One of the corona trend words is pivot, recreating your career to fit into the limitations this virus has set upon us. But it’s not the only area of your life where you might need to pivot and change to fit in with the current landscapes. Depending on your circumstance, your relationship might have to pivot too. There has been a lot of talk about what is happening to those that are single during this pandemic and worries about couples who are driving each other up the wall at home. But what about those who are now having to do long distance when they had an in the flesh relationship before? I like many others have found myself in this situation. Whether it’s due to caring for other family members, safety concerns or work commitments, many couples have seen themselves separated from the one they love with no clear end date in sight. So, how do you get through long distance when you are used to be together all the time?
- It’s important to take each day as it comes and not plan for the future. Often with situation like these, couples know when they are seeing each other again. Maybe flights are booked and plans have been made. It’s a great thing to be able to focus on a future date again during those lonely nights. But what happens when no one can give you that date to look forward to? Try not to think ahead. Every time I have considered the future, I have sent myself insane. Take each day as it comes. Whenever you get into future head space, bring yourselves back to the present and focus on where you are at this very moment. That’s all you can do right now and it’s a good way to be present with your relationship in that moment too. Focus on your daily interactions with your partner and what is amazing about them, not when you might or might not see them again.
- Try plan fun things to do on Facetime but if you don’t, that’s still ok, as long as you give each other your time during the day. It’s important to find those times to still connect and I think most of us are getting rather good at it with our bevy of online options and this new way of life. There is a lot of focus on having online dates and doing cute things with each other. I have friends who are on Facetime and go walking together or do activities like they normally would. My partner and I are both busy working and I do sometimes feel guilty that we haven’t done something cutesy online. But we are on the phone throughout the day. We text, we Facetime, we talk to each other about our lives as though we were next to each other in person. It doesn’t matter how you construct your online relationship, as long as you are regularly taking the time to connect with each other, however that may be.
- Pick your battles. For any type of relationship right now, you need to pick your battles but especially if you are physically apart. If you were either seeing each other in the flesh or doing a normal long distance where you can make plans to see each other soon, you might take comfort in the fact that you could talk through things in person when you see each other. This isn’t a time to dig deep and work hard on your relationship issues. It’s not a time to voice every frustration you have. You need to be each other’s support system, keep each other’s head above water and entertain each other if you can. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak up if you need to, but also put it through your filters first and choose the ones that are really important, not the little things you just want to vent about.
- Avoid being passive aggressiveness and say what you need to say. For some people, they are sitting at home watching Tiger King, for others they are working hard to save as much of their career as they can. There is stress, pressure and anxiety floating around all of us, so when someone doesn’t speak their mind, it only adds to that pressure and there is room for miscommunication and unmet needs. If you feel you need something from your partner during this time, say so in a direct, non-confrontational way. But also, listen and check in if they have things they want to say in return too.
- Get creative with sexy time. I don’t think I have to encourage this one too much, but it’s not only important to feel like you can physically connect in a non-physical way, but it can be a lot of fun too. Be as creative as you want with this. It might be some nude pics or self-pleasuring whilst the other person in on the phone. If you have been in a committed relationship for some time, the good part of this is there is most likely some established trust so you can relax more than those who are now just meeting online.
- Get creative with ways to say I’m thinking of you. We can chat on the phone, Facetime and all that tech stuff. But sometimes it’s nice to do something for each other and to let the other person know you really care. This is also an opportunity to put a smile on each other’s faces. Consider sending a card, just to say hi, something small in the mail, maybe a bunch of flowers (and girls dating boys, they should get flowers too) or even their favourite food or takeaway. It doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant, but why not try and add any fun and thoughtfulness you can into the mix?
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but just like with relationships in the physical world, this one also needs work too. It’s easy to become complacent after a while and to not put as much effort in. Someone who does a lot of long distance from their partner once told me for the first 6 weeks you really miss them, and then after that you get too used to being on your own. Whether this is true for you or not (and don’t freak out if it is, it doesn’t mean your relationship is in trouble, it just means you are starting to get used to your current life circumstances) you still need to continue to put the effort in to connect, to love and to be there for each other during this time and not just let every day life roll on with a few texts and calls. And if you are really struggling in your long distance love, just think, there are plenty of couples out there at home in isolation arguing wishing they could be in your position or plenty of singles wishing they could just connect with someone special. We always want what we don’t have and it’s about time we cherish and appreciate what we do, whether in person or via online means.