Sharing your life with someone used to mean sharing a home, but now as many as one in 20 couples choose to live apart, a new study has revealed.
According to Sarah Essig, it may just be the secret of a happy union.
This year she and husband Tom will celebrate their second wedding anniversary and both say they have never been happier.
But Sarah and Tom donít just live in separate homes. They live in separate countries. Tom lives 3677 miles from Sarahís Dorset home in Virginia, USA, the Daily Mail reported.
The happy couple have not ruled out living together in the future, but have no immediate plans to do so.
53-year-old Sarah said that itís unconventional but it works for them and they are incredibly happy.
She said that they love each other deeply and are married and plan to spend the rest of their lives as a couple. Living in separate countries doesnít make the relationship any less important, but in fact it has benefits, she said.
ďPeople can me quick to make assumptions about my marriage because my husband and I chose to live in separate counties, but I want people to know it can work,Ē she added.
According to research the number of men and women living apart as couples has increased by 40 percent in the last decade. It is estimated that one million couples now keep a separate property.
But for Sarah, it wasnít a lifestyle choice to live apart from the man she loves, more a matter of practicalities.
The couple met on cruise in 2008 shortly after Sarahís marriage had ended.
Mother-of-two Sarah was holidaying with a friend while American widow Tom, now 59, was on aboard with his daughter when they got chatting at dinner.
She certainly was not looking for a relationship and neither was Tom. She had been through a divorce and he had recently lost his wife of 24 years to cancer.
The more they talked, the more they connected and ended up spending the whole holiday together talking.
They really understood each other and knew before the cruise ended that somehow or other they would remain in each others lives.
Both of them having children that needed them in different countries Ė meant living together was not an option so they went into it with their eyes open.
After meeting again the couple spoke constantly on skype Ė which Sarah describes as a ďbest friendĒ for couples living or working in