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Long distancing with your loved one during COVID❤️

Having a long distance relationship is tough at the best of times. It’s even harder when Covid restrictions prevent couples from seeing each other for long periods of time. I’ve been separated from my hubby for over 6 months now. It was a struggle to make the joint decision for me to stay in Hong Kong with our son while he worked overseas for a year. Believe me, I did a ton of research both online and offline before making the decision. Here’s sharing what worked for us and what didn’t.

1. Keep Communicating

We communicated throughout the day, work and parenting duties permitting. At first, I was put off with all the constant messaging because I get thumb and wrist pain. Then I learnt about sending gifs and emojis to express emotions more than typing everything. A pro of living in different time zones with your other half is that the timing is perfect for talking online after hours or during meals.

We also keep different forms of communication channels–household maintenance using emails or household messaging group, keeping up with the grandparents via grandparents messaging group, voice or video calls at night/ his early morning. As a special surprise, I wrote him a poem as his birthday present. Sometimes, an oldie is a goodie. He was touched.

Image source: Winnie Tse

2. Gifting

Nothing says “I miss you and wish you were here” more than a well-considered gift from a loved one. As we are in a long distance marriage, we both know each other long enough to know what we each like. He sent my son, my helper and I each a Paddington Bear and a book on Paddington Bear’s story from the UK. Yes, I’m into stuffed bears and stuffed animals in general. We also try to keep festivals and major birthdays alive for the family by sending a gift for Valentine’s, sending Chinese New Year greetings and having a video meet for birthdays.

Image source: Winnie Tse

3. Parenting

It takes a village to raise a child. Thankfully, my long distance hubby kept up his dad role by calling most mornings to talk to our son and get up to date on his thoughts and wonderings. Sometimes, I’m jealous of his father-son talks on the phone–why can they discuss so passionately about the Ukraine-Russian conflict while miles away from each other?

Image source: Winnie Tse

Another way that we keep our parenting duties is by including him in parenting decisions and school duties. He participates online with parent-teacher meets, school counselor meets and training for parents organized by our son’s school. We take part in giving our opinions and our concerns about online learning via regular emails with our son’s educators. Our son’s educators have weekly updates on class learning and we are encouraged to provide feedback via weekly surveys. We also have access to an amazing school counsellor who helped to plan our family transition and prepare our son for what he can do while daddy is away ahead of my hubby’s work secondment.

4. Honesty and Trust

How do you keep the love alive and believe that your partner will be trustworthy while miles apart? It’s from knowing the other person’s character, observation in daily interactions and sharing intimacy. We share what happens in our lives and it’s hard to lie to the other person when photos and thoughts are shared. That, and being too busy with work and life’s necessities (like dealing with an exploded gas stove (me), household chores (him), repairs to the house (him)) leaves you little time for much else.

Image source: google images.

  1. No to Online Games/ Movies

Lots of articles on long distance relationships recommend playing online games or watching online movies together as a way to communicate more. It hasn’t worked for us when I floated the ideas. We enjoy food photos or photos/videos of each other outdoors instead. Somehow, it’s just not the same when we watch a movie together online and can’t fight over the popcorn or compromise on butter or caramel popcorn or a mix of both. Also, we have different taste in movies so we can’t quite agree on what movies to watch online and would rather watch alone. Could also be a side effect from Covid restrictions where we realize that the saying “no man is an island” is not quite true when the island has fast individual wifi connection.

  1. No to Long Conversations

At first, we wanted to maintain our long conversations into the night or early hours (again, different time zones can suck!), but we both get too exhausted the next day. So try to keep conversations within 1 hour and send instant messages and emails instead for other matters which do not require discussion.

Image source: google images.

While having a long distance relationship for an extended period is not ideal for every couple, where there’s a will, there’s a way. It’s all about teamwork and both genuinely having an interest in each other’s lives. As more families may be apart due to Covid restrictions and opportunities elsewhere, it’s wise to learn and share what works for other long distance families and try those tips out for yourself.


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