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Living apart in a long-term relationship

(20 Posts)
cloudbusting42 Thu 11-Jul-19 22:27:13

I’m in a relationship with a great guy and enjoying our set-up of having separate houses about an hour apart. It gives each of us the time and space to parent our kids (both in sync in our respective 50/50 shared care arrangements), to do our own thing, and to actually miss each other! Then when we’re together it’s lovely as we can focus on each other without too much domesticana getting in the way.

The downsides are that two houses are more expensive than one, the travel involved (though the distances aren’t huge), and a slight guilt at taking up space against the backdrop of a national housing crisis.

We see each other every few days and are in pretty much constant contact around work and parenting when we’re apart. Our kids are still quite young – youngest are 5 and 6. We have no immediate desire to move in together and especially not to disrupt our kids’ education or proximity to their other parent. When kids are adults we might reconsider. We haven’t intro’d the kids yet, nor see any immediate need to (we’re only 6 months in).

So my question is, how sustainable is this in the long term? Has anyone maintained a serious, committed relationship in separate towns over a sustained period?

Incidentally, there was nice piece in the Guardian recently by Grace Dent about Living Apart Together: www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jun/22/gwyneth-paltrow-happier-living-apart-from-partner-grace-dent

motherofcats81 Thu 11-Jul-19 22:31:28

I haven't done it myself but I think it's a great idea and may well pursue it in my next relationship. How far apart are you, that is the only thing I would say, I think distance can be very tricky but the living apart per se can work for some people.

I wouldn't feel guilty about the housing crisis, you already had the two places and you have two sets of children.

cloudbusting42 Thu 11-Jul-19 22:36:16

We're about an hour apart by train or car, though sometimes work in each other's towns which cuts down on the travel a bit. I hear you re the housing crisis but since we're both separated, what were 2 households are now 4..

GreasyFryUp Thu 11-Jul-19 23:14:00

I could almost have written your post except our children have met. I have no desire though to blend family time together and we don't aim to spend time with each other's children apart from occasionally.

I have no desire to move in as I enjoy and need my own space as does he. The thought of the day to day with someone really doesn't appeal and if he was looking for this I don't think the relationship would last. I feel no guilt that I have this house to myself.

When my children have left home I may feel differently but I'm happy to wait and see.

motherofcats81 Thu 11-Jul-19 23:45:36

At the end of the day it's about what works for you. If this makes you both happy and keeps the relationship fresh then great. And if you find in the future that you want to be together more then you'll find a way to accommodate that.

I think convention plays a part in making us question arrangements like this, but really there's no reason you shouldn't have the relationship that suits you both.

DeeCeeCherry Fri 12-Jul-19 00:10:25

6 years with DP. We live 20 minutes apart. Me with DCs in their early 20s, he with his 19 year old DC. See each other 3/4 times a week, no set days. Talk every day. We holiday together twice a year. I've been married before and know, I'm just not cut out for living with a man in general. I like space and time to myself to spend time with DCs, catch up with friends, or just come in from work make a snack put my feet up with a good book have a chilled evening. He's self-employed busy person so this way he's time to apply to his work, and spend time with DC too + friends. Works well for us, we're happy so I see no need to change things. He's more the cook than I am so will often cook a meal so I can go to his after work and eat dinner there. Did that earlier and now I'm home relaxing MN'ing. Its fine.

Rachelover40 Fri 12-Jul-19 05:26:13

It's an excellent set up, I wish more people would do it. You don't have to live with someone 24/7 to have a relationship. In your case, with young children, you are absolutely doing the right thing, long may it continue. Also you haven't been together very long.

Yes it is obviously more expensive running two homes but if neither of you had met someone else, you'd think nothing of it. Anyway, what price independence and privacy? In your position, you don't have time to get fed up with each other and that counts for a lot.

BinkyandBunty Fri 12-Jul-19 05:33:17

I'm in a similar situation with aligned 50/50 care.

The difference for us is that we live quite close to each other (under 10 minutes) and our kids are all teenagers, so it's a medium tem thing with an end in sight.

I'm not sure how I'd feel about a decade or more of it. The closer we become, the harder it gets on the days we're apart. We try to catch up for a quick visit or dog walk every few days which is easy with older kids.

Iputthescrewinthetuna Fri 12-Jul-19 05:49:28

My DPs Auntie and Uncle live 90 miles apart. No children involved. They have been together 35ish years!

LatentPhase Fri 12-Jul-19 06:20:33

3.5 years here. Live 50mins apart. Totally partners in every way. Our child-free weekends are in sync, sometimes we meet with all the kids, often the kids request it. Because the kids are happy spending time together we can be free and easy re seeing each other.

We didn’t mix the kids though for about two years. That was a big deal all round.

I’m more like Binky - we both have teenagers. His teens talk about us moving in together. Mine don’t really. I would actually love to wake up with DP every day but am ambivalent about it because of the kids. Earliest we could consider moving in is next year. But I just don’t feel it’s on the horizon.

We are all (adults & kids) holidaying together this year for the first time but there is no ulterior motive or definite plan to blend. I think if it’s the right thing to do we will know. That time hasn’t come yet.

itsallafiddle Fri 12-Jul-19 06:24:06

I've been married 25 years and I often fantasise about living in separate households...
I wouldn't worry too much, it's working for you and that's what counts, you can change things in the future if needs be.

GaraMedouar Fri 12-Jul-19 06:27:09

That situation sounds my ideal! I've been single now 3 years and have no wish to have anyone move in (youngest DC is 8). Just got to find the man first!

MatchsticksForMyEyesReturns Fri 12-Jul-19 06:28:47

5.5 years here. We live 15 mins apart. I've ds9 and dd11 and he has dd12. We are both tied into mortgages for another 2 years, but then will look to move in together. We holiday together and see each other 4x per week. My dc and his dd treat each other like siblings. I don't mind the current set up, but it will obviously be much better financially when we are in one house.

Sirzy Fri 12-Jul-19 06:35:47

At 6 months in I wokld say it was the only sensible option for some time yet.

We are three years in and although buying somewhere together has been mentioned practicalities on both sides means really it will be two years before we can seriously consider it and that works well for us for now.

Pinktinker Fri 12-Jul-19 09:03:36

I didn’t move in with my DH for 3 years. I have DC to previous marriage, he did not (we now have one together). We took our relationship fairly slow and I’m pleased we did, we also enjoyed all of the things you mentioned about living apart. I don’t think I’d have chosen to buy a house with him at all if he had other children if I’m being honest. Blended families can be so very messy, it can greatly upset the children’s sense of security. My exH’s DP has two children and her children have been quite horrible to my DC over the years. It has been fairly messy and driven a wedge between exH and our DC.

You’re only six months in so I really wouldn’t be concerned about this right now. Just keep going with the flow and enjoying yourselves, see what the future brings.

RuthW Fri 12-Jul-19 09:13:36

I think you are definitely doing the right thing. I said I would never live with another man whilst my dd was under 18 (after her dad left) and I didn't.

I'm in a new relationship now and 6 years down the line we don't live together and don't intend to. I love my independence. Dd is now 22 and left home for 4 years but is now back.

Mintychoc1 Fri 12-Jul-19 09:37:08

Just over 3 years for me. He lives about 25 minutes away, alone (kids grown up and moved). I live with my kids age 10 and 13. We see eachother 3 times a week, and holiday together with my kids. I have no child-free time.

I have no desire to cohabit any time soon. Maybe when the kids have got their own houses. I get virtually no time on my own ever, and what little time I do get I cherish.

It works for us.

Mentalhealth4312 Fri 12-Jul-19 10:02:28

Interested and following as I am in the same situation. 5 year relationship and still living in sesperate houses. DP needs his space so works for him I on the other hand want more but don’t want to rock the boat !

ImMeantToBeWorking Fri 12-Jul-19 10:04:29

Myself and DP are together 4.5 years, living together half of that. Before moving in together we were 2 to 2.5 hours apart, saw each other maybe twice during the week and once at the weekend due to work and other commitments (no kids). It worked really well for us.

Now since actually living together we are still apart during the week (he is away for work). He will be moving closer to home soon and for the first time we will be both home in the evenings after work, 4.5 years into our relationship. We are as happy as can be!

Do what ever works for you OP. Once you, your DP and most importantly both sets of kids are happy, then that's all that matters.

CursedDiamond Fri 12-Jul-19 13:31:07

It can work, but you have to keep talking about it. We have done it for a decade. It worked really well for a long time...until I was ready for more, and he wasn't (even if he didn't clearly articulate that in words, but actions). And now he wants to be together properly, and I don't...and I think I'm done.

You have to keep the lines of communication open, and you have to keep talking if you want it to work.

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