If you and your significant other met on campus, you must be devastated right now. You didn’t sign up to be in a long-distance relationship, or LDR, but now, unless you already live together, you can’t see them until quarantine ends. Staying apart right now is a smart and safe thing to do. So, your only option is to adapt to this unfortunate situation. Luckily, I’ve been in an LDR for the past seven months, and I want to share with you what I’ve learned so far that’s been really helpful in making it work.
Open up your Google calendar, because scheduling is your new BFF
If you and your significant other usually meet up during the day to talk, you might feel tempted to call them every 10 minutes to give them a review of your microwave mac and cheese or the invisible enemy your dog is chasing. It’s easy to want to talk and be in contact with them constantly, but don’t — instead, make a set schedule for you two to have time together. Otherwise, you’ll either overdo the communication or underdo it. Spend the day getting your work done so you can debrief and reflect at the end of the day with your love.
You can still watch TV together — you just have to be creative
Every couple has a television show they savor watching (or not, wink) together. Just because y’all can’t cuddle up on the couch together to watch it doesn’t mean you have to put your binge-watching on pause. You have so many options to watch your show while talking at the same time. If you prefer texting while watching a show, install Netflix Party in your Google Chrome browser. If you want to see each other’s faces, hop on Skype or FaceTime and count down to when you should each press “play.” If those fail, try the same countdown method using Discord and enjoy your partner’s company!
Video chatting doesn’t have to be a constant conversation for three hours
I love talking when I’m comfortable with someone, which means I can be an obnoxious chatterbox, especially around my partner. I tried to fill the physical distance between us by talking about everything I did, saw or thought during the day. Ultimately, I learned it’s impossible to recreate my whole day for him. There have been days when we had very little or nothing to talk about, but we just wanted to see each other’s faces. That’s totally OK. You can video call while you two do your own things. Rest assured, this is still quality time. Just vibe together. Trust me.
Find a video game you both like and can play together
At their core, LDRs are tech-based relationships. Even if you’re not a gamer, there are plenty of “non-gamer” games (like Golf With Your Friends) over which you can bond with your partner. You can talk on the phone or through Discord while playing. You can even play online board games or Uno if that’s more your speed. Maybe y’all can even hop on the Animal Crossing bandwagon and try it out. (Good luck finding a place that has Nintendo Switches in stock, though.) It’s a really fun way to virtually spend time with your partner, and who knows, maybe gaming will be a new hobby after the quarantine!
GIFs are the gifts that keep on giving
If you’re like me and my partner — or not, which is OK — y’all probably text all day. There are many ways to emulate your emotions or voice to your partner over text. For example, some might use a lot of exclamation marks to show excitement or a period to show anger. (If that person never uses periods over texts, it sends quite the message.) These are useful tools, but they’re lacking. There are also emojis, but they’re too uniform and static, forever stuck in their programmed expression. GIFs are perfect for adding a little flavor to your virtual conversations! Just search “happy,” and you’ll find hundreds of moving images that perfectly express the joy you want to show your partner. It’s a great way to break out of mundane texting, and some GIFs are really adorable.
If you’re in a new LDR courtesy of this global pandemic, don’t panic. You could treat this as a new way to strengthen your bond with each other. We’re so lucky to be living in a time in which we can communicate with those we love the most when we miss them or can’t be with them. LDRs don’t have to be lonely. Hang in there love Bears!