Melania Trump, 46, and her 10-year-old son Barron will not be moving to the White House after her husband Donald Trump’s inauguration in January—but that’s not such a bad thing, says one expert.
New York based relationship expert and therapist Rachel Sussman says treating married couples who live in different cities is very common in her practice, and that the pros can outweigh the cons, depending on how much you want the relationship to survive.
So while the president-elect’s wife and youngest child will be sitting pretty inside their penthouse inside Trump Tower, Donald will commute back and forth from the White House to Fifth Avenue on the weekends. Melania wants Barron to continue attending his Upper West Side private school and not be uprooted.
While they’re no ordinary couple, and their decision to live separately affects the nation—especially New York City—where Secret Service and the NYPD have created a traffic nightmare, it’s safe to say most couples can pull off separate cities without the circus.
“It’s not that unusual an arrangement,” Rachel tells Personal Space. “I know so many couples that do this. While living together can make a couple strong because of the small nuances like a family dinner on a Tuesday night, it’s possible to do.”
Rachel says there is going to be a lot of space between a couple when one partner leaves on a Sunday night or Monday morning and comes home on the weekend, but that it’s possible to grow even closer.
“The couples I see who do it the best, they stay in touch with each other. One woman I know sends her husband (who works in a separate city) an email every night with a few highlights of the day and what the children did. It made him feel like he was being included.”
One problem that can arise, she says, is when a woman gets too into her groove during the week and her husband comes home on the weekend with his own list of demands.
“Or the woman wants to go out on Friday night, and he gets home and he’s exhausted,” she says. “You have to keep the lines of communication open and discuss how can there be a nice transition into the weekend.”
Another downside, is that one partner may get lonely—but that doesn’t mean cheating will happen.
“Cheating can happen any time, any place. Cheating happens when someone feels their needs aren’t met,” Rachel says. “If you’re not growing apart and your needs are met just work on keeping the relationship strong no matter what. I have not run into one long distance couple where cheating has happened because of the long distance.”
Rachel also works with another couple who manage to make it work while he works in Los Angeles and she’s in New York.
“They work with the time difference. The couples that do this the best have schedules they stick to. They also make sure vacations and holidays, the family is together during those times.”
There can be positive aspects to having a little space.
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” Rachel says. “More alone time can be really good. You get your to do list done, see friends, go to the gym.”
One couple she knows made an adventure out of the husband being relocated from New York to Charlotte, N.C.
“She visits on the weekends and and they explore different parts of the south together, she’s as happy as can be.”
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