Volume 21 - Article 7 | Pages 177-214

"Living Apart Together" relationships in the United States

By Charles Strohm, Judith Seltzer, Susan Cochran, Vickie Mays

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Date received:13 Dec 2008
Date published:13 Aug 2009
Word count:8612
Keywords:attitude(s), cohabitation, gay, homosexual, LAT, lesbian, living apart together (LAT), marriage, non-residential partnership, same-sex couples, second demographic transition, social support


We use two surveys to describe the demographic and attitudinal correlates of being in “Living Apart Together” (LAT), cohabiting, and marital relationships for heterosexuals, lesbians, and gay men. About one third of U.S. adults not married or cohabiting are in LAT relationships – these individuals would be classified as “single” in conventional studies that focus on residential unions. Gay men are somewhat more likely than heterosexual men to be in LAT relationships. For heterosexuals and lesbians, LAT relationships are more common among younger people. Heterosexuals in LAT unions are less likely to expect to marry their partners, but more likely to say that couples should be emotionally dependent than are cohabiters. Regardless of sexual orientation, people in LAT relationships perceive similar amounts of emotional support from partners, but less instrumental support than cohabiters perceive.

Author's Affiliation

Charles Strohm - University of California, Los Angeles, United States of America [Email]
Judith Seltzer - University of California, Los Angeles, United States of America [Email]
Susan Cochran - University of California, Los Angeles, United States of America [Email]
Vickie Mays - University of California, Los Angeles, United States of America [Email]

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