Custom relationships are the future
Living apart but together, living together but separate, co-mothering and more trends
The times they are a changing and relationships are evolving along with them.
Not only are younger folks delaying marriage or rejecting it altogether, but they’re also embracing the reality that there is no one-size-fits-all formula for lasting partnerships.
Rewriting the rules of relationships altogether is the trend — regardless of age.
“I want love and companionship, but I have no plans to be a mother again,” says Val, who reentered the dating market in her 60s. “All the men I was dating wanted a mother — a cook, a cleaner and a nurse in some cases. They were clear about their expectations and even joked about the ‘good old days.’ When I met Paul three years ago, I was up front about not wanting to move in together and it has worked out well.”
Val and Paul both live in High Park, but they’ve maintained separate residences. The livingapart-but-together (LABT) arrangement has become more common as couples acknowledge that relationships need not be linear.
Twenty-nine-year-old Veena agrees and insists that she has no plans to cohabit anytime soon.
“I’ve been with my boyfriend for four years, and things are going great. Why move in and disrupt what we’ve created? Neither of us wants kids, so I don’t see why we need to be roommates.”
Although more intimate partners may be opting into LABT, others are choosing to move in together to reduce expenses and share parenting responsibilities.
Co-mothering arrangements allow mothers to pool time, financial and emotional resources — all of which tend to be scarce for single parents.
Benefits of this non-sexual relationship include reduced costs — not only do you share housing, utility and food expenses, but also incidental expenses including toys, sports equipment, kitchen tools and even clothing to some degree.
The children also benefit from the support of an additional caring adult (who likely has more patience because they are able to actually get some alone time) and the camaraderie of their in-house “siblings.”
And of course, the emotional advantages are shared by the kids and adults alike.
“It’s way easier with my best friend on board. It’s the first time I’ve felt someone really has my back. But it’s also empowering,” says Shelby who lives downtown. “Because we’re taking single motherhood back — it shouldn’t be stigmatized, and my kids shouldn’t suffer because their father is no longer here.”
Single parents aren’t the only ones pooling emotional and financial resources to support
As relationship norms evolve, non-sexual couples are becoming more common