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What Do You Think of Married Couples Who Live Separately?

Jun25

Meet Sandra & Todd Foster: She's "42, a size zero and wears pink wellies, black tights and a paint-spattered Irish knit sweater over a brown jersey."  He is 51 and "a man whose chest gives the impression that he has to go through doors sideways. An independent spirit who left high school at 15 to see the country, he has worked as a carpenter, a cook and a landscaper."

They married in 2000, despite of the fact that they are very different people:

“This is when I discover, much to my horror, that Todd and I aren’t completely alike,” Ms. Foster said. “He is not a tidy man, he likes to collect things and stuff, most of which is very large, like tractors. My idea of houses is Victorian, cute, magazine-perfect, lots of white.

Their different ideas about decoration and homelife came to a head when they were renovating:

“The huge house was half renovated, the life was killing me,” she said. “The only thing holding me together was Todd’s love, and his love of food and feeding me, and his love of flowers. Every single day I come here, there are flowers. A whole path of rose petals leading to a bath full of rose petals and candles. He’s a magical man, despite his flaws.”

Their great big farmhouse, they realized, was ruining their lives. In 2007, they found this wooded property, with the trailer and cabin, for $46,000. Ms. Foster, seeing the hunting cabin on the hill, knew it could be her dream house.

“It was like coming home,” she said, after Mr. Foster had gone to do chores and the conversation had moved up the hill to her cottage. “I get tears in my eyes thinking about it. It was everything I had dreamed of, in every novel I had read, every song I had heard.” (via The New York Times)

So now she has her dollhouse-like private space and he has his "man-cave" ("a truck-size shed covered by an enormous tarp. It’s furnished with a big-screen TV, lots of videotapes, cooking equipment and two lamp-warmed cages for the chicks and pheasants."), and they couldn't happier.

The Fosters are hardly an everycouple, but maybe their arrangement deserves to be more popular: Married life is complicated and famous married couples often make it work: Helena Bonham-Carter & Tim Burton have separate houses nearby one another.  And Dolly Parton's 35-year marriage remains happy in part because she spends so much time away from husband Carl Thomas Dean, that their time together always feels magical to them.

Bonham-Carter famously said, "to me it makes complete sense: if you've got some money, and you can afford it, why not have your own space?"

And the Fosters are proof that creating that space can be achieved pretty modestly (he's out of work and money is tight).

Obviously, for many a shared living space is a financial or childrearing necessity. And for others, the benefits of togetherness outweigh the annoyances of compromise.

But for others, the readily-available option of distance perpetually makes their hearts grow fonder.


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