LAT (Living Apart Together) - A new type of senior romantic relationship
On Life and Love After 50 eNewsletter June 23, 2017
This week, I learned about a relatively new category of senior relationships that is starting to draw attention: the LAT relationship. LAT is an acronym for “Living Apart Together.” A few of our Champs—that I am aware of—fall under this category. Wikipedia describes this relationship as “…couples who have an intimate relationship but live at separate addresses.” "Apparently, this type of relationship is growing in Europe. Wikipedia states, “LAT couples account for around 10% of adults in Britain. Similar figures are recorded for other countries in northern Europe, including Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. “In Australia, Canada and the US, representative surveys indicate that between 6% and 9% of the adult population has a partner who lives elsewhere.” My partner Greta and I know of one senior Dana Point couple who has this type of LAT arrangement, although I don’t know about the intimacy aspect. They care a great deal for each other but for personal reasons choose to live under different roofs. Why do LAT couples choose to live apart? In a March 20, 2017, article posted on www.nextavenue.org, titled, “Older Adults Embrace ‘Living Apart Together,’” author Sheena Rice said, “Researchers found that (LAT) couples were motivated by desires to stay independent, maintain their own homes, sustain existing family boundaries and remain financially independent.” One would expect that while people in LAT relationships are free to do as they please, the same expectations about commitment and fidelity as in other types of committed relationships would be followed. Not everyone in a LAT relationship is happy about it. One Champ, a widow, who recent shared her story with us, prepares dinner every night for her man friend and then he returns to his own home to sleep. She said she is lonely and would like to get remarried. But he doesn’t want that. So, she will have to decide what is most important to her and make a tough decision to live with the situation as is, or move on. Perhaps she will rethink her position, realizing LAT relationships are becoming more common, and say, “You know what, my arrangement isn’t so bad after all.” What matters in a senior relationship is that both people are content and happy, regardless of the type of relationship they’re in.
Responses from newsletter readers regarding the above article
The pluses and minuses of LAT relationships. Money is a key factor in LAT.
Sue (not her real name) said, “I'm currently in a LAT. It’s funny there is an actual term for it. It would be great if there was a large-scale survey asking lots of questions to better understand why anyone thinks this is a good lifestyle.
“After three years, I’m ready to call a really good relationship quits. Because I'm not fond of carrying on two households and losing so much money each month. Couples who want to share life together should commit to sharing all aspects of their life. Period.”
Having to clean 2 households is a LAT relationship negative
Sheryl commented, “Loved this article since it described my current relationship for the past 14 years with my significant other. After being widowed 16 years ago, I thought I would want to re-marry. Now, I'm very happy maintaining my own home and my LAT partner has his home less than ten minutes from me.
“Fortunately, we can afford this arrangement financially. We do spend most nights either at his home or mine. I also travel a lot to see my children and grandchildren without having to feel worried or guilty about these absences. All the reasons stated in the article apply to us.
“Now that we are both retired, we'll travel more.”
Chris, 83, emailed, “I just read you On Life and Love after 50 eNewsletter which I forwarded to a friend who is entering a LAT relationship. Tina and I have been in a LAT for almost 14 years. In fact, even though we just got married, we will still be in a sort of LAT.
“She has a home and family in England and, of course, I am settled in San Clemente, California. Neither one of us is going to make a permanent move. We will just keep going back and forth.”
Shirley (aka the wise bird of Manhattan), said, “Tom, of course New York City leads in new endeavors. Living Apart Together has existed for years here. I know several women who are satisfied with such an arrangement, but it takes trust, fidelity, intelligence and caring. It also means that partners, for whatever reason, do not share location interests to the degree that couples attached-at-the-hip do.
“My next door neighbor has lived happily in such an arrangement and she is married. Her husband lives in the suburban home while she lives in Manhattan. She visits him on week-ends. He visits her on Wednesday evenings, and they spend vacations together.
“It is a second marriage, obviously satisfying, for both. I’m not sure it’s bad; somehow, some of us might enjoy it, because it offers independence and the ability to permit two people to follow their respective lifestyles.”
Tom’s closing comment: I am certain we will be hearing more about the positives and negatives of LAT (Living Apart Together) relationships.
LAT relationship update, July 2, 2017
Two men speak out on LAT relationships.
Kenny, “Just one single-over-50-year-old guy's opinion: Although L.A.T. relationships are not (quite) for everybody (and why?... I'll never figure out), this type of relationship is growing exponentially and quickly among our majority single "Boomer" generation!
I have ONLY been married "twice" ... That would be the "first" time and the "last" time. I feel at this stage of my life, 68, there is almost NO (like 1/10th of 1%) upside to co-habitate or remarry...especially with the multiple legal complications of either the cohabitation or marriage agreement and contract...and that includes even an expensive "can-always-be-challenged" legal prenuptial agreement...
And NO, I am NOT (not even remotely) some bitter cynical divorcee. Really, it’s just 2017, just common sense...and I will never justify "living together" to lessen a few $$$ of living expenses .
I have seen way too many move-in-together couples justify this, "Oh "dahhhhh-ling, look-at-all-the-money-we-will-save-living-together" arrangement, only to go up-in-smoke (and lots of flames) later on ...followed by one helluva mighty big honkin' litigation full of money mess.
But, I totally am currently in a committed relationship. We maintain separate residences and are totally agreeable to NOT mix our children and our finances.
"Yet, we care for each other (and luv each other to bits and plan to 'go the distance') and are totally there for each other. We travel together and all our children / family / friends recognize us as a couple.
Phil, “I spent 21 years with my wife in a LAT. In the end, not good. We found we had nothing in common. So, we lived apart.
But I could not elect the option of divorce, thinking we might reconcile. I was with my wife 24/7 in her dying days.
“In 20/20 hindsight, I would have done something else (about a divorce). With Sue now in my life in 2017, the past all seems like an 'uncomfortable period.'” Note from Tom: Phil and Sue, high school classmates of mine, married in 2017. They had not seen each other in 50-plus years. He sadly passed away four months after the marriage.
Relationship counselor Christine Baumgartner adds to LAT discussion
Christine Baumgartner (Christine@Theperfectcatch.com), relationship counselor, “I have a neighbor who has been in a LAT relationship for five years. Her partner lives four miles away. They usually see each other every day and spend most nights together at each other’s homes. They share their lives with each other and are both financially comfortable with this arrangement. I asked them why it worked for them.
“She said his is house if full of electronics and stuff (which he isn’t going to change) and if she lived there full-time it would make her crazy. This is the only thing she doesn’t love about him and knows it would be a breaking point for both.
“She also said she loves having her own home that she can keep ‘just her way.’ He said he wants her to be happy when she’s with him and knows their LAT is the perfect way to achieve this.”