And just like that, the United Kingdom was added to the travel ban due to the Coronavirus. "Could this year get any worse?" I mumbled over Skype trying to not let the tears fall as my husband watched my living room TV through the computer screen.
President Trump was discussing the new restrictions regarding the pandemic. My British husband, who has been waiting on his green card for the last 20 months, and I have struggled with our long-distance relationship and the frustrations that come along with it. (You can get inside scoop in my book "Female. Likes Cheese. Comes with Dog: Stories about Divorce, Dating & Saying "I Do.") An eight-hour time change from Los Angeles to England, scheduling skype dates, flying back and forth to see one another, and the costs that come along with it have been taxing, to say the least. But now being forced to not see each other at all for the foreseeable future? The thought of light at the end of the tunnel suddenly became a dark wet hole I felt trapped in.
I know I'm not the only one out there in a long-distance relationship during this COVID-19 quarantine, but am I the only one fed up about the advice that others have been giving me on how to handle it? How about you try a sexy date night on facetime? Or how about you each buy a plant and watch it grow together? How about no.
Am I the only one fed up about the advice that others have been giving me on how to handle it?
That's like me telling you, "How about you paint the walls and watch it dry?" Here's a thought: How about you and your significant other just be. Remember being in a long-distance romance back in college? It was exciting! They'd come to town and you'd get to show them off to your housemates and at parties Then you'd have the melodramatic goodbye. Nothing was more romantic than that rollercoaster of young love.
But this, this is no fun adulting. From what I've experienced, and all I can offer is don't force yourself or your partner to have these "lists" of things to do, just because you have more free time on your hands. Being present and being quiet is enough. Even if that means sitting on skype for two hours doing nothing while they're in the background. Our minds are already overwhelmed with so many what-ifs, there is no need to stress out our relationship in the process. It is okay to admit to yourselves that this is a shitty situation. The "Positive Pams" of the world are the ones that concern me. Always positive. Always okay. Always happy and smiling.
How about you try a sexy date night on facetime?
What are you covering up? What are you hiding? We are going through so many ups and downs that putting on an "everything's alright" attitude is only fooling yourself in the long run. It's okay to access those emotions and let your guard down, especially to the one that cares about you the most. There's no stage. No show to put on. Know that it's okay to admit to each other there is nothing wrong with having fears about the current situation. My husband and I have accepted that we have no idea when or where we will see each other again, but what does keep us going and what never changes is how important we are to each other and how important our marriage is to each other.
Your friends may be coupled up with their "person" while you sit alone in your apartment. Unfortunately, most of them will not understand your personal struggle of being without your person — sad, but true. There have been countless times I've been texting with friends and they ask the same questions over and over again, and I've given the same answers.
It is okay to admit to yourselves that this is a shitty situation.
Sometimes I wonder if they have even heard me in the past. Those who aren't in long-distance relationships don't know what it's like to go to bed without a kiss goodnight each night or, hell, even go to bed after an argument. I would love to just be able to argue over him playing too many video games during the quarantine and not paying enough attention to me or who is going to clean the bathroom this week.
Let's face it, most people are focused on themselves and their own problems, not yours. But you know who does understand? Your person. I know my husband and I will be stronger when we are together permanently because we have gone through this dire situation and learned about perseverance in one another. I believe those of you out there going through a long-distance relationship whether it's 20 miles, a few states, or entire oceans away know that love is love no matter where you are. Who knew we would be tested in such a way in our relationships? So, write the lists together if you want, or don't. Put makeup on for a "date" or don't. But, most importantly, just let yourselves be.
WRITTEN BYLauren Peacock