If married life seems too much to bear sometimes, one relationship guru has some advice – move out.
Lisa Stoessel’s tip might sound a little extreme, but she’s proof positive that it’s the way to a happier relationship.
The 61-year-old mum-of-three wed her partner Emil 31 years ago – but for the last eight of those, the pair have been living in two separate homes.
The writer, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, has even penned a book to help other partners understand that a new address doesn’t mean a new love.
Read more: Married couple having a baby while living 11,000 miles apart
Writing on her website, Lise admits that she’s someone who eagerly takes life’s challenges on.
“I have spent my adult life finding ways to turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.
“Having navigated through difficulties with a deeply enquiring mind, I have come to the conclusion that everything that happens to us offers an opportunity for growth,” she explains.
It’s that decisiveness which has helped her navigate her relationship with Emil which, she says, has always been “out of sync”.
“It made for a lot of bickering and a lot of strife, and although we tried counseling, it didn’t work,” she told Prevention .
Although they still had good times, she says that divorce was looming large – but she knew that was what she absolutely didn’t want.
The strife, she explains, came from clashes with Emil over lifestyles – he worked as a contractor – and domestic space.
In her book, she says: “I wanted to like my life again. I wanted to like myself again. And even more importantly, I wanted my children to discover who I really was.”
After a blow-up, she went for a drive, and realised: “I still loved sitting down to dinner with Emil and spending time with him; it occurred to me that perhaps we both just needed our own space.”
After they spoke about her idea of living separately in a calm and reasonable fashion, they found a house for Lise and applied for a mortage.
Convincing their three daughters, they moved ahead, and now live five miles apart in Charlottesville.
Lisa says their marriage has never been better , as they see each other six days out of seven – and even have overnight stays on four nights.
“People sometimes assume that because we live apart, we’re in an open marriage, but we are quick to assure them that we’re completely monogamous,” she says.
Having made the leap, Lise says she wants to share what she’s found with others, hence releasing the book Living Happily Ever After – Separately.
“The main reason I wrote a book was because I wanted couples to know this was an option that could save their marriage. Sometimes the best way to live happily ever after with someone is to live apart.”
The book not only tells Lise’s story, but also what her husband and daughters have to say.