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For those of you who are married and have been admitted or are applying for next year, would you consider moving away from your spouse for the next 5-7 years?

I would love to hear people's experiences who have done this or are considering it.

Thanks!
 
Jan 28, 2010
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I've done it and am doing it again... I moved away (to TX from WA) for the first 2.5 yrs, had to return home for other reasons, and am now going back to finish. It's DIFFICULT, but not impossible. I'm VERY lucky though - my husband was able to visit frequently which helped quite a bit. Let me know if I can answer any more specifics, but overall, it's hard but do-able. :)
 

Buzzwordsoldier

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For those of you who are married and have been admitted or are applying for next year, would you consider moving away from your spouse for the next 5-7 years?

I would love to hear people's experiences who have done this or are considering it.

Thanks!
My partner and I are not legally married, but we have two kids plus a mortgage and deepish roots here. The whole "What do we do with the house?" question is a tough knot at this point, and could determine whether I move first to be joined an indefinite time later. My partner's mom lives in the area so she could continue to help in a variety of ways no matter how we decide on this issue. It's likely to be a distraction, no matter how it plays out. Unless we can sell at a decent price relatively quickly...:xf:
 
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CanPsychGirl

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Aaaah I thought I was crazy for wanting to try this! My partner of 4 years (we're not married) will have to stay here for another 2 years to finish his degree, and then will most likely have to remain with his current employer for another year or so to achieve his professional designation. And then, since they employed him while he was working towards the designation, he will have to remain for about another year out of professional courtesy ;) By which time, I'll be only 2 years or so away from internship, and we were debating whether or not it would make sense for him to move at that point to where I'll be going to school.

All this to say, I'm glad there are others out there who find themselves wondering whether this is a crazy idea :) I guess it's not that crazy, because you're not alone!
 
Feb 2, 2010
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Fortunately and unfortunately I found the program of my dreams which is located approximately 1500 miles from home--and the love of my life :(
This has been the most difficult decision I've ever had to make but we both decided we were going to work through this. He just started a PhD program and is unable to move with me. So it looks like we'll be apart for at least another 3 years. I am terrified that this move might change our relationship but I am hoping to hear about more successful relationships that have been able to make it through something like this.
 
Feb 22, 2010
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A very close friend of mine (clinical psyc phd) and her husband (engineer, MA level) went through this. It was incredibly difficult for both of them, but they made it through and now she has a great private practice job, he has a good job in his field, they live in a city they both like, and have 2 awesome little kids. They are living proof it can be done, if you work at it.
 

jnine

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my boss at work did it. him and his wife are both academics with high power positions and they lived apart for 3 years, while constantly hopping around from palace to place to further their careers.

personally, I would only do this if it were absolutley the only way for both my wife and I to accomplish our goals.

best of luck.
 
Jan 7, 2010
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Great responses-thank you so much! It's something that I can't even conceptualize right now, but come next March it may be the case. Thank you all for your feedback.
 

Psycycle

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I'm doing this now through the end of my internship year - we were in grad school together and he finished, and is in an academic field, so had to take a job outside of the area. We are about 7 hours apart.

Not gonna lie - it sucks. I miss him terribly. What we do is on weekends we just keep a Skype window open, not necessarily talking, but just keep it open like we're just hanging out together. And once a month we meet up halfway in the middle, and I'll go there in the summer prior to when my internship starts.

The only way I'm managing this is knowing it's just this year...I don't know how people can do this long term. But people make it work - I know a bunch of people who do. It has to be tough.
 

PsyDWannabe

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yikes all these success stories I feel like I shouldnt chime in with my many negative stories :(
My nosiness aside, its always good to hear both sides :D
 

AlaskanJustin

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My nosiness aside, its always good to hear both sides :D
I mean I wouldnt want to sway people from trying... I know I did, twice, and lets just say it did not work out well. I know some will argue "age" blah blah, but realistically speaking, how many of us will actually have the money to frequently visit a significant other that is more than 6 hours away. My one friend goes from Columbia (NYC) to DC to visit her guy, but she is a Biochem PhD student that gets significantly more than we would (35k if I remember right). so expenses arent as bad for her as they would be for us.

I will admit I will be attending school single this Fall, just recently broke it off with a girl i was with for 3 years because to me its not worth risking messing up in school over emotional troubles that happen with long distance fighting etc.

Good luck tho :(
 

Markp

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BTDT, got the T-shirt too. It can be hard if you haven't done this before, but strong relationships usually survive it. In some instances, it can actually be helpful in older relationships (like mine). Reuniting allows you to reset some of the relationship dynamics, which can in some cases be beneficial.

Mark
 

cara susanna

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My friend's away from her husband for just this year and it seems really difficult. They're making it work, but I'm not sure how easy it would be for them past a year.
 
Feb 9, 2010
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my relationship with my husband is the most important thing to me.. school and my career are secondary, actually. therefore, i could not move away from him! not to mention, he is one of the biggest supports i have--i dont think i could survive grad school without him.

thats just my experience ;)
I'm glad someone shares my thoughts. I did the long distance thing through undergrad and I don't think I could do it now, not because I don't think we couldn't get through it, but because I wouldn't want that. We get along so much better now that we actually live together. Maybe I could on the short term for a year or two, but I couldn't be away for 5+ years, I'd have to find some sort of compromise...
 

krisrox

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I'm moving away from my SO. We both realize how hard it's going to be, but we're both determined to make it work. I think we're fueled off of the old saying "Where there's a will, there's a way." Here's hopin'?
 
Jan 14, 2010
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I'm moving away from my SO. We both realize how hard it's going to be, but we're both determined to make it work. I think we're fueled off of the old saying "Where there's a will, there's a way." Here's hopin'?
same situation. ive been dating my boyfriend for nearly 4 years and im really hoping we can make it through. i guess we can take comfort in the fact that a ton of grad students are doing the long distance thing. it must be possible because so many people are forced to do it
 

kapinkkidowski

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My boyfriend and I have been together for 4.5 yrs. We both applied for phd programs last year, to the same cities. For both of us it was out of the question to try to live apart for 5-7 years. We didnt get into schools in any of the same cities, and I ended up deciding to pass up my offers, move with him to Boston, and re-apply this year (he had no options for school in the city I got in, I had several places I could apply to here, the schools I got into werent such a great fit for me anyway, and a whole bunch of other things went into the decision).

Scariest decision of my life, but I never regretted it, even though it was tough at times. I just got accepted today to my top choice program, which is actually a MUCH better place for me and a higher caliber program than the places I got into last year, with an amazing POI doing research right up my alley. I want a career, of course, and I love clinical psych, but for me, my family and those that I love come first.
 

PsyDWannabe

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My boyfriend and I have been together for 4.5 yrs. We both applied for phd programs last year, to the same cities. For both of us it was out of the question to try to live apart for 5-7 years. We didnt get into schools in any of the same cities, and I ended up deciding to pass up my offers, move with him to Boston, and re-apply this year (he had no options for school in the city I got in, I had several places I could apply to here, the schools I got into werent such a great fit for me anyway, and a whole bunch of other things went into the decision).

Scariest decision of my life, but I never regretted it, even though it was tough at times. I just got accepted today to my top choice program, which is actually a MUCH better place for me and a higher caliber program than the places I got into last year, with an amazing POI doing research right up my alley. I want a career, of course, and I love clinical psych, but for me, my family and those that I love come first.

Awwww :love: I might have some extra air in my head as I say this but I wish that true love always prevailed in the end, no matter how you decide to go about it.
 

AryaStark

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I will start this with the caveat that I was not married, but had lived with my boyfriend for four years. When he moved away to law school (I lived in MA he moved to VA) it really took a toll on our relationship. Recently I moved even more north for graduate school and it was too much for our relationship. However, if you have money and a STRONG relationship, it could work.
 

researchgirl

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I'm moving away from my SO. We both realize how hard it's going to be, but we're both determined to make it work. I think we're fueled off of the old saying "Where there's a will, there's a way." Here's hopin'?
I moved away from my SO for graduate school as well. In my experience, having a plan really helps. Having an end in sight / a light at the end of the tunnel is essential, even if it's a long ways off.

For instance, a girl in my program is going to target her internship search to a region, and has made the commitment that post-internship she will only look for / take jobs in the same area as her SO. For me, my SO has committed to moving here halfway through my 3rd year and following me to internship and beyond afterward (and I've committed to target my searches to geographically desirable locations).
 

Marissa4usa

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For instance, a girl in my program is going to target her internship search to a region, and has made the commitment that post-internship she will only look for / take jobs in the same area as her SO
What if she can't find any? What kind of jobs is she looking for?

My concern for those who are looking to go into academia. How likely is it that you are going to get a job in exactly the area you want to be? I always read job descriptions for academic postions and...gee...they are so specific in what they want. How can I as an applicant even remotely have control over where I am going to end up if I want to pursue the research I am really interested in.

Do you think it makes sense to buy a house and then look for a job in academia in that area or might I as well not bother? My SO wants to settle down rather sooner than later and while I understand his need, I feel that it is impossible to do that with my career and I am not even in a PhD program yet.
 
Jan 11, 2010
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What you don't see on here are the people who have already had to give up their dream of the phd to support their spouse and keep their marriage together. The people who to work it out would naturally be more likely to be on SDN. ...I'm one of those otherwise absent people but just happened to stumble back here. My thought though would be, particularly for those who are married, look at how you've coped with stress before, what do you both do when your backs are against the wall? Do you come together and use whatever resources you have and reconnect? What is it that keeps you together now?

My husband already works nights (in tv/movie editing) and has for the past 14 months with no end in sight. It's been all different kinds of hell, and I know living in different cities would be the end. As much as I have worked so hard toward getting into a phd in clinical to research suicidality, I have to be content with leaving an academic research job to work in managing corporate/pharma research and volunteering at a suicide crisis hotline. Balancing personal and professional ambition doesn't have an answer, either is right. As psych students we all know when it is said and done we'll rationalize it either way. We're human, we cope, and in the end, have faith in that: your own psychological nature.

Oh, but if someone wants to pull a string or two at UCLA or USC for me, I'd be forever grateful ;)
 

Annakei

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my relationship with my husband is the most important thing to me.. school and my career are secondary, actually. therefore, i could not move away from him! not to mention, he is one of the biggest supports i have--i dont think i could survive grad school without him.

thats just my experience ;)
Ditto. School and career are secondary. However, he would follow me wherever this application process takes me. But with a house, career and family here it is hard to ask him to give that up.
 
Jan 7, 2010
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What you don't see on here are the people who have already had to give up their dream of the phd to support their spouse and keep their marriage together. The people who to work it out would naturally be more likely to be on SDN. ...I'm one of those otherwise absent people but just happened to stumble back here. My thought though would be, particularly for those who are married, look at how you've coped with stress before, what do you both do when your backs are against the wall? Do you come together and use whatever resources you have and reconnect? What is it that keeps you together now?

My husband already works nights (in tv/movie editing) and has for the past 14 months with no end in sight. It's been all different kinds of hell, and I know living in different cities would be the end. As much as I have worked so hard toward getting into a phd in clinical to research suicidality, I have to be content with leaving an academic research job to work in managing corporate/pharma research and volunteering at a suicide crisis hotline. Balancing personal and professional ambition doesn't have an answer, either is right. As psych students we all know when it is said and done we'll rationalize it either way. We're human, we cope, and in the end, have faith in that: your own psychological nature.

Oh, but if someone wants to pull a string or two at UCLA or USC for me, I'd be forever grateful ;)
My husband is also in a similar profession (commercial producer) and he finally landed his dream job here in NYC (somewhat like his PhD :)). For the past 3 years I have applied to schools in large metropolitan cities so that he would be able to find a job, however, for next year I may have to apply all over. He can't even fathom living apart for the next 5-7 years.
 

jnine

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heartwarming story :)

My boyfriend and I have been together for 4.5 yrs. We both applied for phd programs last year, to the same cities. For both of us it was out of the question to try to live apart for 5-7 years. We didnt get into schools in any of the same cities, and I ended up deciding to pass up my offers, move with him to Boston, and re-apply this year (he had no options for school in the city I got in, I had several places I could apply to here, the schools I got into werent such a great fit for me anyway, and a whole bunch of other things went into the decision).

Scariest decision of my life, but I never regretted it, even though it was tough at times. I just got accepted today to my top choice program, which is actually a MUCH better place for me and a higher caliber program than the places I got into last year, with an amazing POI doing research right up my alley. I want a career, of course, and I love clinical psych, but for me, my family and those that I love come first.
 

researchgirl

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What if she can't find any? What kind of jobs is she looking for?

My concern for those who are looking to go into academia. How likely is it that you are going to get a job in exactly the area you want to be? I always read job descriptions for academic postions and...gee...they are so specific in what they want. How can I as an applicant even remotely have control over where I am going to end up if I want to pursue the research I am really interested in.

Do you think it makes sense to buy a house and then look for a job in academia in that area or might I as well not bother? My SO wants to settle down rather sooner than later and while I understand his need, I feel that it is impossible to do that with my career and I am not even in a PhD program yet.
Well - she plans to do more practice than research, which is very different than academia. Within academia, it's much harder to narrow your search to a certain geographic region, and within "research 1" jobs, it's again, even more difficult. I'm lucky that my SO knows he has to follow me around, though I do hope to search for jobs in specific region(s) of the US in order for us to be near friends and family.
 

CApsych

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It's nice to see this issue addressed on this board. I actually decided to only apply to Bay Area schools because my boyfriend's job limited his relocation options. This was not a popular decision among my friends and family, who thought I was limiting myself, but I knew that it would have been very difficult for me to focus on the school without the social support he provides. That being said, we did long distance for a while and loved it (weekends are so exciting!) so if you think you can manage, more power to you. These decisions are so hard. For my part, I felt a lot of pressure to choose academics over my personal life, but I just knew I wasn't comfortable with it. I asked myself if I would be happy with what I could accomplish with the options I had here, and I realized that I could. I actually found the local program to be rather fantastic (albeit unfunded) and so far am happy! But it was an agonizing few months trying to decide so best of luck.
 
Jan 14, 2010
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I am not married, but I have been with my SO for over 5 years. He is currently in his 2nd year of med school all the way across the country, and although I miss him terribly :cry: (I only see him every few months), we find a way to make it work. It's very difficult, but I think what helps is that we both support each other emotionally. Plus, we try to talk on Skype as much as possible, and we chat or text throughout the day. The most important thing is communication... actually, being apart has made us argue far less than we used to and has even brought us a lot closer emotionally.

Also, looking forward to seeing him is what keeps me going when he is not here. It's fun planning what we're going to do, places we're going to see, etc.

Of course the fact that we will both be in school for several years is a daunting obstacle, especially considering the distance. However, I fear that I would grow to resent him if I decided to stay in his area and not pursue my academic/professional goals. But for those of you lucky enough to both attend school and still live with your love, I envy you!!! :)

Good luck to all (in your relationships and in school)!
 
Feb 18, 2010
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I have been with my husband for 14 years. We have been married for 10 years. We have been separated due to military service more years than I would like to admit. These separations were mandatory.

As Markp remarked, while we have grown extremely close as a couple over the course of these many forced separations, I cannot even begin to explain the challenges of being away from someone you love deeply long-term; many military marriages do not survive this test. While my experience is different (visits were not possible and separations were forced), I would never consider a program that would force me to be away from my spouse. In fact, my school choices are limited because of it. However, I am a firm believer that all roads lead to Rome.

Is a long-term relationship doable? Absolutely. However, there are many things, such as intimacy, that these relationship tend to lack. Watching movies over the webcam cannot make up for a desperately needed hug or a shared ice cream sundae. For me, faith and family comes first, everything else is but a very distant second.

I do not believe that anything can prepare you for the challenges of long-distance relationships. Ultimately, though; this decision is intensely personal and I wish you all the best.
 

psychmama

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I've enjoyed reading everyone's posts on this topic.

Personally, I could consider moving away from my husband for a brief time (maybe a year or so) as long as we had our weekends together. In my case I began my program with both a partner and three children, so moving away could never have been an option. I was fortunate to get into a good doctoral program within my state, although the many years of commuting 2+ hrs per day have been very challenging for me. My current daily commute for internship is roughly 3 hrs per day, and I'm looking at an even longer commute for the postdoc year. I'm really hoping to eventually settle down enough to either move closer to my job or find a job closer to where I live. For now...I tell myself i've done the best job I can of balancing career and family. It's not perfect, but I'm lucky to have been able to make it work for us.
 
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I've enjoyed reading everyone's posts on this topic.

Personally, I could consider moving away from my husband for a brief time (maybe a year or so) as long as we had our weekends together. In my case I began my program with both a partner and three children, so moving away could never have been an option. I was fortunate to get into a good doctoral program within my state, although the many years of commuting 2+ hrs per day have been very challenging for me. My current daily commute for internship is roughly 3 hrs per day, and I'm looking at an even longer commute for the postdoc year. I'm really hoping to eventually settle down enough to either move closer to my job or find a job closer to where I live. For now...I tell myself i've done the best job I can of balancing career and family. It's not perfect, but I'm lucky to have been able to make it work for us.
Psychmama, could you PM me with details of how you've managed to be "Supermama?"

Regarding the question of separation for several years, I've seen a few couples stay bonded in spite of separation. It seems to depend mainly on how bonded the partners are before they geographically separate. With kids, I can't imagine physically separating for 5+ years. Without kids, I imagine staying a couple probably would be easier.

Best wishes!
 
Jan 7, 2010
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Thank you for sharing your experiences. I find myself struggling to further my career while promoting his. I would hate to limit myself, but I also don't want to ruin his dreams. I suppose it's difficult when both partners are chasing the dream.
 
Feb 9, 2010
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Personally, I didn't have to make this decision. When I applied to PhD programs, my wife applied to MS programs at all the same schools and we matched on one so we could both do what we wanted without seperating. Numerous people in my program do longterm relationships with bf/gf but not spouses. I think the level of committment/relationship is an important consideration and with problem solving it can be done. Another key thing that I haven't really seen is what will attempting the long-distance relationship do to your success in school (aside from stress and lack of coping)? The financial burden of driving many hours a few times a month is one things, but the time it takes from other school related things is significant. Even if you aren't driving but they are, is it rude to sit and write a manuscript on sat afternoon when your significant other came in to be with you? Time management becomes crucial and can be difficult with the number of obligations on a grad student.
 

Psycycle

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Personally, I didn't have to make this decision. When I applied to PhD programs, my wife applied to MS programs at all the same schools and we matched on one so we could both do what we wanted without seperating. Numerous people in my program do longterm relationships with bf/gf but not spouses. I think the level of committment/relationship is an important consideration and with problem solving it can be done. Another key thing that I haven't really seen is what will attempting the long-distance relationship do to your success in school (aside from stress and lack of coping)? The financial burden of driving many hours a few times a month is one things, but the time it takes from other school related things is significant. Even if you aren't driving but they are, is it rude to sit and write a manuscript on sat afternoon when your significant other came in to be with you? Time management becomes crucial and can be difficult with the number of obligations on a grad student.
This is what we did, but once he finished, he had to find a job, and then internship is a wildcard and I didn't end up matching near him...it's difficult, balancing two careers. I do think I couldn't do it longer than this year, it's been two and a half months and I can't wait til the separation is over. I think your point about school is very important, because I will be on internship during the bulk of the separation and am an advanced student during the first part of it (he found the job in January, during my last semester). I am still crazy busy, and the possible grammar errors in this post are evidence of my fatigue, but I am able to plan out for the most part when I do my work, unlike when you're taking a lot of classes. So I can work on my dissertation 3 of the 4 weekends of the month and take the visit weekend off from school, something I couldn't do the first 3 weeks of my program.
 

krisrox

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I want to resurrect this thread. For those of you who are or planning to be in a long-distance relationship, what are some tips? How long do you go without seeing your SO?
 

Markp

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I want to resurrect this thread. For those of you who are or planning to be in a long-distance relationship, what are some tips? How long do you go without seeing your SO?
A few months at most... I have been at this for a while now. We celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last month. It varies, she now lives with me again after 4 years of having separate residences (2 years of which were only 1.5 hours apart), and we will be together for about 2.5 years this time before I run off again 4 hours south for my internship next year.

So it varies... relationship is still strong and we still have fun together.

Mark
 
Nov 25, 2009
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I want to resurrect this thread. For those of you who are or planning to be in a long-distance relationship, what are some tips? How long do you go without seeing your SO?
I will be moving about 5 hours away from my husband, but he works for the airlines so I am hoping to fly home whenever possible or he can fly to visit me. I had something of a "trial run" last summer when I did a study-abroad program for 2 months. We emailed each other just about every day and talked probably once a week on the phone. Our marriage was going through a tough time and I realized how happy I am being independent. We have spent the last year working on our relationship and he has always been my biggest support, but I also tend to use him as a crutch. I am looking at this move as an opportunity to stretch beyond my comfort zone as well as learn to appreciate my husband more. We have a house to sell and when that happens he plans to move near me but will still have to work out a commuting schedule to keep his job, which we don't want to give up right now. We have been married for 10 years and have gone through a LOT in that time. I try to stay open to the experience and recognize that no matter what, there will be change, and there will be growth-individually and in our relationship.
 

justme08

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This is a hard one and it will vary by couple and individual. Like psychmama I have three kids. For the past five years there have been multiple times my husband has worked in other states. The longest stretch we've gone without seeing each other at all has been 4 months. We've also been together for almost 14 years now. Sometimes when he's here too much we both start to get antsy:laugh: But, that's largely due to the nature of his work for the most part he's here all the time or gone all the time. Lately, he's been commuting just under a 1000 miles a week so he's home daily.

Trying to figure out how this will play out in grad school hasn't been easy and it's something I'm considering because application time is around the bend. Ideally, I'd like for the children and him to like where we end up as well, plus, hopefully he'd be able to find work in the area. I honestly worry more about the children because I know he and I would figure out a way to make it work anywhere.

But, we're use to it so it works for us. Change is sort of a given around our house.
 

Buzzwordsoldier

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Status
Psychology Student
No real tips, just an update -- we're in escrow! This is a hugely positive move forward, and takes some of the fret away from concerns about how we'll manage a move to California when the economy is so dismal there... All the same, we need to find my partner, who hasn't worked F/T in years, a family-wage J.O.B. :scared: