My husband and I lived apart for 10 years. It made our relationship stronger.

My husband and I lived apart for 10 years. It made our relationship stronger.
Jennifer Fink and her husband.Courtesy of Jennifer Fink
  • For nearly 10 years, my husband and I lived about a mile apart.
  • I actually liked living apart from him.

For nearly 10 years, my husband and I lived about a mile apart.

We weren't married for the full decade, but despite our commitment to each other, we maintained separate homes. And raised more than a few eyebrows in our small conservative town.

Living apart simply made sense. Our relationship was a second-chance relationship for each of us. We'd both been previously married and divorced. We both had children with our ex-spouses. His youngest was two years older than my oldest, and by the time we started dating, his youngest two children were in high school; my four boys were still in grade school.

His first wife had two kids when she and my current spouse married, so he knew, from hard experience, how difficult it is to blend families. My boys had already lived through a divorce and the resulting disruption; the last thing I wanted to do was inflict any more life changes upon them.

He lived in his three-bedroom split-level house less than a mile away from the four-bedroom Victorian I shared with my boys. I split my time between homes. When my boys went to their dad's, I stayed at his house.


When we married in 2018 for health insurance (the most American of reasons), we continued our separate-but-together lifestyle. I still had three boys living at home and saw no good reason to upset their lives.

Plus, I liked living separately from my husband. Because we didn't share a house, money, or children, we didn't fight about household chores and maintenance, money, or children — the things married couples fight about most often. Instead, our time together was mostly pleasant. In fact, I'd say living apart made our relationship stronger.

We each had plenty of time to pursue personal interests

My husband likes to hunt; I like to read. He likes sci-fi movies; I prefer character-driven dramas and romantic comedies. He falls asleep with the TV on; I like to read in bed.

Our split schedule offered built-in alone time. On the days I was at my house, I could do whatever I wanted.

During our living-apart years, there was no question what I'd be doing Monday, Tuesday, or every other Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night: I spent time with my husband. We cooked together, walked our dogs, talked, spent time with friends, and watched things we both enjoyed.


And yes, we had sex. Uninhibited, loud sex. We almost always had his place to ourselves. Unlike most parents of teens, I could enjoy a healthy adult sex life without worrying about traumatizing my kids.

Our relationship wasn't constantly battered by external stress

We experienced tough times — the death of his mother, issues with our kids — but because we didn't jointly share responsibility for a home or children, we were able to develop our relationship without simultaneously dealing with different financial priorities and disagreements about discipline.

We got to know each other's strengths and flaws from a bit of a distance. His tendency to forget things didn't really affect me because he was responsible for his life; my moods could be managed at home. Slowly, we learned to accommodate each other.

We recently moved in together. It's more cost-effective and less work to take care of one house instead of two, and to be honest, if we hadn't lived apart first, I'm not sure this would work. I'm still getting used to him not putting my spices in the right order in the cabinet.