Last year we reported that tough economic times make long distance relationships more difficult. As people struggle to make ends meet, finding cash for phone bills and plane fare has become more difficult. Well, ironically, in addition to making LDRs harder to sustain, the financial collapse has also made them more common.
According to this weekend's New York Times, "commuter marriages," in which married couples live apart, are trending up, as the tough economy forces people to take jobs in far-flung locales, away from their spouses and in some instances, children.
In 2006, the Census Bureau reported that 3.6 million married Americans (not including separated couples) were living apart from their spouses. In March, Worldwide ERC, the association for work-force mobility, released a report revealing that three-fourths of the 174 relocation agents surveyed had dealt with at least one commuter marriage in 2007, a 53 percent increase since 2003.
One couple that spoke to the Times is split between Pennsylvania and New Zealand, where both are professors at local universities. A second couple, formerly freelancers in voice-over work and writing, now work in Chicago and New Orleans, respectively. Other commuter couples interviewed for the piece deal with the distance between New York and Brazil, Detroit and Chicago and the United States and Israel.
Technology is helping these couples cope with being far away from each other, and some are even finding that the distance adds romance to a stale relationship. But they shouldn't worry too much: according to our article on long-distance relationships, "LDR couples' levels of relationship satisfaction, intimacy, trust, and commitment are identical to their geographically close counterparts."
Do you know anyone in a "commuter marriage"? Would you consider taking a job in another city, or country, if it meant living apart from your husband?