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Author Topic: Long distance marriage?  (Read 11563 times)

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Long distance marriage?
« on: June 19, 2008, 01:10:48 AM »
My partner and I are having a ceremony on July 4th (we're both women, and gay marriage is not legal in our state). We already figured out how to handle the inevitable awkwardness of terminology (we plan on referring to each other as "spouse" or "significant other," and if someone assume that's a "he" gently correcting them with "she").

Anyway, what I wanted feedback on is the issue of long distance marriage. I'm a recent grad school graduate and she has one more semester to finish up her degree, so in the fall she will be returning to a neighboring state to finish up classes. (With one semester left in her program, transferring was not really an option, or necessary, we felt.) We'll be spending the winter holidays together, obviously, and visiting as much as we can during those months, before moving to yet another state after her graduation.

I assured her that, especially these days, people are totally used to married college students and that no one would find it unusual that someone is temporarily living apart from their spouse because of that, or because of job concerns. But she is still nervous about how to handle questions about that, and is worried that it will seem "weird" to other people. Does anyone have any stories to share, or possible responses if awkwardness arises?


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Re: Long distance marriage?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2008, 01:34:50 AM »
If people are rude enough to comment, just say it's worth it and will make things better in the long run.

If they continue to question give them the ice glare.


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Re: Long distance marriage?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2008, 01:39:58 AM »
Dear friends of mine spent a year apart because of work issues.  No one ever questioned, as long as they wore a ring.  If you wear a symbol of your commitment, it seems to be easier. 


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Re: Long distance marriage?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2008, 01:41:47 AM »
What about "I'm finishing my degree here, as it didn't make sense to transfer for just one semester"?  The fact that your spouse is the same gender really isn't anyone else's business.

I have a friend who also married her partner in a state in which g*a*y marriage became legal.  They now live on opposite coasts, and unfortunately don't have a clear idea of when they will actually be able to live together.  It's been a huge strain on my friend (I don't know her partner).  It seems a lot easier to get through when you know the finish date.



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Re: Long distance marriage?
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2008, 01:45:12 AM »
My spouse and I did it for 3 years while I was working in the US and he was running his business in Australia.  It isn't easy but it is doable.  If you trust each other then there aren't too many issues.  The only thing I found was that when we were together I started to get a bit territorial about my space.  I got a bit used to having my own place and had to adjust to sharing each time.  If you haven't been living together, or not recently, then that shouldn't be an issue.

When other people commented I just said things like "yes, it is a bit hard but it's worth it" or just joked with "it's the ideal marriage".  I didn't get too many questions and no-one was really pushy about it.

Congratulations on your union!  :D


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Re: Long distance marriage?
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2008, 07:52:47 AM »
Well DH and I lived apart for the first five months or so, because he was working in a town three counties away. Somehow the issue of what to say to people never really arose. It might not for you either.
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Re: Long distance marriage?
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2008, 07:55:43 AM »
I've done the long distance thing (though we weren't married). It's tough but doable.

Why not something like "it's tough, and we miss each other like crazy, but I'm really glad she can support me in finishing my degree."
"Manners change, principles don't. It's about treating people with consideration, respect and honesty." Peter Post



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Re: Long distance marriage?
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2008, 09:31:17 AM »

I too am doing the long distance thing.  He's in Canada and I'm here.  It's been that way for 6 yers for us.  He's taking care of his dad and I'm killing time to retirement...LOL.  In the end, it will be worth it.  Just see each other as much as possible.

If people ask, then just tell the truth.  It totally didn't make any sense for her to transfer and that you have the rest of your lives together.  One semester apart is a small price to pay.  If they get pushy and ask why you didn't wait to get married until after graduation...just tell them that you both felt that this was the right time.  They don't need to know any more than that.


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Re: Long distance marriage?
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2008, 09:50:24 AM »
A couple of weekends ago I met some friends of friends that were married 8 months ago and  went on their honeymoon and then went to their respective homes in two different states (VA & NC). They were apart due to a job situation. They saw each other on weekends until he got a new job a few weeks ago and they had been living together for only 3 weeks at that point. When she explained it to us we didn't think that there was anything "wrong" or "strange" about it at all. Different people have different circumstances that may take them apart for awhile.


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Re: Long distance marriage?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2008, 10:18:26 AM »
There are many couples who have to leave apart for a while for one reason or another.(School, job, sick relative, military etc...) This is not uncommon, so I don't think people will be questioning you too closely.

 If it comes up I would use one of the suggestions in the other posts like:

"We miss each other like crazy, but this is what made sense for us."

"It didn't make sense for my spouse to transfer because she is only one semester away from finishing."
"Carry out a random act of kindness, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you."  Princess Diana


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Re: Long distance marriage?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2008, 01:21:07 AM »

When DF and I were going out, we were apart for 10 months. No-one really questioned us, and I trusted that when propositioned (which he was, a few times), he would tell them he was taken. Prepare for large phone/internet bills.

Also, investing in a webcam was good for us.


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Re: Long distance marriage?
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2008, 03:43:21 PM »
My husband and I were long-distance (over 1,000 miles) for over 3 years (before we were married).  I did get a few interesting assumptions, like that it didn't 'count' or that he didn't exist.  :)  What can you do?  I find that the people who challenged my relationship rather than taking it in stride were the same people who had a reason to -- ie, they wanted to date me or they were good-time friends who wanted me to do singles-related social events with them.  However, I hasten to add that most people will take it matter-of-factly.  It's not odd at all, well to me anyway.


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Re: Long distance marriage?
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2008, 04:33:12 PM »
My husband is moving in about a month and I will follow a few months later because of work and home-selling issues.  I think it's pretty common for married partners to live apart for awhile nowadays, for at least a little while.



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Re: Long distance marriage?
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2008, 04:48:41 PM »
We've had a few different couples in the family who had bi-coastal marriages for awhile.  I don't think anyone thought that the marriages were in trouble or anything like that.  The people who know you won't anyway.  And if they don't know you well enough, then don't worry about them.  It could be easiely explained with a "My spouse is finishing up her degree and she'll join me at the end of the sememster."

“Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.” ~ Groucho Marx


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Re: Long distance marriage?
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2008, 08:59:22 PM »
Congratulations, Amber!  My DH and I spent the first two years apart because of his job.  He was on assignment in Baghdad during our engagement and then for about three months after the wedding.  He then took an assignment in Costa Rica (well-deserved, IMHO) and was there during my pregnancy and until shortly after the birth of our daughter.  He now works on a project about two hours away from home so he's home on weekends.

No one questioned why we were married but not living together.  In fact, people were extraordinarily supportive during my pregnancy and his absence.  The HR manager from my job ran down Walnut Street to Jefferson Hospital when she heard that my water broke prematurely and that I was about to deliver DD alone.  DH couldn't get home from Costa Rica in time.  The next day - still alone - my entire block paraded into my room with gifts and happiness and best wishes.

Although we are not a g*a*y couple, I cannot imagine your spouse and you being treated any differently since you are most likely living in an environment where people don't project such out-dated and parochial attitudes.  Those who do, well, how could they possibly justify denigrating your lifestyle since you wouldn't dream of doing it to them!   >:D

What's key is sitting down with a calendar and planning ahead for when you two will be together and stick with that promise.  It gives the two of you something to look forward to.  Even more exciting is planning to meet halfway and spend a nice weekend together in a different town or city (consider it mini honeymoons).