(Image: Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez)

A long-distance relationship can take on many forms. While they are not always romantic, they can often be difficult to maintain.

The majority of us, in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, may find ourselves in a long-distance relationship with our partners, family and friends.

Maybe they are physically far away, or perhaps their health dictates that they cannot leave their homes, even if it’s for a 1.5-metre-social-distanced walk.

So how do you handle a long-distance relationship amid the stress we are all currently under? Here are five top tips from Crikey.

  1. Set a time to talk every week
  2. Make every call, FaceTime or text count
  3. Find fun ways to have remote dates
  4. Start a project together
  5. Get creative.

Set a time to talk every week

It is totally normal to feel like shutting yourself out from the outside world, even as coronavirus restrictions begin to ease in Australia. A lack of routine and face-to-face human interaction may make it difficult to see the bright side, and the thought of a chaotic group call on Zoom may put you off having regular chats with your loved ones.

Nonetheless, maintaining some form of social life is important for your sense of wellbeing, so pick a handful of people you like talking to (or more importantly, pick people who won’t want to talk solely about the c-word). Set a time to talk to these people every week. Setting a consistent time to chat will help you to punctuate your week, while also giving you and your loved one something to look forward to.

Make every call, FaceTime or text count

We may be living in a world that feels more connected than ever, but that doesn’t mean you should only rely on a quick text to check in with the people you care about.

Make every call, FaceTime and text count. Don’t multitask during phone calls. Put distractions away and focus your energy on giving communication with the outside world the attention it deserves. If it feels less overwhelming, choose a time during the day when you want to respond to your inbox.

Find fun ways to have remote dates

If you are trying to keep a romantic relationship afloat, make a point of coming up with creative date ideas, such as watching a movie together, drinking the same wine, going through old photos, or simply doing a personalised quiz (although I suspect the majority of us will never want to see another PowerPoint containing a quiz again after this).

Even in situations where you can’t physically be near your partner, you can make the most of it by getting creative and not sticking to a script of a quick daily catch-up.

Start a project together

Starting a project with loved ones is a great way to stay connected without having to ask the dreaded questions, like “any news?”, to which most of us do not have much of a response.

Your project can cover all genres or interests. Start a virtual book club, order the same jigsaw online, have debriefs on your favourite podcasts and movies, or set a fitness goal and strive to complete it together.

There are plenty of ways to be part of distant one’s routines without being physically present, and a project can help focus your energy on things outside of discussing the latest facts and stats — and when you are likely to see them again.

Get creative

We all have different ways of showing love. It could be buying your parents a newspaper on a Sunday, or flowers for your girlfriend on a Friday. Maybe you travel to the house you grew up in once a month or once a year for a family shindig.

Cancelled plans and an inability to reach the ones you love can be both frustrating and upsetting, but there are creative ways you can maintain your long-distance relationships.

If you once bought someone the newspaper on a weekly basis, you can set up a subscription for them from afar. (Crikey also has some fantastic subscriptions on offer, for those wondering.)

If you once bought someone flowers on the regular, get them delivered. If you’re missing Sunday lunches with the family or you can’t make a family event, get all the ingredients you need for a great time sent to both homes and set up your devices so you can still share the experiences, without the hugs.

While it may feel like there is no light at the end of this tunnel, and the prospect of seeing the people you love seems slim, take solace in the fact technology is on our side — and there are ways we can use it to make us feel closer than ever before.

Read: Coronavirus travel ban | When will international flights re-open in Australia?