Till Death Do Us Part
More than 5 million Ukrainians, mostly women with children, were forced to leave their homes because of the war. Many of the internally displaced women have men left behind in Ukraine: lovers, partners, fathers of their children. Imagine the emotions of a mother forced to save her own children from war, trying to adapt to new circumstances in a foreign country, and being suddenly separated from her husband.
It is unbearable to watch men who for months see their children and loved ones only on the screen of their phones during video calls as well as it is depressing to see that there is no set date for the family to be "reunited" again, as no one knows when the war will end.
Separated families are a new reality for Ukrainians. Not everyone passes the test of separation by war. At the same time, Ukrainians in love are coming up with new ways to maintain an emotional connection, preserve and even develop relationships at a distance.
If we remove the war factor, people around the world are increasingly concerned about the question: is it possible to be a "couple" when you are not physically close? The modern world requires mobility: countries, careers, business, studies, and travels of partners may not match. Is there a chance for personal happiness in this case?
The Internet and messengers seem to be designed to support long-distance relationships. In a way, chatting together, making video calls, or responding to posts on social media makes partners even closer than they might be between people who live in the same house. Online communication is easy, accessible, and fast.
"I carry you in the pocket near my heart," - sings KOLA, Ukrainian singer, whose beloved is defending Ukraine from Russian aggression. Her song, which became a hit, describes the experience of Ukrainian women who sometimes have no news from their husbands for several days.
"What if you lost your helmet at the front?
And after that, I didn't get a message from you,
but I hear... My phone,
it says you're in touch,
And we will be together!"
For the singer, as well as for hundreds of thousands of other Ukrainian women, phone messages and video calls have become the only way to keep in touch with their military husbands. Studies show that long-distance relationships improve when they are filled with reciprocity. So, regular active correspondence every day will definitely keep our relationship alive.
Do things together even if you are miles apart
Even if you're physically in different places, that doesn't stop you from enjoying your time together. For example, you can plan a movie night and watch a movie together through online meeting platforms, or use streaming services that allow you to watch your favorite shows with your partner at any time. Numerous online quizzes and games will also be useful. Or you can simply go for a walk in the evening city and look at the moon from different cities or countries at the same time.
Agree on how to maintain trust
Even if you are absolutely sure of your loved ones, living in different places can cause suspicion and trigger jealousy. For couples where both or one of the partners is prone to jealousy, a long-distance relationship can be a huge challenge, in addition to the already difficult process of emotional and sexual separation from the one you love. If the feeling of distrust does creep in, psychologists advise you to talk about the problem with your partner directly, frankly, and calmly and look for ways to interact in a way that makes both of you feel safer.
It's up to each couple to choose such tools on their own, for some, it may be an agreement to always come home for the night, while for others it may be virtual engagement in events where one partner cannot be present. For example, video calls or sharing photos from a vacation, party, or walk. It is important that such actions should be the result of an agreement and comfortable for both partners, and not used as a tool to control or check whether there are any "suspiciously" attractive people nearby.
At the same time, it's important to be honest with your loved one, talk about any feelings or reservations you have, and find comfortable ways to reaffirm your trust if needed.
Create special traditions that both you and your partner enjoy. For example, you can read books together on Saturday evenings and discuss them afterward. Send each other photos of the dawn of a new day or your morning cappuccino. Maybe you'll enjoy sharing short videos of your gym sessions or evening runs.
You can also send each other secret packages
Surprises, like sending your partner cute little things or desired items by mail, are a great way to show that you care. A beautiful bouquet of flowers, a bottle of vintage wine, or some much-needed gear delivered to their door will definitely make your partner feel cared for and taken care of, despite the distance that separates you.
Find a way to experience intimacy
One of the biggest challenges in a long-distance relationship is the lack of physical intimacy. Cybersex offers an obvious way to try to solve this problem. You can read sex stories together or listen to tantric sex practices, experiment on the phone, or send each other sex toys. Particularly popular in such cases are those that can be controlled remotely by an app. This gives you or your partner the ability to control the other's toy. It is crucial that, just like in the sexual life of cohabiting partners, intimate encounters should be planned. So set aside some time for sex dates among your daily dates or phone calls. Among other things, this will be an effective way to maintain intimacy and let your partner know that you still want to be close to them.
Share your life
Sometimes, in the daily routine, many events begin to seem insignificant and not worthy of your partner's time and attention. However, it is often these "daily trifles" that form the foundation of emotional unity with your significant other. By sharing the routine of everyday life with your partner, you can help them feel closer and more connected. Something alive, vital, far from the successful angles of retouched photos from social media - these are the things that can help a couple maintain interest in each other's daily routines. After all, these are the unglamorous things we see every day when we live together. So, it's worth keeping them in your daily routine, even if it's long distance.
Show love and appreciation at every opportunity
If your partner is working hard or going through difficult emotional moments, support them whenever possible. Ukrainian couples separated by the war have a long history of supporting each other. For women who were forced to leave the country with their children, often young, and are adapting abroad, talking to their husbands in Ukraine is a daily island of stability. And vice versa, for men at the front, communication with their families and loved ones becomes a significant support and motivation to overcome extremely difficult times. If your partner is at the front, he needs to feel that you love him and think about him.
Distance is a challenge for relationships, but hard work will help you keep the partnership alive if you really value it. Talk about your feelings to your loved one, learn to accept different emotions and states of your partner. Share little things, make dates. Remind yourself why this person is important to you and why your relationship is valuable. Don't be afraid to talk about fatigue, difficulties, exhaustion, because often what we perceive as indifference is not really that. Also, plan for the future and make plans together, even if these are plans for life after victory in a country where the occupation war has been going on for 9 years.