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A married couple living in separate NYC apartments say it's done wonders for their relationship

Maria Noyen   

A married couple living in separate NYC apartments say it's done wonders for their relationship
  • A wife living separately from her husband in New York says it revitalized her marriage and career.
  • Sana and Adnan Akhand got married in their twenties and quickly fell into a rut, she told Insider.

A woman whose video on living separately from her husband in New York City went viral on TikTok said it's worked wonders for their relationship.

"We lived together for 6.5 years before deciding to make our own rules and do what works best for us & our love story," Sana Akhand wrote in the video posted on January 29, which has amassed over 1 million views at the time of writing.

Sana told Insider she got married to her husband Adnan in their twenties, nearly seven years ago, due to family pressure. "From the moment we had our first kiss to the moment we were married, it was a year and three months," Sana, who is South Asian, said. "In our culture, if you're out of college, next step is marriage."

@sanaakhand

This is your sign to make your own rules

♬ Spell to attract the right folk friends and loves - West Oxking

At the time, she said she wanted to focus on her career but didn't want to sacrifice her relationship in the process. Sana and Adnan saw marriage as a "piece of paper," and thought to themselves: "How much can life change?'"

But they soon found themselves slipping into traditional husband and wife roles neither of them wanted, Sana, 32, said.

"He had financial burdens on him. I also was like, 'I'm not contributing equally financially, so let me step into the wife duties of taking care of the house,'" she said.

As the years rolled on, time with friends disappeared, as did a focus on passions. Sana, who now runs an adult social community called Jet Black Social Club and the "Make Your Own Rules" podcast, said she got a corporate job to help them afford to live in New York City.

"We were basically just living for each other versus for ourselves," she said. "I was coming home, drinking wine, going to sleep, and I was just so burnt out and he was working from home at the time waiting for me to come home all day."

To help their relationship, the first "drastic" decision was to quit work and travel the world for a year in 2018, Sana said. But COVID-19 hit soon after they returned, and Sana's feelings of needing space increased.

Conversations about living separately in July became a reality on October 19, after Adnan asked: "What if we just dated again?"

So they did. Sana said she now lives on the Upper East Side, while Adnan, who works in finance, is 15 minutes away on the Upper West Side.

Their finances are completely separate, they see each other a couple of days a week for romantic date nights and sleepovers, and are focused on building their individual careers, Sana said.

"It really just lit my world back up," she said. She added that their intimacy has improved ten-fold: "Whenever we're about to have a sleepover, I'm like, 'Oh, let me make sure I'm wearing, like sexy lingerie."

"When we're about to see each other after a long day of work, we're so excited to see each other," she said. "Before, it's like, 'I had a bad day, leave me alone.'"

Sana says she isn't living life based on societal norms

At first, Sana said she felt alone in their idea to live apart. But when she posted the viral TikTok about their living situation, she realized that wasn't the case.

Some people questioned their marriage and commitment, but others have come forward to say they made the same choice or know people who have, she said.

"It was scary at first," Sana said. "But I cannot live my life based on other people's rules because then I'm not living my life, I'm living someone else's life. And I never wanna end up on my deathbed where I'm like, 'Man, I wish I did X, Y, and Z.'"

While Sana and Adnan do miss living together and plan to move back in after a maximum of three years, she said that for now, "this is working better for our relationship, which is making me love him more."

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