Living Apart: The Key To Wedded Bliss?

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Living Apart: The Key To Wedded Bliss?
Committed couples who choose two separate abodes are on the rise.

Mindful about keeping the spark alive, most LATs are less interested in compromise or negotiation, which are normally part and parcel of any relationship. Overall, they did not cite making concessions as an opportunity for growth, either as a unit or as an individual. "[Eric and I are] far too spoiled to have to negotiate who gets to keep his stuff or what show to watch," she says. She'll watch movies at her husband's place, but grumbles that it reeks of cigars and is stocked with his "sporty stuff." They sleep at her place, which she says "looks like it was designed for a drag queen."

Not all LATs are rich, even if they include a share of independent celebrities couples such as Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell and Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton. "Money would be a terrible reason to live together," says Jim, who continues to work part time editing books. When he and Jane go out, they split the bill and each pays their own mortgage. Jane says they are still "interdependent and interconnected" and invest their own money into the relationship. This past weekend they traveled to his granddaughter's college graduation; next week they will go to her son's. And Jane worries about the cost as well as the effect of their "carbon footprint." The two have discussed ways to cut down on the cost of oil and gas of operating two homes.

While not environmentally prudent, experts do see advantages to living apart. If there are children involved from a previous marriage, especially ones who may be troubled or living at home, psychologist Dr. Joan Levine says that separate homes "seem to work. Even when one person wants to live together and the other does not." Dr. William Pinsof, a family psychologist and President of Northwestern University's Family Institute sees LATs as nothing out of the norm. "From a psychological viewpoint, it is hard to imagine the value of defining any major social group that is not physically or emotionally harming itself or others as deviant or undesirable," he says.

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