How To Make A Long Distance Relationship In Lockdown Work
Being in a long distance relationship isn’t easy. But being in a long distance relationship in lockdown while a global pandemic rages on, probably seems like an impossible feat.
That’s why we turned to South African sexologists. They’re here armed with some tips to help you go the distance, literally.
And if your love life has taken a hit during this time or you have some questions, check out our July issue. We asked four South African sexologist to give us love in lockdown advice. It covers everything from how to bring back the spark and getting space when you live together to managing housework and differing sex drives, and so much more.
1. Be There For Each Other
You might not be able to physically see each other, but the 21st century is here to let you know you can still “see” each other.
When people think of intimacy, their first thought is some sort of situation sans clothing. But intimacy is so much more than that, says Dr Elna Rudolph, medical doctor, sexologist and clinical head at My Sexual Health.
“Remember, intimacy is not only physical. It is also emotional. Make sure you are there for each other emotionally. It is [also] spiritual, [so] make sure you are connecting spiritually, if you are so inclined,” she advises. She also adds that intimacy is intellectual as well as experiential.
2. Find A Hobby
Because intimacy is also intellectual, there are a couple things you can do to foster that. Rudolph recommends you engage in conversations about topics that both of you are very interested in. If you haven’t found a common interest – now is the time to do so.
Check out these 9 free online courses that you could look at doing at the same time.
3. Do Things “Together”
By doing things together, you can foster that experiential intimacy that Rudolph was referring to. “Surviving a world pandemic is a pretty impressive experience to go through together,” remarks Rudolph.
You can experience simple things together, like watching the same movie at the same time, although you are in different parts of the world. Try a site like twoseven which lets you watch things at the same time as your loved ones around the world. It’s like your very own lockdown movie night.
Rudolph advises you not to get disheartened because you still have so many options to stay connected.
4. Give Each Other Space
What Rudolph says is true, there are still so many ways to stay connected. But what happens when even with all the geographical space between you, you still need space? That’s totally normal. Just because you’re in lockdown and there aren’t that many things to do, doesn’t mean you have to spend the entire day on the phone to each other.
If your partner wants to speak on the phone all day, it might reﬂect an element of insecurity, says Dr Eugéne Viljoen, Registered Clinical Psychologist and Certified Sexologist.
Find out what triggers their “neediness” and then manage that through setting a routine, or structure in communication during the day. It’s best to set up boundaries in a sensitive way, as not to create a sense of rejection, advises Viljoen. First sensitivity check? Maybe don’t call them needy. We’ve all seen that movie and it doesn’t end well.
5. Turn To Tech
You knew it was coming, the part where we talk about sex! Rudolph recommends you have phone sex, do sexting and do mutual masturbation via video connection.
And what will take your phone sex to the next level? Yup, sex toys. Now is the perfect time to turn to tech for some help and try out some new toys you might never have before.
“You could also get yourself a We-Vibe that can be controlled via an app from anywhere in the world – that way, your partner can still stimulate you, even if they are on the other side of the planet,” says Rudolph.
These app-controlled sex toys will get you through lockdown and leave you both smiling:
We-Vibe Gala Clitoral 10 Speed Dual Motored Vibrator
Svakom Ella App-Controlled Luxury Vibrating Egg
We-Vibe Ditto Vibrating Butt Plug
6. Communicate Your Feelings
You might feel far, but distance can bring you closer (not geographically of course, sorry). A 2013 study found that long distance couples felt more intimate with each other and had enhanced communication.
And it’s now, more than ever that you want to communicate with each other. “It’s very important to communicate your feelings to your partner and it’s normal in the circumstances,” says Dr Elmari Mulder Craig, sexologist and relationship expert.
If you’re feeling like there’s no point to be in the relationship, then you need to ask yourself some tough questions. Craig says “it’s important to ask yourself, do you feel abnormal in abnormal circumstances or abnormal in normal circumstances?” If you were thinking about breaking up before this, then that of course would make sense. But if you’re feeling negative emotions right now, it’s pretty normal.
If you’re feeling lonely or isolated in lockdown, we spoke to a psychologist to find ways you can manage those feelings. You can read it here.
“At this stage to feel hopeless, a bit depressed, anxious, those are all normal feelings. But it is important to manage them and also to evaluate them and make sure that it doesn’t go over into a full blown depression or an anxiety disorder.
“I think that’s when it’s important to speak to a professional to a psychologist and if needs be even a psychiatrist to help you manage it. And also to get practical tools on how to deal with anxiety, how to deal with a lower mood and this feeling of helplessness and not being in control. Acknowledge those feelings, communicate it to a partner and if you think it’s necessary, it’s always a good think to seek professional help, sooner rather than later,” recommends Craig.
*Illustrations by unDraw