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What’s happening to long-distance lovers now we’re almost a year into this thing?

Photography by Trudi Treble
Words by Jasmine Wallis
Wearing Pandora Jewellery

It’s been a year of yearning.

“See you in a couple of months!” I say as we hug each other underneath the remnants of bushfire smoke at Melbourne airport. He tells me this is our last stretch. Just a few more months, then we’re done with long distance forever. 

That was January 7, 2020. It’s now been one year since I last physically saw my partner. One year since I’ve looked into his eyes without staring through a screen, one year since I’ve heard his laugh from the same room, one year since I’ve been enveloped into his amazing, all-encompassing hugs. 


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When the Australian border closures were first announced (a cruel twist of fate meant it occurred on our anniversary) and my flight to the UK got cancelled, we were shocked but thought it would be for a few weeks – at worst, a couple of months. We imagined our respective countries would just be figuring things out, seeing how serious it all was. Sure enough, life would be back to normal before we could buy more hand sanitiser.

Looking back now, we seem so blissfully naive. 

With the death toll in the UK tragically reaching the 100,000 mark (and Australia simultaneously recording weeks of zero cases of community transmission), it’s become clear that we’ll settle ourselves here. My partner will get the vaccine and aim to be Down Under in the second part of 2021. 

By the time he arrives, if all goes to plan, we’ll have spent years of our relationship making it work long-distance. Naturally, the past 12 months have felt like the longest. 

I know what some of you may be thinking, because they’re the same questions I’ve often asked myself over the course of the pandemic. How can you keep a relationship going when you don’t see the other person, with no end in sight? When you can’t touch them? Or hang out with them? What’s the point when you’re still so young? 

When there’s no move-in date, no flights to Australia, no capacity in Hotel Quarantine, what do we do? 

Of course, I can’t speak for other couples experiencing the same hardship. Long distance is tough, and every couple has their own way of working through it. But now we’re 12 months into our pandemic-mandated separation, here’s how we’ve gotten through.

Remembering our shared values

My editor recently sent me a study titled The Exploration of Love. Commissioned by Pandora, the global study explores how love and relationships have changed in the pressure cooker of the pandemic. It shows that 66 per cent of Australians agree that since 2020, relationships are more focused on shared values than ever before. 

While some of the statistics drawn from the study came as a surprise, this one didn’t. In our relationship, it’s those shared values are what keeps us going. 

We can both see our future crystal clearly: what type of life we’d like to live, if we want children or not, what value we place on marriage in these modern times. They’re conversations we have frequently, and we’re constantly checking in with each other to make sure we’re walking on the same path together, even if it’s digitally right now. 

If we weren’t holding onto that vision of the future, it would be much harder to keep going – whether we were in the same country or not.

Finding joy in the little things

The pandemic has reminded many of us of the value of relationships, whether they’re platonic or romantic, in friendship or family circles. As social creatures who have spent months isolated from the world, we’re now directing more energy towards the people who mean the most to us. 

As a result, 73 per cent of Australians (myself included) now believe that relationships are more important than ever. And those beliefs are a big reason why I can’t just sever the ties of my relationship due to distance. 

Having that phone call at the end of a long day, hearing his voice or receiving a text of encouragement means so much to me. Even if he physically can’t be here right now to cheer me on in my endeavours, by having a best friend at the end of the phone, I still feel loved and supported in everything I do. 

We’ve worked out our own way to make each other feel loved and taken care of. Whether it’s spending that little bit more time on a video call when you know the other is having a bad day, or sending links to articles and songs that remind you of the other, for a long-distance relationship to work, you have to do what’s right for you.

Because it’s really tough. Seeing your friends move in with their partners of (what feels like) three seconds, hearing about engagement plans, or watching other friends go through three relationships while you’re still yearning for that one person have all been experiences I’ve endured and I’m sure, are familiar to other long-distancers too.

I’m happy for them, of course, but this distance business is not for the faint-hearted. 

And just like in a ‘normal’ relationship, I know that if either of our values change or we want different things, then we’ll walk onto different paths with grace.

But for now, like everyone, we’re muddling through this pandemic, focusing on our own goals and waiting (and hoping) for that day when the plane tickets are booked, the long distance is done and his clothes are unpacked into our wardrobe. 

Are you looking to show someone your own little act of love? Pandora has released a beautiful capsule range of jewellery for Valentine’s Day, which you can browse here


Styling credits

LEFT HAND
PANDORA SPARKLING SLIDER TENNIS BRACELET $99, PANDORA SPARKLING MARQUISE DOUBLE WISHBONE RING $89 AND PANDORA CLEAR TILTED HEART SOLITAIRE RING $49
RIGHT HAND
PANDORA MOMENTS HEART T-BAR BRACELET $99 WITH  VINTAGE CASSETTE DANGLE CHARM $49, SPARKLING FREEHAND HEART CHARM $39 AND METALLIC RED HEART CHARM $49, PANDORA CLEAR TILTED HEART SOLITAIRE RING $49 AND RED TILTED HEART SOLITAIRE RING $49 (STACKED) AND PANDORA SPARKLING CROWN RING $89
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