Biliana Tchavdarova Todorova for Varsity

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“How do I keep my relationship fresh during lockdown?”


What I discovered over lockdown was that the postal system is actually quite groovy! You can get funky stamps; you can decorate envelopes and boxes with all kinds of glitter and crap and you can send pretty much anything! (Top tip: tea bags fit into small envelopes like a treat). In a time of headaches from too many hours spent on a laptop and that awful checking of social media, it is no wonder that all of our relationships with people are slightly more strained than before. It is hard to make someone feel special and missed through a text or call (although it can definitely help!) and the repetition of texting can make things seem dull – what on earth do you have to say these days? I think for romantic relationships (and friendships too!) surprising one another is key, and what’s better than sending the person something physical in the post! It shows them that you are still thinking about them and missing them, even when you’re not on your phone.

Some inspiration:

  1. Good old fashioned letters (make sure to jazz them up with colourful doodles or use coloured paper for that extra something)
  2. A book you think they’ll like and write a little note about why you’ve chosen it
  3. A postcard from a place you want to go to when this is all over
  4. A candle/bathbomb/ anything that makes them think of you when they’re using it

It’s important to keep the relationship a real thing – something that exists beyond Facebook messenger. You truly don’t know happiness until you see a bright pink sparkly envelope on your doormat.


Maintaining a relationship is already so much harder than it might seem to an outsider, but add in a pandemic, a third lockdown, a term of stress and the perfect storm is created. Without wanting to sound too defeatist, I think that there’s a lot to be said for trying to accept the dire state which all of our lives seem to be in at the minute. Although I’m guilty of indulging in the self-torture that is opened up by a world of ‘what-ifs’, the futility of my thoughts always leaves me feeling even worse than I already did. It’s not without reason that these have been called ‘unprecedented times’ – there is literally nothing in the world which could have prepared you for this, and being too hard on yourself won’t help all of those feelings rushing around inside you. Focus on how lucky you are that you actually have people in your life to love and miss, rather than the sadness which your separation entails. The past year has possibly been one of the worst to nurture a relationship in, so don’t punish yourself with unrealistic expectations! Just because it’s not flourishing, doesn’t mean that it’s failing.



Mountain View

Making Time for Friends

It can be pretty painful to be separated from your partner in these times. Trust me, with a boyfriend who lives 6,000 miles away in Canada, I know! However, it can be equally challenging to spend lockdown with your partner; trapped inside and without the usual hustle and bustle of life to keep things fresh. In this case, my biggest piece of advice is to make sure you set clear boundaries, and don’t forget to leave time for yourself. You might find yourself wanting to spend every second together, simply for the novelty of it, but this is not the way to keep a relationship fresh. Clear communication can be key. Set times when you will be apart, if you have room in the house, though it is possible to do separate things in the same room. Staying connected to your own interests, hobbies, and rituals is a good way to avoid suffocating the relationship. This is particularly true when the pace of uni life starts picking up, and tensions would be running high regardless. Only ever seeing the same person, no matter how much you love them, is not going to help. Take time for yourself, and for your friends. The last thing you want is to start piling unrelated resentments (you know, the ones you feel when you find yourself being force-fed the 40th slice of banana bread that you never even asked for) on the person you love most of all.


I fully understand how painful it is to be separated temporarily from your romantic partner because of lockdown. For me, the most important thing in keeping a relationship fresh is a sense of security. Keep updating your partner on how everything is going with you. If you are extremely busy during term time and really have nothing to say, please at least text them good morning and good night. Sometimes, relationships go stale not because of severe conflicts, but because of gradual reduction of interactions. Please don’t lose track of your loved one for more than 24 hours except in unforeseen circumstances. This is simple, but can effectively reduce pointless worries and doubts between lovers. During lockdown, we only want to block viruses, not love.