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Author Topic: Living Apart - support thread?  (Read 344644 times)
the_honey_badger
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« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2008, 9:57:21 AM »

I certainly don't want to derail this thread, as I am very much affected by these issues as well, and will chime in later.  But there is a child board of job-seeking experiences called "The Two-Body Problem" where issues of this sort (among more clearly job-search issues specific to couples) have been discussed.  Do we want the mods to move this thread there, or keep it independent?

I'd rather keep it separate as many of us are in temporary situations it appears or long-term separations of a certain type and , again, are dealing with "dealing with it" but in the other board it tends to be people facing it for a first job or as a potential.  In short, most there last season were more *upset* about maybe doing it or resisting it than facing it for a fellowship or by choice (long term relationship).  I'm not sure that makes sense but I think there is a qualitative difference already as the OP outlined in the first post---some of us aren't thrilled but we've MADE a choice to do it rather than it being a potential problem with *getting* a job.

my .02 cents
« Last Edit: July 24, 2008, 10:01:14 AM by yankeedan » Logged

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gourmetless
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« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2008, 10:00:22 AM »

I would vote for independent.  This isn't about seeking a job with a partner on the arm, but about *not* living together for the sake of the job.

Not about employment, but instead life.
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englitprof
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« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2008, 10:09:43 AM »

Okay, my own story:

Englitprofalso (yes, he's in the same field--part of why we're apart) just landed a TT job after 5 years on the job market.  For four of those years we were together, me TT at Crappy U and him part-time making less than 1/4 my salary to teach 2/3 as much.  Year five we were both on the market; I found another TT job at Pretty Damn Cool U and he a VAP at Most Excellent U, and he will begin TT there this fall.

All this background is to say why we're willing and almost (but a BIG almost!) content to deal with the 800 miles between us.  However, it does suck--for all of the reasons mentioned here, but also financially.  In addition to horrific gas prices (I don't think we'll be able to keep seeing each other every 4-6 weeks the way we have been, though one benefit of being in the same field is that we go to the same conferences and so have "conference dates"), it's impossible to save/get out of debt while maintaining two separate households.  And as we have no idea how long things will continue this way, we're both reluctant to buy houses, even though that would work better for me as I have the two dogs (he has the cats).

But we're making it work.  Thank God for cell phones!  We talk many times throughout the day.

One thing that's kind of fun is Stumble Upon, an add-on to Firefox that will randomly take you to a site you might be interested in based on what boxes you checked (food and wine, animals, travel, etc.).  You can send the site to your partner with comments.  For me, it's kind of like finding a hidden, unexpected note from my sweetie every time I open the browser.
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oldfullprof
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« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2008, 10:17:10 AM »

240 miles apart three days a week during the school year.  We do a daily call.  I've been doing this for five years.  Three more and I can retire.  I'm looking at a chair position exactly the same distance away (in another direction) right now, so, if I get it, it won't change anything.
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Taste o' the Sixties
teatime
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« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2008, 10:28:24 AM »

However, it does suck--for all of the reasons mentioned here, but also financially.  In addition to horrific gas prices (I don't think we'll be able to keep seeing each other every 4-6 weeks the way we have been, though one benefit of being in the same field is that we go to the same conferences and so have "conference dates"), it's impossible to save/get out of debt while maintaining two separate households. 

Thanks for brining up the financial aspects. I'm lucky in that my SO and I are only a 5 hour drive apart, so we can see each other every 2 to 4 weeks (we've found 3 weeks to be ideal). As you said, maintaining two households makes it much more difficult to save and get out of debt.

MY SO and I are pretty autonomous by nature, so we find the LDR easier than some do. We dated locally the first year we were together and have had the LDR for the past year. We lived together for two months this summer and that went well. Early in my career, I see the LDR as being advantageous in that we can get more work done on the weekends. But 2 to 3 years from now, I can foresee this getting really old.

Basically, what I need now is for my SO, who is not an academic, and I to set an end date to the long-distance arrangement. Setting an end date is easier said than done because SO has a house that would need to be sold and I'm looking for a new job. It wouldn't make sense for SO to follow me until I've found that new job.
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englitprof
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« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2008, 10:34:51 AM »


MY SO and I are pretty autonomous by nature, so we find the LDR easier than some do. We dated locally the first year we were together and have had the LDR for the past year. We lived together for two months this summer and that went well. Early in my career, I see the LDR as being advantageous in that we can get more work done on the weekends. But 2 to 3 years from now, I can foresee this getting really old.


Yes, both my husband and I found the separation easier than we were expecting, precisely because we're so very busy.  But it's definitely been a bit easier for me, partly because I've lived alone (without roommates) before and partly because what they say about dogs and socializing is true--I've made several good friends through the local dog park, and so I have more sense of community where I am than he does yet.  Now that he's TT instead of visiting, I think it will be easier for him to establish that.
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the_honey_badger
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« Reply #21 on: July 24, 2008, 11:08:09 AM »

I've got a bit of a "once in a lifetime" chance coming up in that paid leave (sabbatical) for a semester co-incides with a very good research fellowship clear across the country. Both U town and Fellowship town are in "secondary" air markets and the prices at the best of times to fly in and out are horribly high.

 On the plus side, that means a very good stipend amount that is also  a bit of a financial bonanza because the housing I've arranged is essentially a house-sit and the award also gives more for research travel than I'd get in five years in my job. So, we actually financially benefit from my taking it both in income terms and in the fact that my conference/research travel will (for the first time in my career) not COST us money.  The joke in my house is that the extra income will pay off all that pre-tenure cc debt run up on the move to tt-ville and professional travel for five years. A joke that is far more true than not. We call it "tenure debt" at my house.

On the other hand, I could fly home once or twice a month with the extra money. We've been married quite a while and take the long view: we'd rather get out of "tenure debt" and are willing to sacrifice nine months to do it.  It isn't pleasant or easy but using the strategy of my attending conferences in my U region, planning some archival visits to places within a day's drive of my husband basically has us seeing each other about once every six weeks, we've installed SKYPE on the computers and have voip phone service on each end so we have plans to keep in daily touch. 

What put it in perspective for us was running across letters from his grandparents during WWII. Newly married, they were separated for four long years. Both worked toward a goal (him staying alive, her saving for a house after the war) and realized that we certainly have it good in comparison but that people endure far more. We decided that their focus on the future and determination to stay connected daily about the little things in life via letter was a good guide. (They did reunite and lived 50+ remarkably happy years together)

I'll go into my "research hermit" mode and be productive, we'll save the "extra" money and throw it on bills, and he'll stay home and take care of things there. We are also pretty autonomous and lived as single adults before marriage so we are competent in those ways. What is hard is that we are very close and like being together. Like many here, the long view is the one we've taken and we know this is temporary and good for us but the separation is just hard as you all know.

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kilpikonna
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« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2008, 11:53:42 AM »

What put it in perspective for us was running across letters from his grandparents during WWII. Newly married, they were separated for four long years. Both worked toward a goal (him staying alive, her saving for a house after the war) and realized that we certainly have it good in comparison but that people endure far more. We decided that their focus on the future and determination to stay connected daily about the little things in life via letter was a good guide. (They did reunite and lived 50+ remarkably happy years together)

This is a lovely reminder.  Thank you, yankeedan!

Quote
I'll go into my "research hermit" mode and be productive, we'll save the "extra" money and throw it on bills, and he'll stay home and take care of things there. We are also pretty autonomous and lived as single adults before marriage so we are competent in those ways. What is hard is that we are very close and like being together. Like many here, the long view is the one we've taken and we know this is temporary and good for us but the separation is just hard as you all know.

This all resonates with me, too. 
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dr_zack
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« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2008, 12:11:16 PM »

I vote to keep this thread independent - I look at the two-body problem thread a lot, and it mostly doesn't seem to address this issue - it only occasionally does!
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dr_zack
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« Reply #24 on: July 24, 2008, 12:22:16 PM »


What put it in perspective for us was running across letters from his grandparents during WWII. Newly married, they were separated for four long years. Both worked toward a goal (him staying alive, her saving for a house after the war) and realized that we certainly have it good in comparison but that people endure far more. We decided that their focus on the future and determination to stay connected daily about the little things in life via letter was a good guide. (They did reunite and lived 50+ remarkably happy years together)

. . . We are also pretty autonomous and lived as single adults before marriage so we are competent in those ways. What is hard is that we are very close and like being together. Like many here, the long view is the one we've taken and we know this is temporary and good for us but the separation is just hard as you all know.




Great stuff here!  My partner and I are pretty autonomous, too.  We've both lived apart and alone and done fine (and, in fact, in 2004 he went on a 3-month bike trip across the US and we didn't see each other at all for three months since I started my doctorate that year, and we were fine) - it IS the daily togetherness we'll miss the most.  I know I'll be super busy (first year on the TT), but I'm determined to keep my family and relationship the #1 priority.
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gourmetless
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« Reply #25 on: July 24, 2008, 12:41:18 PM »

t IS the daily togetherness we'll miss the most.  I know I'll be super busy (first year on the TT), but I'm determined to keep my family and relationship the #1 priority.

This is what is necessary.  This is why we spend every single night on the phone together. Even if I am reading or grading, or cutting the cat's claws, or he is surfing online or doing dishes.  Daily time together sharing life is needed in order to remain close.
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spork
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« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2008, 12:43:36 PM »

I am also the autonomous type, but that did not help my LDR experience with my ex-wife.  I worked two hours away for a four year period.  We had two apartments, and I'd see my ex-wife on most weekends, plus holidays and summers.  The problem was not being apart during the work week, it was spending quality time alone with each other on weekends.

I'm on the verge of another LDR -- this time we'll be 4 hours apart.  We've been talking about seeing each other every other weekend during the semesters.
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ghoti
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« Reply #27 on: July 24, 2008, 2:01:29 PM »

I am new here and signed up when the “two-body” board went up, but there isn’t much activity there. My SO and I live 350 miles apart, a drivable distance to be sure. Last year we missed just two weekends together. I usually did the driving because my SO maintains our home with dogs and cat, and it is easier for me to hop in my Civic and drive after the week’s classes are complete. I rent out a small in-town efficiency within walking distance of my college. This year we plan to drive less because of gas prices (we will see). We have lived like this for a year so far. I have a three-year VAP position in a state we love, and my SO has a TT position in the state where our family lives.

Our question is about what you all do to offset the cost of maintaining two households. I probably made a mistake in paying rent all summer while using the apartment less often than I had planned, but it is cheap for the area and so very, very convenient such that my car just sits when I am working. We use Verizon Wireless, so we are both “in” and we have unlimited calls to each other. We talk at least twice a day. Otherwise, we maintain a simple life-style when we are apart. Last year we tried to do our grocery shopping when we were together on weekends. Our salaries aren’t great, of course, but our work is rewarding, which is why we got into this racket in the first place!

We have never been very picky when it comes to income taxes, but my specific question is about the kinds of expenses we can claim?

« Last Edit: July 24, 2008, 2:04:21 PM by ghoti » Logged
teatime
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« Reply #28 on: July 24, 2008, 2:08:29 PM »

The problem was not being apart during the work week, it was spending quality time alone with each other on weekends.

I'm on the verge of another LDR -- this time we'll be 4 hours apart.  We've been talking about seeing each other every other weekend during the semesters.

Spork link, do you have any advice about spending quality time alone with each other on the weekends that you wouldn't mind sharing?
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gourmetless
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« Reply #29 on: July 24, 2008, 2:41:00 PM »

It is very expensive to visit so much.  I spend $125 round trip when I travel, which doesn't include pet sitter bills.  But, we have decided it is a non-negotiable expense, and we both realize that the expense is finite, while still a pain in the neck.  We both have small affordable apartments, and don't have many entertainment/eating out expenses. 

We don't have traditional vacations.  He accompanies me ot one conference per year, and we use our vacation *money* for a hotel when we do weekends mid-way between our cities.

Here is a LDR primer published in the Washington Post a few weeks ago.  I found it interesting.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/10/AR2008071002607.html

and the accompanying article

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/07/11/ST2008071101716.html?sid=ST2008071101716&pos=list
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