In the New York Times Real Estate section last week there was an article about couples “Living Apart Together,” and it featured a few committed couples (even married ones) that have been together for years, yet they maintain separate apartments, unwilling to give up their real estate. Of course, I’ve been asked to comment on what I think of this idea, so here it goes: For those of us over 40 that enjoy our independance, I think this is a genius solution to some major arguments. Here are the top 10 reasons I think this arrangement would eliminate some major issues between couples:
1. No need to compromise on closet space, decorating styles or put up with a person’s lack of taste. You can each do what you want with your own place.
2. What do you care about another person’s mess when it is not in your space?
3. If you hate seeing junk food in your fridge, guess what? No problem! Stock your own fridge with what you like.
4. If you are a light sleeper and the other person is a snorer, super easy solution, go back and crash in your own bed!
5. If you are an early riser and your partner is a vampire, no biggie– start your day bright and early, and meet up with the vamp when s/he is ready.
6. Money management- what do you care how someone manages their finances if it doesn’t impact you? As long as those collection notices are not in your mailbox, not your problem.
7. Dividing up chores- not something you even need to discuss because you are each responsible for your own domain.
8. Tv junkie vs. quiet reader? No need to battle this one out– you can each retreat to your own place for a little personal time.
9. Procrastinator vs. task master wars should be minimal given each person’s ability to control his/her own schedule, except when coordinating dates or vacations together, and if you can’t even do this then you shouldn’t be together.
10. High versus low sex drives- now this one is a biggie. Hopefully these couples can find a comfortable pace that works for both, but certainly the time apart should help the one with a lower drive recoup, while the other one can just store up some excess energy for the next round.
All these things might seem petty, but they add up and can ruin relationships that once were so much fun. Also, the older you get, the harder it is to compromise on some of these things. Living with someone 24/7 is just tough, and although we all want to be loved, that doesn’t necessarily mean we need to share a bed with that person every single night.
It took me a long time post-divorce to get used to sleeping in my bed without lining up the pillow next to me so that it felt like someone was there. Now, I love having my own bed, and I have no problem telling someone to head home because I’ve got an early morning. That my friends is progress! So, what do I think about living apart while staying together? As long as it works for the two people involved, fantastic.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.