They say that absence makes the heart grow stronger – little did I know I would be calling on this quote having spent months from my girlfriend due to the coronavirus. But you know what? Our relationship will be stronger together than we ever thought possible due to lockdown.
When my girlfriend Joanna came to visit me midway through March, I didn’t realise that it was going to be the last time I would be able to see her due to lockdown.
So when Joanna caught her train one Monday morning, I was not quite expecting that I would be following suit less than 24 hours later in order to make sure I was home before a potential lockdown.
Much worse things have happened during this pandemic so the struggle in a personal relationship is by no means high on the list of priorities during lockdown; however, at a time when morale is at an all-time low across the country, it makes us miss our loved ones so much more.
We were fast approaching our 18 month anniversary and, as two students at different ends of our university lives (and at two different universities), this was a fairly big moment for us. I had plans to take her out for a meal and a trip to some of our favourite spots in London – all of which have been forced to be postponed due to the virus.
Being at different universities in different cities has made us fairly used to being apart physically. We had a system where we would try to meet at least once a term and would do regular video calls – so, in effect, nothing has changed since the lockdown was introduced late in March.
But, what has been more difficult, is the fact that we are now less than an hour’s walk from each other’s homes. Exams have made it seem less weird because, as is often the case in the third term, she’ll go into her own world of revision and I’ll undoubtedly try to pick up a new hobby that fails spectacularly – so far this term I’ve tried learning shorthand, German (difficult for someone who got a D in GCSE French) and begun a new fitness plan.
Looking back on the time we’ve already spent in lockdown though, I’d say it has brought our relationship together more, appreciated time with each other more and made us more grateful for each other too.
We’re still having regular video calls and we desperately want to be able to be in each other’s arms again (sorry for the cringe) but we also do not want to put anyone’s lives at risk by potentially passing on something and putting a needless strain on our beloved NHS.
The time that we have, therefore, spent on video calls has seen us talk more deeply and openly about things. As Christians, we’ve been able to spend more time talking about our faith – something we have not necessarily found the time to do previously because we had been caught up in the never-ending whirlwind that is life.
Now this example, clearly, won’t apply to everyone (although if you’ve got questions about Christianity and faith, do feel free to give me a DM on Twitter!). But let this time, when we are apart from our loved ones, whether it be friends, family, or partners, allow you to reconnect with each other and bring you together more.
It has been tough – there is no shying from that. But what we have learnt is that it is possible to still get through this. It may seem really difficult but, at the end of the day, this lockdown will make so many people’s relationships stronger come the end.
And anyway, you can always use the thought of catching up on the lost-time as soon as lockdown is over as motivation to keep going through – it will be alright in the end. It will be better, in the end.