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The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed our lives in a myriad of ways, changing how we work, study, and socialize. For me, the most profound impact of the pandemic has been being forced to carry on a long-term relationship over a long-distance. My boyfriend and I have been friends since fourth grade and we have been dating for nearly 8 years. This year, I had to move home and take online classes while he stayed near campus in an apartment. Even a relationship as solid as ours has been challenged by the shift to long distance. Despite the frustrations and lack of intimacy a long-distance relationship brings, we have managed. Here are a few tips on how to maintain a long-distance relationship, even if you did not want to be long-distance in the first place. 

Know the long-distance is not permanent

As much as it seems like COVID-19 looms endlessly over the world, eventually, the pandemic will settle down and things may return to some sort of “normal”, whatever that will look like. In the meantime, you and your partner should remain vigilant and take the necessary precautions while maintaining a healthy dose of optimism. When we lament having to love each other while being hours apart, I try to remind us that this situation is temporary and we will both be near campus in the fall. Keeping a healthy perspective that this situation is not permanent helps me and my partner maintain hope and continue to invest in our relationship

Find ways to connect with each other

If it is safe and possible for you to do so, the best form of connection is face-to-face interaction, which my boyfriend and I have the privilege of being able to do on a monthly-ish basis. The next best thing for us when we cannot see each other in person is talking over video chat or on the phone. It is nice to simply chat online about how our day is going and how much we miss each other, but I notice we often have more fun when we do something engaging online together like playing a video game. Trying new things online together like watching a new show or playing a game with friends helps keep the spark in our relationship alive. Just because online communication may be your main method of communication does not mean it has to be mundane and limited to chatting only. 

Reaffirm why the relationship is important to you

When the going gets tough in a long-distance relationship, it can be helpful to think about why the relationship is important to you. For me, my boyfriend is my best friend and somebody I want to build a life with. So when I find myself slacking on communication or not giving him enough attention when we are talking online or in person, I remind myself what he means to me and it motivates me to put more effort into our relationship. Being in a long-distance relationship has been tough for both of us and we have both had moments where we were struggling or unsure if we wanted to stay together. However, recalling our commitment to each other has helped us stay together in times of uncertainty and remember why we love each other.

If you are also adjusting to the demands of a COVID-induced long-distance relationship, I hope you find these tips helpful during these difficult times.

Ashley Rattenbury is a sophomore at NC State majoring in Psychology and minoring in Genetics and Criminology. She has a passion for pilates, running, cooking, video games, art, and cartoons. After graduation, she plans to attend law school. She looks forward to writing articles about women's health, sex and relationships, and popular culture for Her Campus!
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