Boy meets girl. Boy has two kids. Girl would rather keep her own place, thank you.
Couple #2

Marisol and Rob Simon

The Challenge

Marisol, 45, a chef and author, and Rob, 55, a new-media entrepreneur, may have fallen in love—but that didn't mean they wanted to join households, which in Rob's case included two kids. Their solution? In the seven years they've been married (that's their wedding, at right), they've happily maintained separate spaces. Sleepovers allowed.

Rob: When I thought about marriage, I pictured all four of us living together, but the truth is, that was my dream. It wasn't Marisol's dream, and it wasn't the kids' dream. Marisol didn't want to be a mom, and Ben [then 15] and Claire [then 11] didn't need another mother. During our dating days, I would stay at her place when I wasn't with the kids. I was happy, she was happy. There was nothing broken, so I thought: "Why don't we just continue that but be married?"

Marisol: There's a certain magic to our marriage, and it comes from not being together all the time. There's an old saying, "How can I miss you if you're always around?" Rob and I always miss each other, and I don't know if it would be the same if we lived together all the time. It's funny. One time I took Claire out for her birthday, just us girls, and there was a couple sitting near us not saying a word to each other. Claire said, "That's what would happen to you and Dad if you guys lived together."

Rob: As it is, we talk a lot. We always know where the other one is. And I think we spend more time with each other than most couples do. We tuck each other in at night by phone, and if she's out with friends, I check to make sure she got home okay, and vice versa. And there's always been a lot of trust that we wouldn't be Tiger Woods–ing each other.

Marisol: Just because you love someone doesn't mean they have to consume you. There has to be room for yourself in a relationship. People need oxygen. When I'm on my own, I get to go to the store and buy my rib eye and onions and cook the food I used to eat growing up in Venezuela. I pour a glass of red wine and open my Bon Appétit. Or put on my Pink Martini CD—loud. Rob is a sprawler, I'm a condenser. So at my house things aren't all over the place and I don't have to follow anyone around with a bottle of Windex. At night I can wear my ugly red shorts, reach for the tweezers, and work my eyebrows. I get an entire night of sleep without someone snoring, and the next day I'm so agreeable.

Rob: On the other hand, a lot of great moments come when you don't plan them. That's one thing you sacrifice—the spontaneous opportunities that could occur.

Marisol: Yes, but still—when I tell other women about my setup, at first they go, "What?" Then they say, "I could use a few days off from my husband, for sure." Guys, for some reason, don't love it. But women tend to think it's fantastic. They say, "Can you come talk to my husband about why we should do this, too?"

Scott and Andrea: Together forever, all the time


Next Story