The nature of committed relationships is changing for many older adults. “Living Apart Together” is an increasingly common type of relationship in which couples do not share a residence, but have an intimate relationship.
Higher divorce rates and increased longevity have left many older adults without a partner in later life, leading them to seek a deep connection with another individual. This type of connection is important, but there are many aspects of their lives they would prefer not to change, such as current family dynamics or their home of many years. They may have developed a specific lifestyle and do not feel the need to change it in order to fit the norms of traditional marriage. Adults who live apart together are able to cultivate a meaningful relationship, while remaining independent and maintaining the life they have become accustomed to.
Researchers from the University of Missouri have begun to investigate this trend and found that couples understand the unique nature of this type of relationship, and therefore prefer not to use conventional terms such as boyfriend or girlfriend.
The researchers are currently investigating the health and happiness of unmarried older adult partners, as well as how these couples navigate caregiving when the need arises. It seems likely that more older adults will embrace this type of relationship, so gaining a better understanding of its complexities will be important. But for now, living apart together provides much-needed benefits for many older adults.
Rice S. Older Adults Embracing ‘Living Apart Together’. University of Missouri News Bureau. http://munews.missouri.edu/news-releases/2017/0209-older-adults-embracing-living-apart-together/ Accessed March 29, 2017.