We’ve heard a lot about people discovering new things about their partners in quarantine – but what about the couples who are living apart at the moment?
There are a number of reasons why a couple might not be spending lockdown together. This could be down to limited space, if one of them is a key worker, if one is in the high-risk coronavirus category – or they simply don’t want to put an intense strain on a happy and healthy relationship.
Lockdown presents its own difficulties for separated couples – particularly in regards to staying intimate, both physically and emotionally.
Being unable to kiss, cuddle and touch their partners for so long – especially for those used to seeing each other regularly – is challenging.
Relationship expert Sarah Louise Ryan tells Metro.co.uk: ‘We humans are wired for connection, it provides a sense of belonging and so when couples are separated during quarantine it can be such a trying time.
‘There are so many ways in which we can stay connected intimately despite the fact that physical touch is not available between two people. It can be tricky to navigate especially for couples who are used to being in close quarters.’
Here’s what experts had to say…
Communicate consistently but not constantly
Sarah says that it’s not about the quantity of conversation you have when you’re apart – it’s the quality.
She adds: ‘Couples will want their conversations to be meaningful and deeply connected and this can fall by the wayside if you communicate via texts or calls throughout the day.
‘It might seem counterproductive to bringing the connection closer at first, but when you have a scheduled slot of time for a meaningful catch up, it can give you more structure and a greater sense of “you-time”.’
Sex and relationship coach Gillian Myhill – founder of BARE Dating – says it’s important to allocate specific time together, so that you are both solely focussed on one another.
She says: ‘Sharing a simple routine for yourself and together can help you both feel connected without the constant need to communicate.
‘Schedule specific times where you come together away from these routines, step away from your work or other distractions at these times and focus on each other. See this as “protected time” – the time where the outside world doesn’t penetrate.’
Virtual date nights
You might not be physically with one another, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have virtual date nights. It’s also an excuse to get dressed up and feel good about yourself.
Sarah adds: ‘Couples can have virtual picnics in the garden or on their balcony – or in the living room if they don’t have the luxury of outdoor space.
‘Romantic connection in relationships really thrives off the unknown and the air of mystery, so keeping up with innovative ways to virtually date is key.’
Write letters to each other
Dominnique Karetsos – the co founder of online school of sexual wellness Intimology Institute – says that writing letters is another romantic way to stay intimate and gives a couple something to look back on.
She says: ‘This is how relationships have survived in the past and can still be a lovely thing to share with your partner.
‘Creating offline memories is always so important – even at this time when we have never needed the internet more.’