Love, Living Apart
(CON TINUED FROM PAGE 82)
are steps that couples can take if they
want to preserve a loving relationship
in separate households.
> Connect on the cloud If you’re
separated by distance, use the latest
free technologies to stay close. Eat
dinner together via video chat, e-mail
during the day, text or IM frequently.
Create dailiness in the relationship.
> Stake your claim Wear rings—
even if you didn’t before! Keep pictures of your partner around. And if
you start to feel that too much separation is unraveling your sense of commitment, see a counselor—together.
> Prioritize “together time” Make
a point of having fun when you’re together. Try to save solitary activities
such as meditation or writing for the
times when you’re apart.
> Lengthen some visits Spend at
least a few long stretches of time together throughout the year. That will
either reinforce your plans to share a
home eventually or confirm that it’s
best to be together but live apart.
> Act the part If you live near each
other, prioritize couple-type things:
Give dinner parties, take a class. Make
sure you don’t have parallel lives as
well as parallel houses.
> Set an end date Plan a reentry
strategy, even if it will take years to execute. For example, consider retiring
early, or shifting your focus to a more
mobile part of your profession.
> Watch for warning signs Living
apart can breed emotional as well as
physical distance. Notice changes in
connection, attitude, sexual enjoyment, and so on, and discuss them with
your partner. Don’t let things cool to
where resuscitation is difficult.
Maintaining two households can
be expensive, and it involves a certain
amount of risk. But for those whose
circumstances make cohabitation impossible, Living Apart Together can
preserve a fulfilling relationship. ;
Pepper Schwartz is AARP’s sex and relationship expert.
Road to Santiago
(CONTINUED FROM PAGE 81)
days were a memorable montage of
shared driving and walking across
the majestic terrain of Galicia on
the road from León to Astorga to
Ponferrada and finally to Santiago.
As Matt and I walked, Taylor drove;
then I drove as Matt and Taylor
walked; then Taylor and I walked as
Matt drove, and so on—though we
did not walk together. Strange as it
seemed, we each came to treasure
the time walking alone, and to grasp
the importance of the pilgrim’s inner
journey of transcendence, which is a
hidden mystery and the only lasting
reward of any pilgrimage.
At Santiago we entered the cathedral with a huge throng of pilgrims
from every corner of the earth.
We attended the Pilgrims’ Mass,
celebrated every day at noon, which
concludes with a final blessing.
Then a gigantic incense burner, the
botafumeiro, was hoisted aloft on
a pulley by a half dozen men wearing medieval costumes, and was
flung from one side of the cathedral’s ceiling to the other. It filled
the air with an enormous cloud
of sweet fragrance and prompted
thunderous applause from the delighted congregation. Before leaving the cathedral, pilgrims lined
up to receive their treasured Compostela diplomas, but we did not.
Though we had clearly walked
far more than the requisite 100
kilometers, we decided that the
experience, for us, was more important than the diploma.
As we drove back to Madrid, the
mood inside the rental car was gen-
erally quiet and reflective. But as we
approached Burgos, Taylor begged
us to stop for an overnight stay, and
we agreed. Later that night he re-
vealed that he and Julia had been in
frequent contact by cell phone since
the night they met at El Molina. She
had invited him to a soccer match
that night in Burgos—an evening
that would be the start of a beautiful
relationship. They wed a few years
later and have lived happily together
in Burgos ever since.