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Apart but Not Alone

Apart but Not Alone

Gone are the days when all couples in love generally tried to find a way of living in the same place. Times have changed and things have moved on and the older traditions have died out. That sounds like something that someone from the 1890s would say, but the fact is that gradually over the last couple of hundred years, customs and traditions about how couples met, courted, married and lived together have all but disappeared. Does anyone remember the days of brides bringing dowries to their marriages? No. Exactly. And society these days doesn’t care if you move in together the same night you meet, a week later, month later, year later or never. Some couples do actually never live together, so what that’s saying is that there is wriggle room, basically. No-one is going to be shocked about your living arrangements.

Which then brings us onto the next stage. Maintaining a relationship under the same roof is the norm, but trying to do the same thing whilst living apart is sometimes trickier (not always by any stretch of the imagination). If you don’t see your partner day to day, give them that early morning kiss, a hug over breakfast or even just an in-person conversation about something that’s happened in the news, you might need to become creative about how to keep that close connection. You certainly won’t be the only people following this path in today’s pandemic. The shockwaves that have ricocheted their way through society have seen more couples than ever living apart due to lockdown rules or shielding.

There are many reasons why you might not be in the same house as your partner – circumstances, personal preference or Covid-related reasons - and whether it’s a new thing or an older one, there are a few tips that’s it always handy to have at the back of your mind for keeping the relationship close and fresh and make it run that bit more smoothly.

  • 1.A positive outlook. Looking at things this way almost always makes them easier. Even if things are really tough, try and put a positive spin on them. End the day on a high, maybe you could tell your partner something that you love about them before bed each night, or remind them of a particular memory. It’s stuff like this that strengthens the bond between a couple and might even remind you of the qualities that you truly value in your partner.
  • 2.Daily contact. This one is really important, staying in touch every day is a must for those living apart. It doesn’t have to be hearts and flowers on the phone every morning and evening, just a couple of texts is fine if that’s what your relationship is normally like. It’s all about keeping those lines of communication open, in any way that you can, whether it’s good morning/good night messages, texts every hour or just a daily phone call. But remember – it’s quality, not quantity and the aim is to really focus on your partner.
  • 3.Prepare for being together again. Plan a date night, buy some new underwear, have a stash of books they’ll love reading ready for them. Oh, and don’t forget the more exciting bits of preparing to spend time with your loved one.
  • 4.Face to face time. If you can’t do it in person, then over the internet is the next best thing.
  • If you normally share a coffee together at 11am every day then maybe videocall or FT your partner to keep that routine going, or maybe just a chat after work. In the evening you could even schedule….how can we say it…..more personal time with each other.
  • 5.Surprise your partner. Send them something out of the blue and unexpected that will make them smile. A thoughtful card, bunch of flowers, surprise them with their favourite takeaway delivered to their doorstep, tickets to an event in the future, or just an IOU for whatever they want to claim! Little things like this in the midst of daily demands can really put a smile on their face and they’ll know that their partner is thinking about them and those oxytocin levels (AKA the love hormone) will get a nice little boost.
  • 6.Communicate in different ways. Just to shake it up a bit you could mix and match your daily contact methods – phone call instead of a good morning message, a letter instead of an email, a Skype call over dinner or maybe just a more chatty email. Stay in touch in your usual ways too, but changing it up a bit is a nice way to focus on your relationship too.

It might seem like hard work being apart sometimes, but there are benefits too. It means that you get to live autonomously, building your daily life how you want to. With specific times that you see your partner means that you can prepare and make sure that you enjoy them to the full.

You could even put some time into developing different skills or interests to share with your partner when you get together. New recipes, a list of must-watch films, places you’d be interested to visit once social distancing rules have been properly relaxed. If you both take this view then once you’re reunited you might have some new interests and skills to share. Making this work for you as a couple is all about exploring the possibilities and realities that can make this time easier and more rewarding for you.

Stuart Brown

Stuart Brown

I'm Stuart, senior Editor at British Condoms. I am an expert in all areas of sexual health and have a passion to drive knowledge to youth in the UK. Any questions for me or media enquiries, please feel free to tweet me @britishcondoms. Always open to engagement.

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