When I tell people, “I live with my boyfriend three days a week,” I often get two reactions.
1. “That must be-um– challenging.”
2. “That sounds ideal!”
The first reaction often comes from a place of concern. How can you have a meaningful long term relationship when you only see each other three days a week? You can’t possibly know what it’s like to have a real, full-time relationship. What is he doing the other four days of the week, hmmm? Thoughts of infidelity run through their heads. How long could a relationship like this last?
The second reaction often comes from those who have had long-term relationships (I would guess that 80 percent have been married at one point) who believe a little distance makes the heart grow fonder.
So, you get to live alone four days a week? No cleaning up after him, sharing the TV, or cooking dinner? Week nights are free for manicures, happy hour, long baths, and hanging out with the girls? He comes home right in time to take you out on the weekends?
What’s not to love?
The reality is less extreme. My boyfriend and I started out as a long-distance relationship. From the very beginning, we were no strangers to time differences, late-night phone calls, text messages, and semi-independent social lives. Being able to build a strong, meaningful relationship despite the distance gave us confidence in the depth of our love and trust in each other’s ability to stay faithful. We don’t require a nightly phone call — especially given our work schedules and the time difference — but when we do, we take as much time as needed and desired, just to hear the other’s voice on the line. During our days apart, we are both free to maintain our independent friendships and hobbies. We count down to the weekend and try to make as much of it as possible — even if it ‘s simply to shack up in bed for 48 hours.
For those who are worried or skeptical about the validity or seriousness of my relationship — I don’t share your concerns. I know where my boyfriend is and I trust him fully. If I had such doubts, I would have never started this once bi-costal relationship, nor would I be willing to stay in a relationship without trust. I trust we have a future because we have talked about it. After being together for awhile, we transitioned from being bi-costal to living on the same cost, with him still traveling for half the week. Now we live together three days a week, the days when we’re in the same zip code. We do plan to stay together, but don’t plan to live this way forever. We have a goal and we plan to stick to it.
And for those of you who envy my four days of alone time, yes, I quite enjoy it. But believe me, I would trade it all just to see him smiling when I get home every day of the week.