Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Living Together Apart

My friend Sara pointed me to a little story in The NY Times by a favorite writer Penelope Green. To quote: "... new twist on a newish trend, particularly among boomer-age couples, known as living apart together, or L.A.T. for short, an acronym that describes those who commit to each other, but not to having the same address".

From The New York Times

I think that most couples end up living together apart even at the same address. It used be twins beds, or maybe separate bedrooms. Maybe the garage workshop for the guy or a den, and a sewing room for the lady. You know, like in the old movie Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Even in a shared studio apartment, couples will find their own corners.

The most famous TV couple living together apart

Our home is not overly large or small, and Alberto and I each have our own corners that we disappear into for the better part of a day. He has an upstairs office with all that he needs up there except for a bathroom and kitchen.  I tend to work at the table in the breakfast area, and relax in the living room. As most couples do, we have different TV viewing preferences, though we will often watch a movie we like together, usually in bed, or in the living room. I don't visit the man cave very often.

The most famous movie couple living together apart

Still doing it on TV - The Petries

Living together apart - two guys - TV is still pretty uptight and does not show gay couples sleeping arrangments

At night we sleep together in a bed big enough to accommodate two totally different sleeping styles, mine restless and active, his calm and serene. Cholo our dog sleeps with us until he can't stand my moving around, and Kitty Kitty Bang Bang the cat, is nocturnal, often patrolling the house.

This was groundbreaking TV in the 1970s - The Newharts in one big bed

Sometimes I think about moving to the guest room because I feel my restlessness is disturbing, but I am old fashion and want to drop my head on the pillow every night next to the man I love.

The Times article is charming. About artists, a couple living in twin houses, one pink one blue, connected by a common patio. Read it and find out how they came to this arrangement. The houses are charming to look at too.

Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera

The artists as a couple that comes to mind with a similar living arrangement is Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Married, divorced, and remarried, they had a home with separate areas connected by a covered foot bridge. Of course they lived a revolutionary lifestyle of an open marriage, and Frida was an invalid for her whole life. If you have ever been sick, even with a common flu, you know you don't want anyone sleeping with you.

The home of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, living together apart, two houses connected by a foot bridge

What do you think of living together apart, in different houses, or in the same house?

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  1. Two different former neighbours, the X's and the Y's have LAT arrangements.

    The X's sold the house next door to mine and bought a house that was nearly 3 times its size in a new neighbourhood. They're the only empty nesters I've heard of who "upsized" when their kids left home! Mrs. X lives upstairs and Mr. X lives downstairs. They have so little in common, I'm surprised they stay married.

    Mrs. Y lives 2 doors over from me. Her husband lives 5 blocks away. He's one of those men who won't do anything for himself (except for the things he's interested in), so Mrs. Y goes over to his condo regularly to cook and clean for him.

    As odd as these relationships seem to me (but what do I know - I'm single), they seem to work for the X's and Y's, so more power to them.

  2. wow - i loved reading this, nice change of pace (hi, btw, Im new around here although have been seeing you around forever :P). funny, i thought it was more my mom's generation that did that. my generation is so attached to each other's space its almost invading. while i love going to sleep in the same bed with my hubby (there were times where we didnt though, and i hated it) sometimes I end up on the couch or guest room. Just too many bodies in the bed (dern dog). thanks Val!


  3. I once knew an older married couple who lived in different places. She grew up in a very isolated part of Nevada and didn't see a town until she was 17 yrs old(!) So when he wanted to move to a cabin in the country, she stayed in the big city where her grown children lived and he would visit on the weekends. Before Katrina, Fats Domino lived in a little shotgun house in a compound next door to the big house where the wife and kids lived. There is more than one way to be together, that's for sure.

  4. I love this story. You and your husband sound like us. I have been married 25 yrs. but we have separate tv viewing/hangout areas and it works for us. We also have 1 dog in the bed and 1 on a chaise lounge next to our bed. If the snoring gets crazy, I head to the guest room and sleep like a baby. Interesting your blog.

  5. oh god, this is so me and ben. truly. we are never in the same room! i can't stand what he watches on tv.

  6. HI Valorie, what a great post. Love all those shots of the twin beds. Too fabulous. You have such a keen eye. Carla x

  7. If it means no cooking,no laundry, no bathrooms to clean, deal me in.

  8. Im with Cote de Texas, my husband and I rarely watch tv in the same room. I can understand and fully appreciate the concept of living together apart. I think everyone needs their own space to relax with ones own thoughts at the end of a long day.

  9. My friend and her husband (second marriage for both) live in adjoining historic twin townhouses. They have a common kitchen and share a bedroom, but when it's poker night, the men all play on his side. They love it.


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