Being alone in quarantine isn’t easy. This is something that we all know to be true at this point, which has driven many of us to engage in quarantine hookups, relationships or even just friendships. What you may have realized after engaging in these interactions, though, is that sometimes, being alone in quarantine is easier than being together in quarantine.
I’ve been in a relationship for two years with my incredible boyfriend, Mason. When COVID-19 set in at its peak this March, Mason and I spent three months apart. Surprisingly, though, we had some of our best conversations via FaceTime and text during this time of separation. After being long-distance for over a year before COVID-19 hit, he and I had patented some strategies that have led us to be successful thus far in a long-distanced and socially-distanced relationship.
Communication is Key
You hear your parents tell you this relentlessly after you get into your relationship. While it may not sound super valuable coming from Mom and Dad, I can guarantee you that, without constant and thorough communication, a relationship gets pretty touch-and-go. Mason and I talk a lot, just like any couple. But it’s less about the frequency at which you’re talking, and more about what you’re talking about. I’ve found that being honest about every little thing is more helpful than any other relationship tip I’ve gotten in the past. Do you hate the fact that your partner has an Android, so you want to stop texting and start Snapchatting instead? Tell them! Have you had a long day, and you just need them to listen rather than try to ‘fix away’ your problems? Tell them! This is no excuse to nag, but it is an excuse to open a channel of honest and committed conversations.
Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
Again, clichés a-plenty, but going moderate-to-long amounts of time without seeing your partner can make a huge difference in how you operate as a team. Mason and I went to a boarding school where we basically lived together, and while we had a lot of fun being with each other so often, it got a little exhausting for both of us. When he went away to school the next year, we went from seeing each other everyday to about every 1-2 weeks. We both found that seeing each other at a lower rate helped us a) take time to develop our own individualities and b) truly let our hearts yearn for each other more, so that when we saw each other again, it was just that much more sweet. This notion is especially helpful in quarantine, when seeing each other may not always be an option.
Consent, Consent, Consent
I cannot stress enough how important consent is, even and especially in a long-term relationship. It’s a common train of thought that consent is only for the first interaction between two parties, but I’ve found that consent is a constant, reassured thing that should be present 100% of the time, during sexual activity or not. Consent is of the utmost importance during sex, and with great practice it becomes a regular activity in everyday life, from deciding where to go to dinner to figuring out which hiking trail to take.
Not every relationship is meant to work out, but if it brings you as much joy and as little harm as possible, then you might be doing something right. And, just maybe, being together could make COVID-19 a more bearable experience.