Can marriages work when only living half the time together

posted 2 months ago in Married Life
Post # 2
Member
1535 posts
Bumble bee

I’m not going to answer your question because you requested responses from bees with spouses away for work, and I am not qualified to answer that.  But I will ask you this: you must speak a common language (maybe English, or maybe you speak his language in addition to yours), otherwise you couldn’t communicate with him, much less be married.  Does he need to speak your language to successfully get by in your country?  However, it sounds like that is a moot point if he is unwilling to sacrifice his self employment dreams, because it couldn’t be done in your country even if he spoke your language.

I can tell you, based on people I’ve known over the years that did do this kind of thing, it worked for about half of them.  The kids get used to it, just like they get used to a parent that works the 3rd (overnight) shift and rarely sees them on working days.  But it did break up two marriages.  One of them was due to an affair while on the road, the other was a gradual drifting due to the at-home spouse wanting more time than they were able to get.

Post # 4
Member
2909 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2017

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@Elodie123:  while it can work, its definitely not ideal especially for long term and when children are involved.  This sort of inadvertently happened to us – when I was on mat leave my husband was sent to work 1.5h drive away.  Because he works long shifts (12h), commuting was not a great option (and having a 5w infant that wasn’t sleeping the night made guaranteed sleep at home not an option).  We made it work, he was usually gone early Mon until late wed or sometimes Thurs.  It was hard for both of us – him being exhausted working long hours, being away from home, eating take out and staying in hotels (paid by his company), me for being only parent 24/7 to a child that slept very poorly, isolated due to covid.  Weekends were essentially restocking the house so I didn’t have to go run any errands with the baby.  Short term, we did what we had to do, long term I would not want to be in that situation.  

Things to consider – your DH will be exhausted (even if he doesn’t think he will be).  Travelling 4h every week is a lot.  Do you have the income to maintain two residences?  What about on maternity leave – how would that affect your income?  How do you feel about never having a break for 3 full days with a baby?  If you plan on eventually sending a child to daycare, will it be your responsibility to take time off when the inevitable “daycare plagues” hit?  Do you have family nearly you could lean on?

Also a trial run of living separately without a child, isn’t really a trial run.  My husband has worked away many times before (sometimes weeks at a time), but leaving me at home with the baby was 100000000% different.  

Post # 5
Member
290 posts
Helper bee

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@Elodie123:  I don’t think a marriage works with someone selfish and delusional which is what he is. How are you supposed to handle living in 2 countries at once? How are your kids? What is this fantasy self-employed job that apparently isn’t even what he does now but that he believes will support your whole family?

 

like. Just having a spouse away for work 3 days a week can be totally manageable. But not with someone who just casually assumes everything will be fine!

Post # 6
Member
242 posts
Helper bee

I know a family that did this and it was really rough on their marriage.  It worked ok when they didn’t have kids but once they had kids it was reallly bad.  While it is true that the husband was focused on the family when he got home, the wife was so exhausted from working and raising the kids alone that she would hand off the kids to the husband as soon as he got home.  She would then spend time alone catching up on all the things she couldn’t do when he was gone.  They never spent time together and she was resentful.

Post # 7
Member
205 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

I think it could work. Is he planning on travelling to work on Monday morning and returning home on Wednesday night- i.e. being away 2 nights per week? There are quite a number of pepole who essentially travel like this (or more) for work, but don’t officially “live apart”.

I think whether or not you will be able to make it work depends on your job, and the support that you will have at home when he’s away. He may well be more available on the days he is around. I definitely wouldn’t have kids at the same time as he starts his business though. Have the business up and running and functional first.

I guess what it really boils down to is he level of commitment to you and to making this life work. If you are doubting that he will follow through on his word that itsn’t a great sign. That said I do think its difficult to understand what life with kids is like until you have them, which may be why he just “assumes it will be fine”. The question, is, I guess, is he willing to work through whatever life throws at you and handle things when they aren’t fine?

Post # 8
Member
2733 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: City, State

I have a friend who made it three years of marriage with her husband being a traveling rep. He was gone every other week. Once they had kids, he adjusted his job to being away only one week per month. She handles it okay most of the time because she’s a stay at home mom anyway and is used to being with the kids by herself most of the time, but with not having any break at all, by the time he gets home, she gives him responsibility for the kids and needs that weekend to unwind. 

Your husband’s compromise seems lopsided to me. Is he usually prone to being selfish/his way or no way at all? I also suspect that he’s overselling this to you at the moment… three days in F sounds doable in the short term, but my guess would be that he will end up being there significantly more than he’s stating. 

Long term, no. I don’t think this is doable. I think you need to find a location that works for both of you, even if that means he explores other career opportunities outside his current job. 

Post # 9
Member
7974 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

i don’t have experience myself, but can share a few successful examples of friends or friends’ parents.

 

my friend lives on east coast.  when she met her husband he was home on break, but had a seasonable job that brought him to west coast just over half the year.  he looked for a long time for something closer to home, but wasn’t able to find anything.  they worked this way for over 5 years.  they didn’t have kids and visited each other as often as they could.  he now is semiretired and has a job closer to home.

when i was a kid, i had numerous friends who parents commuted.  one parent worked in NYC, the other in DC.  They lived in NYC for 10 years while one parent lived in DC during the week then commuted home on weekends to be with the family.  Then after 10 years, moved to DC and the other parent lived in NYC during the week and commuted home on weekends. all the friends whose parents were in this situation are all still married and the children are adults now with children of their own.

Post # 10
Member
2186 posts
Buzzing bee

I know a couple of people who have chosen to do this and it worked for them, but they were older couples without children.  It’s a whole different scenario when you have kids.

Yes, it can work, but it is incredibly hard, especially when the children are young.  If you do go for this, you would need to make sure you have a very solid support network of family or close friends around you, who can step in to help when you or the kids are sick or some other crisis hits while your husband is away.

But that is not what concerns me so much as your husband’s attitude.  He does not want to live in your country and he has made no attempt to learn your language.  It’s not a great sign when one partner shows zero interest in the other partner’s country/culture.  He sounds quite selfish, as if he is just expecting you to fit around his life – is he spending any time asking you about your goals, wishes & interests and what you would like to do/where you would like to live?  Because all I’m hearing in your post is what he wants or doesn’t want.

I’m also struggling to believe that the only job in the world that can make him happy is in a country where neither of you speak the language.  

Since you both speak English and he refuses to learn any other languages, is there any reason why you can’t live in Britain?  Or another English-speaking country.

Post # 11
Member
4808 posts
Honey bee

I think it can work if both parties are on board, but it doesn’t sound like that’s the case here.

But since you are already married, what’s the harm in trying?

Post # 12
Member
3636 posts
Sugar bee

In my husband’s line of work (musician) this is really common as you kinda have to go where the jobs are. We are friends with a lot of couples with both partners musicians, and in many cases they are living in different cities and only seeing each other a few days a week and during breaks. I’m not gonna lie, our two best couple friends were living this life and both are now divorced. It is not an easy life, though I don’t think the distance is the only reason these marriages failed (two musicians married to each other is hard for a WHOLE host of reasons). 

IMO it can 100% work but both parties need to be on board and you need to have a really strong foundation, which it doesn’t sound like yall have. So I’m sorry to be negative but I wouldn’t be super optimistic about it in your shoes.

Post # 13
Member
1144 posts
Bumble bee

This doesnt sound much different than most executives who travel during the week, except they dont have a separate household when they travel. 

My boss (pre-covid) gets 8 weeks vacation a year. During the other 44 weeks in the year, he travelled probably 40 weeks a year, gone anywhere from 1 night (go up on a tuesday AM, come back wed night) or the full week (go up mon night, come back fri). He has kids, as do most of his co-workers. His wife also works. I personally would not want to have that dyamic, but it works for many many people. 

Did I miss why you won’t move to country F so you could at least be together while he’s setting up the business?

Post # 14
Member
2186 posts
Buzzing bee

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@skuzzlebutt:  OP says she is not fluent in F and would need fluency in the local language to do her job.  Her husband does not speak F either, but would not need to do so for his job.

Post # 15
Member
2965 posts
Sugar bee

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@Elodie123:  My husband travels for work sometimes, and works longer days than the typical 9-5. We have a 1 year old and hope to have 1-2 more children. I would not be okay with your DH’s proposed arrangement, even more so if you don’t have family or a strong support system nearby. It takes a lot to raise children. When they’re sick and can’t be in childcare and juggling work, when you’re sick and need a break or just need some sleep, trying to take a shower even. I know that it’s possible, because there are single parents who do things by themselves, but I also know it’s incredibly hard and I would never sign on for it. 

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