There is a growing trend among America’s married couples that appears to be gaining ground as a result of a challenging economy and unsettled job market.

That trend is the commuter marriage. But what is it?

It’s basically a long distance relationship that exists to promote the financial gain of the married couple. In the typical commuter marriage, one spouse will rent an apartment in the city where they work, while the other runs things at home. Then, in order to maintain a connected marriage the commuting spouse flies back and forth while the non-commuting spouse makes special trips to visit.

It seems that ever since the recession hit, working-class people have been forced to broaden the geographic scope of their job search in order to maintain the lifestyle they want to live. In fact, according to the US Census Bureau, 3.5 million couples were part of commuter marriages last year. That’s up about 17 percent from 2001, when three million couple did it.

So rather than try to sell a home during a real estate downturn and relocate for work, it appears that more American couples have opted to invest their money in travel and living expenses as a means for strengthening their bottom line.

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