Okay, so now that we’ve all debated “entanglements”, there’s a new trend amongst couples that has most of us divided. More and more couples are choosing to live separately. For a lot of couples, moving in together is a natural step that occurs after a relationship gets serious or after marriage. Either way, living together has been a big milestone for many couples or a goal they can’t wait to achieve. However, it may not be for every couple.
For those of you who live with your significant other, do you remember what it was like when you were dating and not living together? When I think back, I remember how different my bedroom and bathroom looked. I remember my DVR was catered to me and had all of my favorite shows and movies. I remember everything being how I liked it and where I liked it. I remember having time to myself. I also remember my husband and I missing each other and being really excited to see each other again.
Moving in together is not only a big step in a relationship, but it’s also something that requires a lot of compromise and sacrifice. There’s a reason why moving in together brings up a bunch of issues you may not have realized before: who’s messy, who’s neat, who sleeps in late, who wakes up early, etc. Chores need to be delegated, bills need to be divided, conversations need to happen. It changes the dynamic of a relationship. Which is why some couples are choosing to opt out of living together and instead choose to be in relationships while living separately. According to Psychology Today, there are a lot of benefits to this lifestyle choice, “…research suggests that there may be some meaningful benefits to living separately. First, living apart may be one way to enhance the novelty or excitement in a relationship. In the beginning, couples tend to engage in lots of novel and exciting activities together—what researchers call self-expanding activities. They dress up for dates, they explore new parts of the city, they try each other’s hobbies, and they have engaging discussions with each other. As time goes on, though, it can be easy for long-term couples to fall into such a routine that they stop doing fun new things together, leading to boredom.”
In other words, choosing to live separately may help keep that spark, that is usually there while dating, around longer. There is still a lot of stigma around couples who choose to not live together. A lot of the concern stems from the negative stereotypes associated with long-distance relationships. If you’re like me, I was told that they always failed. But according to Psychology Today, “Long-distance couples idealize their partners more—they see their partners in unrealistically positive terms, which is, generally, a good thing. They also spend more time reminiscing or daydreaming about their relationships, and report feeling more romantic love for their partners. These effects are actually more pronounced the lessface-to-face time the couple spends together. It seems that absence really can make the heart grow fonder. If so, living apart may be one way—a gentler way—to reap some of these same benefits.”
Although some couples live apart because they are in open relationships, this lifestyle choice isn’t reserved for them alone. People tend to think that those are the only kinds of relationships that benefit from this lifestyle or that this way of living promotes infidelity. However, according to Refinery29, most couples who choose to live apart are usually older although there are younger people adapting to this lifestyle. They choose this path for various reasons such as their career paths, family obligations, or because of their children from previous relationships. Also, more people, especially women, are becoming more financially independent which gives them an alternative option previous generations didn’t have before. People are choosing to live separately because it fits their lifestyle and because they can afford to do so.
Although living apart may not be for everyone, I believe personally, that a lot of unhappy couples are not satisfied because they try to live up to societal norms instead of doing what’s right for them. Everyone’s lifestyle and needs are different and the world is constantly changing. It’s natural that relationships look different now then just a few generations ago. A relationship’s success should not be based on meeting milestones set in place by society, but by doing what feels right for each individual couple. So, if living apart sounds great for you, I say do what you want.
Now am I saying I’d like to live apart? No. However, living together does bring forth a lot of additional moving pieces that couples have to find a way to fit together. It’s not for everyone. I believe couples can be happy even if they choose a path most do not.
What do you think?