More older adults prefer ‘living apart together,’ study shows

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Perhaps love and marriage don’t go together like a horse and carriage after all. A new study finds that older Americans looking for love are latching onto a new trend that tempers the demands of a committed relationship, a phenomenon known as “Living Apart Together,” or “LAT.”

Spurred by a divorce rate that has doubled among this demographic since 1990, many older singles — often divorced or widowed — have taken on “an intimate relationship without a shared residence.” New research was conducted upon the increasingly popular relationship arrangement among those 50 years of age or older.

According to Jacquelyn Benson, a researcher at the University of Missouri who is entrenched in the topic, LAT has long been an established phenomenon in Europe. Only in recent years is the trend reaching the United States en masse.

“What has long been understood about late-in-life relationships is largely based on long-term marriage,” Benson explains in a release. With marriage rates amongst older Americans declining, she argues that “if more people young and old, married or not saw LAT as an option, it might save them from a lot of future heartache.”

LAT couples want independence, but should still discuss end-of-life care

For their study, Benson and another researcher interviewed adults who were at least 60 years of age and in committed relationships, yet didn’t live together. From their interactions with this demographic, the two researchers found that there were a number of motivating factors for a LAT-type relationship.

A major theme seemed to be independence older couples wanted their family and finances to remain separate from their partner. A stigma revolving around living together and not being wed at an older age also played a factor; many expressed that describing their partner as a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” would feel awkward.

Benson, who is continuing her research, points out how she hopes to help discover and resolve issues pertaining to LAT arrangements and late life imperatives, such as end-of-life planning and caregiving.

“Discussions about end-of-life planning and caregiving can be sensitive to talk about; however, LAT couples should make it a priority to have these conversations both as a couple and with their families,” she says. “Many of us wait until a crisis to address those issues, but in situations like LAT where there are no socially prescribed norms dictating behavior these conversations may be more important than ever.”

The study is published in the journal Family Relations.


  1. How could we not want to be the person who our partner could never imagine not wanting to rise with every morning or cuddle with every night. Soul mates endure life’s trials and tribulations—-together.

  2. It would be helpful to know the numbers. How many lived as LAT in 1950, 1960, etc., vs. currently. Without the stats this is just someone’s SWAG.

  3. The radical left loves anything that destroys the family and marriage. You think shacking up will make you happier? It won’t. Stay together and treat each other well. Men take care of your wives and make them feel like the most valued person on earth and wives lift up your men, encourage them and love on them. Don’t listen to the lies of the left. A strong marriage is one of the most valuable things on earth.

  4. Absence, of course, makes the heart grow fonder. This is never in dispute because familiarity breeds contempt..She and I are highly intelligent , loveable people so we needed a “Creative Solution”.. She leaves all of her shoes at My place.. Oh what Genius!!! Yes and I get to see my belov’d first thing Every morning and then again at sundown she returns. IT’S JUST HEAVEN!

  5. Not many want to make a commitment to anyone or anything anymore. If you aren’t living together it’s a lot easier to split up & not a lot of reason to try to work things out. I hope that trend changes. My hubby & I have been together for 26 years. If it wasn’t for the extreme hassle of splitting everything up I’m sure we would have gone our separate ways long ago. Especially for me because of my parents divorce. Working things out forces you to compromise & try to see something from the other person’s point-of-view. In the long run it can make you even closer.

  6. Just more liberal bull-sh!t. Hey little Timmy this is my new fu k buddy sue, Sue I would like you to meet my grand-son Timmy. Timmy this little b!tch can bang like a million dollar’s in bed.

  7. I read a lot of the comments before commenting myself. I’m going to assume most of the men who married, married American women. That was your first mistake. Luckily, I realized early on that marrying American (for the most part) women is a losers game. American women are a confused lot. They seem not to know what they want or when they want it. I stopped dating American women (But still had sex with them) in my early 30’s.

    Then the first wave of South American women started coming to the United States in 2000 after their economy went south after Argentina defaulted on their bonds. That’s when I met my first Brazilian woman! What a revelation! What joy! Sexy, sensual and very sexual, these Brazilian women. Very family oriented, hard working and they understand their sexuality far better than the confused American Harridans. After 10 years of marriage and 3 kids, my wife and I still can’t keep our hands off each other. Our love still grows, our friendship continues to blossom and she and I love the life we’ve created together.

    Word to the wise. Stay away from American women. Most are not worth the trouble that you are bound to get from them.

  8. Just a reminder: Make sure to advise your male children to always, always, always do a prenuptial agreement that prevent the unbalanced divorce standards in the US. Sad to say, for far too many these days, it clearly isn’t “till death do we part,” or anything even close. But the laws and practices in place are unfair to men — often ruining them financially — even when they are in no way responsible for the dissolution. This situation is so bad that some ministers are now refusing to marry their church members without a prenupt. Remember, if it really is “till death do we part,” then there should be not objection whatsoever to a prenuptial agreement.

  9. So the message here isn’t stay with the person you made a solemn vow to but to hook up with someone else as reprobate as yourself. Don’t trust the other person enough to live with them but whenever you desire a booty call they are at your service. Could someone please point me in the direction of an article that isn’t written by a Jew. Christian values and views are no longer the norm in America. Our Zeitgeist is Judaized.

  10. Since the Supreme Court ruling that effectively changed & cheapened the meaning of marriage to benefit sodomy by changing the definition held since God created marriage for Adam & Eve many and especially older Americans don’t see the point in getting married. I know I don’t and wouldn’t if I was a younger man. With that ruling I have come to believe government has no place in marriage. If a couple wants legal status then let them register their relationship in a county clerk’s office. Other than that the government needs to butt out! Marriage may be a right but first and foremost it is a rite.

    1. The Supreme Court was comprised of 4 Jews and 4 Catholics until the appointment of Gorsuch which it appears is also a Catholic. Jews comprise a mere 1.9% of U.S. population according to Wikipedia. Protestants comprise 47.9% of U.S. population and yet there is not one Protestant on the Supreme Court. One must be incredibly gullible or hopelessly stupid to not see it as a conspiracy. Sotomayor is not a Catholic but closely identifies with Judaism according to the Messianic Jew Brother Nathanael Kapner.

      1. I didn’t realize there was a religious test for the Supreme Court and there shouldn’t be. I want patriotic Americans on the Court whose only concern when making rulings is our Constitution. Not social justice, not pop culture, not international law, nothing else except the wording in our Constitution and it’s Amendments. I don’t care their religious faith or even lack there of. I know atheists who respect others’ religious beliefs because they respect the Constitution.

        1. Well isn’t that just peachy. Could you be any more gullible? Your education and historical perspective is entirely deficient.

          39). “Use the courts, use the judges, use the constitution
          of the country, use its medical societies and its laws to
          further our ends. Do not stint in your labor in this direction.
          And when you have succeeded you will discover that you can now
          effect your own legislation at will and you can, by careful
          organization, by constant campaigns about the terrors of
          society, by pretense as to your effectiveness, make the
          capitalist himself, by his own appropriation, finance a large
          portion of the quiet Communist conquest of that nation.”
          (Address of the Jew Laventria Beria, The Communist Textbook on
          Psychopolitics, page 8).

    2. The point of a marriage now seems to be for the government to legitimize your relationship and give you SS benefits. If you’re not so self-conscious of your relationship (and not religious), then I can see the logic of what’s the point.

      1. Au contraire, if you are religious you would want a church wedding which still possible. Most clergy would be more than happy to “bless” your relationship even if they cannot “legally” call it a marriage which just means your relationship is strong, you want to be married in the eyes of God and you don’t believe a piece of paper enhances that relationship so you don’t believe government intrusion is necessary. I did that with my current wife after my first wife died. Marriage is important to us but we neither need nor want government intrusion regarding our relationship or respective estates. We have it covered without them.

  11. The best way for most people to be married is to buy separate houses and visit each other on occasion. Katherine Hepburn suggested they be next door to one another. I find that different states in the same region works better.

    1. Of course Katherine, who I admired, knew very little about marriage. She had this same sort of LAP arrangement for decades with someone else’s husband.

  12. I work with a lot of registered nurses, mostly women, when a divorce occurs these women get hammered. The ex spouses of RNs generally become much more wealthy and independent. Men and women are not so differenct when it comes to money.

  13. It is better to live in a desert land
    Than with a contentious and vexing woman.
    – Proverbs 21:19

    A constant dripping on a day of steady rain
    And a contentious woman are alike;
    He who would restrain her restrains the wind,
    And grasps oil with his right hand.
    – Proverbs 27:15-16

  14. Please don’t expect us to go everywhere together, all the time. We both require space to experience our individual differences and recreation choices. That is essential. Not never the twain shall meet, but always remaining connected by what shared interest we have and respect for each others needs and expectations.

    After 48 years, the balance has been weighed. Some days up, some days down, but never out of balance everyday.

  15. I am a widow and I will never and I mean never get married again! I love living alone now. No arguments about who takes out the garbage, etc. and if I feel like socializing I get on my computer and look up something to do with other people on Meet-up!

  16. My wife and I own a farm. She lives in one house and I live in another about 8 acres apart. A forest separates us.
    We like our space. We have separate bank accounts but will and do help one another out when the need arises.
    I am 72 and she is 63. Been together about 20yrs.
    Hey it works very well for us.

    1. In other words, you’re more interested in yourself than you are your spouse. That says a lot about the quality of your love, doesn’t it?

      1. Jimmy,
        It sounds as if you have a problem living with yourself. Is that true?

        I can live with myself and still love my wife.

  17. I am LAT by myself. I keep two apartments and move back and forth from one to the other. In the first, I am a male demi-god and in the second, I am a female Aphrodite! This relationship of mine is so exhiliarating, I wish everyone would get divorced and try it!

  18. Really? This is neither new nor is it news. People have been in committed relationships but unmarried and not living together for many, many years. It was just never studied because nobody really cared what others did in their private lives. Leave it to the nosy, bored and ignorant so-called researchers of today’s under informed world to think they’ve discovered something new.

  19. I was married for 19 years before divorced and lived w another lady while dating. I now have my own place again and at 41 am so freaking excited.

    Even though I agree w this idea generally, the problem is that it’s inherently flawed.

    Why? Because Monogomy doesn’t work long-term. Look at the breakup, divorced and cheating stats to get proof of this.

    Because of this, I now never do exclusive or monogomus relationships. The only way I’d ever live w another woman again is if we could both see others.

    Nothing else works for us men and besides it’s a load of fun and less drama….

      1. Well, the ladies say I’m much more experienced than the 30 yr old guys so that’s all that I care about :))

  20. If you live apart from your spouse the marriage is one in name only. A real marriage is one that involves partners being together sharing meals, hearing about the day, planning schedules and enjoying intimacy without a schedule.
    There are many single men and women out there that want nothing more than a life partner to spend each and every day with.

  21. Yeah…it’s real good for raising kids. On the other hand, I see no reason to let a woman for a second time in my life get legal claim to my finances…been through that and my conclusion is they can’t be trusted and it’s not worth the risk of another big financial hit. As far as “intimacy”…there’s no woman 50+ that is that desirable, if you’re going to go for it at least go after a 30-40 yo, much more desirable for the trouble. Old woman have shot themselves in the foot.

  22. What this article doesn’t mention is that for a lot of ladies who are widows marrying again might leave them without medical benefits or any kind of work pension they had from their late husband. I know two women like that and yes you can say they should give it up for love etc etc. They are nice cultured ladies and they both have very nice gentlemen friends, who are widowers but being practical at this time in their life………… these ladies are very happy coming and going, traveling and being in an exclusive dating relationship. All four of the people seem to be happy. One of them has told me she would love to get married but she would lose the medical and she is not able to do that.

    My mom told me years after my father passed she really enjoyed this one man she dated for quite a long time. He probably would have married her but she was in a similar situation with medical benefits, she also said she really liked the freedom of going out, weekends at his place or her place and then returning home too. She said she felt more like a fun girlfriend that way. And after a lifetime of hard work, raising families etc. etc. I say where is the harm? If it works for the people involved, that is all that matters.

      1. No, not everyone is under Medicare. (Public/ Govt. employees are on their own plan and those are pretty good). Standard Medicare covers up to 20%. For older people who retired from a good company with service (30 to 36 years or more) say in industry that remaining 20% would be covered by a company plan and it is gold. If you are lucky enough to still have that, no way would you give that up. People are paying good money for supplement plans to cover that 20% today. 20% doesn’t sound like much but if you become seriously get ill it can be a huge number. By the time a person is older they usually have lived through some serious medical expenses .

  23. Going to be an interesting future. A lot of lonely people and depression I suspect. While keeping your money and independence are the positives here, you better have a lot of dependable friends or be lucky enough to have a lot of close relatives. With relationships changing and having less or no children you may not have any support as you age. And As we age and have less mobility and less independence its nice to have someone to depend on and look after you.

    1. Aw yeah Ansar but jeez it isn’t just about having a care giver and someone to depend on. Ya gotta have romance in there too. I know of an older guy who married a nurse because he thought a nurse would be a great caregiver. Now mind you this guy had a few health problems but nothing severe. He informed his wife of his big plans after they were married and she was so put out she divorced him and left. She wanted a husband and he wanted a nurse!

  24. I probably could have saved my marriage with LAT. Living together is the single most difficult thing about a relationship, IMHO. Now that I work in academia, I know of married couples who live in different cities (because of tenure issues) but who are just as committed as those who live together. I think I’d have a very hard time accepting a LAT arrangement that didn’t involve marriage, though. I would want my life mate to know if I were hospitalized or in a car accident, and I would want him to have the legal authority to make my end-of-life decisions rather than foisting those off on a distant relative. It’s just so odd that people think that marriage has to look a certain way, with both people living under the same roof, sharing the same bank account, and going on the same vacation. A little independence and mystery can make love last a long, long time.

  25. Distance maketh the heart (among other things) grow fonder. I don’t want a relationship, I just want sex. I don’t want a wife, I want a lover. Anticipation is the key. Delayed gratification has become foreign to so many of us. We want everything yesterday. Scoop her up on weekends only, or a random day each week. Eat until both of your libidos are content. And afterwards, always obey your inner club DJ: you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.

  26. This trend is because everyone who grew up in the 1945-1960 timeframe experienced the social cesspool American culture became last time Democrats were in charge for a while. This resulted in them gaining no understanding of human nature, nor any character, in their formative years. As a result, they want a ‘hollywood relationship,’ based on having sex with a cutie without regard for compatibility or actually liking each other.

    1. Baby Boomers? It’s so easy I won’t bite except to say: “this isn’t your parent’s twilight relationship with benefits”.

  27. Why would ANYone marry a woman these days?

    1.) Women put out at the drop of a hat, so you really don’t have to marry them anymore – or even live with them – to get regular bedroom time.
    2.) If you do get married, you better get a pre-nup, because they are entitled to half of everything you own if the marriage goes south (and it always does – they’ll see to it).
    3.) This isn’t your grandfather’s world anymore. Women aren’t nice, polite, well-mannered, charming, or anything special anymore. They have become rabid, angry feminists, who are lazy about their looks, and strive to be just like men. Don’t stick yourself with today’s bitter, loudmouthed, rude, self-involved, snotty entitlement b!tch. You will regret it for the rest of your life.
    4.) The endless NAGGING. Do you really want to go through this?

    I’ll get a lot of flack for this, but I speak the truth, and I speak from experience. Prove me wrong.


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