'Like Gwenyth Paltrow, I live away from my partner. Here's why it works.'

Living apart together (LAT), a current a lifestyle choice of Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband Brad Falchuk, has got some attention of late, but what does it mean for the rest of us? Is anyone doing it and is it as good as it sounds?

My partner and I are currently in a LAT relationship. In fact, we don’t just live apart together, we are long distance LATs, meaning that every second weekend, one of us is on a plane somewhere between Melbourne and Sydney. 

Having both exited other relationships, my partner and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ve discussed it at length, from every angle and have answered the questions of many of our concerned friends, who use words such as unsustainable; or phrases such as I like coming home to someone. Which is great, if that works for you, but what it if doesn’t?

What if your greatest fear isn’t going home alone, but your passionate relationship becoming that of siblings or flatmates? For some, companionship is everything, and we aren’t judgemental of the traditional relationships that have dominated our society, but what if there was another way - if two people chose it?

I have two children under 10. In all honesty, I don’t want my partner here in the middle of the week when I’m making lunches; the kids are fighting and I’m trying to remember which night the bins go out. Similarly, he doesn’t want me in his apartment asking him what time he’s coming home from work; and neither of us have decided how much he should or shouldn’t be involved in the parenting of my children

My entire life has been about trying to fit myself into boxes that have never fit me well. What I do love, is running out of the airport every fortnight to see him, that every kiss still feels like the first, that when we are together, we are completely soaked in one another’s presence because we know that we have many days ahead of us where we can work on that report, sit in front of the television or figure out which day the bins go out.

With two children who require help with homework, school drop offs and pick-ups and gymnastic runs, I never feel lonely. What I’m learning, is that it’s not the number of hours in a day that count, it’s what you do with them. 


Marriage has been idealised and romanticised, but the reality is that relationships are really hard work. People underestimate the fragility of marriage and when you throw kids and mortgages and bin night into the equation, it can feel impossible.

I’m not against marriage, a part of me really wants to be good at it, but I know myself well enough to realise that it may not be for us. And that’s okay.

Psychotherapist Esther Perel says there are two types of people in the world: realists and romantics. Realists believe in marriage and are unlikely to leave. On the other hand, romantics desire nothing more than romance and passion (and will seek it out if it fades). Both can be critical of the other. I am not judgemental of either but in an ideal world, realists would partner with realists, and romantics with romantics. You can imagine the nightmare when one partners with the other.

A LAT relationship allows two fiercely independent people to remain so, it allows us to miss each other, it fans the flames of passion, and it has helped ensure that I am present with my partner and my kids. The few times a year, my two worlds collide, I am exhausted from simultaneously trying to be a present mother and a present partner, and I can’t wait for things to go back to ‘normal.’

A LAT lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but I’ve realised that marriage and living together isn’t either.

Dani, a writer and podcaster met James, a children’s publisher when he signed her first picture book and then a six-book deal. They started dating about six months later, Dani lives in Sydney and James lives in Melbourne. They see each every second week, and work together on multiple projects. 

Feature Image: Supplied

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