A lot of people have been talking about "love during the time of coronavirus", a play on "Love In The Time of Cholera," the title of a book by Nobel prize-winning author Gabriel García Márquez. What happens to relationships right now? How are we supposed to date? What do we do if we're separated from people we love? How long will we have to social distance from each other?
For many couples, this pandemic means that they are separated due to social distancing, travel restrictions, or mandated confinement/quarantine. Each relationship comes with its own unique set of challenges, but the uncertainty around coronavirus certainly poses a new challenge for couples, whether they just started dating or if they've been together for a long time.
If you're currently separated from your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife or partner because of coronavirus, here are some suggestions for how to keep your relationship healthy while you're apart.
Remind yourself that everything is temporary.
This quarantine or period of confinement, depending on your geography, will not last forever. The uncertainty is the hardest part for most people, especially if the confinement period keeps getting extended, but this is not how things will be forever. There will be a moment in the future when you're able to see each other again, so just remind yourself of that if you're feeling like your relationship is doomed.
Practice gratitude daily.
Though you may be separated, practice gratitude for what you do have. Maybe you had just started dating and you were so excited about an initial spark, or maybe you've been together forever and you're really feeling lonely without them around. Instead of focusing on the distance, focus instead on the fact that you have someone in your life you care about, and that you'll be able to reunite when it's safe to do so again.
Lean into the perks of a long-distance relationship.
Relationships can take up a lot of time. During this time where you're separated, catch up on the stuff that you were procrastinating doing while you were still able to see each other all the time. Maybe you've put off some financial things you need to take care of (taxes!), or maybe you have been meaning to catch up with some distant family members on the phone. Use this time apart to focus on areas of your life that you may have neglected.
During times of stress and uncertainty, relationships can take a hit. Sometimes we end up taking out frustrations on our partner, or we might feel insecure that we can't be physically with them. To help you cope with difficult feelings (loneliness, jealousy, abandonment, etc), try to meditate for at least 10 minutes a day. You can use an app like Insight Timer, or join one of the many free online mindfulness events this month that are targeted towards people who are stuck at home.
As the saying goes, "distance makes the heart grow fonder." Love in the time of coronavirus may not be easy, but take this opportunity to strengthen your relationship with yourself, and in turn, with others. We're wishing you well.
If you could use more daily support through a breakup or divorce, you can start mending now. You can also sign up for our free class on "Staying Home: How To Support Your Mental Health During Coronavirus."