Jun 30, 2018 by Comfort Keepers Newark, DE
A new trend is becoming more visible amongst seniors that is startling the nation – a new form of casual dating.
This new trend is called living apart together, or LAT. This sort of relationship varies per couple, but the premise is that the partners have romantic relations without living together.
This relationship does not imply that the couple is married. In fact, many are in more of a casual relationship with no interest in even getting married or ever moving in together at all.
As of 2005, over 7% of those aged 57 to 85 reported having LAT relationships. This number is expectedly much higher now, with an estimated 39% of partnered senior relationship classifying as LAT.
It’s quite incredible that it is the older generation who are leading this romantic trend, but given the stage of life they’re in, it makes the most sense.
Experts conducting this research say they see this as less of a relationship and more of a lifestyle choice amongst seniors. They get to maintain their own personal spaces, belongings, finances, even medical decisions and privacy for their health when they need without having to live with someone or worry about the stress that may come with having a newer partner later on in life.
It’s also a more common occurrence amongst widowed and divorced older adults who have the “been there, done that” sort of attitude. Once the kids are grown and moved away, getting married again and starting a new life with someone is so much of a hassle. A LAT relationship helps to balance intimacy and companionship with convenience and independence.
However, there are always critics when it comes to change from traditional ways – and there are honest questions about the effects these relationships may have on seniors.
For starters, there is the concern of casualness when an emergency comes up. What if one partner falls ill or injured and is in need of a caregiver, to which the duty most often falls onto the spouse? They’re not a spouse in this case, and aren’t even living together. This could cause issues for an older couple in this situation, whereas co-inhabiting seniors may feel more inclined to take on this challenge.
On the other hand, there may be partners in this case who would want to help – but the patient’s family completely leaves them out of the ordeal, because of the casual nature of the relationship. It’s a confusing line to figure out for everyone involved, especially in emergent situations that may arise.
Additionally, some research has found that couples in this sort of relationship are reportedly less happy, and their relationships less strong than that of married couples.
But frankly, there’s no one “right” way to do anything, including be in a relationship. Life’s other variables may come in the way and prevent seniors from remarrying and living with a new partner, or they simply may not want to go through the process again, and that is okay.
The whole purpose behind these partnerships in the first place is to have companionship in older age. Whether spouses or not, living in the same place or not, having someone to be intimate with, support you, and simply to just have a chat over coffee with can mean the world the quality of life in an older adult. Who are we to judge someone on their desires for a relationship?