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Being together, living apart: A more frequent arrangement after a separation

Population and Societies

566, May 2019

While most couples have separate homes at the start of their relationship, some prefer to continue living apart for many months or years. Analysing data from the EPIC survey of individual and conjugal trajectories (Étude des parcours individuels et conjugaux) conducted in 2013–2014, Arnaud Régnier-Loilier examines the prevalence of non-cohabiting relationships and the characteristics of the people who choose this living arrangement over the long term.

In France, being in a relationship without living together most often corresponds to a stage in the process of union formation rather than a distaste for shared living, especially among young people. On the other hand, for people previously in a union and who already have children, living separately from their new partner may be seen as an “alternative” to cohabitation, enabling them to enjoy a new intimate relationship while maintaining their autonomy and avoiding the constraints of shared living.

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