If you had a choice to let your partner live in a separate but nearby residence while you had your own place, would you do it? An op-ed by writer Maura Kelly in The Daily suggests that living solo while coupled (called “living apart together” by some) might help Americans avoid bad relationships and end up in good, fulfilling ones.
The benefits, Kelly says, of living alone while in a couple are myriad, from having alone time to pursue fulfilling hobbies to not being forced to put up with a partner’s bad habits. Hey, sounds pretty good to us. But there’s one thing that pokes holes in this otherwise pleasant proposal: the financial aspect.
Sure, maintaining separate domiciles is more expensive — but money (beyond a certain subsistence threshold) doesn’t buy happiness. Neither does living with someone who hits the snooze button 64 times before he gets his sorry self out of bed. What’s more, at the risk of sounding like a credit card commercial, I must insist that having your own calm haven to return to is priceless, particularly in an era when digital media and the devices used to access it make it difficult to carve out time in the day that is truly relaxing, and our own. To paraphrase actress Helena Bonham Carter — who lives alone together with her husband, director Tim Burton, in townhouses that are next door to each other — relationships can be enhanced by knowing you have a personal space to retreat to. (She also admits: “Tim does snore, and that’s an element.”)
It’s an arrangement that’s doable if you have extra income to burn, or if you don’t have children (although living right next door to your partner could relieve some of the tension of parenting, Kelly points out). For most Americans, though, shelling out for not one mortgage payment, but two, or buying double clothing/toys/toothbrushes for the kids, or paying for two sets of TVs/cable/internet connections is not financially realistic, especially in this economy.
Otherwise, we think Kelly might be on to something. What about you? If money were no object, would you live apart from your partner? Or do you like sharing a household with your main squeeze?
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