Older Couples Are Living Apart Together. Or Are They?

The world is changing rapidly.

The world is changing way too slowly.

You can make a case for both arguments.

If you’re African-American in your sixties, you’ve lived through Jim Crow to President Obama and seen remarkable changes in the past five decades. At the same time, it’s hard not to see evidence of systemic and latent racism everywhere you go.

Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?

So which is it? Is the world changing? Is the world stagnating?

The answer, of course, is both. Which leads me to a discussion we’ve had on here for over a decade. Men in the MGTOW crowd say they don’t need women. Women on the far left are unerringly critical of men. You can cherry pick studies that show marriage rates are going down. But, in truth, if you’re in my demographic (and my readers demographic), marriage is, in fact, alive and well.  

If you click that link, you’ll see that 88% of college-educated people have been married by age 46 with less than a 25% divorce rate. That’s considerably different than the larger societal narrative, isn’t it?

All of this is just a long prelude to today’s article from Time, about how older couples are increasingly living apart.  It’s an interesting angle for a story, especially since it makes logical sense:

“Seniors wanted to have “intimate companionship” while maintaining their own homes,

Seniors wanted to have “intimate companionship” while maintaining their own homes

social circles, customary activities and  finances, she discovered. Those who’d been divorced or in unhappy earlier marriages didn’t want to tie themselves down again and believed a degree of distance was preferable to day-to-day togetherness.  Also, several women who’d cared previously for sick parents or husbands wanted to avoid assuming caregiving responsibilities or the burden of running a household again.”


All true. All things I’ve heard from clients in their 60’s over the years. But read the article closely and you’ll see less than 7% of seniors were “living apart together.” Is that a trend or is it just part of the long tail of different lifestyle choices, like never getting married or being polyamorous?

When I encounter women who tell me they never want to get married again, all I have to do is dig a little deeper to discover the truth. It’s not that she doesn’t want to get married again – she would gladly get married if she knew it was going to be a HAPPY marriage. Generally, women don’t want to repeat the same mistakes of their previous marriage, but instead of blaming their husband, they blame the institution of marriage itself.

Very quickly, clients who thought they never wanted to be married again realize that they do – they just want to do it right the next time around.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.