Let’s Talk: Is it okay to live apart if you’re an older couple?

It used to be the way in the good old days to get married, move in together, start a family

It used to be the way in the good old days to get married, move in together, start a family and live there until you got ‘old’.

Or at least that’s how it was always portrayed to many of us.

But it appears that’s not the way anymore.

In fact a growing number of couples are choosing to live in separate houses, particularly if they met or married later in their lives.

Among them is British author and restauranteur Prue Leith, who despite marrying her clothes designer husband John Playfair, still lives in a separate house to him.

The Daily Mail reports the 76-year-old said that it meant they could enjoy the fun parts of a relationship, without having to clean up after each other.

In fact, they live just a few kilometres apart.

“He is a fantastic collector of books, and what I would call junk and he would call wonderful memorabilia and fantastic pictures. In his house, you have to walk through a sort of tunnel of books to get to the loo,” she said.

“He’s got a lot of stuff and I’m rather anally neat and tidy and I don’t want all that stuff in my house. And he doesn’t want me tidying it up.”

She also told BBC Radio that her husband stays at her home, but returns to his house where he “does all his ironing” and “keeps all his gear there”.


“And I tell you what, it’s the ideal thing. What you want – and what I get – is him without his clobber and without the responsibility of looking after his laundry or sewing on his buttons,” she said.

The pair met five years, and married last month.

Leith was previously managed to Rayne Kruger, a writer and businessman, for 38 years up until he dead in 2002.


The couple aren’t alone.

The Daily Mail reports that an estimated one in ten British couples have chosen what is described as “live apart together”.


What do you think? Could you ever “live apart together”?

  1. Dianne  

    I am not in a relationship, but I have no intention of living with a partner even if I find one. I love my little house and the lifestyle and freedom it gives me.

  2. Yep. It works for us. We’ve been together 26 years – the first 10 years across town from each other and the last 16 next door to each other. And we never married. I would no longer do it any other way.

  3. Viv Donovan  

    I think it is good idea. I am not married and never have been and don’t have any children. If I met a man, there is a strong possibility he has been married and has children. I would not like to live with the man because under the law, if you are in a relationship for a certain time and living together you are considered married and when the time comes and you either break up or one of you dies, the estate goes to the other person or is divided in half. I would not like to be accused by my partner’s kids of being with their Dad so I could cash in on their inheritance. Besides, it makes the relationship more interesting when you spend a couple of days apart, just like dating for the first time.

  4. [email protected]  

    $ 89 per hour Seriously, I do not know why more people have not tried it, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening … and I receive an unsatisfactory check for $ 12520 which is genial is Im Works from home if I get more time with my children.M$3.

    This is what I do. >>>>>>>>> NYTrends66.Tk

  5. colin  

    as long as it is not done to cheat the welfare office. i.e. claim two single pensions etc. that is theft… but really they have so much money to be able to keep two houses? sounds dodgy

  6. Andrea  

    If I ever remarried, (fat chance of that), yes, I’d do same.
    Each person’s independence isn’t threatened. And independence is a marvellous ‘commodity’.
    It would be a very good idea, IMHO!

  7. Les Birch  

    I can see that it could work very well ..particularly if 2 people have different ways they prefer to live !!!!

  8. Susan  

    My companion of 25 years and I live in two separate home, our kitchen back door face each other, handy for borrowing stuff, we share our cats, we both have cat doors and we meet up each eveing for a couple of beers before we go to our separate kitchens to cook our own choice of meal. Works well.

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