Can A Relationship Be Successful When You Go from Living Together to Living Apart?

There’s no question that living together can make a relationship stronger. You feel closer to your partner you see every day. But what happens when you move in too fast, move out, and try to keep your relationship together? Can the relationship still be successful if you’re living apart?

Your relationship may feel like it’s on a fast track to moving in together, especially when you’re in the honeymoon phase of dating. In the beginning, everything seems great, but this doesn’t accurately inform what your relationship will look like in the future. That’s why it’s usually wiser to take things slowly instead of rushing to cohabit in the first year.

Moving in together too fast can lead to regret, especially if both parties have kids of their own. Even if you enjoy each other and have a lot of common ground, living separately after living together can be the wisest choice until you are certain that marriage is the next step.

In this article, dating coach Evan Marc Katz shares some tips and advice on how to make the transition to living separately after living together as smooth as possible.

So I followed all your advice and finally landed the most amazing man. He committed, made me his, we talked about a future and even marriage. He is kind and funny and generous and loving and I really felt like he was “the one”.

Dating for the last year and half has been amazing and I have been so happy with him. We saw each other 4-5 nights a week, spent most weekends together. We were a couple, moving forward. At about 18 months we moved in together. I know it was too soon and we quickly saw that. After a month or so it was a struggle. My home (he moved in with me and my kids) is about 40 miles from where his adult children and parents live and the part of town he’s always lived in.

He felt too disconnected from his kids, that they still needed him too much (they are 19 and 22) and felt like a stranger in “my” house and uncomfortable with my children (ages 19, 16 and 11). He began spending more and more time away from the house, 1-2 nights playing poker and 1-2 nights or days with his kids. The more he was gone, the more disconnected to him I felt and the more disconnected I was, the more he stayed away. Needless to say, after 6 months he moved out.

He wants to continue to “date” me though, spend weekends at my house and basically pick up where we left off before he moved in. In some ways this feels like a major step back, that he’s getting a relationship on his terms and in other ways I think that maybe this is what we need to do for a period of time while we work on blending families a little better and building a stronger base of our relationship.

Can people back track in a relationship, admit they rushed things and start fresh or pick up where they were, or am I fooling myself and wasting time on a man who won’t ever be the man I want him to be?

Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?


Sorry to hear about the bumps in the road of your relationship.

It provides even more validation that you should wait a long time before you move in together AND definitely move in together before you get married. If you HAD gotten married at 18 months, you’d currently be miserable and on the fast path to divorce.

You are illustrating the very reasons to be extra cautious as a middle age divorcee with children. There is no judgment being issued. But if I had a dollar for every 50-year-old who told me she needed to get married fast because she didn’t have time to waste, I’d be writing this from Tahiti, not L.A.

If you HAD gotten married at 18 months, you’d currently be miserable and on the fast path to divorce.

The issue here is not about who is right or wrong. No one knows if they’re compatible until they try living together on for size. No, the real issues here are twofold:

    • 1. Are you willing to accept this “step backwards” and continue to date like you did before — seeing each other 4-5 nights a week and spending most weekends together? Sounds to me like it’s the most viable option, not because it’s “his terms” but because this is the only model that’s proven to work for both of you. However, as you know, that affects Issue #2…

2. How bad do you want to get married? Normally, I’d say you should move on, but in this instance, you had a great relationship that got ruined by trying to blend two families. It would seem to me that the worst thing you could do would be to attempt to do that again. We already know how that story ends. But what if you rewrite the ending, by keeping it open-ended?

Now, to be clear, I don’t know nearly enough about you or your partner to determine if you’re compatible. You weren’t compatible with him moving in with you and your three kids. That we know. I also don’t like the way he handled conflict; pulling away until you felt disconnected as opposed to communicating in a healthy fashion to try and reconnect.

The choice, as always, is yours to make. There is no wrong answer. Only what works best for you.


But if you believe he’s an amazing catch and if your relationship brings you both joy, why MUST you insist on moving in/getting married? Can you see yourself enjoying the next decade with him until your kids are out of the house and THEN downsizing together? Is that in the realm of possibility?

If it’s not — if you don’t want to wait that long, take that chance, or believe in this man — that’s okay. You can move on. But I do want you to explore what you really want.

If it’s a happy relationship like the one you had for 18 months, you can probably have it again.

If it’s a blended family in the same house, you probably can’t.

The choice, as always, is yours to make. There is no wrong answer. Only what works best for you.