Life Advice



Single File: Apartnership

Susan Dietz on

No, that's not a typo. We're together, you and I, to explore a new and delicious way of keeping love zesty. Those of us who dream of one love for a lifetime, for whom a lifetime isn't sufficient, will take this new form of love quite seriously. (I do hope you're among them.) Actually, it's a style of living in which both partners are deeply committed to loving each other but residing in separate abodes. They could be in separate states (or countries!) or living in the very same city, but because of different schedules, they have decided to position themselves in a way that they see each other only on weekends.

Could be that one partner's work calls for early mornings and late-night meetings and he feels best left on his own to arrange his schedule in this irregular way. The woman in this scenario could have a demanding job and want the freedom to get together with friends during the week but still want to be (lovingly) bound to her male partner and see him on weekends -- every weekend.

The decision is always mutual, or it doesn't stand a chance of surviving the apart periods. Granted, the concept takes a bit of getting used to; it's hardly the standard daily togetherness fare. Far from it! An adjustment period is very much a part of living apart from one's partner. But don't knock it until you've tried it. It does take two secure people to make it work -- secure in their own selves, secure in their partner's love. Yes, this is a test of their love for their partner, testing their ability to be bound to their beloved. Let's call it emotional maturity. It's not for everyone (small understatement). You've got to trust yourself and trust your partner.

There are many different ways this apartnership takes shape. All it needs is mutual consent. Yes, but to get to that point requires deep trust. But then, mutual love is made of that, even if having separate abodes isn't on the menu. (That, of course, takes it to the extreme.) But why such an arrangement? I seriously doubt whether a first marriage would agree to the test. The first glow of mutual adoration is possessive; the lover is needed, owned, desired. A partner's company is always top priority. Space between meetings is felt as punishment. Togetherness is all that is wanted -- and it is desired as the ideal state, the way the relationship should be, needs to be, for all time.

But time dims the fairy tale glow; little things -- habits -- when repeated get to be annoying. Togetherness can, at times, reveal too much, and that -- aha! -- is the germ of this diatribe. Spend 24 hours with anyone -- I dare you -- and odds are the glow of the person's presence is bedimmed. That's not a columnist's fancy; it's fact. The toilet seat is left raised. The toothpaste is ineptly squeezed -- too neat or too casual. Small annoyances creep into love, finding their way in.


I was once given some practical advice about love and marriage: Keep one eye closed and the other half-closed. What more is there to say?


We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks -- in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, C/O Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA, 90254. Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at



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