Getting Married and Living Apart is Like Drinking Non-Alcoholic Wine

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.

Vicki

5 thoughts on “Getting Married and Living Apart is Like Drinking Non-Alcoholic Wine

  1. I think that perhaps when I get married I want my own wing, so I have oodles of space but we’re still living together. I’m pretty selfish, I’ll admit it, and I like my own stuff and my own space. And surely a marriage after 30 years is different from a marriage after 5? Surely your needs as a couple change? Obviously I don’t really know. But I had a friend in college whose parents were both teachers at different boarding schools, so they lived apart, and it just worked for them. I think all relationships are different and it’s hard to comment on what works for other people, within reason (for example, that’s not to say I think polygamy should be legal).

    1. Sure, every person needs their space even when they live together, I don’t debate that. I don’t know marriage from the 30-year perspective either. Well, actually I do, because I know my parents’ marriage, mostly, and the marriage of other people who are happily married and they all say they would be lost without each other, which I think is what successful marriage is.

      I’m actually pretty pro-polygamy. If all adults are consenting, what’s to stop them from expressing their religious beliefs? Of course, it becomes tricky once kids enter the mix, but generally, I’m against government regulating relationships between consenting adults. Or maybe I just really love watching Big Love.

  2. Well, actually, polygamy really doesn’t make sense from an economical point of view, which is probably why it largely fell by the wayside on a global scale. It’s ok if you’re rich, I guess, and can support everyone. It would probably work better now than it has done in the past, since women have entered the workforce. I guess Hugh Hefner almost practices unofficial polygamy having his multiple girlfriends living with him (or he did before his recent engagement). I love Big Love too, it’s all fascinating.

  3. What surprises me is that some of the couples have children together. With the husband living apart, the lion’s share of infant care falls on the wife. I can’t imagine a woman who would agree to such arrangement unless the husband is paying for a live-in nanny. Not to mention that children, especially boys, need a male in the household to learn about male behavior.

  4. I happen to like non-alcoholic wine. My huband and I hadn’t lived together for 45 years. We went our separate ways the day after we were married. We had sex and intimacy right from the get go. Some how he is afraid of me and sex and intimacy. He suggested that we should live separately, he loves me as a friend
    only. I’m sad things didn’t work out and we stayed together. But its to late to cry over spilled milk. We get together once a year to visit the tax lady and thhats all.

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