For over a year now, I’ve been reading trend pieces about how more and more married couples are choosing to live apart for a variety of reasons. Some are because of the economy. But some are because of careers that could easily be compromised.
For the people that live apart by choice as opposed to circumstance, I have to ask: are these people out of their f*$%^*# minds?
Living apart while married is one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through (and that’s including Russian healthcare and drinking Hortex.) I feel like not only I’ve lost the forward momentum of our marriage, but more like Mr. B is some (hot) dude I hang out with on weekends rather than someone that I am trying to build shalom bayit and Ikea furniture with.
Once we start living together again (and driving each other crazy) things will revert back to normal. But for now, I feel like Han Solo -frozen, waiting for the thaw to start action towards our future again.
I will probably regret my unyielding, uncompromising stance in this post when I am older and wiser, but to me, being married means marrying your lives and learning to yield, no matter how messy they are or how accustomed you are to doing things your own way. Living together means sharing in the duties of marriage like cleaning, cooking, and watching Jersey Shore. Living together means having conversations like this at least three times a day (ok, maybe that’s just if you’re us.)
Living together means building your own space as a couple not only physically, but emotionally as well, which is why I will never, ever, ever regret spending our first two years of marriage a bit further away from family, no matter what logistical difficulties it is presenting us with now. When you live apart, a certain essence of what makes a marriage a marriage, is lost.
I guess, for people that marry well after their careers, households, and families are established, it makes some sense. Or if you have a can’t-miss career opportunity. In that case, shouldn’t the spouse with less earning potential sacrifice their job ad relocate as well? But don’t live apart just to live apart, like these people:
Which brings me to a far more compelling reason for our living separately: John and I have nothing in common except that we love each other and our sons. (We also share an antipathy for team sports and shellfish, a solid foundation for lifelong commitment if there ever was one.) But as far as our living habits go, we could not be farther apart. I think this situation is true for many married couples; they simply won’t admit it.
That’s not a marriage. That’s just a painful form of long division.