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Couples Living Apart Together

Mary Holmes

Subject Sociology of Family and Friendships » Sociology of Family

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Living apart together (LAT) broadly refers to couples, heterosexual or homosexual, who have an ongoing self-defined couple relationship without cohabiting. Some couples keep separate residences, even though they both live within the same locale. Levin (2004) has suggested that the dual-residence aspect of LAT couples distinguishes them from a commuter marriage where there is one main household and just a second apartment for when one partner is away. However, with many commuter couples it is difficult to say which might be the “main” household. Distance perhaps better demarcates LATs from commuter marriages. LAT couples may live near each other, or far apart. Typically, those in commuter couples have residences at some distance and spend time apart in order for both partners to pursue professional careers. Such arrangements now encompass not just heterosexual and married couples, and for that reason Holmes (2004) uses the term distance relationship . LAT can serve as an umbrella term for all couples with dual residences. What the terms LAT, commuter marriage, and distance relationship have in common is that they refer to situations in which the woman partner/s has some independent existence, in ways not seen in the past. Historically, there have always been couples who have had to endure separation, mostly when the husband's work took them away from home regularly. Such ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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