Couples who live apart together. LATS.
Over time, ‘Coupleworks’ therapists notice in their work the formation and life of a couple slowly changes and evolves. What was part of the seduction at the start of the couple formations can become the opposite as years pass and ‘couple resolution’ has not been discussed as differences form. It has become a point of conflict. This is a pattern which forms organically as couple life progresses. In some cases, however, familiarity can breed contempt. To avoid this possibility, couples may find a way to remain a functioning intimate couple by avoiding things which can be hard to negotiate. Their history over many years then becomes something to celebrate and enjoy instead of boredom and bickering.
How can this be achieved by all couples whatever their lifestyle and income without further separating people out by their financial ability to live apart some of the time? To start with, respect for and trust in the other are the main ingredients. Understanding, that each person needs to have space and time apart doesn’t mean any less foundation of love between the couple; rather it is a way to remain entwined but in a different way to that which conventions and other peoples’ ‘shoulds’, ‘musts’ and ‘oughts’ form the inner voice driving so many of us when difficult decisions are made.
Trust is imperative depending on each couples’ understanding of what adult trust means. This needs to be discussed and decided before entering into a more fluid relationship which often does not include a polyamorous relationship. If a LAT couple have worked out together what trust really means to them, it is the key to their blended way of life. The decision formed by the couple belongs to them and remains a private part of their agreed bond.
Many couples, as they progress through life, find they share opinions. These include hobbies, intellectual interests, parenting skills, friendships, holiday needs,( locations together or apart), sexual needs and frequency, eating habits, dislikes and likes, social integration and other personal choices. Some find these similarities are not in place and need a different approach and ‘way of being’, in order to feel fulfilled.
In this era of less rules and regulations, if the above resonates and can be openly discussed, it can be agreed that time apart is very healing and expanding. It is not separation because the couple can speak daily and share experiences and encounters that day which expands their interest in each other and admiration for the other’s viewpoints yet retain their own without having to prove either is right or wrong…..just different.
Where children are involved, the jury is out as to whether it is better to come from a broken home or to live in one. If the parents are happy to have time together and time apart without argument or suspicion, then the children’s happiness and security will be safe. By showing the next generation that everyone approaches their couple in creative ways and if their way of life works it is beneficial to everyone’s state of mind and wellbeing.
As mentioned in the second paragraph, whatever the lifestyle and income level of each couple is, couples can be a respectful LAT couple by living under the same roof but feeling ok with each separating out some of the time by meeting their own friendship group or pursuing their own interest, sport, creative or intellectual group whilst the other remains at home or vice versa. It can include a holiday apart as long as both people trust each other, agree and feel in control of their own needs without controlling the other.
This encourages a more creative joining together, learning about differences and describing each other’s needs without argument or demolishing the other’s pleasure.
LATs have the possibility of encouraging the couple’s long term growth and ability to care for each other when longevity sets in and each fall back on the other’s care, kindness and history of their couple. The shared history of what they have managed together and apart over the years is important as life draws, eventually, to a close.