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Despite the uncertain situation, many couples are holding out hope that they will see their significant others soon
Around the world, long-distance couples are feeling stressed and disappointed as flights and plans are cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Casey Cogan, a former Ryerson student, the pandemic threw a wrench in her plans to see her partner, who currently lives in Seattle, in two weeks. The two originally planned to meet in Toronto before flying to Portugal for a vacation, thanks to the perks from working as a corporate retreat planner at Moniker. As borders close and calls for social distancing amplify in response to COVID-19 fears, Cogan is not sure when she will be able to see her partner again.
“We had all these plans. The whole trip was set, and those have all been cancelled,” Cogan said. “The worst part about it is not knowing how long [the pandemic] will be.”
Cogan, however, is not letting the situation weigh her down. Like many other long-distance couples, Cogan and her partner are finding positive ways to cope through the pandemic. She says they try to keep each other uplifted regularly, even though the future is uncertain.
“We already FaceTime every day, and now that we are both working from home we try to FaceTime all throughout the day, trying to keep each other positive,” Cogan said. “We try to plan out what we will do when we see each other next just to get through it. If you have something to look forward to doing together, it will make it suck a lot less.”
Staying positive amidst a global pandemic is a new reality that long-distance couples face around the world. On Reddit’s most popular forum for people in long-distance relationships, users are posting memes and photos to help make life apart from their partners a lot easier. Most recently, users are posting photos of couples going on virtual dates in the newest iteration of Animal Crossing, a video game franchise where players live on an island with animal residents.
Others are starting new personal projects and discovering new hobbies together despite the distance. Victor de Groot lives in California with his family while his boyfriend lives in Quebec. They originally planned to see each other in California for a week but were forced to postpone plans indefinitely due to the pandemic. In a video call with the Ryersonian, de Groot said that he and his boyfriend are trying to learn how to use Photoshop together.
“We are learning Photoshop together, so every night we are doing a new project. We both start at the same time and that’s something that we do [together],” de Groot said.
“It’s one of those weird moments in time where my schedule is cut off and it might be the only time in my life where it happens, so why don’t we start learning something new and we can try to do it together.”
Many long-distance couples stress the importance of open and constant communication, especially during stressful situations like a pandemic. Marissa Lindholm is a youth adviser for the YMCA of Northern Alberta, just outside of Edmonton. Her partner works with incarcerated youth an hour away. Lindholm, who is currently under quarantine at home, said they try to call each other every day.
“Together we are doing daily phone calls and just trying to up how much we FaceTime, so most days we try to FaceTime before bed for an hour just so we can get some positivity going,” Lindholm said.
Many couples also highlight the importance of individual self-care during stressful times. Tayana Faith Simpson, a student at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus, said that she tries to exercise every day while social distancing. She also tries to structure her days as best as she can with assignments and other schoolwork.
“I have planned out my days in a structure. I make sure to get up and put on clothes I didn’t sleep in, and I’ll usually do homework for most of the day with a couple of breaks. I also try to do a workout every day in the afternoon,” Simpson said. “I have a big deck so I try to go outside and sit on the deck for a bit and do some homework.”
Despite the uncertainty of the situation, many are still holding out hope that they will get to see their significant others soon. Cogan said that she will not hesitate to see her partner immediately after the pandemic is over.
“The second the border is open and it’s safe to travel, I’m getting on a plane,” Cogan said. “When this is all done, I will be the first one at the Toronto airport to get on a plane.”