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Modern families: Living apart but together

Click to play video 'Modern iterations of family: Living apart together' Modern iterations of family: Living apart together
WATCH ABOVE: More and more couples are choosing to be together but live apart. While it can have its advantages there are also challenges to consider. Kim Smith reports – Mar 7, 2019

Olivia Weaver Pilip is in a long-distance, long-term relationship.

“As our relationship has progressed, our time together has actually decreased. So now we’ve gone to just strictly a weekend relationship,” Weaver Pilip said.

READ MORE: Do couples living apart hold the secret to everlasting love?

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She lives in Edmonton with her two young sons while her boyfriend Sebastien Paquette lives 180 kilometres away in Whitecourt. The couple met more than two years ago and share everything except an address.

“Our family situations keep us apart,” explained Weaver Pilip. “Neither one of us is in a position to move. I’m certainly not moving to Whitecourt and he’s not moving to Edmonton. So here we are for the next seven years.”

The Weaver Pilip/ Paquette family hitting the slopes . Olivia Weaver Pilip
The Weaver Pilip/Paquette family cheering on the Edmonton Oilers. Olivia Weaver Pilip
Olivia Weaver Pilip with sons Brody and Birk, boyfriend Sebastien and his son Jayden celebrate Christmas. Olivia Weaver Pilip

The couple plans to live together once Paquette’s son graduates from high school.

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“So many people question me — not in a rude way, but just, ‘Oh, how do you guys do that? Is that really sustainable?'” said Weaver Pilip.

More couples living apart

New numbers from Statistics Canada found 1.5 million Canadians aged 25 to 64 are in a relationship with someone living in another home.

READ MORE: Divorce hurts teens more than it does children, study finds

The share of living-apart-together (LAT) couples increased by three per cent over the past decade. The majority of those couples live in the same province and just 20 kilometres from each other.

Click to play video 'Does absence really make the heart grow fonder?' Does absence really make the heart grow fonder?
Does absence really make the heart grow fonder? – Mar 13, 2018

Advice for making it work

Jessica O’Reilly is a sex and relationship expert and host of Sex with Dr. Jess. She believes more divorced parents than ever are choosing not to move in.

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“They see the challenges with blended families and they still want the partnership and companionship,” O’Reilly said.

“I think what younger people overall are realizing when it comes to dating is that you can custom design your relationship.

“It doesn’t have to look like your neighbours’ and it doesn’t have to look like your parents’.”

O’Reilly says couples can maintain a meaningful and intimate connection while living in separate homes and without having to blend families.

“You may not get the tax breaks. It may be a financial burden, but your kids maintain the predictability and the stability that they’ve always had.”

O’Reilly encourages LAT couples to put schedules in writing or use an app to avoid miscommunication.

“Keep track of where you spend time, where the kids spend time, how often you spend time at one another’s houses. You are going to have to discuss those things in advance otherwise you might end up just moving in six to seven days a week, and paying for two homes unnecessarily.”

WATCH BELOW: Two per cent of married Canadians live in separate homes, new poll says.

Click to play video 'Two per cent of married Canadians live in separate homes, new poll says' Two per cent of married Canadians live in separate homes, new poll says
Two per cent of married Canadians live in separate homes, new poll says – Jul 23, 2018

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