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Seen At 11: Married, But Living Apart

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- You fall in love, get married, and move into separate homes?

Believe it or not, such an arrangement is growing in popularity with couples who say living apart is what's keeping them together, CBS 2's Maurice DuBois reported Tuesday night.

"We decided right away that we were going to keep our own places," Allen Sheinman said.

Sheinman and his wife, Collette Stallone, wanted to get married, but neither wanted to give up their Manhattan apartments, so they didn't.

"What it would mean is that we could be married and still feel like we're dating," Sheinman said, "and it actually wasn't a bad way to go."

The same was true for Lisa Haisha. She lives in one home, and her husband of seven years lives a few blocks away.

"We want to be the wind beneath each other's wings, not clip each other's wings," Haisha said.

Jeanette Lofas credits living apart from her husband of 10 years for her happy marriage. She lives on Long Island and her husband in Manhattan, but they get together on weekends.

"It's more of a celebration when he comes," Lofas said.

It may seem unusual, but these non-traditional arrangements are more common than you think. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates 1.7 million married couples in the U.S choose to live apart, and experts say that number is on the rise.

Marriage and family therapist Dr. Jane Greer said the looming 50 percent divorce rate has couples worrying about the future before they even say "I do." She said living apart allows them to avoid all the daily little conflicts that can lead to big problems down the road.

"It enables each person to have some autonomy and just have their own space," Greer said.

Even after Haisha gave birth to the couple's daughter, she and her husband continued to live apart.

"So she's with both of us a lot, then just me, then sometimes with him," Haisha said.

Ultimately, Haisha said, they avoid all the business of being married and they can just enjoy the marriage.

"That helps us maybe be grateful for what we have instead of just taking it for granted," she said.

"This seems to be a solution to that horrible divorce rate," Lofas added.

In addition to living apart, Lofas, a clinical social worker who works with blended families, said the living arrangement is especially beneficial for second marriages.

"Who comes first is a big issue in a remarriage with kids, so when you're in separate houses, you can decide the order of things," she said.

But Lofas and the others admitted there are problems with the lifestyle -- particularly financial. It is expensive to maintain two homes, which is what eventually brought Sheinman and Stallone together under one roof -- sort of.

"From the get-go we divided the apartment up to my half and her half," Sheinman said. "The kitchen is neutral ground."

Many marriage therapists do not recommend this living arrangement for young couples just starting out.

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