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For many couples, moving in together is a huge relationship milestone. Traditionally, this step was usually taken after marriage, although nowadays many couples cohabit before walking down the aisle. But there is a third, less conventional choice: living apart together.
And it seems to be an option some celebrities are taking.
Just yesterday, Kaley Cuoco announced that she is finally moving in with her husband, two years after they initially tied the knot.
Kaley and Karl Cook wed on 30 June 2018, after dating since late 2016. But despite enjoying marital bliss for nearly two years, the actress and her husband have lived apart from each other, with the couple admitting last year that they ‘loved’ the set-up.
“We have a very unconventional marriage, you know,” Cuoco told E! News. “We have different locations that we’re at a lot. We’re not together every single day.”
While their own living arrangements look set to change, the couple aren’t the only celebrities who have opted to reap the benefits of living apart together.
Despite Gwyneth Paltrow marrying her husband Brad Falchuk in September 2018, the Goop founder wasn’t carried over the threshold into the marital house, instead the couple chose to live separately with Falchuck splitting his time between Paltrow’s and his own home.
“Oh, all my married friends say that the way we live sounds ideal, and we shouldn’t change a thing,” Paltrow told The Sunday Times.
Claire Danes and Hugh Dancy are also in the married but apart club.
The duo has an ultra modern transatlantic marriage with Dancy based in London, and Danes in New York, but it works for them.
In an interview, the Homeland star revealed that their secret to staying connected is constant communication.
“We talk a lot, we text a lot, we send each other photos of our toes - dumb stuff,” she said, according to Australia’s Herald Sun.
And it isn’t just celebrities who are catching onto the benefits of ‘living apart together’ of LAT relationships.
According to relationship therapist Louis Venter of Couples Help not sharing a house with your spouse is a growing trend with LAT relationships now accounting for nearly 10% of UK couples.
“People are more comfortable creating relationships around their needs than around social expectations of what an ideal relationship ‘should’ be, and for many, this means stating their need to share a deep emotional connection, but not necessarily a home,” he explains.
LAT relationships are not just for younger people either; living apart is also very common amongst later in life couples.
“Older people seeking significant relationships often have very different priorities: they aren’t looking for someone to support them in a career or raising kids - and are instead are seeking emotionally deep companionship.”
What’s more there are some pretty convincing benefits to not actually sharing a bathroom with your other half.
“Many couples report that living apart means that the focus on the relationship is concentrated on their emotional connection,” Venter explains.
“When living together many couples find they get stuck in the rut of day to day life, and begin communicating primarily around organising household tasks.”
That’s something life coach Carole Ann Rice echoes.
“Living apart can give you much needed time, space, freedom, privacy all in your own home and when you do meet with your spouse it will feel that more special.
“This can help especially for partners who feel they want to keep the romance alive.”
Rice explains that marriage can be difficult for many couples, but for some living apart could provide a valid option to maintain a healthy relationship.
“For some to keep a marriage going living apart but committing to staying together can be just the thing to keep it going smoothly, provided that both partners can afford living separately,” she explains.
Of course, not all couples will thrive in a LAT relationship. So those who are interested in giving them a go might be best to try it out in the short term, before whacking a deposit on dwelling for one.
Costs aside there are some other considerations for couples who plan on setting up dual households.
“The biggest obstacle to this kind of relationship is going to be making sure you’re on the same page,” says Venter.
“Couples will need to be able to communicate openly and clearly about their feelings, what they want and why they want this.”
And it seems communication is key to making an LAT relationship work.
“On the flip side, as the structure of the relationship means that couples will have to establish clear and effective communication from relatively early on, this ‘pitfall’ has the possibility to also be a true gift to their relationship!”