On top of the stress of a long-distance relationship, they’re dealing with unexpected legal issues with Anja leaving the country to work. Staying strong for their son helps them keep calm.
Vlad and Anja met many years ago at University in Serbia. A few years ago they were married and had a baby together. Anja works in the neighboring country, Bosnia, so they’ve had an off-and-on long-distance relationship for a long time now.
When the virus hit, curfew and total lockdown of Serbia became imminent. Anja had just come home for a visit a few days earlier. Back in Sarajevo, a team of 40+ people was counting on her. If she didn’t get back in time, her job would be on the line.
“We realized that Anja going back to Bosnia could end up with the three of us (our toddler and us) apart, indefinitely.
Airlines were grounded, so I drove her to the border. There, she crossed on foot while I waited for confirmation that she was safe (and free from mass quarantine) on the other side.
Confusion about lockdown and isolation rules added to the uncertainty of when we would be together again. It turned out the police thought she shouldn’t have left our home at all, let alone crossed the border.
Thinking about her getting ill alone in another country, dealing with the legal labyrinth of ways to get her back, and how she would be treated⎯there were threats of prison⎯was exhausting and terrifying.”
How They’ve Managed the Stress of a Long-Distance Relationship in a Difficult Situation
“Without much planning, we started doing video calls in the evening right away. We’d give our son a bath and tell bedtime stories together. It gave us both something fulfilling to look forward to at the end of the day.
Melancholy peaked over both sides of the border. The most difficult moment was the toddler’s birthday coming up while she was away. Watching your kid blow candles and unwrap presents over Zoom is an emotional rollercoaster: happiness for the immensely excited kid, and sadness for not being there.
Having to care about a little one’s emotions helps you stay calm and focused on details since their feelings are as unpredictable as whether you’ve cleaned your hands after a visit to the store.
Planning things to do when we’re together again, and including a kid in those plans, has kept us sane and hoping for the lockdown to pass soon.”