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Perhaps the key to having a happy relationship is to keep separate residences. While it's true the number of couples living together has gone up in the U.S. over the past 10 years, concurrently, another movement has also taken place.

Living Apart Together (LAT), when couples in intimate relationships choose to live apart, is slowly becoming an alternative form of commitment in the U.S. among older adults, according to research by the University of Missouri. Think about it — no arguing over emptying the trash or battles over the remote control — you get to spend time together as a couple while still maintaining your independence.

So why is LAT more popular among older couples?

For starters, LAT hasn't been full embraced in the U.S. like it is in Europe, and it's especially taboo among young adults who feel that living together as a couple is just part of the package. Older couples, however, are coming at it from a different perspective.

University of Missouri researchers studied these relationships by interviewing a group of adults involved in them. What they found was that the majority of couples simply wanted to stay independent.

"There are now more divorced and widowed adults who are interested in forging new intimate relationships outside the confines of marriage. Recent research demonstrates that there are other ways to establishing long-lasting, high-quality relationships without committing to marriage or living together," said Jacquelyn Benson, assistant professor in the College of Human Environmental Sciences at the University of Missouri, in an article with the MU News Bureau.

And let's face it, there's all types of unconventional relationships in the world, so why can't LAT work for all couples, not just older ones? Afterall, there's no rule that says couples have to live together in order to be considered together!

Now whether LAT catches on with younger adults remains to be seen, but we think there would be a lot more happy couples in the world if everyone could just go to their separate homes at the end of the night!

In this week's Forever 39 podcast we discuss whether we think LAT is something that can keep couples together longer, or whether its just another relationship fad.

Also from this week's Forever 39 podcast — Tips to manage holiday-related stress. PLUS: Is revealing your salary to your coworkers a do or don't? Click on the podcast player above to hear the entire episode.

Share your thoughts on all of them below, on Twitter, on Facebook or at forever39@nj1015.com.

— Annette and Megan, Forever 39

Join us for next week’s podcast when we chat why making friends in your 30s and 40s is so hard, our favorite Christmas movies, and how frequently you should be washing some common household items.

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