Monday, December 20, 2021

Better LAT than never: Living Apart Together for older romantic relations

 Marriage is not the only way that people can romantically partner, and of course young people are the pioneers in many new forms of household formation.  But here are two news stories that say Living Together Apart (LAT) relationships are growing among older and often previously married couples.

The NY Times has a story focusing on older couples:

Older Singles Have Found a New Way to Partner Up: Living Apart. Fearing that a romantic attachment in later life will lead to full-time caregiving, many couples are choosing commitment without sharing a home. By Francine Russo

"With greater longevity, the doubling of the divorce rate since the 1990s for people over 50 and evolving social norms, older people like Ms. Randall are increasingly re-partnering in various forms. Cohabitation, for example, is more often replacing remarriage following divorce or widowhood, said Susan L. Brown, a sociologist at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.


"As researchers study those who do partner, however, they find that increasing numbers are choosing a kind of relationship known as LAT (rhymes with cat), for “living apart together.” These are long-term committed romantic relationships without sharing (or intending to share) a home.

"“A big attraction of LAT is to avoid the potential responsibility of being a full-time caregiver,” said Ingrid Arnet Connidis, an emerita sociology professor at Western University in London, Ontario. “Women cared for their children, parents and spouse, and want to avoid getting into these traditional gender roles.”

"While researchers have not yet delved deeply into the demographics of those in LAT relationships, anecdotally it seems to be more prevalent among those at high enough socioeconomic levels to be able to maintain separate households. In general, there is evidence that wealthier people who are single later in life are more likely to re-partner."


The WSJ has a story focusing on new couples in the midst of raising kids:

The Secret to These Successful Marriages? Living Apart. The number of married couples who live apart is small but growing. Here’s how they say the arrangement helps their families and their relationships   By Clare Ansberry

"Many couples who live apart have been married before and don’t want to uproot their children from homes, schools and friends, or can’t because of joint-custody arrangements.


"The number of married people living apart, which includes military couples, is still small but rose 4.8% in the last decade to 3.6 million, according to figures from the Census Bureau."

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