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Marriage, divorce and millennials: long distance marriages

13th May 2016
Marriage, divorce and millennials: long distance marriages

Many things have changed since the baby boomers were the age millennials are now. Weve looked at how the rise of social media has effected marriage and divorce, as well as the impact of recent global economic downturns on when couples choose to marry. Both of these are indicators of a larger phenomenon, though, and that is the fact that the world, these days, is a much smaller place.

Forty years ago we didnt have the same transport infrastructure, with fewer and smaller roads, infrequent rail services, and, as annoying as they are, bus replacement services were not the sort of thing transport companies thought to put on. And thats only within the country. Budget airlines have made overseas travel available to a greater number of people, and something that everyone can partake in more frequently. Inevitably, this has given relationships a new way of functioning – long distance.

Conventional wisdom would have us believe the once a couple decides to marry, cohabitation is a given. However, for many couples, this isnt the reality. Earlier this year Terri Pous, a woman in a long distance marriage herself, gathered the stories of over 300 couples who have, for various reasons, chosen to live apart. The most common reasons were education, familial or work commitments, military service and immigration issues, but any number of factors can result in a long distance marriage.

I was pregnant with our second child when my husband and I went long distance, Soon-to-be divorced Grace told me, For us it was financial reasons. We couldnt keep the house we were renting because of debt my husband had accrued, so we each moved back in with our parents. His were in Bristol, mine in Northamptonshire, so it was a good two and a half hours if we wanted to see each other. It was tough while it lasted, but once we were more financially sound we moved back in together and ultimately our marriage ended for completely different reasons.

So are long distance marriages more prone to divorce? Well, it would seem the jury is still out on that one. Terri Pous makes it clear that not living together doesnt mean that there is something broken within a relationship, but that being long distance comes with different challenges than when you live together, and its how you work together to overcome those challenges that will ultimately answer that question.

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