August 2nd, 2010
I have a new story in yesterday’s Styles section of The New York Times about couples who separate and stay separated indefinitely, rather than proceeding directly to divorce. Call them the Undivorced. (I did.) The comments section is really fascinating. While it would be impossible to quantify whether the number of these undivorced couples is growing, it is clearly not uncommon. Many people wrote about various iterations in their own families.
The Census Bureau does not track length of separation, but at any given moment, approximately 2.3% of American adults describe themselves as separated, and an additional 1.4% say they are married but their spouse is absent (though he may be in the military or temporarily relocated for a job, for example).
While reporting, I watched this fascinating interview of the late Susan Buffett, longtime separated wife of Warren Buffett, on Charlie Rose, which I wholly recommend.
Finally, I’m thrilled to report that the story is #5 most emailed on NYT.com, which is the first time I’ve broken the top 10. Very exciting for me, personally.