Dear Di

Couples who can’t self-isolate together have to come up with creative solutions. Image: Rame Abdulkader/The Fulcrum
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Dear Di,

Self-isolation sucks for a lot of reasons, but maybe the worst is not being able to see my partner. It’s only been a few days and I know we could be in for a few weeks; how can I make sure my relationship survives the COVID-19 pandemic?

— Quarantine QT

Dear QQT,

Everyone’s having a rough go with the self-isolation, but I think a lot of couples have suddenly found themselves in a situation that tests their bond.

When you sit back and look at it, what’s happened essentially is that every couple who isn’t quarantining together is going to be doing things the long distance way for the next couple of weeks. So how can you keep your relationship safe and healthy? 

I mean first things first, you’ve got your video call. This is probably going to be your best friend as the next few weeks progress, for keeping in touch with friends and family as well as your partner. 

My first piece of advice is to check in regularly. This is a nerve-wracking time for people all around the globe, and everyone could use a reminder that their support system is still there, even if they can’t see it. Isolation can make feelings of loneliness more pronounced and can exacerbate mental illnesses, so just make sure your partner knows that you’re thinking about them.

Keeping conversation going is likely going to be your biggest challenge. You don’t see each other as often, and neither of you are doing anything terribly exciting, but try not to associate the boredom you’re feeling — even in conversation — with your relationship at large. Just because you’re both bored doesn’t mean you’re done with the relationship, it might just mean that there’s not all that much to say.

There’s actually a little bit of weird, tech-age fun you can have with this. Besides just getting in the necessary FaceTime and maintaining conversation, people have been getting creative.

For example, you could do a kind of virtual date night via video chat. You could cook the same meal, work out together, or do a Bob Ross tutorial simultaneously (those are on Netflix, you’re welcome). Another personal favourite, you could put a movie on at the same time. Anytime you stop the film, make sure they stop and resume at the same point. Afterwards, discuss, just like you would if they were on your couch with you. 

It’s going to be tough to be apart for the next few weeks, that’s for sure. But you could definitely take this time to talk and learn some new things about each other, which could strengthen your bond. Now’s the time that’ll prove the strength of your relationship; if you can go weeks entertaining yourselves just by talking, you’ve got something good. And think about how nice it will be to finally see them when the quarantines lift. 

Good luck and stay safe!