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Married couples bemoan their 'singles' lives (2)

(Shanghai Daily)

15:09, November 11, 2012

"We usually meet at weekends, but sometimes don't see each other for a fortnight due to working overtime," he said.

"And as I've roommates, my wife and I can only spend the night together in hotels, choosing cheap ones for about 200 yuan a night," Chen said.

Chen's plight is common in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, where high living costs and high house prices are a big obstacle for many.

Wang Xiaoling, an office worker in downtown Beijing, married four years ago and is now the father of a three-year-old girl. But his wife and daughter stay in Harbin, the capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, due to the high living costs in Beijing.

"My annual salary is 80,000 yuan, far from enough to provide a comfortable life for the whole family here, and it's too risky for my wife to quit her job and come here," Wang said.

Experts say living apart is taking its toll on marriages.

"These couples report a higher divorce rate, as their emotional and physiological needs often go unsatisfied," said Zhao Yongjiu at a Beijing-based company that provides marriage consultations.

But Yan Shan, standing director of the China Social Work Association Working Committee on Marriage and Family, says the phenomenon is temporary.

"The government should continue to strengthen the economy, improve social welfare and balance regional development.

"Then couples won't have to live apart to balance marriage and finances," Yan said.

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