HEY BESTIE: COVID has taken a toll on my relationship. My partner and I met a month before COVID started. He’s FIFO and I’m based in the city. We hit it off right away and then his company needed him on site - offshore and overseas. Not thinking anything of it, he went, and it was extended and extended and extended. I really like him but feel so distant from him. When he comes home, it’s for a short period of time and then he’s asked to go offshore for a long period of time – we need help reconnecting, what should we do? We are desperate for your help!
Unfortunately you are not alone in this situation.
Thousands of families and relationships were affected by what I call the ‘COVID Roster’: the normally acceptable rosters that turned into months at a time (and for some over a year of distanced contact) which really put a strain on relationships.
First of all, be comforted in knowing that long distance relationships can absolutely succeed.
In fact, most couples find themselves geographically separated at some point during their relationship.
The good news is that there is plenty that you can do to feel connected to one another even though there’s a physical distance between the both of you.
Let me also take a moment to let you know that even though the suggestions seem straight forward, they require effort on the part of both partners. The approaches simply will not work if they are one-sided.
So, here’s some suggestions, that research states actually work to keep long-distance relationships on track:
Daily journaling about the things that you fell in love with and that you enjoy about your partner. You then share what you wrote the following day with your partner — every day!
Hang out together while apart. Yep, this means dinners, events, strolls in the park. At least once a week, or as much as you need to, to feel secure in your relationship.
Focus on the positives even though they are still distant. Again, regular communication about positive things that are occurring for each of you and sharing in each other’s lives as much as possible is important.
Find a way to regularly surprise each other. Flowers, surprise delivery dinners, a planned night out for your partner and a close friend. I even had a couple enjoy a long-distance wine tasting together which sounded like so much fun!
Finally, when the time is right, create a long-term plan for merging your worlds. Creating a shared plan of where the relationship is going allows partners to feel safe and secure in the relationship.
Anyone who’s been in a long-distance relationship can attest to the underlying heartache of being apart from the person you love or care for.
If you’re in a relationship with the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, at some point you’ll need to craft a plan to join your worlds together.
Think about potentially a wedding, an engagement, a job change or a relocation, be sure your plan considers these steps at the right time for both of you.
Having the hope of being together long term can help you ride out the toughest days of being apart from one another. After all, that little bit of hope can go a long way toward making the one you love to seem not quite so far away.