you cannot meet regularly, you will be eager to meet your partner and share everything that happened through the week in your life. You want to look good for them so that they continue to value you and love you.
  1. The possibility of feeling suffocated might be less: For people who are used to being independent, sometimes spending too much time with your partner can make you feel suffocated when you are with them.However, when you live alone, you have fewer chances of feeling that way. On the contrary, you happily hope to spend more time with your partner.
  1. You might appreciate your partner more: Did you know that absence makes the heart grow fonder? When you spend time away from someone you love, you start to miss them, and desire to be with them. It makes you recognize and appreciate the smallest of things they do for you. You tend to pay more attention to their good qualities and have a strong feeling for them. You also tend to cherish intimate moments.

Disadvantages Of Living Apart Together

There are some disadvantages, too, of living apart together. Have a look at them below.

  1. Increased cost of living: It’s much more expensive to rent houses separately. Couples living together can combine their assets, cut rent, food expenses,and reduce utility costs.
  1. Hampers love bond: Sometimes,you may suddenly feel depressed and lonely and want your partner to comfort you. If your partner is not with you, they will not know how you feel unless you tell them yourself. Lack of contact with your partner can lead to gaps in the relationship. Another disadvantage is that you have no one around whenever you need a hug and reassurance.
  1. Might increase the possibility of infidelity: It is not that couples who live together don’t risk infidelity. However, when your partner is far away from you, finding comfort anywhere becomes easy and tempting. Since no one around can stop you, you may give in to the temptation without caring for your partner as you think they will never learn about it.
  1. Might lack social acceptance: Living apart together is not an environment that everyone understands easily, especially if you are married. Your family and friends may even dismiss it, thinking it is harmful to your relationship. People may even doubt your true intention to live apart from your partner.
  1. Prevents meaningful conversations: Without meaningful dialogue, relationships cannot develop. When meaningful conversations occur naturally and are not forced, they can be interesting. Living apart provides fewer opportunities for natural and meaningful conversations to help strengthen relationships.
  1. Requires hard work to maintain the relationship: Every relationship requires hard work to maintain. However, when two people are far apart, even if the distance between each other is small, it takes more effort to ensure that the relationship continues. At some point, if you feel lonely without your partner, or have to face a difficult situation without any help, you might even question the entire purpose of the relationship.

Does Living Apart Together Work?

The answer to this question is based entirely on the couple. It depends on the loyalty between the couple and the effort they are willing to make the relationship successful.

It is not that couples living together don’t have to work hard for their relationship. A relationship works when the couple invests in loyalty, honesty, respect, trust, patience, and, most importantly, love. If both parties share similar feelings, the relationship will flourish under any circumstances and arrangements.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is living apart good for a relationship?

Living apart ensures both partners have sufficient breathing space and can function independently. This kind of relationship may seem ideal for couples who consider their personal space sacred. On the flip side, qualities such as compromising and being accommodating may not be nurtured in such a relationship.

2. How much time apart is healthy in a relationship?

Spending time apart is important for a healthy relationship as it helps the partners unwind and rejuvenate. Though there is no hard-and-fast rule regarding how much time you should spend apart, a 3:1 ratio may be ideal, i.e., spend 70–75% of your time together and 25–30% apart.

3. What percentage of people are in living apart together relationships?

Around 7–10% of adults in the US, New Zealand, and Canada are in living apart together relationships (1).

The novel concept of living apart together helps couples in rekindling the excitement and spark in their relationship that may have faded over time. Although having your own space and cherishing the hours you spend together is a perk of this relationship structure, it may also require extra effort to keep the relationship going. Therefore, it is recommended that you make this decision after giving it careful consideration and extensive communication with your partner.

Key Pointers

  • When two people in a romantic relationship decide to live in different homes, it is termed ‘living apart together.’
  • In this setting, you need not adjust or adapt your lifestyle according to your partner and retain your independent space.
  • It may also keep the excitement of your relationship intact while saving you the troubles of minor conflicts and issues arising from cohabitation.
  • It may come with disadvantages such as increasing the possibility of infidelity or lack of social acceptance.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.

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Ratika Pai

Ratika has experience writing in various fields including finance, education, lifestyle, and entertainment. After her masters degree in Commerce, she acquired a PG Diploma in Communication and Journalism from Mumbai University. She is inquisitive about human relationships and likes to study people and how they manage their relationships, during her freetime. At MomJunction, Ratika writes insightful and informative articles on... more

Shreshtha Dhar

(M.A, M.Phil )
Shreshtha Dhar is a licensed Clinical Psychologist running her private practice Thought Craft in Kolkata. She has special interest in the emotional and behavioral issues of both children and adults. Shreshtha has previosuly worked as a lecturer, published various research papers and contributed to magazines. She provides long distance teleconsultation in English, Hindi and Bengali.