My LAT

I don’t think I can quite understate how amazing I’ve felt since hubs and I came to the conclusion that we don’t want to cohab. Like… an immense pressure has been lifted from my shoulders and I feel revitalized. I think he does too.

I told some of my friends what our plans are, and none of them understood. My best friend, who I described as turning more and more into my dad as the years go by, was trying to rationalize our desires and couldn’t. Another told us to “try cohabiting for a while before you knock it”. Maybe I should have told them to try being poly before settling on monogamy? Or something similarly silly? Speaking of polyamory…

Was talking with him about it more last night–he got a kick at how confused they’d gotten when I told them the plan–and started to get the very distinct feeling that this may be another kind of -amory. Or at least, in how I feel that the two of us are expressing it. I want word for it, now.

Nisiamory: island love.

Apomonogamous: isolated marriage.

Misoamory: half love.

Filoamory: friend love.

I’m kind of partial to that first one, “nisiamory”. The image of two islands nicely illustrates our ideal living situation. And none of this “regretfully apart” or “ambivalently apart” like most of those surveyed seem to categorize themselves, as described below.

The cultural term for the arrangement itself (rather than the emotional and romantic propensity for it, as my proposed term encompasses) is called “Living Apart Together”. From Wikipedia:

Living Apart Together (abbreviation: LAT) is a term to describe couples who have an intimate relationship but live at separate addresses. LAT couples account for around 10% of adults in Britain, a figure which equates to over a quarter of all those not married or cohabiting. Similar figures are recorded for other countries in northern Europe, including Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Research suggests similar or even higher rates in southern Europe, although here LAT couples often remain in parental households.In Australia, Canada and the US representative surveys indicate that between 6% and 9% of the adult population has a partner who lives elsewhere.LAT is also increasingly understood and accepted publicly, is seen by most as good enough for partnering, and subject to the same expectations about commitment and fidelity as marriage or cohabitation.

Some researchers have seen living apart together as a historically new family form. From this perspective LAT couples can pursue both the intimacy of being in a couple and at the same time preserve autonomy.Some LAT couples may even de-prioritize couple relationships and place more importance on friendship. Alternatively, others see LAT as just a ‘stage’ on the way to possible cohabitation and marriage. In this view LATs are not radical pioneers moving beyond the family, rather they are cautious and conservative, and simply show a lack of commitment. In addition many may simply be modern versions of ‘steady’ or long term boy/girlfriends. Research using more comprehensive data suggests LAT couples are a heterogeneous social category with varying motivations for living apart. About a third see their relationship as too early for cohabitation, while others are prevented from living together, although they wish to do so, because of constraints like housing costs or (more rarely) job location. Many, however, prefer not to live together even though they have a long term relationship and could do so if they wanted. In practice motivations are often complex, for example one partner might wish to preserve the family home for existing children while the other might welcome autonomous time and space. Sometimes ‘preference’ can have a defensive motivation, for example the emotional desire to avoid the recurrence of a failed or unpleasant cohabiting relationship. Overall, LAT couples may be ‘gladly apart; ‘regretfully apart’ or, for many, undecided and ambivalent where they experience both advantages and disadvantages.

Apartment Therapy ran a blurb about it a few years ago and some of the comments are amusing:

I always remember reading about Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s residence in Mexico City that was made of two separate houses connected by a bridge. I always thought that was one of the most brilliant homes ever built.

Never been married, but I always thought the best of all possible worlds would be to have apts/condos across the hall from each other.

I understand this for committed dating and engaged couples (in fact, it’s not a new idea. Living together is a new idea). But not if you’re married. Isn’t the point to live together? If one of you is a very light sleeper or something I could understand twin beds, but if you are so selfish that you can’t share your home, you shouldn’t be married. If you need more space, build a “man cave” or the feminine equivalent.

Whatever happenend to committing to someone for life, through thick & thin? Is the institution of marriage just yesterdays news in this day and age? I’m visiting a friend but had to register just to reply to this thread. Ok, may be numerous marriages or numberous years of living alone might give one another view. But if you truly care about someone this much and still choose separate houses, ya might wanna look inward. This is not a healthy relationship no matter how you define it.

My current lover and I have both [separately] commented that the coolest thing on the entire planet would be living next door to/on the same block as each other… but not in the same house. Close enough to have breakfast together in the mornings, or drop by spur of the moment, or *choose* to spend the night together, but far enough apart to each be our own hermit-y introverted selves. Best ‘o both worlds, in my book!

Nisiamory…

I’m going to be spending a LOT more time researching this, especially for those of us who desire it as a permanent lifestyle and love language arrangement rather than something that we’re just “dealing with” until it’s time for us to move onto the next stage of our relationship. Maybe we were never LDR after all– just LAT.

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