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Sex, Love and Security: Accounts of Distance and Commitment in Living Apart Together Relationships

Carter, Julia; Duncan, Simon; Stoilova, Mariya; Phillips, Miranda


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Julia Carter
Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Criminology

Simon Duncan

Mariya Stoilova

Miranda Phillips


© 2015, © The Author(s) 2015. Drawing on a 2011 national survey and 50 semi-structured interviews, we explore the differing ways in which those in living apart together (LAT) relationships discuss and experience notions of commitment. We found that sexual exclusivity in LAT relationships is expected by the large majority, regardless of their reasons for living apart. The majority of the interviewees also expressed a high degree of commitment to their partner in terms of love, care and intimacy, alongside an appreciation of the increased freedom and autonomy that living apart has to offer. Respondents were divided into four groups according to their perceived commitment: 1. Autonomous commitment, 2. Contingent commitment, 3. Ambivalent commitment, and 4. Limited commitment. Despite differing degrees of commitment, however, the overall finding was that the importance of relating and making relational decisions was central, even in the lives of those living in such unconventional relationship styles.


Carter, J., Duncan, S., Stoilova, M., & Phillips, M. (2016). Sex, Love and Security: Accounts of Distance and Commitment in Living Apart Together Relationships. Sociology, 50(3), 576-593.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 1, 2014
Publication Date Jan 1, 2016
Journal Sociology
Print ISSN 0038-0385
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 50
Issue 3
Pages 576-593
Keywords Britain, commitment, family, intimacy, LAT, sexual exclusivity
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