The Long-Distance Family Dynamic

In episode 039 of ‘Holding the Fort Abroad,’ I sit down with guest Michael Sullivan to delve into the paradoxically uniting but physically separating experience of living abroad in split locations. Michael, living in Türkiye, and his wife in the Philippines, demonstrate that physical separation does not dictate the strength or functionality of a family unit. They confront and dispel common misconceptions about split-location living, emphasizing that trust, intentionality to communicate, and prioritizing working together as a team can lead to a successful family dynamic, even at a distance.

Listen to the full episode here

Parenting Across Borders

Managing a household, especially with children, is often seen as a collective effort. Yet for Michael, the challenge of not wanting to be an ‘absent father’ has been about being consistently present virtually and emotionally. He shares how dedicated conversations and reassuring his children of his love and support are crucial to maintaining their bond, illustrating that presence isn’t always about physical proximity but rather emotional availability and engagement.

Relational Success Amid Physical Absence

Michael’s candid discussion on the impacts of physical absence with his wife in marriage resonates deeply, particularly their approach to addressing common human needs such as intimacy. Through open conversation and a mature understanding, they highlight that although physical closeness is important, it is not the exclusive element that makes a marriage thrive; it’s also about mutual support, understanding, and shared values. Having successfully navigated this aspect, Michael sheds light on an often veiled topic in long-distance relationships.

Conclusion: The Ever-Evolving Journey

In conclusion, ‘Holding the Fort Abroad’ episode 039 with Michael Sullivan paints a hopeful picture of long-distance relationships and split-location living. Michael and his wife embody an adaptive resilience, maintaining a functioning family, pursuing personal career paths, and showcasing that commitment to shared goals and understanding can defy the challenges of distance. The conversation reveals that even in the face of skepticism and the traditional concept of togetherness, couples like Michael and his wife illustrate that sometimes, being apart might just bring you closer together.


Rhoda Bangerter

Rhoda Bangerter is a coach who has lived abroad with a travelling husband for over 16 years. She helps home based mums and dads live an intentional life and build family togetherness even when their partner is away a lot for work.

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