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Living Apart Together (LAT) in 2020


So living apart together (LAT) during 2020, is far from ideal. As we never know, when we will truly see each other again in person. Facetime doesn’t cut it when it comes to human interaction. 

Don’t get me wrong, it is better than if this pandemic had hit ten to twenty years ago, technology has come a long way, and I am grateful for that.

Having my husband share for almost a month with us has been fantastic! But it made us realise more than ever how precious time is, especially since that time has now gone and he is back in Singapore. 

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We are back to living apart together (LAT)

For the briefest of moments, it felt like having him home was our new norm; having him around was exactly what we all needed and wanted. 

Made even more special when it was all done in secrecy, having him arrive unexpectantly reminded me of when they were little, and Christmas morning had come.

The look of surprise and amazement was worth all the secrecy between us while he quarantined in a hotel 15 minutes away. Our time together was made special, just doing all the things most families take for granted. We were eating dinner together, watching tv together, just hanging out! 

We had people over (when restrictions were eased), we went out for dinner, we attended a party or two as a family. It was like he hadn’t been away, and that this was the norm. We never counted down days, when we knew doomsday was nearing, instead we savoured every last minute we had together.

Every spare minute he wasn’t working, was filled up with everyday things. Kicking the ball at the park, taking the dog for a walk, visiting family and friends (as much as I wanted to be selfish and savour every minute to ourselves) I knew that so many others wanted some of his time. It was just as important to him as it was to the people that wanted to see him too.

Living apart together

Our Dailly Routine while he was at home.

The hardest part about LAT is the new routine you have to form as soon as you reunite. Generally speaking, we compromise, which can sometimes be difficult if one is left feeling undervalued. Or if the person (visiting) arrives home to a well-oiled routine and can find it hard to adjust.

But for us, it was simple! I knew that he wasn’t here for long, so I did what anyone in my situation would do, and I ensured that my routine was 100% flexible. 

I worked hours I wouldn’t typically work, adjusted my timetable so that we were able to spend time together and I set up a work area, especially to suit him, which worked for us both. This way, he was able to lock himself away uninterrupted during Singapore working hours.

working from home

What does it look like 

Well, we don’t know! Life quickly went back to what it was before he arrived. We have made plans for a date for my return to Singapore, but then again it is only tentative as we aren’t sure what is going on. We have ideas, we have dates in mind but one thing I have learnt living apart together in 2020 is that plans aren’t set in concrete. That plans are continually needing to be adjusted as a new week arrives.

What I have learnt about myself while Living Apart Together

Anxiety Triggers

1 – For those who know me best, I live for plans! I am an over organiser! If I don’t have a plan in place, well alarm bells start chiming(LOUDLY). I am continually writing “to-do list”, marking calendars, writing schedules and updating Gantt charts. It is who I am and what I do! Well, until now. 

Now I have learnt to make plans, break plans, change plans, reschedule plans and sometimes (just sometimes) make no plans. I have learnt to deal with my anxiety in several ways. I am allowing myself to have good days and bad days and ensuring I am not so hard on myself. 

anxiety trigger

2 – The other trigger of anxiety, which kind of connects with the previous bullet point, and that is perfectionism. Everything I do doesn’t always have to be perfect. Every plan doesn’t have to go to perfection, so it is about adapting to this new scenario we are living. 

There is one thing to strive to be the best you can be, or do the best job you know-how. But then there is the other extreme of always reaching to be perfect! I have learnt that sometimes, things are out of your control. So it is about improvising or changing and adapting to the scenario! Instead of complaining about what went wrong, appreciate what has gone right by being grateful.

Living apart together

3 – Changing the narrative in my head! I am probably more critical on myself than anyone has ever been on me. This mental dialogue that has been with me all my life; has finally been rewritten! And I thank this situation for that. 2020 has allowed me to be alone more than I have ever felt comfortable being. 

I am what you might call, quite the social person! I was always making plans to catch up with someone or another, forever travelling to one place or another. 

So to be home, in isolation without my partner, has given me time to work on myself and change that narrative. I would love and hope to say; it has been adapted for good because although I am the forever optimist, I am also a realist!

Living apart together during 2020

So for now, I have adapted to this strange style of living. I won’t say I am comfortable with it, but I have accepted that it isn’t forever and that someday soon we will be reunited. I am sure there are many couples out there, going through similar situations. 

So instead of feeling like it is all doom and gloom, I am finding a better me, to take back with me when I can finally travel back to Singapore.

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