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Advantages and disadvantages of living apart from your partner

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Twenty years ago, marriage meant living together under the same roof, and sleeping together in the same bed until death do you part.

Economic changes as well as our ability to communicate with people from all over the world affords us more options with our career choice as well as where we live. This presents a new challenge for many married couples. Once thought of as a death sentence to a marriage has perks as well. Living apart can work for some couples, but it isn't easy and it requires commitment and excellent communication skills from both partners.

One of the challenges of living apart is that you lose the ability to understand one another's primary intention. When you live together you share most things and you understand one another's perspective. This is a source of conflict especially if you are having an insecure day or moment while apart. There is an increased incidence of jealousy or lack of commitment. If the couple is mature enough to understand their own needs and direct enough to voice them, this is less of an issue, but many couples that live apart don't have this maturity or understanding of one another.

I have witnessed great marriages that involved two people who have lived apart more than they have together, and they have made suggestions that are helpful for anyone planning this lifestyle.

1. Discuss directly what is behind the reason for living apart. If both partners agree that this is going to work, it will. Using living apart as a jumping board to get away will not work.

2. Make sure you each know your part of who will be responsible for "home" and all financial arrangements.

3. Check in frequently with your partner and make sure this arrangement is still working for both of you. If you have children, talking to them each day is as important as talking to one another.

4. Have weekly or bi-monthly meet-ups. This is important for marriage as well as for kids.

5. Living apart is most beneficial to a marriage if both partners understand it will not be forever. You can make it exciting for three months; three years may not be as exciting.

Reasons you should live apart:

1. You have a solid marriage and the financial health of your marriage could improve drastically.

2. You are comfortable with Skype, email, texting, and all forms of communication with your partner.

3. You are going to use the time apart to focus on your relationship and plan meet-ups as moments to connect and enjoy one another.

4. You are both committed to seeing each other at least twice a month. *If your partner is in the military and this is not possible, then seeking the support of others in your position and sending "care packages" is something you are supportive of and do with enthusiasm.

Reasons you should not live apart:

1. If you find it difficult to trust your partner, living apart may not work.

2. If your partner is afraid of being alone, living apart may not work.

3. If you have never had your own space or enjoyed time alone, living apart may not work.

4. If you have never been without a close relationship, living apart may not work for you.

5. If your partner has health issues that cause stress to you or them, it is wise not to live apart.

Living apart is possible, and can improve your relationship. It is an opportunity to think about your partner every day and become aware of what many of us take for granted. Just as all parts of a relationship depend on communication, living apart cannot survive unless the people involved communicate directly, honestly and frequently.

– Mary Jo Rapini

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