The dreaded LDR, or Long-Distance Relationship, is something most people do not want to do. This is simply because of course no one wants to be continents, countries, or even cities apart from their significant other. As inconveniencing as it may be, it is not an impossible situation to be in. I speak from the experience of having had two long-distance relationships, and having found myself agreeing to be in another!
With the forced lockdown of various cities around the world due to the Coronavirus, long-distance relationships are now facing an even bigger challenge. There’s no clue as to when it will be safe to travel again, whether inside or outside Kenya. And with the economy facing a downward turn, having enough money to make said trips may not be possible.Being that I’m in this predicament as well, I want to share some tips I’ve been using that are essential to helping your partnership weather this storm and thereafter as well. This is what I use to try and keep my relationship as intact and intimate as it would be had we both been in the same space.
Seems obvious, right? Much like an everyday relationship where you see each other often, a long-distance relationship cannot survive without communication. My partner and I talk on the regular; morning, noon and night, and sometimes in between, depending on our schedules. It may seem like a lot to some people, but for us, that really helps us maintain our bond. Now, during COVID-19, we are both working from home, so a few check-ins via text or a phone call here and there really make it feel like we’re going through the day together.
Communication helps you and your partner feel involved even in the smallest of ways. With it, though, come rules and boundaries because the way you like to communicate may not be the way your partner does, so you have to let them know what you are okay with and what you cannot accept. For instance, when I’m working I do not like to be disturbed unless it’s an emergency. He understands that and gives me that space, letting me reach out to him once I’m ready to talk. It would be ideal to discuss these boundaries at the onset of your relationship to avoid clashing later on.
Being far away from your partner can be such a crippling feeling at times. It can get lonely and frustrating. You need to actively push the negative energy out of your mind and out of your relationship because even though you are oceans away, your partner can feel your energy and it makes them feel even worse because they cannot be there to ease your worry.
One way to curb this is reaffirming each other. Let each other know that this is just temporary and even in the uncertainty of COVID-19, you will both get through it. My partner does an amazing job of that by maintaining a consistent presence in my life despite his physical absence. He sends me surprise gifts, flowers, gets things done for me that he knows I have been stressing over… little things like that keep the spark alive and leave you feeling loved and not alone.
Do things together!
Yes, this is still possible, even now. Quality time is one of my partner’s love languages and mine as well. So you can imagine how long-distance plus an impending world lockdown really puts a damper on that. We decided not to let that stop us from ‘spending time together’, so to speak, and we usually plan different activities to do together every week. We still have a consistent date night every Saturday. Each one includes a different activity, like watching a movie together, playing an online game or just having that time to get virtually intimate in our own creative ways.
Doing things together virtually helps foster the love between you two active and allows for much needed uninterrupted alone time.
Plan for the future
2020 may have not turned out as we would have liked but that does not mean we cannot plan any more trips, dates, brunches, walks, movies...all that jazz. I think planning for something exciting to look forward to with your partner brings in excitement and a sense of hope to the relationship.
Another important thing is to set an end date for the long-distance part of the relationship - which ties into planning for the future. It is a hard conversation to have but it must be had and a realistic date should be set. There needs to be clarity on how long the relationship will exist in this particular format. This will also allow you to try and think about how things will work when you're closer together. Both of you should be equally committed to making this plan a reality.
I hope these tips will contribute to strengthening the bond between you and your significant other, despite the disease, and the distance.
Are you and your partner in the same place, or are you doing long-distance? How are you coping with that?