Living Apart

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When people ask where I live, it’s not as simple a question as you’d think.

You see, there are two places I’d call home, though even that is complicated at the moment.

This is a post about living apart, but it’s also going to be one of those little snippets of information about my life, our lives, without much plan or purpose. I don’t know about you, but sometimes those are my favourites to read on other blogs, so hopefully it will give you some insight and voyeurism into a messy and complicated world of a weekly commuter.

That is, I suppose, what you’d call it when you work nearly 100 miles from home.

I guess I’ll start at the beginning where, in a nutshell, I landed a dream internship at a brilliant small private environmental consultancy less than half an hour from home. It was supposed to be a summer job, learning some of the ropes, working out whether I thought it may be a viable career path in the future. Three months, back with Mum and Dad, then off I’d go into the big wide world to set up my new exciting adult life somewhere. Yet, life has a funny way of giving you things you don’t expect, and that three months was extended into a full time contract as a graduate consultant. I was learning and being given so much scope to do the work I wanted to do, all whilst alongside a group of great colleagues with loads of nice perks of the job.

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Then when it came to Adam and I discussing buying a house, and I was unsure. Did I want to live with him?

Of course.

We’d been together a year and a half and I had no doubt it would be for much longer. However, I was enjoying my job in Somerset, and he was working in Plymouth, with all house buying opportunities focused on that area. With my parents unsure about us taking such a huge financial commitment together after realistically not that long, we made the choice that Adam would buy a flat on his own initially.

So here we are, another 2.5 years beyond that step, and we are better than ever.

After four years with someone it’s amazing to think how much you know about the intricacies of their life, with still so much to learn over the decades to follow. We did the flat up, hours and hours of DIY, our efforts paying off hugely when we came to sell it at the end of last year. After about a year of searching, we found a house we wanted to buy together, somewhere beautiful and rural, yet still close enough to the city and Adam’s work. It’s another “project” and one we’re both unbelievably excited about.

We’ve been patient in this property buying business, but despite being warned it would take a while to iron out the creases, neither of us expected it to take quite this long. We’re just so close now.

I cannot wait to own a house together, my first time purchase and the most money and investment and commitment I’ll have ever made to something, and someone.

Though, if I’m really honest, there’s still that underlying niggle that we will be living apart.

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I’m lucky to have wonderful parents who let me stay for four nights during the working week so that my commute is just an hour a day rather than three. I will be eternally grateful for the opportunity that has provided, and I actually really enjoy still seeing their day to day, having the freedom of my after work routine, and the time to see all the friends who’ve moved back close to home. It also means that weekends are precious and we try to make the most of them together, catching up on conversations and quality time that’s missing from the rest of the week. We’d discussed at lengths the different ways we could have got around not living apart, but it would seem mad us buying somewhere in the middle and both having to commute, and it would be pretty tricky being a professional pirate in Somerset, so Adam’s job isn’t open to moving here instead. Then again, neither does mine have the scope to move to Plymouth, and I’m not intending to leave.

That’s the thing, I love my job. It interests and pushes me to try different things, expanding my knowledge and intriguing me with a wide portfolio of projects. I consider my colleagues as friends, and look forward to their company. I don’t ever wake up dreading going into the office. I think I take for granted how rare that can be sometimes?!

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So whilst I long to live with Adam full time and see each other every day, spending evenings after work together and making cups of tea first thing in the morning before we both leave for the day, for us, it just hasn’t quite worked like that yet. Unfortunately, this does mean I’ve got to live with the guilt that I’m not ready to change my career, and the sacrifice means we’re living apart during the week. Then, when you put it into the bigger picture, it’s actually quite normal for one half of a couple to lodge somewhere away from home, and we are lucky to still see each other for the time that we do.

Therefore for now, living apart has become our norm, Friday night and Monday morning commutes are part of my weekly schedule, and for us, that’s just the way life is.