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Most people don't get married to spend time apart. But whether for legal, financial or career-oriented reasons, sometimes married couples find themselves split by cities or even states. Would you ever consider being one of them?
There are pros to being apart during marriage, "particularly when one or both of the partners is very accustomed to doing things their way, and having another person around cramps their style," says Dr. Scott Haltzman, psychiatrist and author. "But for most people, the adjustment from 'I' to 'we' is part of the challenge of marriage, and helps to form better relationship skills over time."
If you find yourself legally bound but considering physically separating, Haltzman suggests discussing the following questions before either of you moves:
How long will the separation take place?
How often can we talk or see each other?
How do you feel about separating?
What are the things we can do to continue to make each other feel special?
Also consider that "long-distance marriages may work best with couples who have already been married for several years, and who have already learned how to negotiate their way through rough patches," according to Haltzman. "When each member feels secure in the marriage, and trusts that their partner has their back no matter what, it's easier to live apart with the promise that you'll be together once again."
Finally, don't move before you've picked an end date to this long-distance arrangement. "Just knowing that the separation is coming to an end can help a person get through the anguish of separation," says Haltzman. "Approaching this as a 'what can we do together' rather than 'why are you doing to me?' will help couples see this requires team effort."