As students we’re used to being able to see our significant others whenever we want, with relatively little difficulty. So, national lockdown is a problem.

Couples, old and new, had to make a decision – and quickly. Do they isolate together or stay in their respective homes, away from each other indefinitely? It sounds like an easy answer, doesn’t it? Obviously you move in. But let’s break it down a bit further, looking at the pros and cons of each.

Those who decided to move in together were forced to do so under intense time pressure, at what was an incredibly emotional time for the entire nation. Their decisions were likely driven partly by fear of not seeing each other for a long time. Could this have led to a decision which is potentially detrimental for their relationship? What about couples who felt pressured to take this step because that’s what their friends were doing? The “blind” nature of love is almost certainly heightened by a global pandemic.

What’s so detrimental about being in lockdown with the love of your life, I hear you ask? For a lot of couples this will be their first time living together – a big step to take in any relationship at a normal time. Learning more of each other’s potentially irritating habits and adjusting to one another’s routines can put a strain on the relationship anyway; doing so while living with their family and barely being allowed out of the house for alone time makes it even more stressful.

It’s not all doom and gloom though! For some, having the comfort of their significant other in such difficult times, and reducing some of the elements of uncertainty that lockdown brings, is the ideal situation. It’s not hard to see why.

But, what about those couples who aren’t isolating together? For many, it simply wasn’t an option, with factors like childcare responsibilities, caring for vulnerable family members, and essential work making it impossible. Seeing friends getting to endure lockdown with their partners via social media will likely make this decision feel all the more difficult.

Other couples will have actively chosen to be apart – perhaps to retain their own routines, or because they recognise that their relationship isn’t ready for this step. However, not being physically together presents an entirely different set of obstacles to overcome. When the in-person elements of a relationship – everything a couple is used to – are removed, communication and regular contact become of paramount importance. Unfortunately, this is something which many people are inherently a bit rubbish at. However, when done well and with equal amounts of effort from each side, the relationship can continue to thrive with both parties very happy in spite of the distance.

What is important for all couples to remember during these difficult times is that having someone else – whether in a physical or virtual capacity – to share this experience with, and being able to support each other, is still a great thing. Being in lockdown with your partner will allow you to learn so many more things about them. Being without them, meanwhile, might just remind you how fortunate you are to have someone in life that you can miss so much. Remember that Winnie the Pooh quote, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” And thankfully, with modern technology they are never that far away.

It’s difficult for all couples to have such a huge change imposed on their relationship, but these external forces don’t have to be “make or break” for anyone’s relationship. The idea of couples emerging the other side of this still together, and probably closer than they were before, is something we should find solace in.

And if you have a partner who hasn’t shaved their head yet, consider yourself one of the lucky ones.