Why couples no longer share beds or live together

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In a world where traditional relationship norms are evolving, Governor Ann Waiguru and city lawyer Kamotho Waiganjo Kamotho stand out as prime examples of choosing an unconventional path.

Their decision to maintain separate residences while being in a committed relationship has sparked curiosity and conversations about the various factors influencing modern relationship choices.

“Actually, the reason we run two homes is the logistics of combining. Every time we start, it is too much work,” explained Governor Ann Waiguru. Kirinyaga Kamotho resides in his Runda mansion in Nairobi, while Waiguru enjoys her own space in Kihingo village, Kitusuru. The governor said they both cherish their individual space, a sentiment that resonates with a growing number of couples. in a local media interview a couple of years ago.

Governor Ann Waiguru and Kamotho Waiganjo Kamotho

The second-term governor shed light on the intricacies of merging households, emphasising the attachment to personal belongings and the challenge of cultural norms.

“Think about it. You choose the furniture; let’s start with the living room. Who stays and who goes? I am attached to silly things, and he is attached to his stuff,” she explained.

“Then choose a house. You know this can’t be in his house, as according to Kikuyu culture and African culture, he cannot move to my house. But if you think about my political life, this place is very secure,” she added.

Kamotho resides in his Runda mansion in Nairobi, while Waiguru enjoys her own space in Kihingo village, Kitusuru. The governor said they both cherish their individual space, a sentiment that resonates with a growing number of couples.

In a society where personal freedom and individual pursuits are gaining prominence, Waiguru and Kamotho’s arrangement reflects a larger trend among couples who are embracing unique lifestyles. From career aspirations to personal inclinations, a multitude of reasons are reshaping the landscape of romantic partnerships.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) data shows that 5.5 per cent of Kenya’s 12 million households are headed by divorcees or persons who are separated from their spouses.

However, The Nairobian looks at the reasons why couples remain married but live separately.

Some, despite looking happily together, especially at public events, are fighting and running away from each other behind the scenes.

Psychological counsellor Regan Elmard said couples tend to live apart for many reasons. He explained that the reasons include work and education opportunities, balancing financial realities, personal space and autonomy, and overcoming geographical challenges and disagreements.

“A family is a unit, and people should live together. People should have clarity from the beginning,” Reagan said.

 

A nuanced perspective

While the concept of couples living apart might defy traditional norms, it underscores the importance of embracing diverse relationship structures. Cultural, religious, and personal considerations all contribute to the decision-making process. As society becomes more open-minded and inclusive, these couples challenge conventional notions of partnership, showcasing the evolution of romantic relationships in contemporary times.

Jane, who didn’t want to be mentioned, said that she preferred staying away from her man to enjoy her freedom. The 46-year-old said that staying away from her man gave her an opportunity to enjoy life without being closely monitored. It is the same reason why James, a father of three, stays away from his wife, whom he describes as stubborn.

“I want peace, and peace means going out anytime I want, drinking anytime I want, or coming back to sleep alone in bed,” he said.

However, Amina told The Nairobian that she preferred not to stay together with his man because she was jealous.

“My man loves women, and I feel jealous,” she said.

However, Reagan said in a world characterised by shifting norms and increased acceptance of alternative lifestyles, the choice of couples to live apart highlights the fluid nature of modern relationships.

“At times, couples fail to agree and decide to live together. Though it negatively affects the children or even the partners themselves and can lead to depression,” he said.

He added that effective communication, unwavering trust, and shared objectives remain pivotal in ensuring the success and fulfilment of such arrangements. As couples continue to forge their own unique paths, it is evident that the definition of a thriving partnership is expanding beyond traditional boundaries.

Work and education opportunities

Marriage experts believe that a significant factor driving the decision for couples to live apart is the pursuit of professional and educational growth. With advancements in technology breaking down geographic barriers, couples are increasingly choosing to live in different cities or countries to seize career opportunities or attend prestigious institutions. The allure of achieving one’s dreams often necessitates temporary separation as partners chase their individual ambitions.

 

Balancing financial realities

Rising living costs and fluctuating job markets are also compelling couples to maintain separate residences.

This pragmatic approach allows partners to strategically manage their financial responsibilities while maximising their earning potential. By opting for distinct living arrangements, couples can allocate resources more effectively to ensure a stable future.

 

Personal space and autonomy

The quest for personal space and independence remains a powerful motivation for couples to choose separate living situations. This arrangement allows each individual to retain their autonomy while nurturing their own passions and interests. It underscores the importance of a strong partnership that accommodates the unique needs of each person.

 

Overcoming geographical challenges

Long-distance relationships have become increasingly prevalent, driven by factors such as immigration constraints and disparate life circumstances. The advent of advanced communication technologies has facilitated emotional connectivity, enabling couples to bridge the physical gap and maintain their emotional bonds.

“Partners must agree on how to manage marriage life so that they can have the best, irrespective of the differences or any challenges that are coming up,” Reagan said.

 

Navigating health and family responsibilities

Reagan said that complexities of health issues and familial responsibilities can lead couples to make the difficult decision to live apart.

Caring for ageing parents or addressing specific health needs often requires partners to establish separate residences temporarily, demonstrating their dedication to ensuring the well-being of their loved ones.

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