Gillian Anderson has a secret on what makes her relationship work with partner Peter Morgan, who pens the hit Netflix series The Crown, in which she plays Margaret Thatcher: She won't live with him. In an interview with the Sunday Times over the weekend, the 51-year-old ex-X Files star revealed that she and Morgan don't cohabitate, because "if we did, that would be the end of us." Not only does she not have to pick up after her 56-year-old beau or feel compelled to do other domestic chores she might resent, but "it feels so special when we do come together." The Times notes this type of living arrangement is known as "living apart together," or LAT, which apparently has been growing in popularity among couples who may not feel ready to move in together, can't do so due to finances or logistics, or are keeping that option off the table for other reasons.
A psychotherapist tells the Guardian that the positives of LAT include something called individuation, which "gives you breathing space" and allows you to strike a balance between committing to someone and having your independence. But recent research cited by the Cut notes the downsides, including a "darker motivation" to such an arrangement that comes from a place of anxiety, vulnerability, and even fear. A nationwide survey and complementary interviews found that many people who responded had been in unhealthy relationships previously, and so now lived apart from their partners as a way to avoid conflict, being controlled, or subjected to abuse. "For some people, then, choosing to live apart is not about finding a new or better form of intimacy. Rather ... it offers protection," the site notes. (Read more Gillian Anderson stories.)