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7 Questions to Ask Before You Geo-Bachelor

I often get asked the question, “what made you decide to stay behind?”  I typically laugh, because, well, its a loaded question.  I can’t say there was one thing that truly made my family and I decide that by staying behind, it would be better for us.

But there are definitely conversations or decisions you can have to help your family decide if you should go “full geo” – or geo-bachelor – families separated by distance, not by love.

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1.  How much do I trust my partner?

Trust is huge.  Without it, your marriage will crumble and fall.  This is one of those questions you could answer with a knee-jerk reaction, or you can answer with a thoughtful response.  The more honest you are, the better off your relationship will be.  If you cannot answer, with 100% honesty, that you trust your partner – no matter what time of day, night, who they are with, what they are doing, who they could possibly be talking to – this might not be for you.

Know yourself and what you are capable of as well.  Can your partner trust you?  How much of a bond has been built between you two that you can be independent and still trustworthy?

I know couples who have been married 20+ years and cannot trust each other as far as they can throw; whereas, I know couples who have been married less than 2 who are regularly apart and have no issues.  Time in marriage has no bearing on trust.

2.  Can we afford it?

Two locales means two mortgages/rents/utilities to support.  Beyond that here are other potential expenses:

  • Travel expenses every month or two (however often you want to see each other)
  • Food expenses (let’s be honest, will you both cook every night or will you cheat and order in a few more times than usual?)
  • Cell phone and cable TV/internet – technology is a MUST in this type of relationship, so get on the unlimited plans so there is no excuse to speak to one another
  • Two cars – if you are used to one car, you may have to bump up to a second

Being in a geo-bachelor relationship can put a strain on finances.  And we all know that finances is one of the leading causes of divorce.  Can you afford to live two separate lives, on one or two incomes, reasonably well, with savings available in case something catastrophic happens?

3.  What will this do to the kid(s)?

This is an easy one to answer if your have fur babies, but if yours are the walking/talking kind, consider their ages and mental state.  Can one spouse carry the weight of two parents?  Are the kids old enough to comprehend why mom/dad is not there every day?  While having an older child makes this easier, it isn’t always better.  Teenagers need both parents just as much as the younger ones.

Consider putting the kiddos in some form of counseling, just to help them through the transition and adjustment.  It may be easier for them to open up to a third-party person, rather than you, only because they don’t want to put added stress on you and the relationship.

4.  Is it worth considering moving?

Maybe you are wanting to stay behind because of a career.  Would your employer considering telecommuting options?  What would a move really do to your career (stagnate promotion, ownership opportunities, or no career options in the new locale)?

If you are having to stay behind due to a house situation (not able to sell/rent), have you considered other options for having someone take over your house?  Would it be cheaper to pay the mortgage/rent on the house and still move than stay behind and incur additional expenses?

Have you both exhausted all options to make moving a good idea?  Trust me, I am not pro-geo bachelor, though I’m not against it.  I’m saying, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.

5.  How does this affect your schedule?

Realize, now one parent is acting as two.  If you are working, how does this affect your job?  Will you need more flexibility with personal time, adjust your hours to be more available to kids activities, or even work from home sometimes to help stay on top of it.  Acting as two parents can be difficult if you are not used to it, and its an adjustment to your entire schedule and life.  You may have to enlist the kiddos to help more around the house, and you may even want to seek outside assistance (lawn, cleaning, or even mother’s helper after school).

6.  How long will this situation last?

You may want to consider taking the geo-bachelor thing in smaller pieces.  If you do consider it, would it be healthy for you to revisit the option in 6 months or 1 year?  You could reevaluate your situation and reasons for staying behind, and see if any of those have changed or compelled you to move back together.

If your spouse’s assignment is only temporary, maybe it is worth considering staying behind if you would be just moving again in 3-6 months.

7. Am I ready for this?

Logically speaking, its easy to convince yourself that you can live without your partner – people do it every day.  But only you know you.  Are you ready for this?  If you’ve gone through deployments or training exercises, its easier for you to know how to handle this kind of situation.  In fact, geo-bachelor is a lot easier than those, for the mere fact that you have the option of seeing one another more often.

But you know you.  Can you handle coming home to an empty house?  How does taking over all the household duties really sound to you?  Are you comfortable in your relationship to talk out any disagreements over the phone/Skype?  Are you mature enough to handle a long-distance relationship with your spouse?

These are all questions that you, and only you, can answer.  Your friends, family, and co-workers likely will chime in on their own versions of advice.  But only you and your spouse will be living in this relationship scenario, and only you know what it will do to the relationship – good, bad or neutral.

Being in a geo-bachelor relationship is a common enough occurrence.  Making sure you ask (and answer) the right questions for your family is key. Try to sit down, be open minded, and see if this lifestyle is right for you.  It can work, successfully, if both parties are willing to give it their 100% attention – much like any relationship.  This one thrives on open communication and trust.

What other questions would you ask before you go “full geo?”

 

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  • Danielle

    Oh, thank God you wrote this! My fiance and I just moved in January and I actually managed to land a pretty stinkin’ great job (shocking, right?!) which was awesome! We bought a great house, I bought a new car (it was necessary- my Old Faithful wasn’t gonna make it much longer.) Then we found out about a month ago that he got into a REALLY great military grad program that lasts about 10 months. It’s across the country. After he completes the 10 months of training, Mama Navy can do one of two things: keep him there for 3 years after that, or send him right back here for 3 years. We’ve pretty much landed on me staying here just in case they send him back and if they keep him there, I’d move out once he has orders. It would be scary to give up this bada** job, rent our house, move across the country, me not find another job, they decide to send him back here, and I’m out a job. BUT… they could keep him there and we will have spent 10 months apart for no good reason. I’m usually great at being objective about these situations, and in fact am the one who is really the originator of the idea to geo bach. But I think I’m wavering… any advice or input here? I don’t want to bring up my insecurities just yet. I’d like to maybe hear thoughts from someone who’s done it so I can hash out ALL the pros/cons and make sure it’s rational first. 🙂 I love this list of questions to ask. Is there anything else you might add to it if you knew then what you know now?

    • Reintegration is challenging. When he returns to visit, he will be inclined to go back to the way things were, even if you have changed a process or moved something around. To him, his home is the way he remembers it. This can be incredibly challenging for all because your life didn’t stop when he left. So having both of you understand things change and be ok with it is the best way to remedy this. Or else you may return from an errand and see your furniture moved back to where it was.