Living Apart Together: 14 Reasons Why More Couples Are Choosing Separate Homes

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Over time, traditions change, and so do societal norms. When it comes to cohabitation, what used to be called “living in sin” started to become acceptable in the late 1990s. According to Pew Research, marriage has declined approximately 5% from 1995 until now, and cohabitation increased from 3% to 7% within the same time frame. As with all trends, things change, and now it appears that many couples are choosing to live apart, married or not. What are the reasons that they are choosing to live separately?

Career Opportunities and Priorities

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There was a time when people worked where they lived and lived where they worked. Even before the pandemic, people were working out of town or remotely. Those who are looking for career opportunities or putting their career as a priority are commuting from one place to the next. Although couples have traveled for business as far back as the traveling salesman, many are choosing to hold completely different residences and travel for visits instead of going home. 

It Makes More Financial “Cents”

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Internet dating has completely revolutionized the way that people find mates. Where once you only dated a select few and more than likely around where you lived, now people are meeting others all around the world and falling in love. Due to financial reasons, some couples are finding that it doesn’t make financial sense to pick up and move, or even to move in together. Also, thanks to Zoom and other conferencing tools, you can literally feel like you are together even when you are far apart.

Finding Compatibility

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Dating comes with enough turmoil trying to figure one another out without living together. When you cohabitate, it puts a whole new type of adjustment into the relationship. Being so caught up in the give and take necessary to learn to live together, you never really establish the deep intimacy of living in the relationship instead of the reality of living together. Many are choosing to not make it a test try. When they decide to move in together, they want to make sure it is a commitment, not a temporary “let’s see what happens.”

Less Stress

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When you don’t live together, you don’t live with the stress of trying to make things work. Things like sharing a space, chores, and minor household upkeep are each individual’s issues instead of a combined one. When people are responsible for their own mess, figuratively and literally, there is no power play or stress over who does what. You just do your own thing.

Other Obligations

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With the increase of generations sharing a home due to family obligations, sometimes one within the relationship has to take care of other people. Cohabitating with more than just two people adds an entirely new dynamic to the equation. If other responsibilities fall outside of the relationship, sometimes it just makes it easier to focus on one relationship at a time instead of tying the whole mess together. 

Education

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It used to be that people would go straight from high school to college and that is usually where they would meet a mate and settle down. Nowadays, education doesn’t always follow a straight line. People who skip college sometimes return, and those who did go to college return to pursue a new path or go to graduate school. When you are accepted to college to further your career, you can’t expect that the person you are with can pick up and leave their own life and career. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t have a long-distance relationship.

Independence is Important

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Not everyone wants to share the remote, their food, or their bed. Some people would just rather be in a relationship while also maintaining their own space. It used to be considered selfish if someone needed to maintain their place in a relationship. For someone who really enjoys their own time and independence, maintaining separate households is not only not selfish; it is best for both parties. 

Not Everyone Wants to Settle Down

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Indeed, opposites sometimes attract, which means that there are times when homebodies match perfectly with a wanderlust spirit. For those couples who are okay with celebrating one another’s individuality, allowing one to travel and explore is not only acceptable, it just works. Not everyone is meant to get married, and not everyone married or not married is meant to settle down. All types of arrangements can be acceptable if two people accept one another.

Past Trauma

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Hurt from the past makes it really hard to put yourself back into the bees' nest. Not many people go into living together thinking that it won’t work, but sometimes it doesn’t. Those who moved in thinking it was their happily ever after and were not so happy, in the end, are less likely to want to cross the threshold with their mate to try all over again. Rejection and hurt are motivating factors to avoid putting yourself in the same position again. 

Pride 

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For some people maintaining their own residence is a pride thing. Many adults go to great lengths to build their careers and save a lot to make a home. That is something that they aren’t willing to forego. A committed relationship doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you give up your place or they give up theirs. For some, when that happens, both give up what they want. It is okay for many couples to just live together apart. 

Legal Issues

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Not everyone is free to live with whomever they want. In cases where there are custodial issues, adults just don't have the liberty of the same options. Once more, when you move in, there are necessarily legal problems that can arise if you ever tie things together. If it doesn’t work out, that can lead to a lot more than just heartbreak. Sometimes it is just best to live independently without tangling up with someone else, while still maintaining a life emotionally with them.

Incompatible

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There are times when two people are compatible romantically, but their lifestyles and habits don’t meld well. If he is “neat and clean” and you are a “clothes in baskets on the floor,” it won’t work to live together. That doesn’t, however, mean that you can’t be in a relationship together. Although traditionally, couples live together, there is no rule saying they have to. Why put stress on one another for something to fit when it just doesn’t?

Saving Yourself for Marriage

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Many feel that if you move in before committing to marry, then there is no real commitment to marry. Once you have moved in and get comfortable, marriage is just a formality. There are still people out there who believe that cohabitation is something that should start when married. If you just move in to move in, then there is no real bind to making it work. When you are married, it should be forever, and if you jump the gun, then you might forfeit your chances of having the staying power.

Traditions and Societal Norms Change

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Traditions and societal norms change frequently; where people living together before being married was unacceptable, it has now almost become the norm. Not everyone wants to share a space with the person they love, and not sharing a space with someone doesn’t mean that you don’t love them. The biggest change in the way that relationships are viewed is that it is an individual choice about what goes on in your relationship instead of being a collective “this is what we do” type of feel. 

Whether moving in together is right for you or not, the real question is what type of commitment you want to make and how much of your personal space you are willing to give up. It isn’t selfish to want to have what’s yours, any more than it is to make someone move in because you need them to. When it comes right down to it, it is about what is right for you and your partner. Also, it is about what will give your relationship the best chance at success, whatever that looks like for the two of you.

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