For some couples who live together, the COVID-19 pandemic does a couple of great things for their relationship. Since couples are forced to stay at home, they have the privilege to bond more and cherish each other’s company.
They can cook and eat meals together, talk more, have more freedom to “Netflix and chill”, and even share the same table when working from home.
But for other couples, who are not with their partners physically, the travel restrictions caused by the pandemic is driving them crazy.
They cannot kiss, embrace, and comfort their partners during these trying times as much as they want to. For some, the long-term physical distance is causing them to drift apart from each other emotionally.
If you’re one of the people who are struggling with the loneliness of being away from your loved one, here are 7 things you both can do to keep the love alive.
1. Prioritize schedules
And stick to it, especially if you have different time zones, work schedules, and sleeping schedules. Pick the sweetest spot for a video call.
When are you at your best? Who has a more flexible schedule? When’s the perfect time to devote private, unrushed time for a conversation?
When’s usually your most intimate part of the day – the time when you’re in a good mood and you crave connection the most?
2. Technology is your best friend
Gone are the days when long-distance relationships mean month-long telegrams and expensive long-distance calls.
In this age of Skype, Facetime, Messenger, Zoom, e-mails, and texts, communicating with your loved one instantly and face-to-face is easier than ever.
Don’t end the day without checking up on each other. Having video calls regularly is the best way to keep the connection alive.
If not, you can communicate by sending each other texts, e-mails, chat messages, pictures, and videos, whenever possible.
3. Focus on quality communication
Remember quality over quantity and frequency. You don’t have to do video calls every single night, especially when one or both of you aren’t physically and emotionally invested.
Interestingly, some research shows that long-distance couples tend to be more satisfied with their communication than couples who are geographically close. It’s because they realize how precious communication opportunities are.
Before having your regular bedtime conversations, give a little thought beforehand, and prioritize the highlights of your day.
Since we’re stuck at home, you can talk about the small details that made the day different from the other days.
Maybe you can talk about the painting you did out of boredom, the movie you watched, the growth status of your herbs and houseplants, or how you perfected your Dalgona coffee this morning.
4. Think beyond video calls and texts
How can you connect with your lover without actually talking to each other? You can share memes, funny videos and images, and other media you know your partner will appreciate.
If he loves cats, perhaps a cute cat compilation video can uplift his spirit during the quarantine. Does he love cooking? Maybe you can share cooking tutorials and food vlogs on YouTube. If you play mobile games, you may agree to play together.
5. Have something physical to remind you of your partner
Video-conferencing apps, social media platforms, and all the other technological advances have made it so much easier to stay in touch real-time with your partner.
But let’s not forget the power of having something physical that strongly reminds you of your partner and the glorious time you spent in the past.
It can be your partner’s oversized grey hoodie that still has his scent, a pink stuffed bear he gave you on your anniversary, and the letters, postcards, and printed photos you share.
You can also do something to remember him. Perhaps, cook his favourite meal or play his favourite song.
6. Do the same things together even if you’re apart
Eat at the same time and call each other while doing so. If not possible, send each other photos of your meals. Watch the same movie or series on Netflix and talk about it when you’re both available.
Play games together. Browse Facebook and Instagram together, and share memes. Clean your homes together. You can even take online couples counselling together.
Just because you’re apart doesn’t mean you can’t bring yourselves closer through the activities you usually do together.
7. Make fun post-COVID-19 plans
Remind each other that this crisis is temporary – there’ll come a time when things will go back to normal and you’ll meet each other again. Anticipate the day you’re finally going to meet up and talk about your fun plans.
What’s the first place you’re going to go to after the quarantine is over? Are you going to visit your favourite restaurants? Or are you just gonna stay at your place and cuddle from dusk to dawn?
They say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Who knows? The distance, as well as the valuable lessons learned from this outbreak, may have caused your relationship to grow stronger and healthier over time.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for Relationship Room Couples Counseling, a couples psychology institution specializing in relationship counselling and therapies for couples and families.
She may be hopelessly romantic, but she’s got some straightforward pieces of advice about love, dating, and relationships.