Together but Apart

Tuesday, 26 November 2013 | Tags: , , , , ,

Over 27% of Canadians live alone and I’m one of them. Not because I’m single, but because my boyfriend and I choose to live apart.

James and I have been together for over five and a half years.  We don’t live together, he lives about 6 blocks away. 

The conventional view is that you meet someone, you fall in love and you want to spend every breathing moment together.  Hence, you move in.  After an extended courtship, if you don’t live together, one of you is likely avoiding co-habitation. Translation, your relationship isn’t that solid. 

I believe we have a strong relationship .  So, why don’t we live together? 

I like living alone, as does he.  I went from my parents’ house, to living with roommates, to living with boyfriends-turned-husbands.  I was 38 the first time I lived alone for any extended period. 

At first it was scary, somewhat lonely and depressing.  Fast-forward a year, I crawled out of my post-divorce ditch and I looked around.  That’s when it hit.  This was MY place and I could do exactly what I wanted with it.  Now it’s white and pretty with lots of closet space. 

When James and I see each other, we really want to see each other.  Deciding to get together, as opposed to defaulting to it, brings a sense of occasion.  I brush my hair, put on some lip-gloss and he comes over with a clean shirt and a bottle of wine.  It’s almost always a “date.”

When we argue we don’t just go to bed angry.  One of us goes home.  At the start of our relationship, this would drive me batty, I wanted to hash things out, to resolve. But James has taught me the merits of cooling off in separate corners.  For us, this works.  Most of our arguments are inane and the next day, more often than not, I can’t even remember why we fought.

Occasionally we do talk about moving in together.  One household would mean fewer expenses.  But then we go house hunting and can’t find anything we love in our price point. We can blame Vancouver real estate for that. 

If I’m going to be totally honest with myself and with you, dear reader, the final reason we don’t live together is somewhat fear-based.  I wonder if we did move in, would the relationship work as well?  Maybe space and independence are essential ingredients to this particular mix?  Until then, I’m going with if it ain’t broke…







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  • Heather

    Whatever works best for you is what works! I can say straight out that I did enjoy parts of living alone after my divorce (if living with three kiddos qualifies as ‘alone’), but I far prefer living with my (new) partner. We also find that if we get angry about something and one of us thinks put the issue on hold until the next day…or even a just little while later (whether it’s been voiced yet or was just ‘something’ that anger surfaced for in the moment, and was unspoken), only on very rare occasion is anger still there, if at all, and this makes for a much more productive discussion if one is even needed. That method works well in two houses, and it works in one shared one.

    • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

      Yup, it’s taken me years to learn that hashing things out in the heat of the moment rarely gets me anywhere! Cooler heads…

  • Kelly

    Aww!! I love this little story! Going through a divorce and being under 30 I am a little excited to own my own space soon. Even if this means giving up my current homeownership ( If i stayed it would mean roommates), to have a space that is mine- even if it is a rental. I cannot wait to do with it what I want! Thanks for this little snip it into your lives! 😀

    • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

      Yes, that is a treat. I’ve definitely made my place more girly than if a man lived here. Part of the reason if we do move in together, James wants to start somewhere else, fresh!

      • D. Maclennan

        I also live alone with a long distance relationship,am used to having quiet when i want and constant noise not easy,unless you have a large enough space for your own corners ,thanks for your perspective and experience,I agree.

  • KikiMa17

    Kristina, my husband’s mother has been in a relationship with the same man for over seventeen years and they still live apart. I know they love each other because of the countless times I’ve heard their love story and how much they admire each other. He is currently very ill and Im not sure what will happen when he is not with us anymore but what I can say is that every situation and every relationship is different and if it works for you, then brilliant! Im more on the other side of things, my husband travels a lot so its hard at times but its amazing when he is around. Good for you guys and here’s to more years to come!

  • Kate Lo

    I love the white/cream side chairs in your livingroom, do you remember where you got them?

    • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

      Hi Kate, thanks! I had them made through the store Periot in Vancouver. Check them out at http://www.peridot.ca

      • Kate Lo

        Thank you!

  • Hari S Reddy

    Hi kristina,
    Another honest & true statement of thought based on your previous experiences. May be in the years to come, the true bonding & love might kindle James & Kristina to think the other way too that staying together ends up with more Luv & value to your relationship!!!
    Hari s reddy

  • Tracy Dawn

    The ‘boy’ and I didn’t move in together until after we were together 6 years. We had both been divorced and both really enjoyed living alone for the first time ever. Finally we pushed past the slight hesitation, fear & doubts and bought a house together. Best decision we made, it really did change things for the better. To each his own however & if this works for you BOTH then don’t change it to satisfy what others think you should be doing. All the best!

  • Sheila

    I’ve been married to my second husband for several years. I admit that we’ve started sleeping in separate rooms – BUT there were very practical reasons for this. I’m a shift worker and an insomniac. I think we do way better with this. He’s not sighing loudly when I get up after tossing and turning, and I don’t feel guilty when I get up after tossing and turning. I never thought this would be us – I looked at those people who slept in separate rooms with skepticism (like when were they making their separation official???) but it’s working well.

  • Silvia

    There are no rules in life, just do what works for you and be happy. Thanks for sharing and btw you look adorable together (or apart).

  • Taz Naj

    Love kristina…

    • http://www.annaandkristina.com/ Kristina

      Aww shucks, thanks!