What happens when a travel ban puts an entire ocean between you and your partner? Couples the world over are finding out, as countries block international travel to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Here are their stories—and their advice for others weathering the same storm.

Across the Atlantic

Nat was travelling around Colombia when the country’s borders closed. A string of cancelled flights left the musician trapped in Medellín—with his girlfriend still in Switzerland.

Couple standing together

“It’s a huge bummer because I was getting ready to permanently move to Switzerland officially with her,” he said. “As of yesterday, we’ve been together for two years […] We usually don’t like lying around doing nothing, but that sounds like heaven right now.” He doubts he’ll see her until June.

A Tale of Two Cities

It’s not an uncommon story. More than 80 countries have introduced a new coronavirus travel ban, taking holidaymakers and long-distance lovers alike unawares. London-based writer Celina Tolbert (@CelinaTTolbert) has been navigating a long-distance relationship with her partner in Paris for over a year. “We’ve already done 3.5 months apart, so we kind of thought we’d done our suffering,” she said.

Her words of wisdom as a seasoned long distancer? “If you need words of affirmation, ask for them. If you need to call twice a week, ask for that. If you are going to be busy for a day studying, text your partner and tell them.”

Every cloud…

But there is an upside to all of this according to globe-trotter Lacey (@LaceyvanderHarg). While a travel ban may have delayed her move from the UK to join her partner in Costa Rica (they met while working on a cruise ship!), she feels these situations could be a chance for couples to connect on a deeper level.

“I believe that this will bring many couples closer,” said Lacey. “They can grow stronger and get more creative in keeping the relationship strong […] We know we have each other at the end of it all.”

Couple standing together

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