Commuting & Romance – and Marriage

Written by admin on January 22, 2007 – 3:22 pm -

The in-box of Bonjour Paris is beginning to resemble an advice to the lovelorn column. We never purported to be “Dear Abby” but we’re delighted to try to come up with ideas (and hopefully) solutions, for our readers.   In this age of cross-cultural, trans-Atlantic relationships, anything goes.

A long-distance romance used to be when couples were commuting between New York and Washington, DC or Boston. Many people were such constant regulars on flights between San Francisco and Los Angeles that it was almost a club of people who frequently greeted one another by name.

Life has certainly changed.  More than a few of our readers commute between NYC and the City of Light.  The same goes for other cities in both the US and in Europe. Some people affirm this doesn’t produce the ideal partnership and creates added strain; this is most especially true when there’re children involved.

Can mommy or daddy get home to see Junior’s recital or sporting event?  One parent may feel that he or she bares the majority of the responsibility, while the other feels cheated that he/she is missing a major part of their children’s evolution.

Many parents are able to make personal and professional accommodations. Other couples decide that being married, without being day-to-day partners, isn’t for them and tell it to the judge.

Others couples claim their marriages and/or relationships are increasingly exciting and they’re appreciative of their time together. Some people need their own space. One couple I know explains they can focus on their individual careers without having to worry about being home at a specific time to prepare dinner much less eat it. These couples also cherish their time together and attempt to make the most of each minute.

Some couples on the commute TRY not to combine work and family time. This is harder said than done and takes incredible discipline. Between cell phones and PDA’s, a person can be anywhere. There are those of us who remember when the Internet didn’t exist much less fax machines. We wouldn’t return to that era, even though, it may elicit moments of nostalgia.

Some hints when it comes to long-distance commuting:

If one member of a couple is working for a multi-national company, chances are that there’s a clause in the employment contract specifying conditions for home-leave.  The more “essential” you are, the more generous it will undoubtedly be.

If you’re involved in a romance, keep your weekends flexible. Register on every last-minute Internet site that (usually on Tuesdays) announces remaindered seats.  When you see a reasonably priced fare cross your screen, (and I know people who stay up until midnight ET), grab it.   If fares are at parity, opt for the same airline so you may accrue frequent flyer points.

Redeem those points for tickets during peak seasons. Summer and Christmas holidays are when prices are generally at their highest. Reserve these flights as far in advance as conceivably possible since airlines would rather sell seats than give them away. So much for fidelity. Airlines are out to enhance their bottom profit and loss line.

Don’t dismiss package deals. Some are less expensive than just the airfare. Don’t worry if you don’t check into the hotel – although it’s only polite to call and say you won’t need the room.

Invest in an Internet phone. Just because you’re geographically separated doesn’t preclude your being in communication. Talking every day diminishes some of the nitty-gritty realities of life that need to be discussed and not put on hold until you see one another.

Web cams cost next to nothing and are a great way to have children see and talk to you. They lessen the loneliness factor  — not that a picture in this case can replace your being together.

Numerous parents with whom I’ve spoken say they bring one child at a time to the city where he or she is living. They line up daytime activities and focus on him or her before and after work. It demystifies the assignment (so far away from home) more of a reality.   Plus, it makes that child feel ever so special. Don’t forget family vacations in Europe. They’ll add to everyone’s intellectual memory banks for the remainder of your lives.

Communications have evolved so rapidly in the past few years.  Use them to your advantage. Sure, there are downsides of being apart– but consider the benefits. They’ll last forever.  And, perhaps your relationship will actually be stronger and on a more solid footing. The days of being a “Stepford” wife or husband are becoming ancient history.

The in-box of Bonjour Paris is beginning to resemble an advice to the lovelorn column. We never purported to be “Dear Abby” but we’re delighted to try to come up with ideas (and hopefully) solutions, for our readers.   In this age of cross-cultural, trans-Atlantic relationships, anything goes.


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