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Coronavirus: Long distance couples offer tips to relationships separated by lockdown
25 March 2020, 12:21
Couples who don't live together have recently found themselves in long distance-style relationships due to the lockdown enforcing separation for at least three weeks.
It comes after the government on Tuesday clarified the new rules by saying couples should make the choice to isolate together or stay apart.
"Test really carefully your strength of feeling, stay with the household, either together or apart, but keep it that way while we go forward, because otherwise we will not all be working towards achieving our outcome," deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries said.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock echoed the sentiment, and added: "There you go. Make your choice and stick with it."
The lockdown, which forbids social contact outside of those in your household, is in place until April at the earliest - but strict measures are still expected to continue in the weeks after.
As a result, those who are already experts at maintaining relationships at a distance have offered up tips to fellow lockdown couples during their time apart.
'Communication is key'
"Try your best to be present even in your physical absence," one Twitter user said. This means sending regular texts, audio and video calls, or spontaneous selfies and videos.
She added: "Most importantly, find out from your partner what you can do more of for them to help ease the gap."
Communication is key. Be it through a video call, text or an actual call - whichever way you prefer.— Ntso(akie) Morgan (@Classie_akie) March 24, 2020
But integrate communicating with them throughout the day when you’re mostly not busy.
Rosa Cartagena, a journalist who has been in a long distance relationship for four years, said communication is "essential" in defining a "newly quarantined relationship".
Therefore, she said, a balance needs to be developed from your usual habits.
She asked: "Are you a frequent texter? A spontaneous Facetimer? Don't be afraid to connect with them on other platforms - if sending memes is your love language, by all means keep it up."
Social distancing dates
This could include cooking and eating dinner together via a video messaging service, or simply watching a film at the same time in your respective households.
There are plenty of programmes that can make this happen, including Netflix Party or Kast.
What about visiting a museum together? You can both take a virtual tour of the Louvre in Paris without leaving your rooms.
Or - create each other a playlist that you can later listen to together.
Just hang out
Another Twitter user highlighted that simply hanging out over video chat had helped her through the distance.
She said: "It was also nice to do nothing together."
#StaySafeStayHome tip: I was in a LDR. It was always nice to plan things we could do "together" like watch a movie, it was also nice to do nothing together. So maybe you're working on your hobby and the other person is reading, but you're both "there" with each other.— Mulled Whine ~ I'm not gonna debate you, Jerry. (@OGintheOP) March 20, 2020
"So maybe you're working on your hobby and the other person is reading, but you're both 'there' with each other.
"Don't pressure yourself into creating or doing super cool ways to be together! Trying just hanging out, too.
"Mundane can be good and comforting and normalising."
Long distance relationship # 1 tip? Watching movies simultaneously & chat throughout the movie as if you were together (until you physically are!) pretty sure we invented this?! You're welcome! #longdistancerelationship— Paula Jackson (@pjacksonphoto) March 23, 2020
Maintain your sex life
For this one, you need to get "creative", Ms Cartagena said. "Chat about the boundaries you want to set or things you'd really like to try."
This could be over video, text, or old-fashioned phone-style, she added.
Nurture your individual routines
A social media user who was in a long distance relationship for several years said she found that if each partner takes care to nurture their individuality and routine, they would find more to talk about.
She wrote: "Find solace in your routines and passion projects and you find you have more to share with them daily."
I’ve been in a ldr for over 4 of the 6 years I’ve been with my fiancé. A lot of it is about maintaining communication but it’s also about maintaining ur individuality as well. Find solace is ur routines & passion projects and u find u have more u want to share with them daily.— ❁ (@_arielmichele) March 25, 2020
Ultimately, it is not clear just how long social distancing will need to continue in order to bring the spread of coronavirus under control - and this, along with some likely tech issues, will require patience.
"Take deep breaths," Ms Cartagena said. "We're all establishing new routines and this is the time to be flexible and understanding.
"Sure, there are plenty of potential interruptions. But your phone dying in the middle of the call? Easily avoidable if you keep charging your devices throughout the day."