Social Indicators Research

, Volume 130, Issue 2, pp 799–817 | Cite as

A Life Course Perspective on Living Apart Together: Meaning and Incidence Across Europe

  • Inge Pasteels
  • Vicky Lyssens-Danneboom
  • Dimitri Mortelmans


The increased variability in family types and forms of relationships is the most apparent outcome of family change in recent decades in Europe. One relationship that has emerged and recently become more visible, both in society and in science, is a ‘nonresidential partnership’ termed living apart together (LAT). We explore the meaning and incidence of LAT partnerships across Europe using a life course perspective. Cluster analysis using five cluster variables (living independently from parents, never having lived as a couple before, the intention to cohabit in the future, the age of the respondents, and the duration of the relationship) was carried out on data from the Generations and Gender Survey for ten countries. Four types of non-residential partnership across Europe are revealed. From a measurement perspective, a simplified model provides empirical evidence that three indicators are sufficient to detect and situate LAT relationships on a partnership continuum: (1) having a nonresidential partner, (2) the age of the respondent, and (3) the duration of the LAT relationship. Classifying relationships with a non-resident partner can be carried out efficiently if information about the age of the respondent and the duration of the current LAT relationship is available.


Living apart together Non-residential partnership Life course 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inge Pasteels
    • 1
  • Vicky Lyssens-Danneboom
    • 1
  • Dimitri Mortelmans
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium

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