The Intimacy Born Out of Social Distancing

Welcome to the long-distance relationship simulator. Now enjoy the ride!

Perhaps it’s the COVID-19 or simply relationship troubles, my best friend in Canada has been texting me more frequently…

She: I guess I will try to work on it the next following days and if it gets too exhausting, maybe it’s a sign.

Me: You don’t think this is a conversation to be had in-person? It’s difficult not being able to see his body language.

She: Actually, we talk more on the phone. In-person, time is often spent being physical.

I chuckled.

Photo by Oleg Magni on Unsplash

When the interaction with your partner is reduced to texting, phone calls and video chats, the real test begins.

How do we stay connected mentally and emotionally when our bodies are not touching?

What do we talk about when our routine consists of working on laptops and computers one day after another?

Photo by Eva Darron on Unsplash

All my relationships have gone through phases of long-distance. Moving back and forth between Toronto and Taipei in a total of 4 times guaranteed me some heartbreaks along the way.

They say about 58% of the long-distance relationships survived. I suppose that depends on the distance, reunite frequency and prospect of eventually living together.

Days before parting, we kept to our social responsibility and ordered delivery at home. As we chewed on greasy fried chicken, he turned and looked me in the eyes…

He: What can we do about long-distance if we don’t know when we’d see each other next? *tone anxious and urgent*

Me: Umm… I haven’t really thought about that.

He: It makes me so sad just thinking about it. I won’t wake up looking forward to seeing you every day… *choking voice*

Me: *felt my eyes began to water* but worrying about it now doesn’t really help? We wouldn’t know until it happens. Let’s cherish the now, the moments together?

Photo by GoodEats YQR on Unsplash

Day 1: Few text exchanges.

Me: We can do this!

Day 2: Non-stop text exchanges.

Me: I miss you 😦 Do you miss me?

Day 3: Day 2 + Video Call

Me: How can we do this? This is so hard! We should be together!

Day 4: Day 2 + Video Call x 2

Me: So how do we plan a future that works for both of us? Let’s draw an infographic timeline with illustrator.

Gradually, the conversations became deeper and more meaningful.

The topics range from “Was that potato salad in your Snapchat?” to “I’m worried about you seeking more views and likes. I want you to enjoy writing for the sheer fun you get out of it.”

It doesn’t get easier, but you get used to it.

Share like you’d share with your best friend.

Talk like you want to spill every last secret.

Listen like that’s the only thing you want to do.

Photo by Mahkeo on Unsplash

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