Couples living apart together - how committed?

Carter, J. (2013) Couples living apart together - how committed? In: Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference, 28th August, 2013, London.

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology > HM1001 Social psychology > HM1041 Social perception. Social cognition
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology
Depositing User: Julia Carter
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2015 10:51
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 09:54
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/13927

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00