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Split in Different Time Zones- the Impracticality of Long Distance Marriages

Inspired by personal predicament. Reaching out to those who may be in a dilemma faced with the difficult choice to leave a spouse behind.

Unsustainable pillows!

That pillow you hug each night can only substitute your partner for so long and so much.

If your long-distance marriage stretches to continue any longer than it can, swallow the bitter pill the pillow may last longer than your marriage or emotional health.

Yes, it's true that it is hard luck and weary on self-esteem when a partner is physically with you but mentally elsewhere as true & healthy bonds are of the soul, mind and heart first.

In this article, however, we shall address the pitfalls of the other extreme: "in mind but always out of sight" in a bond of spouses.

Am all for giving space but moderation is key: when, how much & where are factors to be considered.


Tweak it: different situations call for different approaches

Reiterating that when, how much, and where needs to be decided with sensitivity to circumstance.

I had a roommate who had dated her husband for 10+ years before they tied the knot.

They had been schoolmates, collegemates, and workmates. He got an opportunity in the States and hence decided to marry to give her the security and made arrangements for her to follow him there after 5-6 months. She continued with her job in India until then made arrangements to join him there.

In this case, the foundation of the relationship was already strong and the girl had some certainty and future to look forward to.

In another case, a relative got a great onsite opportunity several years after marriage and her husband followed her there soon after.

There is no hard and fast rule as each individual and situation is different but certain things are definitely avoidable.

If one is decided to be overseas for more than a year with no arrangements of taking spouse along in the initial year then it's a good idea to marry post that for then your spouse is free but to be bonded and left out can be a difficult space for both. If the in-laws are supportive or if the spouse left behind is strong she may be able to pull it through but for a healthy happy relation, it's a good idea to strive to be together or at least meet as often as is possible. The spouse who has moved away for personal growth must also not take for granted the one left behind and must put in efforts to show that he/she is valued and put in efforts to be together soon.

Thoughtfulness feeds the soul.

To not meet many months at a stretch is not an aspired for the situation and those who advise or treat it as the norm for you wish less for you (are questioning your self worth and telling you you deserve less and must settle for it), they won't standby when your spouse is away or won't compensate for it as the National Army does for its workforce's spouses.

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The day to day and other challenges!

1. No one signs up for everyday formalities with relatives and extended relatives of a spouse in his absence. Every relation has its boundaries, norms, naturalness, and dignity. In most cases, there are generation gaps and you can't possibly be yourself around them as much as you can be at ease with your husband (assuming he is in general non-judgemental about you and you are at comfort and ease with him). The relatives have their priorities and cannot possibly take on the responsibilities of the spouse towards you upon themselves. It can be weary on your spouse's dignity too to overspend time with them as they have their personal lives.

Beyond a certain point, it's awkward for both parties where both don't know what to do with each other for so long.

2. One tends to run out of topics to talk about on phone and may start giving ridiculous details which if your spouse is present he/she can see for self. Silence on phone doesn't convey much except for once in a while. Tactile presence cannot be compensated for by phone.

3. Common arguments or disagreements can be sorted within the house when the spouse is around as one can vent out to him, but in his absence, one may be compelled to share with others which if one is a particularly dignified individual may not be a happy place to be in. To not share may lead to repression which can have other repercussions.

4. Solitude has its perks. Space is healthy for most of us whether or not we realize it. As the old adage goes "It is better to be alone than to be in a bond and left out". Hobbies, connecting with the self is great. One must strive to keep this in place even when in a relationship with another. When we are connected to another we must remember that we have committed our time to them. We cannot possess them like an object and be away too long. Balance is the key. Love never reduces another to a thing.

So, I re-emphasize, strive for a win-win situation, and don't scapegoat one aspect of your life for another. Our 9-7 private jobs hardly leave us with time for the family anyway, so don't cut out further on what's available. In the end, it won't be worth it if you lose out on a good spouse or relation. At the end of their lives, many have regretted not having their priorities right.

5. After a few years of marriage, a few days of being alone may feel like a bachelor kind of freedom but then the reality is one isn't single and soon one wishes for home roots. At the start of a marriage, one doesn't enjoy even that. Mature spouses support each other, if one has extra deadlines another takes up the housework and vice versa. To do everything alone while in a relationship can become burdensome as standards change post marriage.

6. For loyal spouses it can always trouble the conscience that they took up a growth opportunity at cost of keeping another bonded when they are unable to provide. Love sets free. So while it's great to not sabotage your own growth for another, it's equally important to not sabotage another and set them free to move on with their lives or better to work to be together to provide for each other at the earliest.


A wish for you!

Those of you in a lovely bond there, kept apart in different continents by circumstances waiting to get back together again especially in these covid 19 times that has set many of us to re-wind our lives, set our priorities right - may you get back together soon. This speed breaker is perhaps to just check if we are going right so that we can move with accelerated speed soon on the path best for us.

May life bring to you more of win-win situations!


This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2020 Neha Rohra


Neha Rohra (author) from India on November 21, 2020:

Thank you Shumaila!

Shumaila faizi on November 21, 2020:

Very well articulated the pros n cons

Neha Rohra (author) from India on November 21, 2020:

Thank you Anindya!

Dr. Anindya Dasgupta on November 21, 2020:

Excellent article. Making case for win win situations within the realms of practical reasonableness.

Neha Rohra (author) from India on November 21, 2020:

Thank you Himanshu

Himanshu Rohra on November 21, 2020:


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