Apartners: how living apart can strengthen your relationship

When perfect new partners are apartners.

Forming new relationships after a long period of being single can be hard enough without jumping into co-habitation. Living full-time with your new partner’s children, pets and habits takes some adjustment for both of you. Fear not: Apartners are the latest trending alternative to live-in lovers.

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Living Alone Together (LAT) couples (aka ‘apartners’) are increasing in number.

Judith Newman is part of an LAT couple. According to Newman, the longevity of her  25 year relationship is in part attributable to the fact she and her husband don’t cohabit:

I believe that I would not be married if we had lived together, and moreover, that if more people lived separately, marriages would be saved.

This is very reassuring for those of us who so enjoy our newfound freedom we fear we may never form a ‘successful’ partnership again. 

Substitute ‘successful’ for ‘conventional’ and you get closer to the mark. An unconventional relationship – in the sense of a couple not living full-time under the same roof – can be equally successful.

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Over the past 25 years, the average age at which people divorce in Australia has increased by ten years. Empty nesters in their mid-forties are leaving unhappy marriages at an ever-increasing rate. They are in no hurry to compromise their hard fought freedom.

For them, the idea of partnering up again is not tempting in the immediate aftermath of a relationship breakdown.. When they finally have the energy for it, the path to love can be complicated. There is an expectation that in order for a new relationship to work, couples need to move in together.

Researcher Birk Hagemeyer suggests apartnership works better for those ‘slightly cranky loners’ who still want love. He concludes that ‘together’ means ‘too close’ for certain personality types.

There is no roadmap for life post-separation. We all manage as best we can, with a little help from our friends and family. If you find love again, don’t be constrained by societal conventions when it comes to living arrangements. Your perfect partner may well be an apartner.

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