GWYNETH Paltrow has still not moved in with hubby Brad Falchuk – nine months after their wedding.
The actress claims it is the key to marital bliss after her “intimacy coach” told her it keeps things fresh.
But could it work for any couple? Kate Jackson asked aromatherapist Rebecca Wright and husband, Jon, an HGV driver, both 46, from Washington, West Sussex, to live apart for a week.
They have been married for 14 years and have kids Sophie, 13, and James, 11.
To help, we asked therapist Cate Mackenzie to act as their “intimacy coach”.
Day 1 – Sexy texts
REBECCA SAYS: “It wasn’t a great start to the week when our son ended up in A&E with a possible broken bone.
"While Jon got to go and check into his lovely holiday home, I was waiting in hospital. He did come over later to make sure everything was OK, which it was, but after the trauma of the day I did really miss having him at home.
“In the evening, I took Cate’s advice and made the most of my time alone by having a lovely bath. It did make me feel much better – so much so that I sent a couple of romantic texts to Jon afterwards.”
JON SAYS: “Living apart might sound ideal but when something goes wrong, that’s when you need to be around.
"As it turned out, James hadn’t broken a bone. But I did feel guilty at not being there to help more. It was nice to receive those texts, though.”
Day 2 – Racy romp
REBECCA SAYS: “I don’t know whether it was last night’s bath or missing Jon, but I felt playful today so I sent a few saucy sexts.
“Like any couple who have been together for a while, sex is often just another thing on the already full to-do list. Our lives are so busy we barely feel like we have time to even have proper chats together, let alone anything else.
"After the kids go to bed, I’m usually too shattered for bedroom antics. But Jon came over again for the evening, and those sexts had the desired outcome.”
JON SAYS: “I missed Rebecca more than I expected. I missed the smell of her on my pillow in the morning.
"Getting those sexts was frustrating because I couldn’t just go upstairs and find her on my bed, I had to wait. But the waiting made it more exciting.”
Day 3 – Date night
REBECCA SAYS: “We had a proper date night, all organised by Jon. We got dressed up and he picked me up in the car, which is something that hasn’t happened since we started dating when I was 30. It meant I could get ready on my own and make an effort to look nice, and that was exciting.
"I followed Cate’s advice and during the meal, I told Jon I wasn’t wearing anything under my dress. I think he quite liked that idea.”
JON SAYS: “I love organising surprises for Becs, but we don’t tend to go out often as a couple because when you factor in a babysitter, taxis and a meal out, it can be pricey.
“Becs looked beautiful and I told her so. It’s funny that I really took more notice of how lovely her face is after not seeing her for a day.
"Her confession that she wasn’t wearing underwear was a surprise, and got us both in the mood for a bedroom liaison before I headed back to my bachelor pad.”
Day 4 – Time out
REBECCA SAYS: “We didn’t see each other at all today, and actually that was quite nice too. Sorry, Jon!
"We don’t often get a chance to have time on our own with the children, and I enjoyed having a bit of special time with them.
"There was just a moment in the evening when I wished Jon was here – when I heard a funny noise in the house and would have liked him to investigate.”
JON SAYS: “As a couple, we often feel guilty about abandoning the other to go and do something for ourselves, but doing this has made us both realise that it’s important to have our own space too. So now, Becs is planning a little break with her sister and I’m planning to spend a few days away with a mate.
"Tonight, I met up with my friend Louis, who I haven’t been out drinking with for years, and we watched telly together, had a few beers, set the world to rights. Afterwards, I felt really refreshed.”
Day 5 – Family fun
REBECCA SAYS: “As it was Father’s Day, the kids and I headed over to Jon’s place and made breakfast for him. It felt special to go and treat him like this. Then they spent the day together while I did my own thing.
“In the evening, we swapped houses so I got to relax without the usual routine of dinner and getting the kids to bed.
"There may have been more sexts as well. Being apart has given me a boost in that area.”
JON SAYS: “Before this week, our lives were all about sorting the kids out and then, once they went to bed, we would be too tired for anything else.
"Having a time limit on when we could see each other has made us make the most of our time together, so we have both been more up for some romance.”
Day 6 – Dirty dishes
REBECCA SAYS: “Sex is usually infrequent but we’ve done it five times this week, including a daytime liaison today.
“I don’t usually like it in the full glare of daylight, but I feel like we’re dating again so I was up for it.
“We followed Cate’s advice and Jon tried to get fruity with me while I was doing the washing-up, which wouldn’t normally happen – and even if it did I would probably rebuff him. This time though, I promised him we would do it half an hour later, which added a bit of anticipation.”
JON SAYS: “This experiment has made me realise we need to be going out more and doing things, enjoying life as a couple, not just as a family.
"We can’t just put everything on hold until we have more time when the children move out, or when we retire.”
Day 7 – Reunited
REBECCA SAYS: “It’s good to have Jon home again. I missed him and it’s been odd trying to organise home stuff on my own. I don’t think this could work long-term for us.
“I’d miss having a proper family under one roof but I’m glad we did this experiment. It’s put the spark back into our relationship.”
JON SAYS: “Being apart has reminded me how much I fancy my wife. We’ve been guilty of letting the drudgery of running a home get in the way of our relationship, and this reminded me how it was when we were dating.
"On a practical level, it wouldn’t work full-time, I’d feel I was missing too much.
“And who would come to Rebecca’s rescue when she hears noises in the house?”
Flirt to sex up home
CATE MACKENZIE, a psychosexual therapist couples counsellor, says:
If you’ve got the money, it could be wonderful to live apart. Domesticity is not ideal for feeling sexual towards each other.
Separateness creates an erotic charge, as it does when you first dated, before you started grumbling about dirty washing left on the floor.
For most of us, living apart when married isn’t financially viable. Plus there is an argument you miss out on all those negotiations you have when you live in one home.
Dividing chores and making compromises strengthens a relationship.
If you lived apart, you might think about how to make your partner feel loved by way of sending messages or sexting. Why not do the same at home?
Make time to connect. Go for a walk together or try having a seven-second kiss when you wake up.
When couples have children and busy lives, they often feel they don’t have time for sex.
So try the three-minute game, in which you offer to do something sensual for the other for three minutes and they do the same afterwards.
Tease and flirt during the week. That makes your partner feel good, and that’s when they’re going to want to have sex.
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