Long-distance couples are used to being apart — but not like this | Washington Post feature

Long-distance couples are used to being apart — but not like this | Washington Post feature

Long-distance relationships already face chronic separation. How can these couples manage the additional separation of the coronavirus lockdown? My interview with Sylvie Bigar at the Washington Post offers some guidelines:

Some traveled for work, some traveled for fun, but some of us also traveled for love. Until last month, couples managed their long-distance relationships — be it across the ocean or a campus — as an intimate negotiation.

When my partner, François, dropped me at the Geneva Airport on March 2, we were sad to say goodbye, but we knew we would meet a few weeks later, in Ireland. After all, once we started dating in the summer of 2018 — he, a rabbi in Geneva, me, a travel writer based in New York — friends kept asking what we were going to do, as if they needed some kind of “And they lived happily ever after” denouement. But we would only shrug, smile and say, “Travel!”

That was before the coronavirus stretched its terrorizing claws over our planet and upended our lives in ways few of us could have imagined. For couples whose normal included virtual visits, constant time difference calculations and puzzle-like calendar sessions, the pandemic has brought the clocks to a figurative standstill.

To get professional advice on how couples can navigate this crisis, I reached out to relationship expert Susan Winter.

“This is a good time to deepen a relationship and ask questions,” she said. “Couples can plan, brainstorm and negotiate.” Here are the key questions she recommends couples ask each other:

●What do you need from me now?

●What do we want to experience in the future?

●What have we not taken the time to discuss?

“The idea,” she said, “is to tend to your current garden, but plant the seeds for the future.”

How is this affecting couples?

The news is full of reports of a potential spike in divorces, but the long-distance couples I spoke to feel the absence more acutely than ever. Longing has always fueled literature, music and film. As soon as borders reopen, this longing will lead to a rush to travel again. For freedom, for awe and for love.

Italy faced a growing emergency last month, while New York-based chef Odette Fada was teaching Italian cuisine in Puglia. Married to chef Philippe Bertineau (Benoit, The Polo Bar both in New York), she had settled into a part-time long-distance relationship. But when her American students were sent home, Fada made a quick decision, rented a car and drove 12 hours north to be with her elderly parents in her native region of Lombardy — now the national epicenter of the pandemic.

“By then, I couldn’t get to Italy,” said Bertineau, who was born in France, “So I took the last American Airlines flight from New York to Paris to stay with one of my brothers, near Bordeaux.” The chef self-quarantined for 14 days and is now attempting to create a new semblance of routine.

“At least we are on the same time,” he said. “Our daily rhythms are parallel.”

Continue reading: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/travel/long-distance-couples-are-used-to-being-apart–but-not-like-this/2020/04/09/53cf888e-7807-11ea-b6ff-597f170df8f8_story.html

Bigar is a writer based in New York City. Her website is sbigar.com. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @sylviebigar.

2020-04-10T23:56:11-04:00By |Categories: Dating Advice, Interview, Love, Relationship Expert, Relationships|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Long-distance couples are used to being apart — but not like this | Washington Post feature

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