Evan Agostini and Chris Pizzello/AP
- Gwyneth Paltrow and husband Brad Falchuk don’t live together, Paltrow told the Sunday Times.
- The relationship trend ("living apart together") is more common among older and highly educated couples.
- Paltrow said the distance helps keep the spark alive in her relationship, and some experts agree.
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Now, the actress’ romantic life is in the spotlight again. In a recent interview with the Sunday Times, Paltrow said she and her new husband, Brad Falchuk, do not (yet) live together.
According to the Times, Falchuk sleeps at his house when his children (from a previous relationship) stay over; he stays at Paltrow’s place the rest of the week. Paltrow said the decision was inspired by her "intimacy teacher" and that it helps keep her relationship fresh.
This setup is hardly the norm, likely because few couples have the financial resources to maintain two separate households, or the mental energy to figure out who’s coming over to watch the kids. But it’s gaining traction, especially among older, divorced, or widowed adults. (For reference, Paltrow is 46 and Falchuk is 48. Both have been divorced.)
Social scientists call it "living apart together," or LAT.
Experts say LAT couples may find that a little bit of distance can stave off relationship monotony; since you don’t see each other all day, every day, you have to be really intentional about maximizing your time together. In some cases, living apart together can prevent the inertia that makes it harder to part ways when things aren’t working out, but all your clothes are commingled in the closet.
To be sure, living apart together is more common — and more socially acceptable — in certain circles.
In 2013, New York University sociologist Eric Klinenberg told The New York Times, "The arrangement is especially attractive in New York, which has such a thriving public culture and little stigma about how people live their lives." One might imagine the same lack of stigma in Los Angeles, where Paltrow and Falchuk live.
Demographic factors play a role, too: A paper published in the journal Demographic Research suggests living apart together is more common among gay men and highly educated couples. It’s also gaining popularity among older Americans. A 2011 survey of roughly 7,700 Wisconsin adults ages 50 and over found 8% were "partnered but unmarried," and 39% of those individuals were living apart together.
Interestingly, research suggests that living apart together isn’t always a permanent arrangement. Another paper in Demographic Research looked at this trend in Europe and found that "in all countries the majority of respondents intended to live together within three years."
Paltrow didn’t specify how long she planned to live apart from Falchuk. She told the Times, "All my married friends say that the way we live sounds ideal and we shouldn’t change a thing."
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