The year is 2020. It is the year of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and the frightening affliction that is COVID-19. By now, it’s amply clear that most of the world was totally unprepared for such an attack on its human inhabitants, but we’re not here to criticize the world’s leaders for failing at the most basic duty of protecting the lives and health of the people who voted them into power. We’re not here to say that the 2009 Spanish Flu and 2017-2018 ILI (Influenza-like Illness caused by Influenza A and Influenza B viruses) outbreaks should have made us more prepared. We’re here to talk about the ripping apart of lives and how to survive the sheer isolation and increasing loneliness that social distancing is bringing to bear on our already-stressful existence. If you’re in a long-distance relationship forced by the lockdown situation around the world, you need the tools and means to help both of you through your time of distress.
Surviving a Forced Long-distance Relationship
Do we know how long the current status of social distancing and self-quarantine will last? Nobody does, and nobody will until there’s a viable vaccine candidate that is globally accessible. The best we can do, for now, is to be aware of the tools that will help us close the social distance inflicted on many, many couples who were traveling for work but were blindsided by travel restrictions and forced to remain separate for an indefinite period of time.
Fortunately, there’s already a roadmap for those couples who have been involuntarily put in this situation. Millions of couples the world over have been dealing with the issue of keeping a long-distance relationship alive and well, and we would do well to emulate some of those ideas and strategies to get through what can only be described as one of the most life-altering situations of this millennium.
If you’re separated from your spouse or partner due to the coronavirus outbreak and you can’t physically get to them, here’s a list of things you can do to keep in touch and give each other the courage and fortitude to overcome this seemingly insurmountable hurdle in your relationship.
What Can Long-distance Couples (LDR Couples) Do to Fight the Virus? Long-distance Relationship Tips and Tools
Find the Right Communication Tool
Video conferencing tools like Zoom and ClickMeeting are currently overwhelmed with the sheer number of users that are using them at any given time. You can try alternatives like Skype, but bandwidths everywhere are bursting at the seams and you may not always get through. Instead, use good old telephones (land phones, not mobiles) to get through. It’s more expensive to call internationally, but you can buy international calling cards online to save on overseas phone calls. It’s worth a shot.
Mentally Connect with Each Other
The lockdown situation has given us the most valuable gift of all – time; so learn to make lemonade! Just because you’re apart from your beloved, it doesn’t mean you have to be mentally separate. Distance is a state of mind; two people can be in the same room and feel alone. By the same yardstick, two people on different continents can be together, mentally. From a practical standpoint, that could mean engaging in similar activities like reading the same book or pursuing similar hobbies. Such a strategy will bring you closer and put you on the same wavelength, and that helps a lot when you’re dealing with separation anxiety.
Find Virtual Spaces to Share with your Long-distance Lover
We live in the age of technology and information, so why not leverage that to our advantage? If you both have access to a VR headset, for example, you can engage in shared gameplay or create private virtual spaces. There are tons of virtual reality companies with apps for this very purpose. Consider apps like Facebook Spaces; all you need to do is create a Facebook Group for you and your long-distance partner and it will let you view the same photos and videos. VRChat, IMVU, and Second Life are all great alternatives to Facebook Spaces, or you can just browse the web and find one that suits your preferences.
LDR Couples Can Pray Together
The power of prayer can hardly be overstated in current times, and there has never been a better time to seek the blessings of a Higher Intelligence. Today’s generation has become so ultra-cynical that people find it hard to even use the word God in public without facing criticism and raised eyebrows. Forget all that and go back to the roots of spiritualism by sharing a few minutes of prayer time on a regular basis. It can be extremely healing and cathartic when you’re in need of some shared upliftment.
Multiplayer Gaming in a Remote Relationship
On the fun side of things, there are a lot of online multiplayer games that LDR couples can enjoy playing together. A game of long-distance Scrabble might be fun, or how about doing the same online crossword puzzle or playing the same Sudoku puzzle to see who finishes first? It’s fun and it will give you something to talk and laugh about for a long time. There are also several other co-op video games that you might enjoy playing as a couple. Some of the popular platforms for online multiplayer gaming include Pogo, Steam, etc. that you can explore. The idea is to have a blast together even if you can’t be together as a couple.
Maintain and Share Digital Journals
Jotting down your thoughts and experiences at the end of the day and sharing them with your spouse is a great way to deal with the mental distance that physical separation often brings. The very act of putting pen to paper is a stress-reliever in itself. And when you share that with the one you love, it can be a powerful connecting force. If you’re not comfortable voicing your innermost feelings, it’s okay. Just make notes about what you did during the day. Even journaling and sharing simple and mundane stuff will do amazing things to strengthen your relationship with each other.
Take an Online Course Together
Learning can be fun at any age. If you’re up to it, why not sign up for an online course that both of you will enjoy? Several websites today offer virtual learning environments that offer student-to-student interaction, which means you’re actually attending classes as a couple. Nothing fosters a sense of closeness as much as learning something new together and it can be a fantastic stress outlet at a time when the strain of isolation is tugging at the loose threads of your sanity.
Share your Calendars Online
To keep track of each others movements during the day, you can use digitally shareable calendars like Google Calendar. It allows the other person to see what you’re up to whenever they want. Some couples might find this to be intrusive on their privacy but don’t forget that you’re trying to do everything in your power to keep yourselves on each other’s minds as much as possible. Sharing your online calendar is a great start to that end.
Send a Long-distance Relationship Gift
If e-commerce services are operational at your location and that of your spouse or lover, you can consider sending a long-distance relationship gift like a friendship lamp. It’s basically a pair of lamps where one lamp lights up in a particular custom color when the other one is touched. It’s an extremely personal gift and one that your better half is sure to cherish. These relationship lamps will put you in tune with each other on a psychological level by offering an appealing way to tell your lover that you’re thinking of them at that very moment.
We don’t know how long the lockdown situation around the world will prevail. That’s why it is crucially important for long-distance couples to find ways and means to survive the angst of coronavirus-inflicted separation. But even after the world is somewhat back on its feet, these ideas for LDR couples will form a ready framework of activities for the next time you’re away from each other. For now, let’s make the most of the “us” in coronavirus.