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We're getting married...and living apart

My fiance and I are moving in a couple of months, to live apart for a year. Why? Because we are both in grad school and need the next year to finish our rigorous studies! We've discussed it at length and want to have this time to organize ourselves, although we will still be very much a couple, doing all the couple things. But it's going to be so hard living apart- which will be until Summer 2007. And we're getting married in December this year!
And tips for staying sane during this time, staying healthy, and staying on my eating plan?
ANY help would be so appreciated- this has been such a hard time for us.


Sun. Mar 19, 6:36pm

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Don't get married

Not yet. I've known so many people who are in their early 20s and have to do a period of separation for work or school and you really do grow apart sometimes. If you don't, then that's wonderful, and get married when you're back together. But why bother doing it now? There's no rush. Wait until you can enjoy being married together.

Sunday, March 19, 2006, 7:28 PM

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not quite the same, but...

my boyfriend and i have been dating for a year and a half (next year he'll move to be with me, and we plan to get engaged within a year or so after that), and we've lived in the same place only 3 1/2 months of that time. he's literally on the other side of the world - 17 hours time difference. when i finally see him again in july, we will have been apart 8 months.

first - good for you! it's a hard decision to live apart from the person you love, but sometimes that's what your professional development requires, and if your career is important to you, then congratulations for realizing that.

second - don't worry. time apart is a terrible thing to consider (and i imagine that deciding to do it instead of being sort of forced into it, as i was, is even more wrenching), but while the reality isn't exactly a barrel of laughs, it's also not nearly as bad as you might imagine. people are more adaptable than we give ourselves credit for, and especially if you're busy, it gets easier after the first few weeks.

my boyfriend and i have done wonderfully with regular phone conversations - we usually talk 3 times a day, even if sometimes it's just 5 minutes. talking throughout the day makes me feel more connected, and more closely mimics the way we talk when we do live together - just to be able to tell him what i'm going to do with my day, and then talk to him a few hours later about how it went - it doesn't have to be romantic all the time (though if you can learn to like phone sex, that can be a good thing, too!). if you're not phone people, then try email or IM - the key for me has been to communicate several times throughout the day, not just once.

as far as getting healthy, both of us felt we wanted to lose a few pounds last time we saw each other, so we made a friendly contest of who could lose the weight faster. we cheered each other on each time one of us made it to the gym or passed up the extra beer. for me, it's also motivating to want to really impress him with how good i look next time i see him - since you'll be apart for a while, the change will be even more striking than if he saw the change day-to-day.

one advantage of being apart is that you'll have more time to exercise (even if it's not your thing, a morning walk, maybe with music, does WONDERS for the mood). it's a good time to try something new - yoga, pilates, rock climbing. you also have more freedom about what you eat. when i'm with my boyfriend, we usually have a pretty big dinner together. when i'm away from him, if i want to splurge on lunch and then just have a bowl of cereal at night, i can.

grad school and research can be pretty lonely, so if you're prone to emotional eating, i'd recommend 1) getting out of the house as much as possible (somehow it's less lonely walking down the street than sitting in front of the TV, and also you're less likely to graze), 2) making friends in town - maybe friends of yours know people in this program?, and 3) becoming good at communicating with friends and loved ones out of town - not just the hubby. download skype (skype.com), buy a cheap headset, and get your friends to do so as well - you can talk on the phone for free!

finally, remember you're not alone. all sorts of couples - military, foreign service, professors, and grad students like yourselves - have made this work. take comfort and pride in the fact that you love each other enough to want the other to develop in something else that's important to him/her. if you were strong enough to make that decision, you're certainly strong enough to make it through the time apart.

good luck!

Sunday, March 19, 2006, 7:32 PM

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I'm sorry, but I agree with the last poster! I am getting married too, and the thought of having to live apart of my husband after the marriage..just seems...ludacris, and unbearable! i myself would wait to marry if I were in your situation. I think living apart after being married, is just inviting trouble and heartache!
Please consider postponing the wedding, or any other options you may have.

Sunday, March 19, 2006, 7:35 PM

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oops, sorry..i mean I agree with the poster before the lastone! lol!

Sunday, March 19, 2006, 7:37 PM

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Search the discussion forums on the Chronicle of Higher Education -- you will find a lot of practical advice from graduate students and junior faculty members who have done the same thing for the same reasons.

Sunday, March 19, 2006, 7:45 PM

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