Long-distance relationships endure COVID-19 challenges 

By Mackenzie Stephens, Staff Writer

Those involved in long-distance relationships represent a small population of University students due to the difficult nature of maintaining romance from afar. The commitment and intention required to handle the challenges of a long-distance relationship can test the patience of both partners involved, discouraging many from participating in them. 

In addition to the obvious struggles these relationships experience, COVID-19 has imposed various new complications as a result of safety restrictions. Travel bans, social distancing and building access rules are a few among many restrictions that make it harder for partners to see one another. 

Patricia Madel, freshman in LAS, expresses her disappointment in dorm regulations.

“I think the hardest part is him not being able to drive up and see me. Missing out on the opportunity for him to stay overnight in a dorm, and being able to show him a University experience. Even though COVID is not something I’d want to risk,” Madel said.

Madel said that although she and her boyfriend began their relationship shortly before COVID began, being long distance was harder than she thought. However, she emphasizes the importance of making each other’s intentions clear when in a long-distance relationship before undergoing the challenge of being apart. It’s important that both partners are on the same page, and recognize the challenge of not being able to visit each other while the world navigates the pandemic. 

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    Even though COVID-19 has made the challenge of long-distance even harder, various resources exist for couples to seek out advice on how to manage. Sehila Nuñez, freshman in LAS, sought out the advice of a close relative who also underwent a similar experience. 

    “I asked my sister for advice since her and her boyfriend were also long distance. They saw each other at school, but not when they were on breaks. Especially in the beginning, I was asking her how to do it and what I should do, which helped because she told me everything,” Nuñez said.

    Going through the hardship of juggling a long-distance relationship, a social life and school can be incredibly stressful and hard to handle for one person. 

    Madel said she has learned many things alongside her partner, but most importantly the skill of good communication. She expressed the importance of being honest with one another when something is wrong, and overall practicing good communication about things going on in each other’s lives. That way, there is little room for miscommunication and chaos surrounding it.

    Paris Souza, freshman in ACES, has also learned not to let other people’s opinions cloud her judgment.

    “Don’t listen deeply to other people and their opinions on long-distance relationships. I’m the type of person that asks for everyone’s opinions and it’s really disheartening,” Souza said. “I would just say really stay true to yourself, and that you know in your heart if you want to make it work or if it’s not going to.”

    As the pandemic continues impacting everyday life, it is crucial that people remain cautious and abiding by safety restrictions to keep as many people safe as possible.

    For those in long-distance relationships, safety guidelines have required them to become more creative with ideas on how to connect with their partners. Technology has also enabled the possibility of “virtual dates” that can be thought up in many different ways. 

    Souza said that she and her partner began watching “The Queen’s Gambit” on Netflix using the web browser extension “Netflix party”, which is a website that enables groups of people to watch a show synchronously with a chat feature.  

    Although it is not the same as being in-person, many typical dates can be held via FaceTime. Video chatting while eating breakfast, lunch or dinner can function as going out to eat with one another. A unique way to change this up could even be to order a surprise meal for one another and to eat it together while on the phone. 

    Being far away from the one you love can be difficult, but there is a reason behind the saying, “distance makes the heart grow fonder.” For people who are willing to put in the time and effort, the reward of seeing one another again can be all the more gratifying. 

    Madel said, It’s a really rewarding experience knowing you were there with that person while they were going through that.

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