"I think it's especially hard on the female member of the pair,"
says Albert Gollin, 46, a sociologist who lives in Washington, D.C., with his two children and whose wife, Gillian, is chairman
of the Department of Religion at Columbia in New York. Why? "Because of the traditional attitude, the assumption that
a woman on her own is more accessible. There are still people who feel that a woman who goes out in public on her own is somehow
advertising her own availability. There is some reluctance to believe that a woman has a mind of her own and morals to match."
Peter, a political and economic analyst for a major oil company, says, "I know the scuttlebut in Pittsburgh
is 'What's keeping him going?' The general public does assume infidelity. And everyone assumes the situation makes
for terrific weekends and it does. I look at my wife as a hot date at the end of the week."
hot date's dishwasher usually gets filled on weekends, which Peter says are "concentrated." They entertain friends
in the $500-a-month New York apartment, a one-bedroom on the 34th floor with a view of the Roosevelt Island Tramway, the Queensboro
and Triborough Bridges and the water traffic on the East River. "Anything that catches our fancy, we do," says Peter.
If it's a rainy day, he might play squash "over the AC" (that means the New York Athletic Club). Or he'll
go down the street and lean on the television repairman with whom they've been having a running battle and who seems to
respond better to a man with two degrees from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Peter) than a woman with an MBA from
Harvard (Diane). Sometimes they'll just sip rum and tonics and talk aobut work. "I have to ask a lot of questions
which are sometimes redundant for her. She's dealing with things every day. We have a long-term tanker project that's
basic to me because I'm dealing with it every day. And it's the same with me when she's telling me about a station
problem." (Diane has a managerial job with a network.) Or they'll talk about schedules, weekends to come, the future
-- or furniture. They've been able to acquire very few pieces although each makes about $20,000 a year.
"We have saved..." says Diane, her eyes searching the ceiling.
"We have saved almost no money." Most of it goes to the cost of a marriage held together by bus or taxi, Allegheny
or TWA (round trip excursion between New York and Pittsburgh is $78), and Carey limousines. They have seen each other every
weekend, save one when Diane had to attend a convention, since they were married.
says that he does the traveling 80% of the time. They prefer New York because there is more to do here. Besides, the New York
apartment is their showcase. Peter lives in a $210 apartment, also with a magnificent view. My place is functional because
it's only temporary. It has books, cases for the books, a desk for my work, and I've got, you know, a bed. Period."
He does not see staying in Pittsburgh for more than two years. "That's all I need to get going. And
then I'm salable inside or outside the company." Diane says she won't go to Pittsburgh. "There are very
few executive women in Pittsburgh, period. The city itself doesn't offer that much, culturally and socially. I kept asking
Peter to introduce me to a woman who worked and I just found they were a very rare breed."
usually gets in late Friday night and they'll have a drink and "catch up." But others who live or lived with
a similar arrangement say that doesn't sound odd at all. Because Fridays are fragile.
always have problems on Fridays," says Peter. "Some ridiculous type of thing -- getting luggage, some reaction or
reconciliation. It's awfully difficult to shift gears."
There were Fridays when
David and Tina weren't ready to deal with each other. "Occasionally," said David, "when I go down to Philadelphia
she would still be the independent loner. At work she would have to boss people and be managerial and she would be in a certain
frame of mind and I would kind of come down and be on her turf. She wasn't ready to deal with me as her husband. I was
a person. It takes time to pick up the threads. When you're living together, you're sharing. There isn't too much
going on that the other doesn't know about. There are cues and expressions and attitudes -- those things are often bits
of glue. So you're picking up,
...Fridays are fragile.
establishing the common
ground of your lives together. Sometimes it's easy and sometimes it isn't. Sometimes you can do it right away. Sother
times it takes overnight to unwind. We were both aware of it. It helps to be aware.
Friday nights are an even more "intense period of communication" for the Gollin family in Washington than for others.
Its members don't usually speak to mother and wife Gillian during the week when she's living in her studio on Riverside
Drive, near the teaching job she's had at Columbia for four years. "You kind of save things up for each other,"
says Albert, who usually picks her up at the train station. "Then often we go out to dinner or come home and have dinner
with the kids and the kids have saved up things to talk about too.
"It works well. I
think a lot of it has to do with the maturity of the kids when she began in 1973. Then they were 9 and 11. They had been trained
deliberately on our partto be as independent as possible. It means constantly encouraging them to make decisions on their
own, presenting them with alternatives and involving them in family decisions as much as possible, given their ability to
understand an issue."
A year before their mother went to work at Columbia Karin, then 10,
and Mark, 8, traveled abroad by themselves. They were met by friends at airports and they stayed with their grandfather in
the south of France, but when they came home they said they wanted no more babysitters.
thinks the arrangement has "forced them to be more independent." The children share in the housework, although there
is a half-time housekeeper, who used to be full-time, and who Gillian says has been their "surrogate mother" since
they were very young. They alternate cooking meals when their mother is not home, but she plans the menus on weekends. and
shops. Mark and Karin don't mind their mother being away most of the week. "I like it fine," says Karin, "because
I see her more now than I used to. When she's home, she's home all the time."
Saturdays are "entirely taken for the home and children, shopping and errands." On Sunday Gillian and Albert will
read the newspapers, do a little gardening around their four-bedroom Victorian house in Chevy Chase. Monday is research day,
frequently at the Library of Congress.
Monday night she calls a cab for the next morning. He other life begins
then, when she goes "home away from home." She's up at 5 a.m., she's on the 6 o'clock Metroliner, and
by 9:20 she's in her office, cushioned by a warm-colored rug, a blue couch, books, books books and a tray with glass jars
containing instant coffee, tea bags and instant milk. "Hello, Lindt," she answer her phoney by her maiden name.
"I like it," she says -- the freedom, the independence. "You get used to it. A certain number
of days a week are entirely my own. If I want to, I can work until nine at night and skip dinner." When she considers
the question, "How would you feel if you had to go back to living with your husband all the time?" she pauses, then
says, "I think I would miss the kind of freedom and independence I had."
began working when her children were very young. "Originally I thought I would spend five years at home with them. I
did stay home for two years. At the end of the second year I came to realize mothering was not the wonderful thing I thought
it would be. I was impatient, bored at times. I didn't want to play building blocks with my daughter."
When Rosa Silver heard about Gillian Lindt, she blinked. "She doesn't take her kids with her?"
asked Rosa, her dark eyebrows rising. "I couldn't do it," said the 31-year-old mother of Edward, 8, and Jinine,
6, and wife of Sheldon, 33, an assemblyman from the Lower East Side. He estimates tha when the Legislature is in session,
so are weekend marriages for more than 100 of the 150 in the Assembly.
is more important to me than a career," said Rosa. "I think kids need a stable family life to grow up stable. Even
when you have both parents at home you don't know how the kids are going to turn out. If the mother's away and the
father's at work I find it hard to see how a housekeeper is going to have the same feeling with the kids. Well I don't
know. I'm not such an independent person. I'm not one of these gung-ho people to do it alone."
"Nighttime is hard," she says. "Something has to be on TV." On Monday nights shell play
Scrabble with the woman across the hall. For a whie, she was into Victorian novels -- 200 to 300 pages a night -- but got
sick of them. "If anything, I try to keep my spirits up. If I go out then I feel better 'cause if you stay home,
what do you do after a while?" She looked around the living roomof their two-bedroom apartment on Grant St. There was
nothing to be cleaned. The silver gleamed. The smell of frozen kosher pizza for the children wafted through the air.
For some, the weekend marriage can be a lonely affair. There are times when Shelden says good night to his
wife on the state tie-line to New York, then goes back to his motel room -- which he prefers over an apartment because he's
"not a cooker or a cleaner" -- and at 11:30, calls her again. There were times when Jason Saxon, who has a private
pilot's license, didn't like the feeling that he couldn't be with Caroline in Boston, So he left his $375-a-month
apartment, took a cab to Teterboro, N.J., rented a two-seater plane and flew to Norwood, Mass., a short ride from Brookline
where she lives ina $375-a-month apartment, to stay the night. On loneliness, Caroline notes, "There's a dollar movie
across the street, God bless it."
"A lot of problems can be solved by throwing money on them,"
But money can't buy trust and one of the dangers of the weekend
marriage is the possibility of a couple growing apart. "There are risks in developing your own lives, you inadvertently
may develop separate interests," said Gillian. "So you try to give each other a sense of what each other's life
is like." She added that it would have been very different if she had to work in a different city early in her 17-year
But after 10 years of marriage, Rosa says she is still a jealous woman.
"I might kid around and say, 'Shelly, whaddja do last night?' He says, 'You don't trust me.' I do
trust him but I am jealous." Play around? "My husband wouldn't do that. Right?" She paused. "Of course
he wouldn't. That he's religious, it helps, that he has values."
While some who
have weekend marriages wonder and worry about infidelity, others don't . David's comment on Tina was, "She'll
do what she'll do and I don't worry about it and to this day I don't know what she did (in Philadelphia) and I
don't care. It's also mutual and she doesn't know what I did and she didn't care as long as it was discreet.
What good would it do to talk about it unless it was serious and in the way?"
says Diane, "there's more temptation. Temptation to a certain degree depends upon availability. Every and any marriage
undergoes a lot of change and strain and when those changes take place and you don't tell each other about them -- that's
the reason for the divorce rate and it doesn't have anything to do with where you live.
depends upon how much you want to try and sometimes long distance makes you try harder."
Copyright 1977 Danielle Flood