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I Have a Tutu in my Trunk

Feb 2, 2013 | Uncategorized | 16 comments

…..Five Tips for Couples Living Apart

I guess if I did a survey, I wouldn’t find many people driving around with tutu in the trunk of their car. I’m sure this must be some kind of oversight- because I have to say, it’s kinda cool. When I open my trunk to put something in it, there’s the tutu, staring out at me. It’s like a white fluffy cloud saying “Bonjour!”

Yes, a Tutu.  The kind a ballerina would wear.  I wore it with my girlies six months ago when we ran a race and all dressed up. Yes, eight women with their tutus on; running around the wine country of California. It was a site to be seen.

Why do you carry around this tutu you say? Well, it’s because I don’t think it has a home. In my world- that’s kind of a surprise since I have two homes. I split my time between a house in San Francisco and a house in Sonoma.  And, I can’t decide which home my tutu belongs in.

Driving across the Golden Gate

What a wonderful view of the Golden Gate Bridge

This odd arrangement is one I’ve lived in for years.  I used to commute. Several years ago I realized it was going to put me into an early grave, it’s about 1 ½ hours each way. One day I watched the people getting off Golden Gate Transit. They all had a kinda gray pallor to them. As they lined up to exit the bus I noticed that they shuffled like zombies. I knew at some point that was going to be me.

So I tried to find a job closer to home. I couldn’t. So, we looked at the finances and decided to get me a place in the city for the weekdays. Someplace small that I can go to after work and stay at without bumping along on the bus for the ride home. We call it “the closet”

Over the years, this has turned out to be an interesting setup.  Two homes so close to each other means we aren’t together all the time. When I mention to people that the last time I saw my husband was 4 or 5 days ago and that typically we spend 3 or so days together a week- they are surprised.  Our kids tease us that we wouldn’t like each other so much if we actually saw each other more.  Some people have lectured me that my relationship will deteriorate and others have commented how easy it would be to have an affair.


But, what’s wrong with that? What if I wanted to be married to someone and never see them? What if he lived in the Arctic Circle and I lived on an island in the tropics- no one should tell me it’s wrong.


We live in an age where people are designing the life they want. Instead of making a situation fit that isn’t happy for us- we design the situation that works to make us happy.  And cheers to that!


View from our Run in the Wine Country

Wine Country View of Vineyard

I’ve found that for right now- this is a great solution.  I have fun in two realms.  On some days, I’m in San Francisco and have cable cars, high rise buildings and Golden Gate Park. And on others, I have vineyards, great restaurants and green fields. I have the best of both worlds.


Few understand that there is also a romance to not being together all the time which my husband and I enjoy.  A little bit of yearning for each other keeps us grateful for the time we do have together.


Still I’m the first to admit this isn’t for everyone. Keep these things in mind.


Know your relationship-There is a tremendous amount of trust between the two of us, and we are independent people. I know this arrangement wouldn’t work for some. Look at your personality and your situation and make the call.  For example, this wouldn’t have worked when the kids were still at home.


Put your Relationship First– We both have had times when life becomes overwhelming and we need more time together.  When those times occur, no matter what the plan, make being together a priority.  Supporting each other during these times is what strengthens your relationship and makes it even better


Find ways of staying in contact and making your partner part of your day- We text several times a day, send each other funny jokes by email and always end the day with a phone call to say good night.


Don’t let life be all around project management– when you aren’t together all the time you can fall into the trap of taking care of business when you’re together. “Is the house insurance paid?” or “Did the dry cleaning get picked up?” isn’t what you want to talk about face to face.   Do that when you’re apart, not together.


Get organized.  Yes, you now have two homes, double the responsibilities and less time together.  Get a joint calendar like Google Calendar. You not only have to track your own life, but you also need to understand your partner’s commitments.

Cable Cars in San Francisco

Cable Cars in San Francisco are beautifulSonoma County Winery


At the end of the day, we now have the freedom and finances to arrange the life we want on the terms that make us happy. Figure out what you want and go for it- the possibilities are endless!



I love the old Wineries in Sonoma and Napa

Beautiful old Wineries in Sonom

Now if I could just figure out what to do with that damn tutu…..



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Keep Rockin…



  1. Lois Alter Mark

    This is such a good piece, Virginia, and it sounds like a perfect arrangement for you. So glad I got to meet you in San Francisco. Would love to see the tutu picture! xo

    • Virginia

      I think of our fun time at the BlogHer conference Lois every time I see your name. I am looking forward to Chicago and seeing you in July! V

  2. Sharon Greenthal

    Congratulations of figuring it out so it works for you! And how lucky you are that you get to spend time in two of the most beautiful places in the country. I’ve just had 4 days without my husband – he’s been visiting his mother – and I’ve enjoyed every quiet moment. There’s something to be said for time apart.

    • Virginia

      A little vacation from each other to have alone time can be nice- every once in a while. Can’t it? Thanks-

  3. Mindy

    Great article. I love both locations, so I can see how choosing one over the other would be difficult. A few years ago, my husband and I lived on opposite coasts for a year. I stayed in our home, surrounded by our things, friends, dog, and our son. My husband lived by himself in an apt. We saw each other every three to four weeks. At times the arrangement wore on me, but I fared much better than my husband. I wouldn’t recommend it, but if the two of you work at it, it can be accomplished.

    • Virginia

      I can see where it’d be tougher if we didn’t see each other for long stretches Mindy, you make a good point. Thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it. Virginia

  4. Haralee

    An interesting post. Glad it works for you.
    Last year at Race for the Cure here in Portland, men wearing Tutus was the rage. Who doesn’t love a tutu or look in one?

    • Virginia

      Hmmm, i’ll have to see if my husband has any interest in wearing mine. We did the Kaiser Half Marathon yesterday- maybe we can bring that fad to San Francisco. Thanks for sharing

  5. Susan Bonifant

    You’re absolutely on target with this. My husband and I live apart during the week and we cherish our weekends and each other more than we did before. Two things: your point about kids being out of the home is a good one – this wouldn’t have worked before when alone was more like lonely and independence felt like isolation. Also the texting…essential little connections. Thanks for this.

    • Virginia

      Good point about the texting- technology has made this possible, you’re right. We can feel much more connected now than years ago. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Dawn Biocca

    Great article Virg. I am so glad you and Dave have something that works for you. Alan and I have been married for 38 years and I can’t imagine being parted from him for a long period of time. As he gets closer to retirement we are doing more together and spending time on us. Alan and I talk or test several times a day even through we will see each other in the evening. Just a way to keep in touch and connect. I believe that as long as you have good communication between you then anything can work and trust is so important.
    When I do travel for my business it is harder on Alan then on me because I have training, and friends to keep me busy but he is at home and as he says he doesn’t have some one warm and soft to bump into at night. By the time I get to bed I am so wiped that I’m out before my head hits the pillow. But were ever we are we keep in touch.

    • Virginia

      Congratulations- I hadn’t realized how many years you guys have been together. Nice to see. Thanks, V

  7. v2 cigs coupon

    Awesome blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own website soon but I’m a
    little lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a
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    There are so many options out there that I’m completely overwhelmed ..
    Any ideas? Bless you!

    • Virginia

      It can be overwhelming- so just take it a little at a time. That way, you’ll enjoy it.

  8. Manda

    Just came across this piece – my spouse and I have been doing this for over a year now. Last year we were about 2 hours apart in upstate NY. The dog and I had a tiny “closet” in Rochester and my spouse and cat lived in the house we had bought in Ithaca. Finances were tight so we had to have renters in Ithaca, which complicated some things, but I was in a better job situation than I had been. And now I’m in Buffalo and he’s in Syracuse, about 2.5 hours away. He has a roommate in Syracuse and comes to Buffalo most weekends. Both pets are with me but his roommate has cats. We learned quickly to deal with business and chores when we talk during the week, as you mentioned. And to stay in touch throughout the day. FaceTime and Skype really help. One challenge is that I’m a pastor, which means I work Sundays and often have things on Saturdays as well. And the biggest challenge is that I already have trouble sleeping, and it’s worse when he’s here because my routine is different. So we’re still adjusting and some nights we still sleep in different beds. But after about 6 months where he was in Texas and I only saw him once or twice a month, I’m just glad to get to see him every week. I think marriage is about allowing each partner and the relationship to flourish – and having careers we are passionate about helps us as individuals and as a couple. Thanks for sharing your story and I hope I didn’t go on too long!

    • Virginia

      Thanks for pointing out that new technology like Skype and FaceTime really do help Manda- I had forgotten that. It makes a big difference. Virginia


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