Neighbours instead of roommates: This young couple is happily married, but living apart

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Neighbours instead of roommates. (Getty Images)
Neighbours instead of roommates. (Getty Images)

For many couples, moving in together signifies a big step in their relationship but that wasn’t the case for Neo* (32) and her husband, Sam* (34).

Living apart together was a conscious, intentional lifestyle choice the couple made and they believe its okay to structure your marriage the way that works best for you and your partner.

This is their story: 

Sam and I met at an art exhibition where we both attended solo. We were probably the only two people who were not in small social circles or making small talk with other attendees. All we did was admire the art and drink wine.

At the end of the evening, we coincidentally waited for an Uber together and started having a conversation about the art exhibition. I instantly fell in love with his mind and how intellectual and observant he is. Just as we were at the peak of our conversation, both our Ubers arrived. We exchanged numbers and the following day we met up for coffee.

On our coffee date, we were both surprised by how much we have in common. The one thing we never thought we would have in common is the deep need to live apart with a partner. We were both shocked about the fact that we want to get married one day, but we just don’t want to live with our spouses. It was refreshing meeting someone who shares the same views as me.

After our date, I knew that this was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. 

READ MORE: New study reveals that people who share a bed with their partner get better sleep  

We started dating when I was 27 and got married when I was 29. Some may ask why we decided to get married if we had no plans of living together?

Well, we still believe in the beauty of marriage and as Christians, we wanted our union to be ordained by God. We are just a happily married couple that doesn’t live together. We believe that living apart brings a desire for keeping the courtship and mystery alive. We have weekly date nights and yes, we sometimes spend a night or weekends at either one of our apartments, which are by the way 2kms apart. 

Living apart has worked for us because we get to share the joy of our love and passion for each other, without all the irritants those differences bring about almost daily when sharing a home.  

What we have learned is that we get best of both worlds - all the benefits of being a couple without any sacrifice of individualism.

There was a time when we were pressurised by both our parents to live together, but we had to make them aware that there are absolutely no problems or red flags in our marriage - its just personal preference. We are both creatives and we just need our space to thrive and be better people and partners to one another.

When it comes to finances, nothing much has changed but we are way more transparent about our financial decisions and we also have a joint savings account. People usually think we live apart because I don’t want to fulfil my wifely duties, which I find absurd.

READ MORE: The role of breadwinning women still largely underplayed in the home despite changing gender roles  

Sam and I don’t believe in traditional gender roles and that doesn’t mean our relationship is imbalanced. Sam loves cooking and I’m usually the self-appointed plumber and electrician of the relationship. I can’t remember how many times I’ve changed the globes at Sam’s place (chuckle). According to the bible, fulfilling my wifely duties is honouring, revering, and admiring my husband, which is exactly what I do.  

Being married and living apart is not for everyone and both you and your partner should be on the same page about it. No marriage is the same and what works for us doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for the next. 

*Not their real names

Follow us on social media here: FacebookTwitterInstagram

Sign up to W24’s newsletters so you don't miss out on any of our stories and giveaways.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Do you think it's important to get married in this day and age?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, it's important in order to create a family unit and for companionship
23% - 923 votes
Not at all. Being single is far more liberating
9% - 370 votes
There is no general answer to this, it's each to their own
49% - 2011 votes
Yes, society still frowns on unmarried people, especially women
1% - 56 votes
It depends on whether you are able to find a compatible partner
18% - 723 votes