I’m not talking about legal separation. I’m talking being madly in love but just having different home addresses. I can already feel your judgement as you saw the title,”… here we go again, one more senseless internet article to waste our time”, you may be thinking. Trust me, because of the way I was raised and the idea I’ve always had of how marriage should be, I also thought it was crazy when I first heard about it. BUT, I see things differently now so stop sighing, keep calm and read on, this could be the thing that actually saves your marriage or spices it up to take the boredom and some drama out of it. As is the case with everything in life, this is not for everyone, but for some, I’m sure it will make a certain amount of sense. Some call this “Living Apart Together, LAT”.
So why would anyone even think of living away from their spouse? after all, isn’t the whole point of marriage to be together? Well, together yes, under the same roof, not necessarily and not all the time. We’ve all heard couples who have been married for a while talk about “the good old days” when they were still dating and life seemed simpler. When you look at it, the thing that changed was that marriage, in most couples, now meant living together, whereas dating meant living separately and seeing each other by arrangement. The togetherness came in and was great and exciting for a while then it complicated things. Or people who say, “as soon as we got married he/she just changed”. It may be that no one changed but being together daily and seeing everything up close and personal daily is what changed, and not in a good way. You may be great as a couple but not necessarily as housemates. I believe that a lot of marriages are broken down, not by huge issues such as cheating, but sometimes by little factors that everyone ignores but that drain away the love and excitement just as a sack of sugar is emptied slowly, one teaspoon at a time. The teaspoon is small, but give it enough time and the biggest bag of sugar will surely perish.
Here are some reasons that might speak to your situation:
- Little habits that annoy the shit out of you that you just put up with
I am known for a lot of good things but being a good housemate is not one of them. I am the least tolerant person when it comes to a lot of things. I’m very particular about things that mean nothing to most people. I’ve noticed that I’m not the only one who is fussy about things. I’ve visited a home where the host was particular about the direction in which the toilet paper rolled out from the dispenser. He preferred for it to roll out from underneath the roll, not over it. I normally just pull out toilet paper and I don’t care about how it is rolling out. Don’t worry if you don’t get it, its a minor thing BUT for that friend of mine it’s a big deal. He makes sure he turns the roll around if you don’t put it right and it annoys him when people don’t get it right. So if he were to marry, I can’t imagine anyone who would remember that all time, in addition to the million other things that you have to remember about the person you live with. I have my own little quirks, they will just come across as a serious case of OCD if I list them here but they make sense to me. Asking someone to put up with that daily is absolute torture. For instance, I’m not the tidiest person but I cannot stand to see someone else’s sock on the floor or a speck of food on the kitchen counter or the stove, or hair in the bathroom or anywhere in the house. I hate smelly feet or farts. I make noise with my music but I can’t stand someone else’s music, even if its music that I like but when it’s being played at a time that I haven’t chosen it’s just noise to me. And then there are days when I just love solitude. Simply sitting alone, by my sweet self, doing nothing, not talking, not listening, not compromising, not caring…just chilling hard. Living apart means I can have my chilling times when the other person is at their house and I won’t have hair in my bathroom because they do all their grooming before they come to me. They will leave dirty socks at their house and fart or sleep-talk or sleep-walk in their sleep at their house while I spread all my limps all over the bed like a butterfly and sleep peacefully alone.
- Finances drama
There are times when men just don’t get why the house needs fresh flowers every week or why the toaster has to match the kettle and the microwave and there is just this whole drama about money being wasted. I haven’t figured out why play stations have to cost so much, we could use that money to buy new curtains or new bedding. It’s an absolute nightmare. Then we have to compromise, i get cheaper curtains which won’t make me completely happy and he gets second-hand games will not make him completely happy. OR he could just live in own house with curtains from 1995 because he doesn’t care and use his more money to buy a brand new and latest play station. I will go and buy trendy vintage curtains and a couple more vases, oh and that duvet cover with ethnic colors that I want. And, everybody wins!!!Then there are those in-laws, especially in the African culture who think the daughter-in-law is there to just squander their son’s money. They don’t even consider that she might be working and also bringing in part of the bacon. If you guys just live separately, he deals with his money and his people and the woman deals with her own money and her people.
3. Career/ social pursuits
Hands up if you have had to leave a job that you loved because your spouse got a better job in a different place. Ok, I see a couple of hands up and if this hasn’t happened to you yet, it might. What is considered not moving and just carrying on with your marriage but in different cities? You may think, what is he/she get tempted to cheat because he/she get horny while I’m away. Well, can I ask you this, how many people have cheated while they are living in the same home as their spouse? In fact most marriages that have this problems is where couples live together, it’s not distance that affected them, it’s their infidelity. Some even blame the infidelity on monotony, which I mention elsewhere in the article. At times one of you can fit into a certain community and the one doesn’t, instead of smiling and waving every time you are at a function just to keep your spouse and their friends happy you can be happy with your people and they can be happy with theirs, and when you come together for visits, you are happy together.
Speaking of in-laws, you get great in-laws and then you get horrible ones. There are those that dim the light in your life as soon as you hear that they are coming to visit. The great thing about living apart is that you can pop over to your spouse’s house to say hello but you go back to your own home and they can visit their son or daughter without giving you grief.
5. Distance makes the heart grow fonder
I know this is a cliche but there is this thrill that you get late at night and you are texting/ sexting someone, you are imagining them reading the text and you wait in anticipation of the response. In my case I will be texting with a wine glass in one hand and my phone in another and letting my imagination go wild trying to guess what the response will be. Face to face conversations have no room for imagination, the person is right there and they just respond instantly. So having them away from time to time gives you that itch to see them but you don’t get instant satisfaction, the itch just intensifies and when you finally see them… FIREWORKS!!!And then there is just the simple fact of life that too much of anything becomes monotonous. Seeing the same face every single day, same sound of car coming up the driveway, same sound of footsteps coming into the house, the hug and kiss that is now just a ritual that you don’t think much about, then the same routine of bitching about bitches at the office, then bitching about bills and how high they always are, then supper, whatever else people do (usually it’s the same everyday) then maybe sex, maybe not, then bedtime. Come tomorrow, you do it all over again. Arg, surely there should be more to life. Not seeing that person daily makes visits so much fun. There will be planned visits and surprise ones, random ones at 3 am on a Saturday morning that turn into a sleepover and maybe a week of no visits at all, who knows what each day or week is going to look like, right? Definitely no monotony there!
6. Hosting of not-so-mutual friends
There are people that your significant other might like to host that you might not like so much. These visits can last for month or so if the guests are, say, from out of the country. When you live together and you really don’t like these people, that could be the longest month of your life. At times it’s not even for a month but those random, “was just in the neighbourhood and I thought I’d pop in and say what’s up”, these are not always the kinds of people that you necessarily want to host. Your partner can host these people at their house so that you live in peace at your own and only entertain the ones you want.
I could go on and on about why you should live apart. If you think you might need it, try it for a month and see what happens.