Leaving Spouse for Summer

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engineer2law

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Leaving Spouse for Summer

Postby engineer2law » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:02 am

I'm moving away for the summer for a SA and leaving my spouse behind. Any others in the same scenario? Any advice on tips to make things easier?

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Re: Leaving Spouse for Summer

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 17, 2018 9:17 am

Skype, and a clear understanding of relationship boundaries.

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Re: Leaving Spouse for Summer

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:03 am

I've been apart from my spouse for 6 months as a first year, will be almost a year by the end of this. Depending on your firm it's pretty likely your SA gig is not going to be stressful/you won't be working many (if any) weekends. That said, know that any plans you make with your spouse could get ruined at the last second. Make sure he/she knows this in advance. They should also know that you have to go to the social events, and you're not actually choosing to drink all night instead of talking on the phone with them--it's mandatory shit. You should be fine, just important they know you have to prioritize your SA commitments this summer.

toast and bananas

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Re: Leaving Spouse for Summer

Postby toast and bananas » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:15 am

Anonymous User wrote:Skype, and a clear understanding of relationship boundaries.


I should hope this is pretty settled with a spouse.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Leaving Spouse for Summer

Postby totesTheGoat » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:33 am

A few plane tickets, nightly phone calls, and a mutual understanding that you may be doing fun stuff without them.

All of the SAs in my class were flown to the Bay Area office for the summer, so we were all away from home. Two of us were married, and the other guy had a small kid. He flew back home 5 or 6 of the weekends. I had my wife come out and visit for a couple weeks near the end. I took a few days off and we toured around the area, from San Francisco to Napa to Yosemite to Monterey. Then we headed up to Oregon for a track & field event she wanted to watch. Any stress that had built up from 2 months apart was released by having a great vacation at the end.

Frankly, I think it was harder on me than on my wife. We lived in town with her friends and family, so she kept busy as much as possible. She was a little bit jealous of all my schmoozing and fun activities, but I think it was an enjoyable break for her. I was doing night school and working during the day, so she was picking up a bunch of slack at home during the semesters. Over the summer, all she had to do was mow the grass every couple weeks and keep the house in order. I took care of everything I could (bills, etc.) remotely.

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Re: Leaving Spouse for Summer

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 17, 2018 11:59 am

If you can both swing it financially and time-wise, a visit in-between will really help break up the time. (I did long-distance for a year, and a mid-year visit really helped improve morale). YMMV whether this is necessary for the comparably shorter time-period here, but it does help break up the time.

woopig2017

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Re: Leaving Spouse for Summer

Postby woopig2017 » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:08 pm

I dealt with being away from my SO for school, and it is tough but doable. First suggestion would be to have a long, thorough talk about your time commitment for the summer and the realistic expectations that you think you can meet. While we did long distance, my SO and I agreed to talk on the phone every night even if it was only for 5 minutes. This doesn't work for everyone, but it helped us to stay feeling close.

Second, I'd make sure that you at least try to schedule out a few chances to see each other over the summer. Physical contact can't be replaced, and you'll miss it a lot more than you think. Plus if she comes to see it almost feels like a mini-vacation if you try to do some fun things like exploring your new town. Last thing, just remember that relationships are work and you have to put in the effort/find what works for you two and it should be totally fine!

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SemperLegal

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Re: Leaving Spouse for Summer

Postby SemperLegal » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:13 pm

toast and bananas wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Skype, and a clear understanding of relationship boundaries.


I should hope this is pretty settled with a spouse.

That's not as cut and dry as you think. Obviously sexual activities should be already understood, but things like dancing, going out, dinner, missing calls, topics of conversation and future planning can lead to misunderstandings, even among a fairly stable, balanced relationship.

It's especially complicated by the fact that this might be the first introduction to a long-term friendship. It's reasonable for the spouse to want a good night call whenever possible (which can be complicated by time zones) or a few hours carved out a week to deal with the menial parts of a relationship (discussing bills, children, problems at work), but other spouses might be concerned about having a reputation for being the boring one before they even get a chance to meet anyone.

I did long distance relationship on and off for 8 years, in a variety of situations (although my summer associateship was one of the few times we were in the same city). It sucks and didn't get easier, but a few hints:

1. You are going to fight. The key is being good at making up without setting impossible standards for future behavior.

2. Set lines in the sand. You can have a hardline rule that you will call everyday at about the same time. Despite what you may want/ be convinced to believe, there's no deal, event, or client that can't wait 15 minutes for you to call your spouse. When you have to adjust, give as much notice as possible. Worst case scenario, call or voice mail for 3 minutes. You can be excused for that long from anything. You aren't as important as you think.

3. NEVER bad mouth your spouse, or say anything that can be taken as such. You want to call, you don't need to call. You are working to support each other, not FOR your family . You want to be in whatever city, they don't need you to be in that city. It's so easy, and so incredibly unfair, to default into the "old ball and chain" routine. I screwed this up.

4. Be self aware, both of you. There is a lot of rad sounding stuff you'll do, work related and activity related. Both will be essentially work. Your spouse needs to be aware that box seats at a ballgame with a partner isn't nearly the same thing as going with a friend for fun, but you need to be aware that complaining about it is tone deaf and rude. Likewise, a lot of summer events are golden handcuffs, they get you addicted to a certain lifestyle filled with great food and hobbies beyond the means of non Biglaw folks (including 3ls). When you get home (or sooner), you need to give your loved ones a sample of it as well, even if you otherwise have a strict budget. You don't need to spend all 3l living like a king, but spend a weekend in late summer as a big fish in your local pond.

5. SImilarly, money is primarily a tool for improving your life and those of your loved ones. Don't be afraid to use it. If your relationship needs it, splurge on flying them out and/ or arranging for childcare on short notice for a weekend. Let them see that they, and not the job, are a priority. If they can't come to you, and you can't come to them, at least book them a staycation. We get paid a lot, but that means our costs will go up in the form of last minute flights, the need to hire help in your personal life, and escapism. Being thrifty is important, but so is self care.

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Re: Leaving Spouse for Summer

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 17, 2018 1:36 pm

you guys are making it sound like the guy is literally going to Afghanistan for deployment and may never come back

engineer2law

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Re: Leaving Spouse for Summer

Postby engineer2law » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:you guys are making it sound like the guy is literally going to Afghanistan for deployment and may never come back


I understand that this all sounds like a bit much, but I really appreciate all of the detailed feedback! While this is a fantastic opportunity that both my wife and I decided on, there is no doubt that it comes with a few annoying struggles. I am just interested to hear what others have experienced so I can be better informed when I face them. Just knowing that it is common to leave your spouse for an extended period is reassuring.

Again, thanks everyone for the great insight! Looking forward to hearing more.

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Re: Leaving Spouse for Summer

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:18 pm

"2. Set lines in the sand. You can have a hardline rule that you will call everyday at about the same time. Despite what you may want/ be convinced to believe, there's no deal, event, or client that can't wait 15 minutes for you to call your spouse. When you have to adjust, give as much notice as possible. Worst case scenario, call or voice mail for 3 minutes. You can be excused for that long from anything. You aren't as important as you think."

This is literally what I would expect to hear if this future SA was being held captive by ISIS and imminent death was certain.

I mean how dependent are you on your spouse where you cannot afford ONE night without speaking with them on the phone? You're making it sound like there is insane separation anxiety levels or something. We are all adults, we can function just fine without a phone call every night discussing what happened at work.

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Re: Leaving Spouse for Summer

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:10 pm

toast and bananas wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Skype, and a clear understanding of relationship boundaries.


I should hope this is pretty settled with a spouse.


Considering this person was asking how to handle being away from their spouse, not a given.

engineer2law

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Re: Leaving Spouse for Summer

Postby engineer2law » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:10 pm

Anonymous User wrote:"2. Set lines in the sand. You can have a hardline rule that you will call everyday at about the same time. Despite what you may want/ be convinced to believe, there's no deal, event, or client that can't wait 15 minutes for you to call your spouse. When you have to adjust, give as much notice as possible. Worst case scenario, call or voice mail for 3 minutes. You can be excused for that long from anything. You aren't as important as you think."

This is literally what I would expect to hear if this future SA was being held captive by ISIS and imminent death was certain.

I mean how dependent are you on your spouse where you cannot afford ONE night without speaking with them on the phone? You're making it sound like there is insane separation anxiety levels or something. We are all adults, we can function just fine without a phone call every night discussing what happened at work.



People are leaving their advice. I am by no means bound to following the advice. No one is helped by picking apart advice.

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totesTheGoat

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Re: Leaving Spouse for Summer

Postby totesTheGoat » Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I mean how dependent are you on your spouse where you cannot afford ONE night without speaking with them on the phone? You're making it sound like there is insane separation anxiety levels or something.

I agree that it's a bit much to set hard and fast rules like that. Expectations? Sure. Rules? Eh. Some nights I didn't get home until 11pm Pacific. Does my wife really want me to call her at 1am Central? Probably not. Maybe it makes sense in a longer (multi-year) separation to set such rules, but for 2 months it's overkill.

We are all adults, we can function just fine without a phone call every night discussing what happened at work.


Are you actually married? This seems like something somebody who has never had a relationship longer than 6 months would say. We can function just fine without a daily phone call. However, it's probably not a good idea for the long-term stability of one's marriage to skip calling for too many days.



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