Can a couple have a successful relationship and not live together?

United States
September 10, 2010 9:26am CST
I've been in a long-term relationship now for nearly 7 years, but we have always maintained separate households. In the beginning, we did see one another more frequently because I lived on my own, but since I've been forced to have room mates, my boyfriend prefers to get a hotel room and not see me as frequently. He lives in the city, and believes that I don't belong living there (as does my family), but I just don't like the neighborhoods where he's expressed an interest in moving too. Have any of you ever heard of a successful long-term relationship work this way? I had thought by now we'd be living together, but he's expressed no interested in moving towards doing so. I know I'm going to hear a lot of "Move on girl!", but I do get a lot of freedom in this relationship too...I'm torn!
7 people like this
19 responses
@shaggin (37297)
• United States
10 Sep 10
The guy I'm seeing lives with his parents so I cant go there. We keep things very quiet. I dont like people knowing my business. I can totally see myself having a relationship with him but dont intend to ever live with him. I have two kids and unless I know that the relationship will last for years and years then I dont want him ever meeting my kids. I dont want my kids getting attached and then suddenly the guys done when we split up. At least with my ex he still sees his kids but if I split up with anyone else that I didnt have kids with they wouldnt see my kids again and I dont want my kids having to go through that. I think as long as both parties can be faithful then it should be a problem at all.
2 people like this
• United States
10 Sep 10
Thanks shaggin...I would have felt the same way in your position too. Our kids have met one another because we met at work, and at some point, our children were present. He's not much for talking about himself, his day or his life, so I've always been a bit nervous. I get nervous when someone says Trust Me...I fully expect to be let down! I did not want to live with a man to share a bed while my daughter was still in my home unless it was going somewhere...a friend of mine divorced her husband and then proceeded to get involved with three different men. Those men were also involved in disciplining her children, but fortunately for the kids, the last one's a keeper (they're married now) and they've all remained friends with the first one. I just wonder how much therapy her daughter's had over the years because of that nonsense...
@shaggin (37297)
• United States
14 Sep 10
I agree with you. I dont like that. I've been with plenty of men since my ex and I split up but NONE of them have ever seen my kids. I would never allow them around my kids and let them discipline them. The one guy I am seeing told me that I need to get my daughter to stop sleeping in my bed and I told him that I dont want him telling me how to parent my children.
• United States
7 Apr 11
He was trying to tell you how to raise your child?! I used to get that from him, but he had sons and I have a daughter so there were a LOT of issues we didn't see eye-to-eye. Fortunately now we are no longer together but even he would have been a better father figure than her own father (sadly).
• United States
10 Sep 10
I myself have not had that kind of relationship (except when I was still in school) but I have a room mate here who is not living with his fiance. She is living with her mom because she just had a baby. They have been together four years and they were together 24/7 up until now and they seem to be doing really good! Another friend of mine, had more of an online relationship for a few years with a guy. They both still care for each other, but she had a baby with another guy when they split, so they are not together. In my opinion, if you're not ready don't do it! You don't want to rush yourself, until you are absolutely sure you're ready. :D Good Luck!
2 people like this
• United States
10 Sep 10
Thanks Amazed! Actually, I've felt that we could make it work, so I think it's more that HE'S the one with the issues! But we haven't been trying to live together (his words--why ruin it when it's going so well?), so I guess I'll go back to waiting...but NOT forever! Thanks for the response!
• United States
10 Sep 10
No problem! Does he show ANY sign of wanting to move in together?!?! Eventually, the relationship will have to move on to that, but still no rushing haha
• United States
7 Apr 11
Nope, in fact he stopped calling me! I was upset for a month but I had already decided to break it off when he stopped calling me. I've also moved on, and if I saw him now I'd probably turn the other way. He had a LOT of drama, something I didn't want to deal with any more.
• United States
13 Sep 10
Forget how it looks to others. Forget the question " why don't you get married already or leave him he will never marry you."B.S. It is very simple. Are you happy with him the way things are? If so , then Don't fix it . but if not
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Sep 10
I know I do not want to marry again, not to him or anyone else. The only thing that truly bothers me is his room mate and he doesn't want me to meet her! I guess the only thing that really has me upset is my inability to find a job that I then can find my own place again...I think that's the crux of the problem! Thanks!
@sid556 (31005)
• United States
11 Sep 10
hi scorpiobabes, I think it could work out great with the right couple. I love living on my own and at this point, I think it would difficult for me to move in with someone or have them move in with me. I love the freedom part in it as well as having my own space. I would love the idea of having my boyfriend spend a night or two at my place or me at his. It would give us something to look forward to. I don't really get why your boyfriend would prefer staying in a hotel rather than at your place though. Is it because of your room mate? Could you join him at the hotel? What about his place? Are you able to stay there some nights?
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Sep 10
Hey Sid....I got used to having my own place too. I've found it hard to live with someone else; mostly cause I've lived with guys as room mates who do NOT clean up after themselves! The last one was horrible--I had to scrub the toilets because the bowls were BLACK! As for my guess as to why my boyfriend doesn't like to come to my place, I think he feels intimidated (weirded out?) because there's another man in the house). His place (in his opinion) is out of the question because (as he said to me), M. (his room mate) 'hates' me. Um she doesn't even know me....whatever! If he wants to see me, a hotel room is the way to go.
• Canada
10 Sep 10
Ya know, I am somewhat jealous of your situtation. Because I am such an independant person, I think I would actually prefer to have my own place, where I am not forced, nor expected to clean up after this spouse I have. When we first started dating, I was fresh out of an abusive relationship, and wanted NO PART of any new relationship. But, he wined and dined me, chased me, actually, which is what I like best, it seems. lol So, when he suggested, to save on costs, we should move in together, I was still reluctant, as I wanted my own space. I didn't want a spouse that I had to 'mother' because that is part of the reason I left my 2nd husband (married that one). I liked the 'mystery' that living apart kept intact, and the 'new' feeling when he arrived for a visit, too. I was being treated like I was 'special' and THAT was VERY important to me. But, when his only son, from his first marriage, was sent to Children's Aid by his mother, his Mom told him that if he didn't take the custody that was offered to him, she would disown him, I caved and moved in with him so he could take him. I still regret it to this day, because it was over 3 yrs of a tyrant living with us that was constantly in trouble with the school, the cops, the neighbours, etc. But I was determined to try and make it work. He went to a 'special' school for kids with 'behaviour problems' thus we thought he would grow out of it as he matured somewhat. He landed in our laps at 11 yrs of age. I had high hopes at the time, because I actually wanted a son, as well, so I optimistically opened my home and my heart to him and tried my best for all our sakes. All I got for my trouble, was my own 2 girls were neglected, because I was too busy chasing after him all the time, and cleaning up his messes. And he was so rebellious, that he was stealing from me/us all the time, but I couldn't prove it to my spouse, his father. Finally, I caught him red-handed sneaking into my office (private) and stealing some of my chocolates I had hidden in a secret container in a drawer. I told him to go to his room and wait until his father came home. He had the audacity to mouth off, saying, "That is no punishment, because I have my TV, VCR, and video games. So, I decided that he would lose his priviledge of having the video games and went to his room to unplug it, until such time as we (his father and I) had discussed any other appropriate punishment. While I was unscrewing the connections, so as not to damage anything, (my back was to the door), he came running in as fast as he could muster (he is 15 now) and shoved me as hard as he could into the wall. My head hit the windowframe and I was unconscious. He began to kick and beat me while I was unconscious (based on the marks I had later and as I came to I felt it). When he realized I was waking up, he put me in a wrestling head lock hold. His hand was over my lips, so I wiggled my lips until I could just about bite him, when he felt my teeth on his skin, he suddenly loosened his grip, just enough, that I was able to free myself. Now, we were separated by a few feet and on equal ground. I wanted to kick the living sh1t out of him like he duly deserved, BUT I knew he would have me charged for sure, so, I made the decision to phone the cops instead. It was the right one. He left in handcuffs, was charged with assault and out of our lives permanently.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Sep 10
Oh sweets....I didn't realize it had been that bad! You had hinted a few times, but at the time, we weren't as close and I was too dense to read between the lines. This is the same guy who's been haunting my dreams for years now...and I'm stuck in limbo! This has been an absolutely awful year for...lost my father last November but we couldn't bury him until May; changed my friends around because of other issues I couldn't take any more; and dealt with him ripping me a new one for no reason. I even fell 5 times this summer (twice in the shower, and once down an entire flight of uncarpeted stairs!) I'm trying to move on...thought I had a great job lined up, complete with benefits but now they're dragging their feet; that WAS to be my new start in life. And I was leaving it open as to weather or not he was going to be a part of that life! Now the job is hedging and I might not be getting it. I even asked him two quextions: 1) What is it about me that is so repulsive and prevents us from living together? and 2) Then WHY do you keep calling me to get together? (directed at him) He really hasn't answered each one, although now he's calling more frequently. My head hurts from this...prolly worse than my heart...ugh!
@dream_ozn (1758)
• Singapore
10 Sep 10
Hmm, it depends if you are really committed to being in a long-term relationship with him. There will be no sweets without any sacrifice. You might be having your freedom now, but I believe that it is still every girl's dream to get married to her love one. Both of you I believe should be looking forward to staying together instead of not wanting to do so! I do believe that a couple can have a successful relationship and not live together. But, it really takes a lot of hard work maintaining it. Furthermore, if you are really looking at a long-term relationship, not staying together really defeats the purpose.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Sep 10
When we got together, I had been attracted to him for a number of years; I was just breaking it off finally with my husband (long time till the divorce actually started). I didn't go into this thinking long-term either--I truly only thought maybe a year max, but it was little things that caused me to fall for him. My dream is to spend the rest of my life with him but I had such a bad first marriage that it's scared me off for a second try. Guess that punches a hole in your theory!
@goldeneagle (6775)
• United States
10 Sep 10
This is actually a good thing in a lot of cases. You can enjoy your time together, and at the same time, you can have your own personal space to retreat to when you need to be alone for a few days. Some of us should be so lucky. The fact that you aren't married to each other or living together doesn't mean that you love each other any less. Marriage is over-rated, and it often causes more problems that it solves. The only issue I am having here is that he takes you to a hotel room. That is going to get expensive in the long run. Why not just go to his place? Does he have roommates as well? If so, then the hotel room may be a good thing...
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Sep 10
We both have room mates...and he isn't comfortable coming over here for some reason. I'm not even going into his reasons why I can't go to his place, other than that they have lived together a long time (15 years) and apparently she hates me??? Having been married (and BADLY), I have no desire to marry again, but I would like to feel as though I belonged to someone, that I mean something to someone else. I'm so head-over-heels in love with this man, and have made excuses for him, but have begun to realize some of his reasoning as to WHY he choses to conduct our relationship this way. I don't need to be sheltered or protected from harsh realities except in his mind!
@vicki2876 (5640)
• Canada
10 Sep 10
I was in a 14 year relationship where we had different households. We even have a child together. I also thought that one day we would be living together. I wasn't very worried about it for a while because I am very independant and enjoyed my solitude and ability to raise my children the way I wanted. Like you, we saw each other more at the beginning and less and less as the years went on. There were always reasons that we could not live together. He is looking after his sister and her child who are not independent people. I was not wanting the responsiblity of being a wife where I couldn't do what I wanted when I wanted. But the truth is that I always evenutally wanted someone I could share forever with. I wanted someone to wake up to in the mornings and kiss goodnight. There was always something missing in our relationship. So I told him we HAD to try to make it work. Within a year it was clear, that even though we loved each other very much and still do, we were never going to be able to make a living together relationship work. It was really never there to begin with and more importantly, we were so used to not living together that it was hard to change that. So I had to either be happy with a non living together relationship (which I have only once seen work) or move on and find someone where I didn't feel like I was giving up something I wanted. Well I finally desided that I could not live that way forever and I was wasting my time as well as his and the children. So I met someone else and I am much happier. I am now working toward goals that include him and our families. It is much more natural and comfortable in the one year we have been together, than the 14 years I spent with my last partner. I don't feel like I have to settle for a situation that I am missing out things that I will always want. I will always love my ex and I am happy for the time we had together, but I had to move on. I don't know about you guys, but I do know that the longer you have a relationship where you don't join together, the more unlikely you ever will be able to break that habit and be able to live together. You two either need to make the decision that this situation is all you need and be happy or work on making it what you do need or split and find that somewhere else. Good LUCK
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Sep 10
Thank you Vicki! This is the kind of response I wanted to hear, the pros and cons of this type of relationship. You mentioned that you had a child together--how did that child handle both of you no longer together as a couple (but still as parents)? I do want to live on my own again...this stupid depression (it is NOT a recession) has only made things harder for me financially. You've got me thinking about a lot of things now...I appreciate your response!
10 Sep 10
Maybe your partner has issues with making a more serious committment and is happy with the way things are. If you are not happy with your relationship situation then you do need to open up and discuss it with your partner. Maybe you could both come to an agreement on where to live, like somewhere inbetween where the both of you already live. Move to a new location to start your lives as a couple.
• United States
10 Sep 10
Thanks Beauty...I couldn't help but laugh about living halfway between our homes because we only live about 15 miles apart! But that's all in my home state, and I don't know that he's willing to move over to this side of the bridge, even if it means he'll get his gas pumped for him all the time! As for our situation, I've stopped bringing it up because it's obvious that he's the one with the issues and all it does is cause us to fight. I'll think of another tactic though...I appreciate your suggestions!
• United States
10 Sep 10
This is interesting, and you seem to be in a predicament but only you can make this decision. I think long term relationships can last without living with the other person, but you have to realize that at some point or another, you two are going to come to the point where you all need to make the next step or just move on from each other. I mean, the whole point of relationships are to move towards a goal, whatever that goal may be for you two (marriage or something else). I guess the question is are you two comfortable with the situation you two have? By the look of it, it doesn't seem like you are satisfied because you wouldn't be torn about this, if so. Why doesn't he want to live with you? Is he not ready to take that step? You can't force someone to do something if they don't want to do it and if you aren't happy, then I think you know what you need to do. You can leave or just accept it for what it is; it's up to you. I honestly think you should talk to your boyfriend and see where his head is at. Only you two can make the right decision for each other and communication is one of the most important elements in a relationship for it to last. Express your feelings and see how he reacts to it. You can make your decision from there. I wish you the best!
• United States
10 Sep 10
Thanks Kray...I've asked him a number of times, but he's not yet elaborated on actually WHY he's got a problem with it. Because of that, I just live my own life and he *might* get to see me once in a while. We have had a lot of communication issues though, and I really did get fed up with constantly being in a position of apologizing and said something. Things did seem to improve somewhat, but I also let it be known that while I respect his need to be in charge (he's never let a woman be the dominate one in a relationship), he cannot keep pushing me around without my getting angry about it! I think I have to wait a bit longer before making a move though, and get into a better position myself before I begin making demands.
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
25 Nov 11
Oh..I can see your dilemma. Since your discussion is a year old...that would make it 8 years now and perhaps your situation has changed. If not..the question is...are you happy? If you are..then it is fine and it doesn't matter how many other relationships have worked or not worked under the same circumstances. You have to think about what is best...if you want more than he is willing to give...yes..I would have to say..move on...but if you are content with the way things are..then I would have to say keep on keepin on. I don't think there is any right or wrong answer.
• United States
3 Dec 11
I moved on last fall--I just got tired of the excuses he made and decided I needed a COMPLETE change. I reevaluated what I wanted, realized that my choices were limited and moved out of my normal comfort zone. I'm happy to say that I've met a wonderful guy and we're considering marriage sometime next fall. :)
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
3 Dec 11
Good for you!!!! I am so happy that things have worked out! Sometimes it's hard to move out of the "comfort zone" but it is sometimes for the best. Great luck!
@KrauseHome (35528)
• United States
24 Sep 11
Personally I would be a little leary of dating someone you cannot come to their place and spend time with, and why is he not wanting you to come to the City? I would be a little suspicious and a little skeptical if it was me, and personally it might be time to move on. Sounds like he is not wanting a real committment with you, and does not want to be tied down, and might have someone else on the side. Personally I would think your Self Worth is better than this.
• United States
26 Nov 11
Believe me, I learned my lesson. He's LONG gone from my life now and I've moved on--literally and figuratively. I was more selective in selecting my next partner, enough so that we're recently engaged and plan to marry late next year! :)
@didi13 (2927)
• Romania
24 Jul 11
Depends on the understanding each couple by ... freedom! Are partners from the start, gain freedom, but it offers others appear to be contradictory ... asking, but offers only and not in others and assent discrepancy occurs ... and when you both know how happy pay, but also to receive from the other and vice versa! And yet something very important: the limits of this freedom! I think not exceed decency, loyalty, morality ... because I do not know if that would be called a couple in the true sense of the word, or only a surrogate, an illusion, a tacit understanding of coexistence in two ... Now, all we know what we want from a relationship and what we offer in that relationship, so we can only find the right person!
• United States
24 Jul 11
I agree that everyone has different definitions of freedom--some partners are very insecure, and cannot bear to be apart, while others are quite independent. But with every partnership comes with compromise and trust--without those foundations in place, there won't be any success.
12 Sep 10
I don't,but my boyfriend and I are separating so far.He study in Australia and I'm in China for a year and a half.I feel lonely and we just talking in skype every night.I feel our relationship is getting insipid and I don't know how long we can keep.I'm suffering!
• United States
12 Sep 10
Wow--China and Australia! But at least you talk on Skype every night--I talk to my boyfriend once a week if I'm lucky! May I ask why the two of you are so far apart geographically? Is this for school, work, by choice?
@Hatley (164521)
• Garden Grove, California
11 Sep 10
scorpio why is the reason he does not w ant to live with you? I mean this seems a tad fishy like he likes you on the string but also wants to be free in case he sees something he likes even more.To me it seems like theres really little relationship there and when he does not see you what the heck is he doing? Courting another woman perhaps? I would really wonder why he does not want to live together, is it because he already has another woman on the side perhaps?freedom in a relationship sounds like that is complete fr eedom with little real relationship.
• United States
12 Sep 10
I honestly don't know what's going on in his head! He's very secretive about his life at home, which really could be anything! I stopped asking him questions he was unwilling ( not unable) to answer because of the lack of adequate answers (and my imagination going wild!). Now it's MY turn to be sneaky and not let him in my life and give him a dose of his own medicine!
• Philippines
11 Sep 10
Sometimes sacrifice is essential to our decisions for us to be in the right path of our journey. So do the right thing and enjoy life.
• United States
12 Sep 10
You're right--considering the economic climate today, it's any wonder that I still am able to live where I do! I'm hoping that things start improving soon so that I can once again find my own place, and then perhaps he'll consider staying over.
@eurekafemme (5881)
• Philippines
10 Sep 10
Yes, of course. You can still have a successful healthy relationship even if you are not living in together as a couple. When my husband and I were just sweethearts, we did not live under the same roof but would often meet, eat together, and enjoy each other's company.But, even with that situation, we are happy and very much in love that every separation breaks our heart. We feel closer with each other and each day, we look forwards seeing the other at the end of the day.:) This closeness made us think and decide to live together after two yeas of getting steady.Unfortunately, things changed. There were things that we don't deem to agree and we started having arguments and fights.... Sometimes, I'd wish that we never get together because we felt more closer when we were physically apart than we are right now. We are so near and yet so far... So, it is doable as long as you keep on communicating and seeing each other. And, whatever you do, maintain an honest relationship. No hiding of truths from each other no matter how shameful that truth may be. This is the only way you can maintain that successful relationship.:)
• United States
7 Apr 11
One of the last times we got together, I asked him a question about going away together for a few days. His answer was that I should take my daughter--and it was so final. It was then that I began reevaluating our 'relationship' and I began to mentally and emotionally let go--we stopped speaking less than a week before I decided to tell him it was over, he just beat me to it. Cowardly by not calling but I was through chasing him anymore.
• Brazil
10 Sep 10
I think you have to balance the pros and cons of your relationship. And you're the only one who can do so! I, personaly wouldn't manage to stay in such a relationship for so long, but I think it's perfectly acceptable and have friends who think it's much easier this way. It seems to me that you are not happy with how things are going now or you wouldn't be posting this here even though you like the freedom you have with your kind of relationship
@jhyan007 (467)
• Philippines
11 Sep 10
....i think that is possible, but hardly possible...we should accept the fact that in having physical contact is one of the major factor that contributes in building a stronger foundation and making our relationship with our partner more firm....although there might be people who were successful in this setup, but mostly, it will failed...somehow, i think it depends upon each point of view and principle of the couples and their priorities...