Written by Laura May Bailey
The lockdown measures that came into action on the 5th of November may not be as severe as the initial spring lockdown, but it’s hard not to feel like we have taken one step forward and two steps back. Now that we are no longer permitted to meet people inside from out of our household, couples up and down the country are yet again being forced into long distance relationships, even if they live just a few miles apart.
As someone who has been in a long-distance relationship for over three years, I thought I would share a few pieces of advice for other couples struggling with the thought of another month without being in the same house/city/country as their significant other.
- Communication is key. As has often been written, one of the foundations of a good long-distance relationship is having open and honest communication. When you’re in the same room, minor arguments and miscommunications can be resolved within minutes or avoided altogether through reading body language. However, when your main form of communication is texting or talking on the phone, miscommunications can easily grow bigger. Therefore, it is really important that you bring up any issues quickly before they snowball, and keep your channels of communication open even when feeling angry or upset.
- Don’t be afraid of emojis. I know some people do find emojis immature or even annoying. However, when communicating over text for months at a time, a lack of body language can lead to the types of miscommunication mentioned above. Using emojis is a simple way of expressing your tone and intention to avoid misinterpretation or confusion.
- Make a relationship fund. In most cases, if you were seeing your significant other frequently, money would be likely spent on travel (whether that be train tickets or petrol for your car) as well as eating or drinking out, going to the cinema etc. During the pandemic, a lot of people are struggling with unemployment and other financial troubles, but if you can afford to, it’s a great idea to put aside the money you would be spending with your partner to use together in the future. Perhaps next year you can use it to travel together, or just go out for a nice meal. Saving is always a good skill to master, and it gives you both something to look forward to.
- Find activities to do together. When you’re not spending days together in person, it can sometimes feel difficult to maintain conversation beyond ‘what did you do today?’. From using Netflix Party to watch your favourite TV series’ together, to going for walks while chatting down the phone, there are often long-distance versions of your favourite in-person activities. Online and video games can also be a lifesaver. Prior to my relationship, I had barely played a video game in my life, but now my boyfriend and I frequently play multiplayer games over Skype to share the moment and bring a little bit of normality.
- Plan your next meet up. Of course, it’s not possible at the moment to know for sure when you can actually next meet up in person. However, you can still plan activities and things to do together when the day comes. Maybe there’s a museum you’ve been wanting to visit in their home town, or a new bar you want to take them to in yours. Whatever you like to do, discussing your plans for the future, no matter how small, can provide some light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.
- Make the most of the people you can see. Whether you’re spending lockdown with your parents, your friends, or the housemates that you met just a few months ago, try and focus on the positives and strengthen the relationships and friendships that you can. While my plan for 2020 did not involve spending 6 months spending almost every day seeing just my parents, I know I’ll look back and be grateful for the amount of time we got to spend together this summer.
It’s never going to be easy spending so long apart, but I hope this list has provided some useful tips for making the next few weeks and months slightly more manageable. Stay safe and good luck!
All featured images sourced from unsplash.com