For many couples, over the last few months have been a new test for their relationship. For some of you who are like me, not living with your boyfriend (or partner) it may have begun to feel as though we are in a long-distance relationship, so keeping connected could’ve been a new challenge as going out was less frequent. While others who do live with their significant other may have learned new things that they hadn’t before. Today Mara talks to us about her experience of going from a LDR to quarantining with her boyfriend over the last four months.
Mara: *Warning: Content might be suuuper cheesy but it’s alllll coming from the heart 😉
With changes in work, school, and personal schedules, the coronavirus has us spending more time at home than we ever have. Recently, quarantining behavior has also been making a shift in the spring and summer months as states and regions begin various phases in re-opening businesses and institutions. Whether or not we know if this is the smartest decision with the discussion around a possible resurgence in the fall, we will have to see.
For those who have been lucky to work from home (WFH), the balance between work life and our personal lives have been meshed together. Couples, roommates, and families have been navigating more time at home trying to find an equilibrium for our day-to-day activities, all while trying to find room to breathe. While the stay-at-home lifestyle has affected us all differently, this time at home is difficult for many with those who can’t work from home, and/or wonder if they’ll be able to make rent, be able to buy groceries, be able to facilitate a learning environment at home, and the list goes on.
I have been fortunate enough to be able to shift my work and previous school schedule to online correspondence. I have to say, sometimes it’s hard to stay focused either when I was in class, or having to complete tasks for work. However in this time of reflection, I feel like I got a pretty good handle on it, and my boyfriend and I have managed to find our areas of the apartment where we feel we work best.
My boyfriend and I are actually in a long-distance relationship as he lives in Montreal and I live in Boston, but have been quarantining together since the lockdowns began in March. I came to visit him during my spring break and in the middle of my time here, universities switched to remote teaching, and WFH was beginning to be implemented as well. Since I was able to segue both my work and school work online, we figured I could stay a bit longer and spend more time together. And then, the US-Canadian border closed with public transportation (ie. Greyhound, my way of transportation between Boston and Mtl) no longer serving routes for the time being.
I can’t say I was disappointed that I had to stay here because at any given opportunity, I often come to visit my boyfriend. I am so grateful to have this time together because even when we plan to cut the distance, this will probably be the only time where we get to spend this much time with each other. I think that’s one of the greatest things about LDR’s–because you don’t get to see each other as frequently as other couples who live in the same city, you appreciate *literally* any time you get with one another. This time can be when you’re apart and you’re giving each other an audio or facetime call, or those lucky moments that you get to physically be with each other in one of your cities.
*Disclaimer: These thoughts are based on my own experience and how I view romantic relationships.
However, being confined to his apartment means much less time to be alone. You know, the time where (if you don’t already live with your partner) you can part ways for the day or evening and do your own thing. And if you live together in an apartment, you have work or school to go to, or you can just leave to meet with friends or go out somewhere alone to have some space. But all of that can’t really happen with a global pandemic going on, so you’ve gotta figure something out. I think giving your S.O. their own space (and your own as well) to do whatever they/you wanna do is healthy. So, when you’re cooped up in a one-bedroom apartment, you gotta get a little creative in finding your space. The space where you can get your work done, relax or do whatever you need to do without your partner breathing down your neck. For me, I like working on the dinner table in the common area, while my boyfriend usually does his work in the bedroom (like, work-work, nothing suggestive). Outside of the 9 to 5, the common/living space is usually our “neutral” area where either one of us or both of us can lounge, and the bedroom is usually where we go when we just wanna decompress by ourselves.
Most of the time we love spending *legitimately* every hour of the day together, but there are times where we bump heads. For me, this is normal and healthy too because no matter how much you love someone, there are bound to be differences in opinion because there you’re two people with varying beliefs, experiences, etc. How you manage these times of stress is crucial not only in the moment but for the longevity of your relationship. I know that in the face of conflict, I like to go at it head-on and try to resolve things ASAP because I don’t do well dwelling on situations such as an argument. My boyfriend likes to have his own space to collect his thoughts before talking things through. It drives me crazy, but I’m learning how to chill out and not get so riled up when he doesn’t feel like talking after we have a little disagreement.
Going from not being able to see each other for a month or two at a time, to being together 24/7 has definitely led us to see all sides of each other for the good AND the bad, but all of it has been beautiful. Three months into the global pandemic and staying home together, I still appreciate any time I get to be with my boyfriend. It’s gonna be really hard when things get back to “normal” and we’ll have to live apart again, but I’m confident that when we finally get to close the long-distance portion of our relationship, we’ll be able to navigate things together. We know what it’s like to be apart for long periods of time, and be together for long periods of time. So even if every day isn’t all roses, we know we’ve got a strong bond and can get through whatever hurdles thrown our way together.