My Relationship Went Long Distance Because of COVID
This is a love story that had my friend move mountains to bring his COVID long-distance relationship into a normal relationship. The COVID pandemic has brought down many relationships and has emboldened others. In this story, Fitzpatrick shares what he had to endure to keep his relationship alive during this pandemic.
It’s sad the way things work out sometimes. You’ll plan out the way you want your life to go, either for the short-term or the long-term, and trust deep in your heart that things will turn out alright. Then suddenly, things fall off-track because of outside forces that you can’t control. Being in a COVID long-distance relationship isn’t something that I planned out or hoped would happen. It was a result of the entire world falling into a pandemic, leading to the border closing between the U.S.A and Canada. What started as a month or two of long-distance turned into over one year and counting.
We met in South Korea before COVID
I met my girlfriend while we were in South Korea for a teaching program. The program sent people from all across the globe to South Korea with the goal of teaching English in rural areas. The idea was to close the English ability gap between rural country kids and city kids, and it was by chance that me and my girlfriend, Anita, were sent to the same tiny town on the far east coast of South Korea. Originally, my plan was to leave my hometown of New York City and live in South Korea indefinitely. It had been a dream of mine since I was a kid to live my life in Asia, but after meeting Anita, my life’s plans had altered.
We first met in the training grounds for the teaching program. They had over 100 new teachers all train in a university for 2 weeks, and it was there where we first interacted. At first, we were just friends and nothing more. At the end of the two weeks, all 100 new teachers were split up and sent to the far corners of South Korea – completely at random. Anita and I were sent to the same ultra-tiny and ultra rural town, with our apartments just being about 2 minutes apart. This is how we grew closer, entered a serious relationship, and eventually planned to live together in Canada – her home country.
We planned to be together yet COVID forced us into a long-distance relationship
After our two years in Canada, the plan was for me to return to NY, apply for a temporary visa, find a job in Canada, and eventually work towards my Permanent Residency visa. The whole process was simple – shouldn’t have taken more than 2 or 3 months at the very most. Of course, as we all know, the world fell into chaos. Borders were shut down, people were stranded, dying, becoming sick, and nobody knew what to do or how to handle it. The prime minister of Canada had closed down borders to all but essential travel, and that locked me out. I finished all of my documents for the visa and submitted them on March 17th, 2020. The border closing and world shutdown happened on March 21st, 2020. If I had only submitted my document a week earlier I would have made it.
With long-distance, some things can’t be helped
We video called with our iPhones every single day and we spoke on the phone or texted all the time; pretty much did whatever it took to keep communication high. It was really rough sometimes. I’m a person who stays indoors whenever I can if I’m not at the gym or home, but she is someone who loves the outdoors and hanging out. Because of this, I was always ready to receive and respond to a message, but more often than not, it would take her ages to respond because she has so many activities to do and friends to see. Mentally, this was hard for me. I knew that I could trust her, and I knew that I was being sensitive, so I just had to keep my feelings to myself.
With long distance, there are some things that just can’t be helped – and this was one of them. If I were to restrict her from spending time with her friends, I assumed she would feel pressured to behave in a way that wasn’t comfortable for her. I grew used to it and become okay with the idea.
Throughout the still ongoing experience, there was never a moment where I doubted that our relationship wouldn’t work. I didn’t know when I would get to see her, but I was hopeful. I kept saying “June, June, June!” but she was doubtful. June came and went, and I was still stranded in NY. Thankfully, their prime minister administered a new rule to what “essential travel” meant. The definition of “Extended Family” was expanded to include those in a relationship with a Canadian Citizen for over 2 years, with proof to show the government. Essentially, we had to fill out a document and I had to send it to the government immigration email along with proof and my appeal. I was so hopeful that this would work – and it did. I was granted a 6-month visitation visa that would allow me to get through the border closing.
Strive to be together through the pandemic
After 10 months of not seeing her beautiful face in person, I visited Vancouver, Canada in December and stayed for 3 weeks. 2 weeks of that was spent in quarantine and the remaining week was spent outdoors and exploring, but it before I knew it, I was back on the plan returning to my cage – New York City. My depression increased when I realized how short it was and around 3 months later, I decided to leave my job and return to Canada to use up the rest of my visitation visa. I’ve been here since March 14th, 2021, and today it is April 17th, 2021. I’ll have to leave again on May 1st. Last week, I submitted my application for an extension of another 6 months which will hopefully allow me to stay here longer while I wait for my more long-term visa to finally process.
Long-distance relationships are extremely tough. Sometimes it felt like I was doing all the work or making all the sacrifices, but that isn’t true. I’m the one that wants to move to Canada to be with her, and I know that this relationship isn’t going anywhere. I genuinely want to be with her, so I have to give it my all and go full force. Moments of weakness will happen when you are apart from your loved one for too long, but it’s important to keep communication as high as possible and be transparent. If you aren’t willing to deal with a little bit of doubt every now and then, you won’t last.
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Trying my best to learn every day, progress every day, and try something different every day.