Now Or Never

Neighbours in love: A committed couple share the joys of living apart

Kathie Brosemer and Louis St. Pierre have chosen to live next door to each other rather than move in together. They both enjoy the autonomy of making decisions about their home and hobbies.

A couple from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., says separate households means not fighting over the little things

Louis St. Pierre bought the house next door to where his partner Kathie Brosemer lives so they could be close but still enjoy some solitude. (Louis St. Pierre)

Living happily ever after — together. That is the typical description of a successful relationship.

However, one committed couple from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., have decided that living apart is the secret to keeping their romance alive. 

Kathie Brosemer and Louis St. Pierre have maintained separate homes since they began their relationship more than five years ago. But the decision to not live in the same household was solidified during the pandemic, when Louis bought the house next to Kathie's. 

"We weren't in a hurry to move in together. Both of us were happy where we were," Kathie said. 

"When my neighbour's house came up for sale and we made a very deliberate decision. Louis sold his own his house a mile away and bought my next door neighbour's house."

'I can be messy if I want to'

Both Louis and Kathie are quick to point out the benefits of their living arrangement. 

Louis loves doing woodwork and says Kathie's place has no room for a workshop.

"And I can be messy if I want to in my house and clean up whenever I feel like it," said Louis. 

One of the reasons Kathie Brosemer likes to live alone is because it allows her to choose how she raises dogs. (Louis St. Pierre)

He also appreciates that they don't have to merge artwork or argue about the colour of the walls. 

For Kathie the upside of living apart is about maintaining autonomy. 

"I don't want to have to share authority over my dogs or how I run my household," Kathie said.

Despite the fact that they maintain separate homes the couple spends evenings and weekends together. 

And Kathie admits that because they are an older couple, there is a possibility of moving in together in the future if one of them becomes disabled. 

"It could get to the point ... where one or the other of us really can't live alone anymore, and at that point we would combine households," Kathie said. 

However, both Louis and Kathie admit they would miss the solitude and would probably get on each other's nerves. 

The neighbours were puzzled

Their current unconventional relationship has raised a few eyebrows. 

Kathie says her neighbours were puzzled when Louis bought the house next door.

And when Louis describes his current living situation to people, he says their reaction is a mixture of surprise and sometimes envy. 

"I told one guy, [and] as soon as I told him, he says, 'Oh, I wish I had thought of that before I got married again'," chuckled Louis. 

One of the reasons Louis St. Pierre likes to maintain his own household is because he has room for his wood workshop. (Louis St. Pierre)

The couple both admit that being neighbours rather than roommates is not the ideal situation for every couple. 

"If you want to have kids together, this really can't work well. But it's also it's not cheap. Maintaining two homes is not not for people who are are just getting by," Kathie cautioned.