Relationship expert Jo Lamble answers many prickly questions in her book, Answers to Everyday Questions about Relationships. This week we publish the answer to whether or not it’s necessary to live with your partner?
Q: I am in a committed relationship, but we don’t live together. Is that normal and healthy?
A: There is no ‘normal’ relationship. But there are healthy and unhealthy relationships. There are many people in committed monogamous relationships who live apart. They may not live together because one partner lives interstate or overseas for work. Divorcees who want to concentrate on raising their own children may choose to live separately. I have heard of couples who don’t want to combine their two households because the pets don’t get on. And I have met many couples who feel that they are too set in their ways as individuals to want to set up home together.
If the arrangement works for the two of you, then it’s healthy. There are some positives to living apart. There are no arguments over chores, you both get the space you need, there’s no need to blend families, and dates and sleepovers are special. But there are also pitfalls. Don’t stay in a relationship but live apart because the relationship is shaky, or if you want the freedom to explore other relationships. If you can’t live together because you have a fear of intimacy, then you should deal with that fear. And if your needs change and you would like more contact, speak up. Your partner could be feeling the same way.
Extract from the book Answers to Everyday Questions about Relationships by Jo Lamble
Published by Penguin