Coping with the New Long-Distance: Relationships in Lockdown

Long-distance is a daunting concept. More often than not this word is filled with myth and misunderstanding. During the current situation, many of us have now been thrust into (short-term!) long-distance relationships without a lot of choice which can be quite scary. But maintaining a healthy, sexy, loving relationship is absolutely possible from a distance – it’s just about adapting to your new circumstances.

Feeling shit right now makes total sense. You are allowed to miss your partner. You are allowed to feel like it’s all a bit unfair. Don’t beat yourself up when you already feel down. Be kind to yourself. There are lots of rumours flying around about how long we are going to be in lockdown and, combined with the constant news cycle, this can be very stressful. Look after yourself and take the time to find coping mechanisms to help manage your stress. Personally, I’ve found the episode of How to Fail with Elizabeth Day featuring Mo Gawdat particularly useful. Mo talks about thinking only in certainties. He asks: what do we know for certain right now? And helps stop us panicking about daunting hypotheticals.

The next question is: how do we fill this time without our partner? Remind yourself of the person you are without your other half. It’s likely that through the course of your relationship you have gladly changed your routine to accommodate for your partner. Perhaps you haven’t been reading as much as you used to or you haven’t played your favourite video game with your mates late into the night. Do that. It’s a great chance for some ‘me’ time. Take the opportunity to reconnect and hang out with yourself.

There is, however, nothing to say that this time needs to be spent without your partner. FaceTime is a godsend and you should use and abuse it as much as you like. It can feel stressful when you don’t feel like talking, you just want to ‘be’ with that person. Normally, we’d just pop the TV on and sit happily in silence for an hour and it’d be lovely. So do that! FaceTime and watch the same show in sync so you can talk about it along the way. If you like the concept of no-talking sometimes, the app Words With Friends is also brilliant because you feel connected but you don’t need to worry about small-talk.

With isolation comes another sad realisation – no sex.

Keeping up your sex-life from a distance can actually be so much fun and really eye-opening. Here are a few things that you could try to keep your flame burning:

  • Naked Calendar: I did a ‘12 days of Christmas’ one for my boyfriend whilst he was away. I sent one sexy picture of myself everyday and then he caught on and started sending some back. This gave us something to look forward to everyday and I also found it boosted my self-confidence so much – I felt really sexy in my body. These pictures can be for both of you! (If you don’t feel comfortable sending pictures you can always do this over FaceTime or even the old-fashioned way – in the post!)
  • FaceTime Baths: Take your phone into the bathroom, get undressed in front of each other, and then have a bath. You can spruce it up with some wine and a candle – make it romantic! You’ll hopefully feel really chilled out and relaxed with your partner. Hopefully you’ll also feel a bit turned on, which brings me to…
  • Vibrators: Get one. You won’t regret it. If you haven’t already, use this time to get to know your vulva, clit, vagina or whole body! You might learn some tricks that you can share with your partner!
  • FaceTime Sex. This is probably the most daunting one on the list for me. The first time I tried it I felt really embarrassed. What helped me through that feeling was playing a game. Set a time limit and for that time you can’t touch your clit or penis, only the surrounding areas and anywhere else you want. Talk to your partner during this time. Hopefully this builds up some tension and desire, and makes you feel connected.

Finally, I recommend making a plan for you and your partner for after lockdown is over. It’ll make the light at the end of the tunnel a little bit brighter.

I hope this helps ignite some flames!

Lizzie Connick

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