gold wedding ringsIt was only a handful of years ago that every news outlet and your mom were buzzing about open marriages. You know, the whole “Do Open Marriages Work?” and “Is Open The Answer to Infidelity?” angle. So circa 2010. But the new type of relationship that is allegedly making the word “weird” fall from people’s lips is the highly illusive “commuter marriage.”

USA Today reports that there is a dramatic rise in the number of American married couples living their matrimony apart. As in separate domiciles:

It’s called the commuter marriage, and more than 3.5 million couples in the United States are doing it. That number has more than doubled since 1990, when the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 1.7 million married couples were living apart for reasons other than a legal separation.

A husband with this exact arrangement says that he and his wife’s 1,900 mile difference definitely turns heads:

“People think that we’re weird,” David Knox said. “When you’re married, you’re supposed to live together. It just freaks them out.”

While the highly swank “commuter marriage” seems to have always existed in some way or another (think jail or soldiers), this growth is being chalked up to the following:

  • Online dating
  • A “relaxing of social norms” as they pertain to marriages
  • The sucky economy (people taking jobs wherever they get an offer)

And when it comes to the big scary D, USA Today reports that commuter marriages aren’t any more likely to dissolve into divorce than those straight-laced old-fashioned co-habitaters. Experts surmise that this has everything to do with fancy unlimited cell phone plans, Skype, FaceTime, and whatever other iPad-y what’s it that people can’t put down for five minutes.

I guess the cultural narrative that technology is uniformly ruining our relationships is out the window now, too. Oh commuter marriage. So subversive.

(photo: Julia Ivantsova / Shutterstock)