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By Tom Blake
Lately, I’ve been receiving an increasing number of questions from single seniors regarding the various types of relationship living arrangements they are choosing. The different acronyms can be confusing.
The most popular relationship acronym: LAT (living apart together).
In checking my columns-written archives, I first mentioned LAT relationships in the Dana Point Times, San Clemente Times, and The Capistrano Dispatch in March 2018. The LAT designation was applied to relationships of senior readers who told me they were in a committed, loving, intimate relationship, and yet, they lived under separate roofs.
This week, I searched online but couldn’t find any articles—other than ours—that had been published anywhere in the world earlier than 2019 on the LAT relationship topic. I realized that Picket Fence Media had been a trailblazer among newspapers and magazines on this senior topic.
In the 3½ years since that 2018 article mention, the single senior living arrangement topic has mushroomed among people who write about senior relationships.
The primary reason why LAT relationships will not become the norm for seniors is financial. Two separate households are more expensive to occupy vs. when two people share expenses under the same roof. For some, an LAT isn’t affordable.
Mark, one of my readers, sent me a link this week to the July 16, 2021, New York Times online article titled, “Older Singles Have Found a New Way to Partner Up: Living Apart,” written by Francine Russo.
In the article, Russo mentions a widow named Linda Randall, who was widowed in 2016. Randall is now 81 and has a romantic, intimate, relationship with a widower, age 87, who lives across the alley from her and spends most nights at her apartment.
When the widower asked Randall if he could move in with her, Randall said no, because she liked where she lived and felt they were different in how they lived.
Plus, a big factor was that Randall didn’t want to become a full-time caregiver. Living apart but nearby, Randall and the widower remain intimate.
Russo also wrote in the article, “In Europe, the data clearly shows that later-life LAT relationships are on the rise. And Russo quoted a Canadian sociology professor who said, “LAT is now a ‘popular option’ in the United States and Canada.”
Joel, a reader of my weekly newsletter, emailed this week: “I saw this term, which was new to me: ‘living celibate together.’ When I entered that as a Google search, a lot of articles showed up.”
I responded to Joel, “So now we have LCT (living celibate together) senior relationships? I don’t want to be in one of those.”
Joel answered, “An LCT doesn’t float my boat, either.”
Another reader, Ginny, a widow, age 80, has had a seven-year relationship with Harry, 87, a widower. They live three minutes apart. They are planning to marry in September.
I asked her why they are getting married after seven years.
Ginny said, “I visit Harry nearly every evening. But I return home the same night. Because of our faith, we agreed years ago to abstain from sex unless married. It was difficult. After we marry, instead of coming home each night, I will come home the next morning. We can finally have sex.”
Ginny added, “Still, we will have a LAT marriage.”
“Why the LAT marriage?” I asked.
“We will have a prenup. We both have children and grandchildren. Our money stays separate, as do our homes. I like my home. It’s a short walk. Why not?”
Tom’s comment: I love Ginny’s story! Could LAT-M (Living Apart Together Married’ become another senior dating term introduced to the world by Picket Fence Media?
I smile at the reason Ginny and Harry are getting married. Intimacy—better late than never; bless them, both.
There are three primary reasons why these unconventional LAT-type relationships are gaining popularity among seniors:
- Avoiding being a full-time caregiver
- Wanting a companion while keeping one’s home
- Maintaining independence while enjoying intimacy (perhaps), love, and sharing.
More senior women than men tell me they prefer a LAT relationship.
With these three options—LAT, LCT, and LAT-M—no wonder senior dating is confusing.
Tom Blake is a retired Dana Point business owner and resident who has authored books on middle-aged dating. See his website at findingloveafter50.com. To comment: email@example.com.