Couples younger and older can attest to the power of time away from each other to inspire longing as well as increased vitality in relationships. Appreciating your partner from a distance can keep you from taking each other for granted. But are there ways it may also keep you from something deeper and perhaps more meaningful? In some couples, the proverbial “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” may be code for is this just not really working?: do we truly need all this space…and what is that really about? Is psychological conflict and difference being managed by separate wall space, square footage, and geography instead of a heart-to-heart on how to manage individual space, autonomy and closeness as a couple? For some couples, “living apart” can pull them apart instead of together.

Some would argue that living together (ideally) can offer the gratification of being able to work out boundaries together versus having boundaries instituted in a more concrete way. Living together, while perhaps cost-efficient, can be burdensome in forcing issues around intimacy to surface. Having less privacy can feel deeply exposing, vulnerable and unsexy. Naturally, a lot of therapists are “pro-vulnerability” and want couples to work it out in a myriad of ways–whether they live together, apart or decide to separate. For many couples, Living Apart Together is a real deal-maker and living together, a deal-breaker. And that is just the honesty of it, which can be appreciated if the couple can speak to the complexity of their less conventional dynamic.

Living Apart Together can have other risks as well. In cities such as New York where one partner has a rent-stabilized apartment and is deemed to have spent “too much time” at the other partner’s home, could jeopardize his or her rent-stabilization status–loosely based on a 183-day rule of habitation for securing the status of “permanent residency”. No matter what the issue, being able to talk empathically about the risks and rewards of being a couple (Living Apart or Together) is one of the hallmarks of compatibility that is often enhanced by consulting a couple’s therapist. Learning how to navigate difficult conversations is a necessary life skill for committed couples anywhere–living apart, or together.

More on Couples Living Apart Together (LAT):

PARC © 2019. PARC (Park Avenue Relationship Consultants) is a group of highly skilled and experienced NYC relationship therapists working with individuals, couples, and families. We have private office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Riverdale, and Long Island. Each PARC therapist has extensive clinical training and experience, and is fully licensed and certified by New York State. Privacy and confidentiality are guaranteed. Out-of-network only. For more information, please call PARC at (917) 340-7592 or visit