MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The COVID pandemic has changed how couples celebrate Valentine's Day. It's a challenge for everyone, but even more so for couples in long-distance relationships.
Deb Lomax and Jason Ward have been dating a year and a half, which means most of it has been during the pandemic. And since she lives in London and he lives in Chicago, they've had to get really creative to keep their weekly date night special.
Virtual reality headsets were a gift from Ward for Valentine's Day.
"We've been in the virtual world, which has been absolutely amazing. I could have never imagined it would be so much fun," said Lomax.
Over the past year, they've tried out recipes together and sent each other a lot of homemade gifts.
"I vowed to Deborah that I would not let a pandemic push my love away from her," said Ward.
Ward traveled to London at Christmas but said the pandemic made it super stressful and expensive when he had to change his flight in order to get an extra COVID test.
"I feel like it's really held us back in a lot of ways. We would have done so much more. We would have been so further forward in this relationship. I feel like we have been cheated," said Lomax.
But therapist Alicia Muñoz said Ward and Lomax are not necessarily worse off.
"They might really still be in that sort of biochemical high of in love, which really acts as a huge buffer to conflicts. In long-distance relationships that buffer can stay there longer," she said.
Muñoz said the key to any successful long-distance relationship is communication, good scheduling, and making sure to get on each other's calendars.
Ward and Lomax video chat every day, but due to current travel restrictions they have no idea when they'll see each other in person again.
"I'm gonna be here, she's gonna be there, and we're gonna do whatever we need to do to make it work," Ward said.
They say they'll keep finding ways to feel close, even though they're 4,000 miles apart.
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