“Absence makes the heart grow fonder” may not just be a cliché anymore. There’s no doubt that spending at least some time apart is essential to a happy marriage. According to a growing number of couples, though, time apart isn’t enough. There’s a small but increasing movement of spouses who are living apart apart — not because they don’t love each other, but because they do.
These couples claim that living apart is the key to making their marriages work. It may sound counterintuitive, but there’s more to this trend than meets the eye. Keep reading to learn more about why these spouses choose to live separately, why it may make marriages better, and solutions for adding more space to your relationship.
The Trend That Suggests Living Apart is Better for Marriages
According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, there’s a growing trend of couples actively choosing to “live apart together” (LAT). The pair is dedicated to each other and committed to a long-term relationship. However, they aren’t dedicated to cohabitating.
Why not? That depends on the couple. Some people choose a LAT lifestyle because they already have homes they love, and neither person wants to move. Others choose it because they have children they don’t want to uproot. However, a growing contingent of people in the US are choosing LAT lifestyles simply because they don’t think living together would be good for their relationship.
That isn’t necessarily surprising. There are plenty of people who make excellent partners but not ideal roommates. For spouses who’ve realized that their partner’s quirks are stressing the relationship, choosing LAT might be the best choice for keeping their marriage strong and avoiding divorce. While not every couple needs this much space, it’s invaluable to the pairs that do.
The Potential Benefits of Living Apart
There’s more to living apart than just having more physical space. If you’re feeling trapped in your relationship, living apart also offers benefits like:
- Fewer opportunities or reasons to argue. If you see your partner for hours every day, you have plenty of chances to talk about everything. That includes tiny complaints or old grudges, potentially causing a spiral of arguments. You can head those off at the pass by living apart, so the time you do spend together is more meaningful, and you’re less interested in arguing.
- Less friction from daily inconveniences. Your spouse left the toothpaste open again. They didn’t do the dishes as you asked. They tripped over the shoes you didn’t have time to put away. Living together poses thousands of minor inconveniences that can pile up into a strained marriage. LAT prevents them from happening in the first place.
- More independence. By living together, you naturally give up some of your freedom. Your partner will expect courtesies like knowing when you’ll get home or being able to veto having guests over. If you live apart, you can both be that much more independent because spontaneous decisions won’t impact the other person.
- Less pressure to sacrifice your interests. When two people live together, it’s easy for one to feel pushed to give up hobbies and interests that are loud, messy, or solitary. By living apart, it’s easier to maintain those interests without the pressure of a shared space.
How You Can Bring Space Into Your Relationship
If any of those improvements appeal to you, it may be a good idea to put more space in your relationship. You don’t need to go so far as actually living in separate places, though. There are several ways you can get some space without doubling your monthly rent or mortgage payments, such as:
Try Sleeping in Different Bedrooms
A bad night’s sleep can make everything feel a little harder, including your relationship. If you’re feeling smothered by your partner, sharing a bed can make it even worse. The easiest trial run to check whether space will improve your marriage is to sleep in separate bedrooms. You might be surprised at how much brighter things seem when you didn’t have to listen to your spouse’s snoring all night.
Schedule Time Alone
Another solution is to schedule specific times that you and your spouse will not spend together. You can do whatever you want during this time as long as it’s just for you. Take up a solo hobby, explore new restaurants or parks, or just hang out without your partner. This time apart can help you decompress and look at your marriage with fresh eyes when you come back together.
Consider a Legal Separation
If you like spending time with your spouse, but you can’t seem to stop arguing, then the solution might be to take away the sources of your arguments. Many couples argue about finances, including topics like retirement and estate planning, more than anything else. You can resolve those arguments for good without ending your marriage by getting a legal separation.
In a legal separation, you remain married, but your finances are no longer joined. It’s like being financially single while still having the rights of a spouse in situations like medical emergencies. Financial arguments are much less likely when both partners have separate income and assets instead of shared accounts. You might find that getting a separation can save your marriage by removing the reason why you argue.
Take the First Step Toward a Healthy Marriage
A legal separation may be just what you and your spouse need to make your relationship work again. Whether you’re both independent spirits or you’re caught in a codependent spiral, having some room to breathe can make all the difference to your marriage. Getting a legal separation can give you that space.
If you believe that a separation might be the right choice for you, then it’s time to talk to an experienced separation lawyer. A qualified attorney will be able to advise you on the proper way to handle the situation and ensure that you don’t make your relationship worse with unnecessary stress. You can get in contact with successful separation lawyers today to schedule your consultation and learn more about whether it’s the correct choice for your marriage.