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.

  • This is a lovely post – congrats on the house! When I first started seeing my husband 12 years ago, he worked away all week and came home at the weekends but somehow I think that helped strengthen our relationship and ensured we lasted the distance (we moved in with each other within about 9 months). It’s good to miss your significant other and encourages you to cherish the little time you do have together. There are some advantages, I think. Wishing you luck.

    • I can totally agree, you do cherish the time you have more than if you were together all the time. We rarely argue because we don’t have long enough to get annoyed with each other and we always have plenty of space to do our own things. Thanks so much Rosie, it’s great to know you pushed through it and you’ve been married now 12 years!! xxxx

  • I wouldn’t see it as sacrificing your relationship for your career, I see it as you both being in a strong and supportive enough relationship that you can both live your best lives, with the confidence that one day it WILL all come together. I’ve been with Rick nearly two years now, and I would like to move in with him, but work and me not being able to drive mean right now it would be stupid to push that through. You guys obviously have found a way that works, and that I am 100% sure will take you where you need to be xx

    • That’s such a lovely way of putting it, thanks Stephie! It’s tricky having to juggle two separate lives and bring them together when geographically they’re far apart. I really hope for you and the young man that you’ll get to live together sometime soon too! Can’t believe it’s nearly been 2 years, madness!! Are you going to do something fun for your anniversary? xxx

  • Awh these are great photos of Adam! Props to him :)
    And gosh I hadn’t even considered how far you’d actually be from your job – 100 miles is crazy! I suppose you’ve gotten used to over the past few years but that doesn’t help wanting to see each other more during the week. You’re both super strong and I know you’ll make it work though :) xx

    • I’ll tell him you said that! 😉 He’s a great little model as long as it’s quick, and we get to weave in a pub visit at some point during or after taking them! I totally think we’ll work it out eventually, life has a funny way of just making things happen when the time is right! xxxx

  • Totally feel you! As a consultant I’m often on Client site which pretty much means I’m away 2-3 nights every week. I’ve forgotten what routine actually looks and feels like. I’d love to be able to just go home to my boyfriend after work, so small but it is such a luxury!

    • I bet when it does happen and you can go straight home from work it’s just the best feeling! I definitely appreciate the three nights I have in Plymouth with Adam! xxx

  • This is a really positive post lovely. You are both focussing and all the living together will work out exactly as it’s meant to in the end!
    Holly xxx ///

    • I totally agree, it doers have a funny way of working itself out! xxx

  • Lush photos! I think sometimes people on the outside who look in always have set ideas about what things should look like but as long as it works for you then nothing else matters and you and Adam sound like such a great match!

    • Thanks, it’s fun photographing Adam as he doesn’t mind it too much I don’t think, and it gives me someone to practice on! xxx

  • First off, these photographs are gorgeous! Secondly, I’m happy that the two of you are working things out and putting in all your effort towards what you both want- it’s sweet to hear about. It’s so nice that you shared this, and it’s such a personal, unique post. From the times apart, every time you guys meet up it’s a little reminder that there still is time for the person you love, even if that means not living together, and that’s okay. xx

    Kyia at WANDERLUSTGIRL// Lifestyle & Beauty
    Let’s be BLOGLOVIN friends!

    • You’re so right Kyia! Not seeing each other all the time does make it more special when we then do get to see each other for longer and you do put more effort in I think! xxx

  • Congrats on the house! I’m excited to see some snippets of it on your blog! You hit the nail on the head for me with this post! My boyfriend and I have been together for three years, but our jobs are in different places right now, he’s about to buy in Plymouth (coincidence!) – (which we are planning to DIY together) and then hopefully in the future we will have a place together! The distance has definitely made us so much stronger though, we appreciate our time together and have lots to look forward too as well as being super independent as individuals! and we kind of had this agreement that we would focus on our careers for a while, rather than giving it all up to live in the same place, which on some days is a hard sacrifice to have made, but its worth it too. I’m glad that you and Adam have found the balance too, and it sounds like second best only to living together, love that you get family time in the week too! :)

    • Gosh Ellie you wouldn’t believe! Tip-toeing ever closer to being in the house day by day!! How funny that your bf is buying in Plymouth – where abouts? Do you spend a lot of time there at the moment? Where abouts are you based instead? xxx

      • I really hope you get in there soon! It must be a weird in between stage!! haha so many coincidences! He’s looking at somewhere within 10 minutes walk of the water as we both love being so close (and we like swimming in the sea -all year! so would be good to be able to run home rather than drive – realise I’m making us sound like looonies….) – But apart from that, we love the bit of Stonehouse near the Cremyll Ferry, and also Devonport/Victoria Park kind of area, trying to steer clear of studentland! Which area was the flat in? – I’m currently based in London but am freelance and often work in Plymouth so split my time! We used to live together in Plymouth before work moved me up to London so hoping to be able to be back down south full time very soon! I love it there! :) xx

        • Amazing, one of my friends runs a sea swimming group in Plymouth! I used to sea swim all year, but now I’m more of a fair weather swimmer! That area of Stonehouse is lovely – up by Royal William Yard! The flat we bought was in Prince Rock sort of between the Barbican and Laira Bridge, it was ideal for walking into town, and we made a little money doing it up and selling it on, so I’m pleased we went for it in the end, even if I wasn’t initially sure about the location! Well, when you are around, it would be great to meet up, there’s a Plymouth Bloggers Brunch group that meets up once a month :) xxx

          • Aw cool! I was involved in a film about a wild swimming group last year (called ‘wild swimmers’ if you wanna see it) – wonder if your friend was involved in it! Small world haha!! Ooh that’s a good area – really handy for town – we are hoping to DIY a bit and sell it on eventually too, but for now we are just trying to find somewhere! Not too much on at the moment! Aw that sounds lovely! :) Definitely keep me posted! Though I’m not sure how much of a blogger I am haha! xxxx

            • Doesn’t matter in the slightest – it would be great to have you along too if you’re around! :) It takes a while to find somewhere – the house we’re now buying in Trematon we’ve been buying for 8 months and counting!! Still, hopefully you’ll find somewhere fab before long! xxx

              • sounds fab! :) just let me know when! ooh bet the new house is lovely – I’ve heard its nice down there! and yeah haha think this is going to be a lesson in patience :) xx

  • I think it’s great how you are not giving in to pursue you dreams!!
    And commuting can have such merits, aka so much more time to read.
    xx finja |

    • Ohhh I wish I did have that time to read Finja! The problem is I can’t get to and from work other than by car! Audiobooks are the way forward, or podcasts and the radio too! xxx

  • This was such an interesting post to read – Michele and I live apart half of the time, with him being based in Italy and me being in Exeter (luckily his job is super flexible so he comes for a month and then goes for a month which works really well for us). It’s definitely become more normal to live apart but seeing as it works so well, it doesn’t seem sensible for either of you to give up your job – and I think that having a longer period living apart can actually help strengthen relationships sometimes! xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy

    • Wow even further apart then! Amazing that he can come and stay for a month at a time – what does he do during the day whilst you’re working? xxx

      • If it’s a nice day, he takes himself off for a walk but otherwise he tends to cook, read books, work from home a bit, see friends if they have the day off etc. :) basically a lady of leisure! xxx

        • Sounds like bliss! I’d happily do that for a month at a time! xxx

  • Abi Street

    I absolutely love this post! It is so honest and an amazing thing to admit that you’re not willing to give up your career – and why should you? You’ve worked so hard and its clearly something you love. But i love that fact that you’re so positive about it! It is really refreshing to see that you’re sticking out both a career you’re passionate about, and a relationship with someone you love! All the time i think about moving away for my career and have always let relationships hold me back, but this is so inspiring to me x

    Abi | abistreetx

    • I’m glad Abi! It does show that it can work, I mean, it has lots of difficulties and I’m really lucky that during the week at home I have tonnes of distractions – my family, a lot of my friends are still local, fitness classes and sports clubs, I barely have an evening in!! So I’d recommend if you do decide to move away for work and find yourself on your own in a new town/city, it’s worth keeping busy and then you won’t get lonely! xxx

  • These are such gorgeous photos of Adam! Your little house sounds like it’ll be so lovely! Will you do a blog tour of it when it’s all set up?

    Early on Sam and I did about a year long distance- me in america and him here and it wasn’t really, really hard. But you’re totally right, it makes the time that you do spend together so much more special. Though I definitely had some jealous meltdowns when girlfriends would just pop over to see their boyfriends in the evening and I’d have to message Sam to see if he could Skype before he went to work.

    It’s cliche but it just makes your relationship stronger! X

    • Oh I had no idea you actually had to live apart for a while too! Its tricky, but I’m grateful we both have busy lives and can see each other most weekends at least! I always really look forward to Friday nights at least! Will definitely do a tour and lots of DIY posts when we’ve moved in, just got the last tiny few bits to sort out before we exchange! xxxx

  • I have no idea how it’s taken me this long to find you’re blog, it’s lovely! This was such an interesting, insightful post, and really gave me some perspective on my own work commute. How exciting to be buying a house though I can’t wait to read more about it, congratulations! x

  • Aw wow, it is a lovely window into your circumstances. I know it’s easier said than done, but you shouldn’t feel guilty. If you left your job to just be closer you’d also have guilt. You seem to be making the best of your circumstances and things will work out. I mean clearly it did with Adam :) and congrats on finally getting your house and everything!!xx

    • Thank you my love, now we’ve bought the house it’s mad that I won’t be living in it permanently but that’s just life I guess, and sometimes you both have to make sacrifices! xxxx

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