Foi há cerca de seis anos que ouvi a expressão pela primeira vez num congresso sobre demografia. Orava uma representante holandesa. Uma breve pesquisa na Internet deu para confirmar que o conceito caminha para a institucionalização e que vai fazendo escola pelo mundo ocidental.
O que é exactamente LAT? Sugiro uma mini-reportagem levezinha da ABC News de Maio de 2006 para se perceber o conceito.
"Laurie Winter and Marvin Frank have a great family life, and they have been a couple for almost nine years.
They go to barbecues, out for fancy dinners, and sailing with Winter's kids. One thing they don't do is live together.
"I have my stuff. He has his stuff," Winter said. "We can maintain our independence."
Like Woody Allen and Mia Farrow — who once famously lived across Central Park from one another — marriage and living under one roof are just not the way Winter and Frank define their partnership.
Last year, a survey-based British study conducted by the Family Demography Unit at the Department of Social Policy at Oxford University estimated that 1 million couples in Great Britain were currently in similar relationships.
The National Marriage Project at Rutgers University found that these relationships, called "living apart together" or L.A.T. relationships, were on the rise in the United States as well.
"I like being in relationships, but I wasn't in any rush to get married," said Winter, who is divorced and has two daughters, Jennifer, 20, and Allison, 14.
Winter said her relationship with Frank worked for her because she valued her independence. She also said that she believed their relationship was revitalized when they got back together after a few nights apart.
"It's like a first date every time," she said.
At the same time, Frank and Winter have the stability of a long-term relationship.
"Our relationship is all the same things as a married couple would have, but without being married," Frank said.
The couple met on a blind date. For Winter, the question of marriage came up quickly.
"He had never been married, and he said, 'I don't ever really want to be married,' and I said, 'Well, you know, that's fine with me, because I don't plan to, either,'" she said.
Frank also wanted to keep his bachelor's pad and not live full time in the suburbs.
"I didn't want to give up my city lifestyle," said Frank, a private investor."
Haverá muitos Living Apart Together nesta nesga de terra debroada pelo oceano?