Living separately – the new paradigm

Living separately - the new paradigm

Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton have been going out for years, and live in houses next door to each other – because she can’t stand gothic interior decoration, and he can’t stand the chintz. ‘The new paradigm’ is being in a loving trusting relationship but living separately. Angela Lestat weighs up the pros and cons of a way of going out with someone where you have to explain to people without sounding silly that you’re ‘living in the new paradigm’.

We’re at the pub, chatting and having a drink or two. The night progresses and my friend tells me about the ‘new paradigm’- insert catch phrase here.

“New paradigm?” I say.

“Yeah, me and Julie are in the new paradigm.”

“So what does the ‘new paradigm entail?”

“Well, Julie and I have decided to live separately, but still be together.”

“So you mean you are separated?” (Keep in mind they have been married less than a year.)

“No! No, we wouldn’t separate – we just live separately. In fact, we’re trying to have kids.”

Through further detailed discussion with my friend I find out that the ‘new paradigm’ is this: two consenting adults (married or unmarried), decide to live separately, to occasionally contribute financially to one another’s household, marry and even have children; all the while maintaining fidelity.

Sounds like lunacy to me. I’ve been married for a year and cannot imagine wanting to revert, essentially, to dating my husband. To add children to this seems utter insanity. Is this some fancy way of dodging child support payments? Is this the new paradigm?

I put my newlywed bias aside and decided to give this further thought.

Good points for couples living separately:

. You always have your own space

. There are only ever your dirty clothes on the floor

. You are not obligated to divulge your spending habits

. Control of the telly is no longer an issue

. You only have to watch the video games you are playing

. You can still feel like you are dating while maintaining the security of an LTR

. You can have whatever you want for dinner, eliminating the everpresent “what do you want for dinner?” conversations

. You get the entire bed and duvet to yourself

. You can indulge in all those girly habits we all have in the comfort of your living room

Bad points for couples living separately:

. You wake up alone (a biggie for me)

. You sleep alone

. You have to shuffle any children between two houses and explain to your kids that you and your partner aren’t separated, but are in the new paradigm

. You still have to pay for your house and when your partner comes up short, pay some for them too

. You have to explain to other people, without sounding silly, that you are not separated, but are in the new paradigm – this will come up often, I think

. You have to go back to cooking for one, which is very depressing

. There is no one to divert the “what am I gonna have for dinner?” dilemna onto

I, personally, have not been swayed by my journey into the new paradigm. I like the old-fashioned way of living with my partner, whether we have children or not. I enjoy cooking for two and sharing the bed.

Though at times there could be more duvet.


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