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Old 06-23-2006, 08:03 AM   #1
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Happily Married, Living Apart

So what do you think, could this be the ultimate way to preserve the sanctity of marriage? Often it might be too much proximity that causes people to get on each others nerves, focus on that and on other irritations, and take each other for granted. In my opinion private time is very important in a relationship/marriage. Like he says though, they probably do ultimately spend more time together than most spouses do. Obviously this guy is talking about living in the same building, on the same floor-not in different cities or states. I have read more than just this article about this topic, maybe it will be a new social movement.

By Dan Sarluca
Special to Newsweek

June 22, 2006 - When I tell people that my wife and I each have separate apartments yet are happily married, I usually get a strange look. I used to rush to explain that ours wasn’t some weird marriage of convenience cobbled together for appearances, like certain celebrity couples are rumored to have done to advance their careers. Now I don’t bother. Our apartments are both in the same Brooklyn building, on the same floor, two doors down from one another, and we probably spend more time together than most spouses.

After Lauren and I had been together for a year, a unit became available in her building, and we talked about my renting it. We had both lived alone for so many years we were wary that full cohabitation might put too great a strain upon our relationship. Two nearby apartments seemed the perfect solution—not quite living together but something far more committed than weekend slumber parties at my place. We agreed that we would spend the bulk of our time together in my apartment and periodically retreat to our own flats for some privacy.

I could only visit her apartment for brief spells anyway. I’m allergic to cats and the Giant—her 20 pound ball of fur, fangs and claws—was mean to boot. She’s left her mark on many a foolhardy veterinarian who ignored Lauren’s warnings.

Just in terms of square footage, my apartment is large enough for two people to live in, but it’s an open, loft-style space. The only other separate room is the bathroom, and although we love each other very much we both agreed that the odd 10 minutes or so of reading the paper on the toilet didn’t constitute enough private time for either one of us.

Plus there’s the matter of household neatness. I’ve been known to burst into a cleaning frenzy if yesterday’s newspaper is left spread across the coffee table. Her apartment is littered with two-year-old phone bills. If the yogurt in my refrigerator is a couple of days past its expiration date, it goes straight into the trash. Her freezer still houses the complimentary ham the grocery store gave her for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving 2003.

People sometimes ask, “How can you afford two places?” I point out that it wasn’t a problem when we were first dating and the rents in our part of Brooklyn haven’t changed much. Besides, my wife’s rent is still very cheap; she’s been living in the building for years, dating back to when it was first converted from a dress factory to residences and lacked the luxuries it has today, like mail delivery on Saturdays and a Certificate of Occupancy.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that the strange looks I used to mistake for disapproval are often those of envy. Most people, especially married women, are fascinated by our arrangement. They seek us out at social gatherings to press for details. “You mean your wife has an entire bathroom to herself?” a woman asked me once with a passionate longing in her eyes.

To Lauren: “Let me get this straight. If he’s in a bad mood and you don’t want to deal with him, you can just go down the hall and neither one of you takes it personally?”

One night while hanging out in a bar with a group of fellow middle-aged men, we listened to a 6-foot-2 electrician named Mike complain about the emotional ups and downs of what he called his wife’s “mental pause.” My friend Dan explained to him the living arrangement Lauren and I had. Mike turned to me, awed. “You’re my hero,” he said. I was afraid he was going to hug me.

It’s been several years now since I moved into the building, and the neighbors have become accustomed to seeing Lauren shuffle back and forth between our two places in her bathrobe and fuzzy slippers. Aside from putting up with the occasional snide remark about having a cat with its own one-bedroom flat, our separate apartments continue to work out nicely.

Instead of becoming the social pariahs I feared, I suspect Lauren and I may in fact be the vanguard of a new social movement and one day our arrangement will be considered unremarkable. It wasn’t so long ago that an unmarried man and woman living together in the same apartment was a social scandal; why should a married couple living in two apartments rate a second thought? After all, when Lauren and I got married we promised to share our life and our love. We never said anything about sharing our bathrooms.
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Old 06-23-2006, 08:09 AM   #2
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If close proximity causes strains, then the couple need to work through it, I reckon, not move into seperate addresses. It's avoiding trouble alright..


Still, each to their own.
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Old 06-23-2006, 08:31 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem
If close proximity causes strains, then the couple need to work through it, I reckon, not move into seperate addresses
I would certainly agree with that, but in this case at least they seem to be talking about minor things such as bathroom issues . And there's the cat allergy as well.Obviously we don't know anything else about their marriage, so it's tough to say what other issues they may or may not have.

Robert Parker the writer and his wife did this years ago, of course they can afford it financially. I think they live in the same house but actually occupy entirely separate wings, not sure.

People can be living in the same house/apartment and still be living apart in so many ways. And they don't work anything out and just live that way. I don't know, that's just my observation.
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Old 06-23-2006, 08:40 AM   #4
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It's a fascinating scenario, isn't it. Your last sentence is especially true for many people, I reckon. Without posting a biography, I can see how these can work. It's conditioning which red flags it saying "No! Wrong way to be married!"

...Which is a lesson I think many of us could revisit... Sorry, lol. I'm dragging the thread down with my amateur physocholigical musings.
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Old 06-23-2006, 08:42 AM   #5
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I have my own apartment too....

It's called the couch....and....I became aquainted with it when I showed up home at 3:00 AM last Sunday morning smelling like Guiness and Cigarettes...a habit I apparently picked up as the night went on.
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Old 06-23-2006, 08:43 AM   #6
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You're not "dragging it down" Angela, I enjoy reading what you have to say-it's illuminating . You're probably the only person who will reply to it anyway
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Old 06-23-2006, 08:44 AM   #7
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I think it can work in a lot of cases. particularly those who place a high value on private time and are used to large amounts of it. I don't think it is necessarily avoiding problems. Sometimes it is the proximity that is causing the problem, the sense of no space. I think a lot of people need a place where they don't have to compromise for a while, where they can regain some perspective.
I think for a lot of people, it can stop a little petty problem from blowing up because you have a chance to gain perspective without egging each other on, without saying things that shouldn't be said just out of frustration. I think the private time can minimize the frustration factor, particularly when both sides don't take the escape personally.

A lot of time it is the little things that put a strain on a relationship--a talker vs. a nontalker, a morning person vs. a night person, etc. The relationship is strong but the idiosyncracies are innate.

But Angela Harlem is right. If this becomes an excuse to avoid problems, to avoid confrontation over something important or to evade a strong commitment. Then too, this is a couple without children. How they choose to conduct their marriage affects only them.
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Old 06-23-2006, 08:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonosSaint

But Angela Harlem is right. If this becomes an excuse to avoid problems, to avoid confrontation over something important or to evade a strong commitment.
Yup, although I've seen so many couples (aunts and uncles mostly) who are exceptionally good at denying/avoiding working through conflict just by avoiding each other in their own homes.

At first I thought the article was going to say they have their own houses, which would be kind of weird. Having two apartments basically next door doesn't seem much different than having a house where the guy has his "den" and the wife has some area of her own.

I guess I don't find it all that odd as long as they can afford it and it works for them. I'm the kind of person that needs a LOT of personal space and private time. I already know it's going to be a challenge when I get married in September because I'm so used to fending for myself and my own space.
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Old 06-23-2006, 08:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
You're not "dragging it down" Angela, I enjoy reading what you have to say-it's illuminating . You're probably the only person who will reply to it anyway
You're too sweet. I hope this is true because I do love your threads. They're refreshingly different. Plus you allow Dread to bring up boosies.


Re: what B's S said, I guess my first thought was "How is this really a marriage?". And that then goes back to what I wrote as musing in the other reply. There's a danger in imposing a Fits All belief on something as personal and private as marriage. I absolutely have no right to judge these people in any way. I have an actual obligation (I believe) to practise what I preach on certain other areas (we dont need another thread on this, lol) and pony up - it is acceptable as it is their marriage and their business. End of story.

There's really an easy way to see this as akin to coming home at an ungodly hour smelling like guinness and sleeping on the lounge (I adore your wife, matt ), and admitting you have a space issue. Things occur in all relationships. We have to work to fixing them while we are willing. We sleep on the lounge. We bunk down in adjacent flats. We all reach the same place in the end.



I think I'm really rambling now...
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Old 06-23-2006, 09:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem

Plus you allow Dread to bring up boosies.
I literally read that as booBies

I wonder why I'm sure he'll work those into this thread somehow

And tks for the lovely words
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Old 06-23-2006, 09:37 AM   #11
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I live with my boyfriend, and I tease him that if I suddenly got wealthy, I'd buy the house next door to us so I could decorate it however I want...and I'd get a cat, since he's allergic (and just doesn't like them). I don't see that ever happening though!

There's no definition for how a marriage has to work. If they believe they have a strong marriage even with having separate residences...hey, whatever works. It doesn't sound like they have their own places because they use them as retreats to avoid each other or are constantly fighting. To me, it seems like a total luxury...one I will never have. So, I'll deal with his toolchest in the computer room, and he'll deal with my Barbie dolls in the guest room.
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Old 06-23-2006, 10:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen


I literally read that as booBies

I wonder why I'm sure he'll work those into this thread somehow

And tks for the lovely words


Hmmmmmm.....Well, to be honest....I was after my wife's boobies when I kissed her.......which sent me to the couch!
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Old 06-23-2006, 01:24 PM   #13
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Fascinating.
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Old 06-23-2006, 01:27 PM   #14
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I wonder how old these people are. Sometimes when you marry later in life, you're more reluctant to give up your personal space. Glad they found a solution that works for them.
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Old 06-23-2006, 02:26 PM   #15
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Interesting solution

If you have a home that's rather large, you can also retreat to your "space" as well. Mine isn't that big. Perhaps that's why my I accidentally broke my door last night
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