How to keep a long distance relationship going during Covid-19

Long distance dating is hard. You don’t see each other very often, communication is strained by the distance and you can’t always be there when the other needs you. Throw in a global pandemic and a lockdown, and you’re trapped in a long-term, long distance dating nightmare.

I’d like to say that I have all the answers, and that the rigours of 2020 have made my long distance relationship thrive. If I did say that, I’d be lying. I would say that although this year has been hard, we’ve pulled together and found new ways of dating, despite the distance. And if a relationship, any relationship can survive Covid-19, then it’s got an awful lot going for it.

How to keep a long distance relationship going during Covid-19

Regular Video Chats
Being physically apart from one of the people who make you happiest is hard. Not being able to be held by them when you need a hug is hard. It is not the same, not by any stretch of the imagination; but regular video chats on WhatsApp, FaceTime or Zoom are really helpful. It can feel a bit pressured, to perform or be full of news, but if you’re isolating, chances are there is no news anyway. What we sometimes do is dial in for a video chat during our working from home working day. We just work and natter like colleagues would. That takes the pressure off and it’s also nice to have that bit of company for half an hour.

Remote TV dating evenings
I really enjoy these. We pick a film or TV series we are both interested in which is available on iPlayer (usually). We get online, press play at the same time and then watch together. It’s not the same as sharing a sofa and a bag of popcorn with your beloved; but it’s nice to have a shared experience and be able to react in real-time to something in the programme together. It really does help us feel closer when we have a TV date night.

Keep the postman busy
I’m a letter writer at heart, and even though you can text or DM all day long, it’s also nice to send or receive a letter, or some other token of affection. I think our mutual love language is small thoughtful gifts. He worries about me being cold, so gives me mittens and cosy hats. I like to send things which will cheer him up, or make him smile, so he gets daft things like a homemade Yorkshire Tea Advent calendar.

Kiss and make up
If your main form of communication is text or DM, then it’s easy for misunderstandings to occur. You can’t really sense a tone or if something is meant as a joke but lands badly. Fall outs happen and they are a normal part of relationships. It is easy to flounce off and it is important to take some time and have some space to calm down or realise it is probably a miscommunication. We fall out, we snap at each other. Lockdown is hard and it adds to the stress of being in a long distance relationship; but we are also pretty good at talking it through, saying sorry, explaining our position and why we felt that way.

Play games
We both love word games and I’ve been playing WordFeud for years. I introduced him to it at the start of lockdown and we’ve been playing together ever since. It’s just something we can both dip in and out of, something we can do together even though we are apart. Find a game you both enjoy and play it online.

20 Questions
This is something we have done on and off throughout lockdown. One of us would put together a list of questions and we would both answer them, like Mr and Mrs, but with 87 miles between us. It’s one way of getting to know each other a bit better. It’s also good for sparking other conversations, because it’s very easy to run out of general topics and small talk when all you do is sit at home and work. We really enjoyed doing the question and answer evenings. It was a fun way to get to know each other a bit more; we laughed together and were able to tell each other things we might have been too embarrassed to say to each other’s faces.

Send me a selfie
We miss each other quite a lot and although we are in very regular contact with each other, I miss his face and he misses mine. We are regular selfie senders. They don’t have to be all duck faced selfies, funny faces are our speciality; anything to make the other smile. We also share photos of our meals, or things we’ve seen on walks, just snippets of our day. Selfies and photos and the occasional video message help us keep a feeling of closeness despite the distance.

Being in a long distance relationship during lockdown is hard. I’m lucky that he is a very calm, level-headed man who is full of wise words and kind actions. He has endless patience with me and is nothing but supportive of me and the things I do. I asked him what advice he would give to people in long distance relationships during lockdown; he said “be aware that others have it worse but also be aware it’s hard”. See, I told you he was a wise one, and a keeper.

How to keep a long distance relationship going during Covid-19

Summer loving – 1995 changed my life forever

In the summer of 1995 I fell in love with my husband. I was a youthful 18 year old, freed from the shackles of A level revision and all set for university. I had a handsome man on my arm and a badly paid summer job in the steamy kitchen of a care home. This is our tale of summer loving.

Summer loving - 1995 changed my life forever

Although my memories of that summer are patchy, I remember sweaty evenings working in the kitchens followed by sweatier nights out at nightclubs with my man. I worked hard and played hard, hardly seeing daylight from one day to the next. My main focus was on squeezing every last bit of fun out of my pre-uni summer.

I was busy getting to know the person I would eventually marry, even though we’d end up at universities at different ends of the country for a few weeks until he moved up north to be with me.

Our love burned brightly and intensely as teenage love does. I still love him intensely and passionately for the man he was and the great man he has grown into. I often look back at the boy I met way back in the early 1990s and see how being together we’ve helped to shape each other and grow, our shared destiny intertwined.

I’m so pleased that I married my soulmate, my best friend and favourite person in the world. I love that I managed to just stumble across him so early in life before I managed to accrue too many broken hearts and hurtful memories. I know how lucky we are, I know how lucky we still are. 

It’s 2017 now. Next month will mark 22 years of holding his hand and facing whatever life throws at us together. We are not the people we were that lifetime ago. We are changed, mostly for the better. We’re parents now and dog owners, we are both self employed and reasonably responsible members of society. Though I still enjoy a sweaty nightclub. 

Everything and nothing changes. Life is funny like that.