Should you live together?

Jo Lamble explains why you should – or should not – live together.

Should you live together?

No matter how old you are, the question of where your relationship is going may come up at some point. No one wants to waste time if the relationship isn’t progressing. But when you meet someone later in life, it’s not as easy to know what that progression looks like.

While there’s no pressure from a ticking biological clock, there are often adult children to take into account. Plus, we are more set in our ways and not as flexible when it comes to permanently accommodating others in our homes. More significantly, there are usually money matters to consider. Without a binding financial agreement, financial security could be at risk if the relationship breaks down after having lived together for 12 months or more. So it’s worth thinking carefully about whether or not to share a home.

For some people, the relationship doesn’t feel right unless they’re sharing the same bed most nights or, at least, living under the same roof as their partner. But there is a growing group of couples who are together but live apart. They even have their own acronym – LAT (Living Apart Together). That is, the couple are in a committed relationship and may spend many nights together, but maintain their independence by keeping their own residences.

Other couples get to a point where they know they don’t want to see other people, but they live quite separate lives, only seeing each other once or twice a week. They enjoy having their own space and spending time with their own friends and family and only occasionally include their partner in these get-togethers.

As long as you’re both on the same page, it’s up to the two of you to discover what works best for you. Problems arise when one person wants to live together or get married and the other wants a higher level of independence. When you want different levels of commitment or different amounts of time together, it can really damage the relationship. Insecurity, jealousy and resentment can quickly build up and eat away at the positive feelings you have for one another.

It’s very important that you are both honest. There’s no point in agreeing to live apart or move in together if that’s not what you want. At any age, hiding your true thoughts and feelings will cause problems down the track. It may not sound romantic, but if you do agree to cohabit, seek legal advice so that your finances are not at risk. 

For more information on relationships, visit You may also wish to visit Relationships Australia.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    14th May 2015
    Wise advise. Living together can affect pension eligibility as well as impact on other areas of financial security and family relationships.
    14th May 2015
    There is nothing in this piece (except the specific mention of adult children) that doesn't affect people of all ages.

    Perhaps issues such as access to 'couple' aged care, Centrelink 'rules', wills and the like would have been a better basis rather than this puff piece which has little specific to older people in relationships.
    14th May 2015
    Pension eligibility? How can you trust the Government now after the changes to the part pensions. Thousands of retirees took advice and structured their retirement within the current laws but are now told they are incredibly wealthy because they own their own home and scrimped and saved all their lives. So how can anyone plan their lives and retirement knowing the Gov can change it all with a penstroke. Also many homes in country towns are only worth a couple of 100K, not the couple of million the Gov was using as an example.
    18th May 2015
    i recently married a thai woman with 2 children i do not live under the same roof she in thailand me here,i was on the full pension now iv'e been penalised by 200 dollars a fortnight,when i receive no benefit finiancially at all.the only criteria i fill is that i am married.i believe center link just makes blanket decisions based on the partner livig in the country and under the same roof and contributing to the house hold.'the rule under partnerships is based on the premise that couples can live more cheaply thasingles because they share expenses and produce economies of scale'
    Auction Girl
    18th May 2015
    Heybuz, our Centrelink arrangements and allowances are for Australians, not foreigners. What made you think otherwise ?

    28th May 2015
    Two homes, one for her and one for him, in Victoria means you are probably up for Land Tax, as only ONE principal place of residence is exempt or you pay one half of the assessed tax on EACH.

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