Has anyone ever survived a long distance marriage?

akaDeniseJuly 10, 2002

The recession has really hit my DH's profession hard. He was laid off in February and has only had 5 interviews because jobs are scarce in his field. We love our home and the region we live in. We've only lived here for 2 years but we've made some wonderful friends. But, even though DH has lots of experience, has top certifications and great references, he just can't find another job here.

It's very likely that he'll receive a job offer from the company he worked for 2 years ago. The problem is that the position is located 3600 miles away from where we live. DH doesn't want to move. He wants to accept that position, work there until the economy improves and find another job here. We've talked it over and I'm willing to stay and run the house and work here until he can come home.

But, we've been married 22 years and have never been apart for longer than 2 weeks. We've very close and hate that we'll have to sleep apart. If we're lucky, we'll be able to visit once a month, but even that might not be possible.

Any ideas how I can keep this "separation" from hurting my marriage?



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Denise,I know this will be hard on the both of you, but you can control whether you let it hurt your marriage or not. Be sure to keep in close contact with each other via email or phone every single day. Do whatever you can in your power to try to visit when you can, even if it is for just a weekend. Would it be possible for you to leave the house and go with him?
Would keeping the house and renting it, be an option? Do you know anyone who would be willing to live in it while you are gone and keep it up?
I know this must be hard on the two of you. I know it would be for my husband and me. He has hard time going to sleep if I am not next to him. We have been married for almost 30 years. Regardless of the hardships though, I think if you both work at it, you can keep the marriage good. Just think, it may be even better. Just think how exciting it will be to see each other after a few weeks of being apart. If your marriage is solid before he leaves, I don't think it will be become a problem. Just don't let it.
I wish you luck.
Lu from Louisiana

    Bookmark   July 11, 2002 at 1:20AM
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I don't recommend it if at all possible. My parents had been married 22 years when they started the long distance thing. They have spent all but a year of the last eleven years in a long distance marriage. They only got to see each other about 3 times a year. They talked every single night without fail for at least 2 hours. My parents are now back together in the same house, and my Mom says she'll never be apart from him like that again. She'll move where ever he has to be to with him. They are very loyal people and love each other very much. If they were any other couple (except my husband and myself, but we'd never be sperated like that by choice) I would say they wouldn't have lasted.
This last Spring, they celebrated their 33rd Anniversary.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2002 at 1:52AM
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Lu and Alice,

You both have such good points. Right now, I can't see how to move with him. 5 months without a paycheck has nearly depleted his severance and our savings. We can hold out for another 3 months or so, but with the stock market tanking again, companies aren't hiring. There are 4 houses for sale on my street and they aren't selling. If we even could sell the house, I suspect that we would lose money or have a teeny amount left. DH and I agree that the marriage is sooo much more important than the house. We hate to sell the house because we've put so much work into it and it's such a bright and friendly home. Sorry to whine!


    Bookmark   July 11, 2002 at 4:27PM
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I'm sorry that you're in such a hard situation. My Father and older brother are both in the same situation, without jobs that is.

I'm sorry I didn't give you more positive suggestions in by last post. I really think that talking to each other on the phone, emails, cards and letters, and of course seeing each other as often as possible will be really beneficial. In fact, I think maybe with all the purposely staying in contact with each other more of your thoughts will be of each other. What I mean is something like...distance makes the heart grow fonder...and you definately won't take each others company and attention for granted.
You've been married 22 years, and you know if you love each other, you can make anything work out. And I'm certain you wouldn't let it go on for as terribly long as my parents did. You know, you'll have to do what is best with the options in front of you.
Take care, and I wish you and your husband the very best!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2002 at 8:50PM
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One of my daughter's friends parents have a long distance marriage. She's in Texas, he works in NYC. As I understand it, the first year was pretty tough, due to finances & making it through his probation period. After he got "safe," he negotiated with his employer to work long hours, Saturdays & have a one week home a month, which allows him to be home for 5 full days. He checks in with the office while he's home & if something comes up, he's got his handy laptop & can handle things. In the summer, his wife & son go up to NYC with him. He IM's with his son & wife daily.

My BIL & SIL live in New England. Several men in their subdivision work on the west coast. They've worked out a deal to have long weekends home as well.

With the internet making the world accessible at a reasonable cost, I can't think of a better time in history to do a "temporary long distance marriage." Once he gets settled & you're more secure financially, you'll be able to find some cheapie airline tickets & visit back & forth on a regular basis.

I hate to see anyone loose their $hirt on a house they love.

I know you've gotten some negative feedback, but it can work. Just keep your IM up & make a date to chat nightly!

Try it until after the first of the year. If it's not working, you can sell your house & move then.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2002 at 9:57PM
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My parents did for about a year. Their circumstances allowed them to be able to be with each other for weekends though. They were about a 6-8 hour drive away from each other.

One thing you can do is to ponder what makes your marriage in terms of 'essentials.' Sometimes people can't imagine having a geographical separation within the context of marriage at all, let alone their particular marriage.

I think my parents surprised themselves by being able to adapt and if anything it seems to have improved the quality of their relationship.

Figure out both your needs for communications and routines with each other. Work to prioretize those and get those minimal needs met-- for you both. It's important to work with each other on this kind of thing because his emotional needs may be different from yours but _both_ your needs should be met.

Your situation sounds kind of ill-defined, which makes it hard to plan for in advance too much. The markets could change-- stock, job, or housing-- in such a way that some change in plan seems attractive and reasonable to you both.

plan in advance for some means of ongoing communication; then be reliable in using it or being available to your partner (that has to work on both sides)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2002 at 12:59PM
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I can't tell you how much I appreciate the ideas and kind wishes from you folks! I know I've learned something from every single reply.

DH has been trying hard to find a job locally, and he's begun to try all sorts of interesting tactics. We've come to the conclusion that even if he's under-employed and we're dirt poor, we'd rather live under one roof. If does get his old job back, he'll try to negotiate some sort of "work from home and commute back and forth" deal. There are no guarantees for anything, though.

How does that saying go? We can't go over it, we can't go under it, and there's no going around it - so we'll just have to go through it.

You guys have been a great source of ideas, thanks again.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2002 at 2:05PM
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Hi, Denise:

I've been reading this post with much interest, for two reasons:

1) My husband is looking at retirement real soon and is interested in working as a consultant after retirement; which probably entails him relocating to another area of the country for a short period of time in order to get things started up.

2) Just the other day I was just talking to my grandmother about WWII; of all things. Your posting made me recall all the stories she told about her being alone for nearly five years while her husband was away at war; all the time wondering if she would ever see him again. I can't even begin to fathom what she went through - having to deal with deprivation and hardship on the homefront and all the while wondering if your husband was still alive. She would literally sit by the mailbox; waiting for any news from him.

On the other hand Denise - Carlotta was right in one aspect: If you're going to be away from your spouse; now's the time (meaning the computer age) to do it. I was wondering if maybe his company would be willing to install a video-cam set-up on your computer (on both ends); so that you and your husband can see each other in real "streaming video" time! These video-cams look like huge bulging eyeballs that you set on top of your monitor, and they come with a headset-type speaker so you can actually talk to each other as well. Of course, this would work best with a "firewire" connection; since firewire is the fastest connection out there right now. I realize that it's not the same as "being there in person"; but it might be a tolerable substitute for a short period of time.

Just some thoughts to chew on - I really do understand what you're going through.

Hope things work out,

Amy Gibson (aka "GatorGirlinTX")
August 13, 2002

    Bookmark   August 13, 2002 at 10:50AM
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That is a great idea! video-cams are not all that expensive. I'm going to look into this tomorrow.

Thanks! Denise

    Bookmark   August 13, 2002 at 6:09PM
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Think of all the people in the military. Husbands are gone sometimes for months on end. Either a marriage has trust or it doesn't.
My husband & I never worried while he was gone. We just had fun once he got back home. ;0)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2002 at 10:26PM
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Hi Precious,

I'm not worried about him cheating. After all these years, I know my guy. I was worried about being apart for too long and growing apart. 6 months can easily turn into 12 months in this economy. I really cherish our intimacy and I know he does too. We are looking at all kinds of solutions to this issue. He's never been laid-off before and I will never look at an unemployed person the same way again.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2002 at 3:14PM
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My SO is in the military. He is currently in South Korea and has been gone for 4 months but will be coming home for a visit in Dec. It can be hard but it is possible. We write letters, talk on the phone and do a lot of communicating via the computer. He recently purchased a view cam and I love it!

I am on a site with a lot of military women. Separations are a part of life. It's harder for some than others but it is very do-able. :-D

    Bookmark   September 16, 2002 at 8:58AM
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My husband used to be a commercial diver (in our 1st 2 years of marriage). He would be gone for 45 days, home 3 or 4 and then he'd leve agian...with hardly a phone call because back then (maybe still) it was about $4.00 a minute to talk. It was just something we did...other people would say "I don't know how you can stand it". But I'll tell you if I listened to how hard everybody SAID it would be, I would have given up or left him. I just concentrated on life...not on how long it had been or would be, etc. I focused on the needs we had and on getting to know myself better (we were in a new city and knew NOBODY). It in't as bad a people make it out. You can do anything and make it work...it's up to the two of you. For me, that time isn't even a bad memory...I wish he'd go away from time time again! LOL

And another option is to rent out your house and go with him. When my DH got tired of the diving lifestyle (that really hit him once our daughter was born), he found a job 1000 miles away. We met him after a month when I found good tenants for our property. We always thought we'd go back, but 3 years later we sold the house.
Good luck to you...just remember that people do it all the time and it works. But that doesn't mean that you have to, it just means that you CAN!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2002 at 11:19AM
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Well, guess what, I didn't know my guy. He had an affair with a woman at work, spent the summer lying and sneaking around. We are now divorcing.

puddlejumper (used to post as akaDenise)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2003 at 3:26PM
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(((puddlejumper))) I'm sorry, this must be very difficult for you. :(

    Bookmark   September 13, 2003 at 10:46PM
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Find some things to do that you really love that you wouldn't necessarily do while your DH was around. My husband leaves every summer for the whole summer (6 months) and is out for up to a month at a time with no email or telephone contact. We see eachother about once every three months for a few days each time.

It's not easy. There will be good days and terrible days. There will be days that you are so proud of all you've achieved on your own and days you feel you will feel overwhelmed by your aloneness. Lean on your friends and family. Get involved with a new project you simply wouldn't have the time to do if your husband were there with you. Take good care of yourself (this one's important).

Though I hate it when my husband is gone, I have started to really love having my girlfriends over for dinner parties whenever I want, destroying the living room with arts and crafts projects (including the glitter my husband can't stand), and doing silly dance workout videos with no fear of teasing!

Whatever you do, I think it's important to remain connected to your spouse. Be proud of your ability to maintain your life on your own. Try not to feel sorry for yourself. Do your best to stay positive during your interactions. Fighting, anger and resentment are pure poison. Let your spouse know that you miss him, but you are okay. Men worry about their wives and want to make sure we are safe and comfortable. Reassure him you are.

Like I said, it's not easy. Though I'll admit to calling my mom on occasion and having a full-on cry fest, I'll also admit to having great moments of strength and accomplishment. Who knew fixing a toilet or installing a new light fixture could be so empowering!

Hang in there and know he's doing this for you, he'll need support too. Share what help get you through the day and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2011 at 11:10AM
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OMG there really needs to be some type of Statute of Limitations that prevents people from replying to posts that are 8 years old.....

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 9:28AM
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well, technically you just did.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 11:11AM
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