How do you save a long-distance relationship with a Russian during Corona?

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Russia Beyond readers share their suggestions about dating when you live in different countries.

This year has been a major challenge for couples who live in separate countries. How do you maintain your feelings when the borders are closed? We asked our readers to tell us what they have done to save their long-distance relationships with Russians this year and in general.

“God save Skype”

“Honest talks, trust in each other. And God save Skype,” writes matadanalu.  

Other readers agree and say they had calls or video calls with each other almost every day.

“Don't be skeptical of long-distance relationships.... it can work if you both are patient,” writes Alain B (A1ainb). “We were practically on Skype every day, even during working hours. My wife used to work as a bank manager in the Orenburg region, so she could easily connect anytime from her office. We met in February 2011, her visa was approved in November, and she moved to Norway in December that same year. We got married in June 2012, [and are] still happily married.” 

Besides making time to chat, our readers recalled how they managed to celebrate birthdays and holidays together. Unfortunately, virtual parties were the best option available this year. 

“I am totally in love with my man Andrew who is a Russian citizen, and I am American,” says Cheryl Goodman. “In fact tomorrow we celebrate his birthday. I am having a virtual birthday party for my sweetheart. I have ordered a cake and will put up decorations in the apartment so that when we talk to each other by video call we can celebrate his birthday together. That way until we can celebrate it together next year after we’re married.”

“I’m in Indonesia, and he is in Kazan now. Long-distance relationships do need a lot of work, commitment, trust, and most importantly, time. Sounds scary, but love wins it all,” writes Demistriydh. “It was 2018, the first time we met. We both pursued Masters degrees in one of the universities in Sydney. He proposed to me two months after we started dating. A few months later, he and his family came to Indonesia to propose to me in marriage according to the cultural values of Indonesian people and in front of my parents, extended families, and friends. So, here we are, we've been together for almost three years, one year together in Sydney, and almost two years of long-distance relationship between Indonesia and Russia. My fiancé has shown me that a long-distance relationship is possible and effortless.”

Dating in travel

Before the pandemic, one of the main options for couples from different countries was to meet each other for vacations in a third country. 

“We met each other for the first time in Berlin, it was early 2014. I wanted to learn Russian, she wanted to improve her English,” writes Stevenxon. “After this, to keep in touch, we saw each other every month, starting with Nice, Budapest, Mallorca, Riga, Brussels, Amsterdam, she came to me in Switzerland, I went to her in Moscow. Until 2016, when she decided to move to Italy to get a master’s degree and stay close to me. And here we are, planning a family together. We've been partners since first sight while traveling around Europe.”

A positive development is the #LoveIsNotTourism movement. Participating countries have made exceptions to travel restrictions, making it possible for couples to visit each other. Countries that have made travel exceptions for unmarried couples are primarily in Europe, and unfortunately Russia is not a participant. Many people are ready to subject themselves to COVID tests, quarantines and other restrictions in order to go abroad and see their partner. 

“I married the love of my life in Tyumen on May 23, 2019. Since then, I've been traveling back and forth between Greater Sudbury, Ontario, Canada every 3 months using different visas,” writes Daniel de Chevigny. “I'm currently waiting for my next visa and should be returning to her, my two stepchildren and our son in the next few days. I can't wait to receive my RVP, which is supposed to be on January 29th, 2021. It's been extremely difficult to make flight arrangements but I've been very lucky.”

Get out your piggy bank

“We suffer a lot because of a poor internet connection that makes Skype work improperly, and we couldn’t see each other,” writes e.vinstory, who comes from Malaysia and married a Russian man from Siberia. “Calling through VOIP calls is a cheaper option and allows longer conversations just to hear their voice.” She writes that one way they were lucky is that the difference between their time zones was not so great. “Probably I would have a Ferrari if I’d just spent the money to keep flying here and there many times from Jakarta to Novosibirsk. That’s the most painful thing, but it is worth it when we meet after so long.” Now they are married and live in Novosibirsk.

The long-distance relationships can be quite expensive, but our readers agree that spending time together is more important than money.

“My Russian daughter-in-law is wonderful. We have a beautiful granddaughter too. The worst part is being seperated!” says Donna Nicoll. “My son is in Australia, and they are in Russia. The Australian government [makes it] hard to get visas! Even before COVID! Very long, difficult, expensive road for them. Heartbreaking not to have seen them for over a year”.

And if you don’t know what to do while it is not possible to see each other, reader elena_ru_teacher recommends using the time to learn Russian and “be 100% ready for your next meeting.”

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