Couples living apart together - how committed?

Conference paper


Carter, J. 2013. Couples living apart together - how committed?
AuthorsCarter, J.
TypeConference paper
Description

Living apart together (LAT) relationships cover a range and variety of relationship forms and practices. Whether LAT is conceptualised as a new relationship form, or as just another name for traditional ‘special’ boy/girlfriend’, the level of commitment is often seen as weak or insecure. In turn this perception impacts on policy and the socio-legal recognition of LAT relationships. Drawing on the results of a multi-method study, using national survey information in combination with 50 semi-structured interviews, we assess the nature and level of commitment in LAT relationships. We find that sexual exclusivity is demanded by a majority of participants, regardless of their reasons for living apart. Similarly, nearly all subscribe to ideas of coupledom and maintain dense personal and electronic contact. This indicates at least a basic level of commitment present in almost all LAT relationships. The interview material additionally indicates that despite the increased freedom and autonomy that living apart can offer, many LAT partners also provide significant amounts of care, either to their partner or to children. The degree of commitment was related to a number of factors including: the reason for living apart; whether this was a choice or a result of circumstances; and the stage of the relationship; whether the couple were ready to cohabit. While a few apparently low commitment ‘pure relationships’ are found, these are a small minority. Therefore, while those in LAT relationships can more easily be less committed than those in co-residential relationships, the evidence suggests that they are not.

Year2013
ConferenceRoyal Geographical Society Annual Conference
Publication process dates
Deposited03 Nov 2015
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/87859/couples-living-apart-together-how-committed

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