My girlfriend and I began dating in December 2019. Our first date was at an East Village themed pub over a few drinks. I loved how easy it was to talk to her and we had good chemistry right off the bat. She’s from Bombay while I’m from Bangalore. Being in a long-distance relationship has its perks – I got to travel to Bombay (a city I happen to love), visit her favourite spots and make some our own. We travelled together a couple of times and it was great making memories with her. We were meeting as often as every 2 or 3 weeks.
And then COVID-19 happened. In March, when the number of cases was less than a 100, we did not know if or how much this disease would spread and the impact it would have on our relationship. We never would have imagined that the next time we’d see each other would be after 92 days.
Being locked down during the coronavirus pandemic has been different for everyone. I have had a much easier experience while she had to take over the cleaning, laundry and other household chores. It was very obvious that such tasks which seemed so menial before were actually laborious, time consuming and literally painful. She also put in 12-14 hours at work everyday leaving her with little time to take care of herself.
Being locked down and not able to be in each other’s company was hard. Whatsapp and Zoom calls helped, but it was nowhere near as comforting as being in the same room. The uncertainty of when things would resume to normal or if they would at all, played a role in our thought process and came up quite a bit in our conversations.
However – and surprisingly so – the lockdown also had its positive impacts on our relationship. There have been multiple incidents where we’ve proven that we are there for the other person. About 30 days in, I remember telling her how I felt overwhelmed about what was going on and about when we’d see each other next. Despite going through a harder time, she displayed kindness and empathy by explaining how it was normal for me to feel like this and how things would improve. That conversation was pivotal as it made me confident to talk to her about my other fears and insecurities without the fear of being judged.
Her birthday was in the middle of lockdown, unfortunately making it impossible to travel to meet her, but it gave me the opportunity to plan something that would probably not have happened otherwise. While we did the usual video call and birthday cake celebration, I made her something that I could send to her digitally – a nice memory for her to reflect on from time to time.
Overall, I’d say COVID-19 was not negative for our relationship. We made the effort to talk more each day and let the other person know what was going on. We’d look to see what we could do together – something as simple as watching a movie together (God bless the Netflix Party extension) made it feel like we were on a date. We would send each other food or coffee when the other was having a bad day.
After 92 long days, we were finally able to travel to see each other. As I write this, I get to see her sit across the room from me, with her affectionate smile that brings me happiness. I’m not sure what further disruption will be caused by COVID-19, but I know we will get past those as well.