Thursday, October 27, 2011

Living Apart as a Married Couple

It’s no secret that my husband and I would eventually love to move back to the West Coast, or at least somewhere that’s hopefully closer to our families and friends in California. Initially, our plan was to consider heading back last year after we got married, which would have allowed Stephen to take advantage of some great career opportunities in the state we both know and love.

But after I applied and was accepted to my publishing master’s program, we knew we’d definitely need to delay a big move for at least another couple years. Though I sometimes question whether we made the right decision, all in all, I know we’re both happy to have stayed right here in the DC area for the time being.

Why? Well, among other things, being here has allowed us to adopt our beautiful kitties Molly and Twix, work together to coordinate weddings for several amazing clients, spend time with my sister-in-law following her move from NYC, and most importantly, enjoy our first year of married life together in a place we’re growing to love more and more as time goes on.

It may not be California, but there's still plenty to love about the DC area. 
That’s why I didn’t hesitate to give an emphatic “no” when a couple friends asked whether we’d ever consider living apart for a year or two so that I could complete my degree while he began taking advantage of opportunities elsewhere. The question again came up when a professor recently shared details about a fellowship program that certainly sounds intriguing but would require me to be “geographically mobile” throughout the various rotations required.

The truth is that although this arrangement might work for some people – and some may simply have no choice, such as those with military spouses or career and training opportunities that can’t be adjusted – in my eyes, willingly choosing this type of arrangement in our situation would fly in the face of what it means to be married and share a life with one another.

While it may not always be easy to make our dreams and goals fit neatly and compatibly together, I simply did not get married to live apart from my husband for an extended period of time. After all, if I wanted to live singly and maintain a long-distance cross-country relationship, I would not have taken the step of getting married at this point in my life. Career goals and aspirations are incredibly important, no doubt, but not as important as being there for one another day in and day out, through the good times and the bad. That’s what I promised on June 4, 2010, and that’s the way I plan to live, understanding that it’s definitely never going to be all about what either one of us might individually want, but rather about finding the right path together, whatever that might be.

Married and together for life. 
In the end, we’ve made the best decisions we can thus far and will continue to do so "all the days of our lives," without any regrets, just as we promised we would. There will always be other and better opportunities to come, but none more important than the opportunity to support and care for one another each and every day. 

What do you think? Have you ever lived apart from your spouse or significant other for an extended period of time, and is it something you'd consider?

(Photo Credits: Personal Library) 


  1. I think it would be very hard to live apart form my significant other and I know Groomzilla would definitley NOT go for it. A co-worker recently did it for a job and their marriage suffered because of it and she ended up having to move back home. Not to scare you or anything but I do think it can create some tension and you miss out on the daily day to day functions good or bad that make you stronger with your soulmate :)

  2. I don't think I would be able to do it...I hardly see my hubby now that he works nights...

  3. My fiance and I (well, we'll be married by then) will likely be moving to separate graduate programs two months after we get married. It's definitely NOT ideal, but I can't imagine asking him to not go to the school he wanted to go to and I can't imagine him asking me to sacrifice my goals to be near him.

    Then there's the question of jobs after we graduate - who follows whom? whose job comes first? what if I get an AMAZING offer in Asia? Will we move there even if he can't find a job? I think as society has more and more dual-career couples, these questions are going to become increasingly prevalent.

    Sometimes I wonder how that's going to work out, but people before us have made it work, and I'm hoping we will figure it out too.