Living apart together: Intimate Relationship across nations distance: Transnational Couples: Gender, Spirituality and Digitalisation

Rashmi Singla, Ambika Varma

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


In the past decades the time honoured assumption that intimate couples stay under the same roof has been challenged, diverse forms of living arrangements are emerging where partners maintain separate residences, even across national borders. However, investigation of intimate relationship formation and maintenance across geographical borders is rather limited. This ongoing research project explores relationship among distant transnational couples, i.e. couples who are residing/ have resided in different countries (minimum one year), at least one of the partners in the Scandinavian context. Within a theoretical framework of gender related to emotional reflexivity (Holmes, 2014), spirituality and digital emotions, the history and dynamics of these relationships are explored, in the backdrop of transnationalism. In-depth interviews (face- to face and some online) dealing with the psycho- social aspects of togetherness and separation, visions about the future and suggestions to other distant couples are conducted with 20 couples/partners. The preliminary results show the challenges entailed in distant intimacy dynamics and their negotiations. The interactional state of being together and apart mutually enable and constrain each other in many ways. Quality time together, ‘fun’ memories construction, parting rituals, ‘systematic’ online contact, spiritual acceptance emerge as the resources. While the mobility costs (economic, temporal and affective), restrictive migration laws, pressure to have quality time, work/ life segmentation, social network related dilemmas emerge as burdens. However, being apart and together are intertwined for the transnational distant couples. The analysed ‘good practices’ will form the applied part for promoting the mental health and wellbeing of such couples. Abstract Text word count- 250 Submitted by Dr. Rashmi Singla (Presenter) & Ms. Ambika Varma co-author (independent researcher, Denmark)
Original languageEnglish
Publication date1 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018
EventIACCP 2018 Conference: Multiculturalism in a Global Perspective: Benefits and Challenges - Guelph, Canada
Duration: 1 Jul 20185 Jul 2018
Conference number: 24


ConferenceIACCP 2018 Conference
Internet address

Cite this