Love in Lockdown
Elinor Jones discusses the practicalities of long distance love in a lockdown
Dating at uni is tricky at the best of times, whether it is long-distance, or you are juggling commitments to deadlines, societies and other responsibilities. Equally, navigating the long holidays us students have with one or both of you away from Exeter is challenging, but amidst this lockdown I would take a few weeks’ separation above and beyond the unspecified period of not seeing my significant other. Whilst in distance we are not separated by much more than an hour’s drive, I’ve been in isolation for 3 weeks, having left Exeter in a whirlwind of goodbyes to friends and him. It is not longer than we have been apart before, such as the Christmas holidays, but it seems we have had to learn how to continue our relationship with the fear of uncertainty.
Just like with any relationship during this crisis, communication is key. Decide on your favoured way to keep in touch, whether that is FaceTime, Snapchat or anything in between, and plan regular times where you will talk to each other more, either as a call or videochat or through messenger. This should help create a sense of ‘normality’ by creating a space where you may have talked through something in person or where you chat about nonsense to keep you entertained. Making the effort of setting aside this time, even in this weird, apocalypse-like time we are living in, is important. For me, living in a rural area means unreliable internet and frequent power cuts, so sticking to the traditional phone calls will have to make do, with the occasional Snapchat of his face to remind me what he looks like.
Showing your SO that you are looking out for them and wanting what is best for them is as important as ever
Whilst it would be dreamy to spend days on the phone talking about everything and nothing, as we are both students our exams and coursework continue during the lockdown. In pre-corona-crisis times, we would be the first to motivate each other to do work or help reduce the burden by cooking for each other. Now, we message each other the night before to say when we should be waking up, promising to send photographic evidence of us out of bed five minutes after that time. It is not quite the same as being able to help in the flesh but showing your SO that you are looking out for them and wanting what is best for them is as important as ever. Whether this is only messaging at certain times so they can concentrate on whatever they are doing or videocalling to talk through revision with them, motivating each other through this terrifying time can make things a little easier.
When we are not working, we aim to plan a couple of ‘dates’ a week, where we plan an activity just as we would normally. This week we have watched I, Tonya and Apollo 11, whilst having our phones on loud-speaker next to us as we talk, laugh (and maybe cry) through Netflix. As a present I sent him a bottle of whisky and a fancy glass, to pretend we were on a trip to Edinburgh that we had been planning for this year – later I will put some make up on and grab a drink, all from the comfort of the sofa. Next week he is planning a ‘pub quiz’ with me and some friends, and I think I will use my one exercise outing a day to have a virtual walk by the sea.
So the message is: communicate, help each other and have fun, all whilst staying safe in this terrifying time.