Assistant Professor Karen Upton-Davis of UWA’s School of Population Health said one in four of Australia’s supposedly single adult population lived in such a relationship.
“About half of these are under 25 and still living at home with their parents but the other half, who are older, have chosen not to marry or live with their partner and are maintaining their own household,” she said.
“A LAT relationship has its attractions. It gives women greater autonomy over their lives – over how they spend their time and money and the extent that they provide caregiving to others. It’s also a way of protecting themselves against property loss if a relationship breaks down.
“For my investigation of LAT relationships, I’m interested in delving deep and talking to women to find out how it affects their view of themselves and how it impacts on their partner, family and friends.
“I’m also curious about the impact on these women’s dealings with the outside world – for instance with their workplace, financial institutions, government and community agencies and services,” Assistant Professor Upton-Davis said.
She is a recruiting women over 45 who are in a LAT relationship by choice and expects to conduct two-hour interviews from June to October 2012.
Among the growing number of famous LAT couples are actor Helena Bonham-Carter and film director Tim Burton who live next door to each other in London.