“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”
I wave through the camera to my long-term boyfriend as he tells me he will deliver some flowers to my doorstep soon; I can’t help but think maybe Juliet wasn’t as dramatic as we all once thought.
‘Covid-19’ is slowly becoming like Voldemort, a word so horrific we shall not utter it, but the truth is that it’s this word our world is now revolving around. Whether we like it or not the right thing to do for millions of people has been either to self-isolate or go into a full lockdown in order to save lives.
Lockdown and self-isolation look different for everyone; some have chosen to go home to families, others staying with friends in University halls and a few must go it alone.
Whatever the decision it hasn’t been simple for anyone, particularly those with partners who they don’t live with.
This summer my boyfriend of seven years and I were supposed to be viewing flats to finally move in together. To start our life of annoying each other with our bad habits and inevitably me persuading him that getting a puppy IS a good idea. But it seems our journey has been stalled before it’s even began
We’re not the only ones trying to navigate this strange situation. In an Instagram poll, 81% of people said that they were having to self-isolate without their other half.
Emily Palmer, 21, is having to self-isolate from her boyfriend of three years as they didn’t want to put additional strain on his mum who would have had to live alone. Emily says she’s extremely thankful for technology and facetime.
Alice Ford, 20, says she finds the whole thing “very strange” as she usually sees her boyfriend five to six times a week. Due to her mum’s occupation as a police officer and therefore a key worker, she couldn’t risk potentially exposing her boyfriend.
However, there are those already in a long-distance relationship and some who have had previous experience of one that can offer some tips.
Others are having to change the dynamics of their relationships and find new ways of having a date night.
I spoke to London based Joanna Kelly, a fully qualified psychodynamic psychotherapist who works with couples and individuals, offering relationship counselling. She explained she had seen an influx in those accessing her services.
“The changes to routines and having to adapt is worrying for some. How to be able to maintain enough physical and mental separateness, and at the same time allow for intimacy can be a delicate balance”
So how do we maintain a healthy relationship in these un-healthy times?
“Emphasis with your partners experience. This may allow for more intimacy and closeness and the connection of a shared experience.”
“Regular chats and texts, little messages. Being available can feel good”
My Great Grandma got married and two days later her husband went off to war. The next time she saw him was two years later. My boyfriend and I should be picking out furniture and packing up boxes, but his deployment to a local supermarket in order to pay his rent may mean I’m unable to see him for several weeks, maybe months.
I am mindful that my great grandparents never got to hear each other voices, see each other’s faces or play Pictionary together through a virtual screen. Whilst there may be a threat to health, we can’t ignore how technological advances makes maintaining a healthy relationship in these un-precedented times more realistic than ever.