Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

All or Nothing

“For many couples, moving in together is the key step that transitions them from a dating relationship to a long-term committed partnership. However, a small but growing minority of long-term couples in countries like the U.S., Britain, Sweden, and Canada are forgoing cohabitation entirely, preferring to keep their separate homes. This phenomenon is referred to as “living apart together,” or LAT”. This excerpt is from a 2013 PsychologyToday article that gives a well-balanced overview of the advantages and disadvantages of a LAT relationship and doesn’t take a stance.

I doubt that there is any animal species that entertains a LAT relationship. A 2007 scientific study on 

the “Impact of ‘living apart together’ on postoperative recovery of mice compared with social and individual housing” concluded: “LAT, however, did not appear to be beneficiary to the mice. Increased heart rate levels and differences in behaviour as compared with both social housed and individual housed animals indicate that LAT may even be the most stressful of the three housing conditions“. Noteitalic marking and replacement of abbreviations by me.

Actually, I recently broke up with my girlfriend because she insisted on a LAT relationship for the next 3-5 years. She had expressed this right from the start and so I cannot hide behind ignorance. I assumed that I could handle this (new) type of relationship but I cannot. And I also assumed that she would change her mind about this LAT but she did not. The assumption is the mother of all mistakes (Eugene Lewis Fordsworthe).

I learned from this episode in life that I do not like to fulltime care for someone while only being in a parttime relationship. To me a LAT relationship feels like a lack of commitment and that does not fit my character. Perhaps I could have managed this LAT relationship if I would not have genuinely cared for her but I did. To me, it appears to be all or nothing. Hence, it became nothing.

I was surprised by myself as I genuinely appreciate my solitude. And a LAT relationship seems to be an excellent tool for that. Nevertheless, the disruptive character of this relationship might be rooted in the seemingly random coming and going of the other person. Perhaps it’s the unpredictability that is bothering.

In my view, another disruptive element relates to incomplete bonding. The best way to learn all about a person is to spend a vacation with her/him. Cohabiting does the same trick but a LAT does not. A LAT allows you to show your best and hide your worst. You will fail to see the “entirety” of the other person. For some this “failure” may even be key reason for wanting a LAT.

To me, my ‘significant other’ is a “package deal” in which the pros must outweigh the cons. I have no intention of changing her, especially as this would also allow her to try to change me. I am at an age at which I change voluntary but not involuntary.

To some extent, a relationship is like a dance in which you ultimately move closer and closer to the other person. Leaving is like being available to the next dance partner.

Phyllis Nelson (1950-1998) – Move Closer (1985) – lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Hey baby, you go your way

And I’ll go mine

But in the meantime


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