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August 11, 2020

Lessons from a Long-Distance Relationship during COVID-19.

For much of the world, this year has been a roller coaster of bad news and societal awakening, with many of us having our lives put on hold.

In January, I had so much hope and positivity for my future.

I was with my long-distance boyfriend and enjoying a relaxing vacation on the coast of Argentina, his home country. We had made plans to get married toward the end of the year and finally be together full-time in Argentina. In February, I returned to the United States to prepare for the international move and my new life ahead.

Unfortunately, this was right before the world went into quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s now August, six months later, and the seemingly never-ending quarantine extensions have caused me to think this uncertainty really is the new normal. Continuous quarantine extensions are forever delaying my career, putting stress on my relationship, and slowly fading the beautiful image I had of my future. The only thing it hasn’t put a damper on is my relationship with myself. A global pandemic can sure bring to light the things you need to do for personal growth.

My partner and I are worried that it might be a long time before we can see each other again. I had a plane ticket for May, and of course that got rescheduled. We are hoping for September but I’m less optimistic than he is. Our whole relationship, we focused on reaching the day where we did not have to be long-distance anymore. Now, that has been taken from us indefinitely.

Sometimes, the worry that we feel comes out as anger. We’ve been arguing and seeing differences in the last few months, more than we ever had before. All the thoughts of  “what if?” and “should I make different plans?” mixed with everything else happening in the world are prying their way into our daily conversations. It’s taking all the enjoyment we felt from our long-distance relationship and shoving it aside to make room for fears of the unknown. How am I supposed to put my career, future family, and relationship on hold so long?

The fear and anxiety caused by the pandemic have made us take a look at the fragile parts of our relationship. It’s also forcing us to take responsibility for our reactions to what is happening in our own lives and in our relationship.

I’ve done a lot of soul searching and self-inquiry to help manage my emotions during this time which has been a huge revelation for me. I now know when to control my anger and not dump my negative emotions onto my partner.

Even though we are partners and will always help each other, my emotions and reactions to things are my own responsibility. Before bringing fear into my relationship, I have learned to process it on my own and let it go. Through journaling, meditation, and a constant awareness of keeping the peace, I can keep my emotions from harming my relationship.

Now, don’t get me wrong—this is a continual process that must be kept going daily. There’s a lot of negativity going on in the world right now that can affect us. The solution I have found is to process that in a way that doesn’t spread negativity to others. As soon as I notice one of us starting to get into a negative mood or an argument, I remind us both to take responsibility for our own emotions and reactions without projecting them onto each other in an unhelpful way.

This pandemic time has taught me a lot about having a good, healthy relationship, which is something I’ve always lacked in the past. I’ve been forced to learn to control my emotions, do continuous shadow work, and ultimately keep my long-distance relationship strong and connected. I’ve learned to not be too proud to apologize when my fears turn into unnecessary anger. I’ve also learned that patience is the key to contentment. Rushing situations can usually lead to bad decisions and harmful stress levels.

I feel more in tune with my emotions and can better recognize when I need to slow down and come back to my peaceful center before things escalate. By taking responsibility for my actions and emotions, I’ve gained a sense of self-autonomy in all areas of my life. This will greatly help with my long-distance relationship because it’s hard enough being 5,000 miles away without adding unnecessary emotional stress and arguments.

The universe will find a way to bring us together again as long as we practice patience and manage our fears and emotions in a healthy way. Too often, relationships suffer from poor communication, emotional projection, and unfulfilled expectations. It’s hard to keep things going, especially in a long-distance relationship, but I am confident my partner and I will greatly benefit from this in the long run.

Let things happen in their divine timing, even if that means more quarantine extensions. Use this time as a learning process for managing negative emotions and fears in all areas of your life. Clear, honest, communication is key—with yourself and your partner!

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Kylie Scheller  |  Contribution: 165

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