Do long distance relationships work during Covid?

It’s been a tough year!
Over the last year, many places have been locked down and borders have closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Even now as I write, in Sydney we are in the midst of another Covid lockdown. Hopefully, it’s short this time!

It’s no surprise if you feel your life is in flux.

As borders close and countries seek to protect themselves, you may find yourself  distant and isolated far away from your partner or spouse…
And all of that happened without even being asked!!!

This could be a time when problems arise in relationships. Insecurities can fester and the love between you could disintegrate. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

“Lockdown  doesn’t have to mean a relationship break down.”

Lockdowns are happening all over the world and you may as well adjust to this idea.
The best thing you can do is keep yourself and your relationship healthy. Agreed?

Long-distance relationships can and do work. But only if you’re prepared to do the work to make your love blossom.

Connection is important.

If  you’re left without your loved one nearby, you may be wondering how on earth do you stay connected in these disrupted times?

No one wants to be separated from their loved ones.

“We know relationships blossom and grow when we feel connected”.

When we are surrounded by loved ones, it’s easier for us to do things together.
We have intimate moments, that keep the love alive.
Then there’s the special touch that can’t be replicated with distance.
What about the adventures and happy moments?

These “Happy moments create positive memories” that you can draw on when you think about your partner or spouse. They keep you wanting and longing as you sit alone in the motel room with only your wandering mind and a never-ending parade of thoughts and pictures for company.
You want to build more positive interactions. How?

It’s not the end of the world nor is it the end of your relationship.

Even if you’re on opposite sides of the globe there are things that you can do to keep your relationship healthy.

How do you keep your relationship healthy when your partner is far away from you?

If the two of you don’t want to come out of the lockdown single or estranged, Read on…

Some people would argue that long-distance relationships are easier now than ever because of the multitude of technological options to stay connected. Consider daily WhatsApp messages, as well as regular Skype chats and emailing to keep your connection strong.

Technology can be your new best friend and a great helper for maintaining a loving connection with your partner.

But is it enough?

You will be out of sync mentally, physically and emotionally often… add in different time zones and things can get tricky!

During these Covid lockdown times, you may be someone who is already struggling with an internal battle of how to stay positive, maintain the fun and be sane in a crazy world.

Now you feel burdened and don’t know how to present your best self when you can barely manage a smile.

This is not a time to indulge your fears, jealousy or insecurity. Forget it.

Here is my advice.

Covid lockdowns or separations happen and you may as well adjust to this.

There’s no point lamenting the lockdown or mourning the loss of your intimate physical connection. Acceptance is called for here. Be prepared to be alone and focus on how to enjoy it.

Your goal is acceptance.

Yes! I am talking about a mindset shift. And that shift requires you to accept the lockdown rather than fight it.

Now you can turn your attention to finding creative ways to keep the love bond growing between the two of you during the covid lockdown. Remember –  Many people have thriving long-distance relationships.

“Distance does not have to be a barrier to love.”

Consider this 2013 article titled, “Absence Makes the Communication Grow Fonder: Geographic Separation, Interpersonal Media, and Intimacy in Dating Relationships” in the Journal of Communication, it states that people in long distance relationships tend to have better and stronger bonds from more constant, deeper communication than relationships where couples live in the same place. Surprised?

So, what do you do to prevent relationship complications from derailing your love during Covid?

To keep your relationship healthy even when your partner is in lockdown or overseas, there’s one prerequisite.
To keep your love alive you need Commitment.

Set your intention to remain committed to the relationship.

That means you must remain committed to the relationship and know that the two of you can grow closer and maintain a loving bond during the period of lockdown.
Distance does not have to be a barrier. Love can flourish if the commitment is there.

So how committed are you?

What’s important here is that that if you are truly committed it won’t be such an effort for you to offer loving acts of kindness through action or deed.” 

Your partner will know without you having said a single word that the commitment is there between you.

Commitment builds trust.

If you’re forced to be apart, trust is essential. You both need to understand where your relationship stands and the level of commitment you have for each other-both partners need to be on the same page and be honest.

And trust is about doing what you said, you’ll do, and honouring the arrangements and commitments that the two of you agreed to together.

Gradually, your partner learns that they can rely on you.
All of this starts with you changing to a commitment mindset.

Will you do the work to nourish the love so the relationship will blossom?

By setting your intention, you focus your brain on where you want to go and that is to keep the two of you together in a health-ful and happy state.

Here are the six ways to keep your relationship alive and overcome problems of distance from coronavirus lockdown.

1. Resolve all differences between you.

The distance can be an upside of a long-distance relationship if you commit to talk through everything. Remember, you can’t just push an issue aside with physical affection and good sex!

This is no time to avoid conflict. It’s often a temptation for some people to not go to the difficult conversation. It’s so much easier to avoid bad feelings and sweep problems under the carpet.

You may be tempted to want every second to be good between the two of you to avoid having conversations that show your differences.
You may be hurting or upset about a particular situation but you decide to avoid having that conversation because conflict may arise.

Unfortunately, the way it works, conflict avoidance breeds bad feelings in the long term. You may get a short-term fix in that the conversation in the moment may be pleasant, but in the long term the unresolved hurt festers and it’s remembered.

It will surely come back to bite you in later fights and conversations. Don’t avoid conversations that highlight differences between you.

Instead, set a time aside and agree to have a discussion using your best communication skills. Communication and trust are absolutes if a long-distance relationship is going to work.

2. Find time for the two of you.

Finding the time to talk may be one of the most difficult things when the time difference works against you.
It may be a problem because you’re wide-awake and sparky full of enthusiasm and bursting in the mornings as you start your day but this could be exactly the time that your partner is winding down ready to go to sleep.

As you sip your latte and bagel they are sipping their hot chocolate in their nightgown. As you wind up, they wind down.

The time difference does not have to be a problem if you intentionally find a time and lock it in. Schedule your work and routine around your relationship.
Make sure the time suits both of you and stay connected at that regular timeslot.

3. Create fun and romance intentionally.

Just because you’re in Australia and they’re in Africa doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun time.
One of the healthiest things for couples to do together is a date night.

That means intentionally making time to enjoy each other’s company.

You can still have a date night when you are socially distant… Weekends are typically fun times so there’s no reason why you can’t schedule a date night live online.

You can sip wine together or have a shower together whatever suits your fancy. And just as weekends are fun times, weekdays tend to be about work for most people.

It’s not a good idea to talk when one of you is at work. You want to devote total attention to your partner to show them that you care.
It’s not a good idea to talk when you’re distracted by phone calls or messages and tight deadlines.

Split attention is not total attention. Rather than talking amid the chaos discuss a time on the weekends and make this your fun time.

Or better still surprise your partner and write each other real pen-and-paper letter. People don’t write real letters anymore, they text, chat, Facebook… but romance, real romance, is dead.

Go ahead and write a beautiful letter without any nonsense about the day-to-day. This is a chance for romance and getting to know your partner more deeply. Write letters about what you love and miss about each other.

4. Have live conversations. 

It’s so easy with modern technology to rely on texting or other means that allow you to hide.

Unfortunately, the less visibility there is, the more our messages can be distorted.

If your partner doesn’t answer a text message –
does that mean he or she is not interested? or…Are they just busy?
What exactly did that emoticon mean?
Are they saying they’re hurting or just confused?

You can’t get the real motivation and tone from a text message.
This allows insecurity to fester.

If you’re already worried and not in a health-full state then, you might find yourself trapped in a range of doubting thoughts and rumination that disrupts the way you show up to your partner asking more questions and becoming more and more insecure.

Show up face-to-face online and have real authentic conversations.

5. Get help. 

If you find that things are not as they should be and that there is greater emotional distance between you, this is the time to act.

Doing nothing allows problems to grow. Ideally nipping problems in the bud will assist you to clear out differences as they arise and keep your life healthy.

Couples counselling online is a safe and effective method for helping couples in trouble to clear out the differences maintain their love and rebuild their connection.

Some couples even say that being able to air their problems with a third person is useful in that they can hear their partner talk deeply with guided help.

Reach out for support and guidance through couples therapy.

With guided help and your creativity and determination, you can gave new meaning to the term ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way,’ and no matter the distance, you can find a way to make it work.


Let's build your better relationship.

Iman Iskander is a Couples and Marriage Counsellor with a relationship therapy  practice in Sydney. She is passionate about helping couples improve their love and lives through practical, science  based  strategies that work.  She specialises in repairing a couple’s  interaction, building lasting mindful relationships and she holds engaging skill building workshops in Sydney CBD.

Iman believes that you can thrive and with each person thriving, we as a community can thrive. We are the same in our difference.

Let's build your better relationship.

Reach out and contact me now for a free 15 minute chat to see how I can help.

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