A COVID-19 relationship


Dear Annie: I am a college student who has been dating a girl for about two months. She’s from out of town but lives in the same city as me. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been more isolated than usual. She has a roommate but otherwise feels lonely. I spend as much time with her as I can (respecting social distancing protocols, of course), and we text a lot.

In anticipation of having to stay home, I’ve taken on several projects that take up a lot of my free time. I am passionate about them. My girlfriend, who has more free time, will often video call me while I’m working, expecting me to immediately answer and talk for a while, even on days where we’ve spent hours together in person. If I try to politely decline, she says, “Ouch.” How can I explain to her that, while I do love talking to her, I want to do other things, too, and don’t appreciate being guilted over needing some personal time outside of my work? — Girlfriend Blues

Dear Girlfriend Blues: The best way to explain is exactly the way you did in your letter. It is very healthy that you have found things to keep you busy during the lockdown, and you should encourage your girlfriend to do the same.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone. During stressful times, people use different coping mechanisms. Perhaps hers is to be needy while yours is to withdraw and find other things to do. Good relationships have the three c’s: communication, compromise and commitment. After you have communicated what’s in your letter, if you are both committed to the relationship, you might have to compromise with her as well.

Best of luck to you both, and stay safe and well!

Send your questions for Annie Lane to dearannie@creators.com.