In Love But Worlds Apart During the Pandemic

I met a wonderful woman in my most recent travels to Bali.

She was in Indonesia because her brother had just passed away. Her brother took his life because of a painful breakup and rejection of a young woman he had fallen in love with.

I was in Indonesia because I had fallen in love with Bali and maybe…to have been there for her during one of the most painful times in her life. As we spoke about grief and loss, our affection for each other began to grow.

At that time, we were living with rose-tinted glasses, like lovebirds without a care in the world. Time was on our side and the world was filled with promise and possibilities. It was pre-pandemic, pre-Corona times in early 2020.

Only when we both left Indonesia, did we realize that there may be something there more than a passing interest in each other. We both valued simplicity, spirituality, and living closer to our families. We both were from the East but living in the West. We both had experienced profound loss and heartbreak. We both had been divorced.

As she returned to Europe and got back to work, I stayed back a little longer in Asia. My plan was to head back to India for the spiritual experiences and cheaper cost of living. I wanted to go back to Kerala to spend more time with a Swami I had met late last year.

When I was visiting Malaysia where my family lives and is originally from, I found myself in the worldwide lockdown and shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020.

Initially, the distance was wonderful to allow love to bloom. We had plenty of time for video calls, twice daily Whatsapp calls and lots of love-filled texts throughout the day. We would be together soon, we both kept telling ourselves and each other. In the meantime, all I could do was keep sending my love virtually and local chocolate cupcake delivery through the internet.

We celebrated our one month anniversary which became 3 months and most recently, became 6 months. While our love for each other has grown over time, our optimism about being able to see each other hasn’t.

With each passing month and with more countries tightening restrictions and making it virtually impossible to travel, I wonder if and when I can ever get to Europe to see her.

To top it all off, I have an American passport which means I can literally travel to 15 countries and most of these countries aren’t in Europe. Asia and Europe has pretty much stopped Americans from traveling to their countries so I’m stuck at the moment.

I happen to be in the one country that I can be in the moment, Singapore, with very few places to go. I ended up here by a fluke and through an odd exception. Most of Europe is out of the question for someone with an American passport so I have no idea what to do next.

This pandemic feels like our generation’s world war. We are living apart in different countries around the world unable to travel, not because of any enemy threat, but a viral one. We are not able to see each other, be with each other, or love each other.

We are not alone in this struggle either. Plenty of couples around the world have been separated due to the virus. In fact, there’s been a movement to help unmarried couples reunite, with its own set of hashtags #lovenottourism #loveisessential. You can read more about it here.

Organizers are trying to remind the European Union that couples are not visiting each other because of tourism but because they are in a relationship with each other. There have been some successes as you can see in this article but not all countries are allowing for an unmarried couples visa. Even if they are allowing you in, each country has varied requirements about what’s sufficient for couples to meet each other.

This is a fascinating time for someone who used to practice US immigration law, where I helped reunite hundreds of fiances and spouses. I never thought that I would be on the other side of the immigration system, trying to unite with a loved one. I also never imagined a day would come that the U.S. passport would limit the countries I can travel to but here we are.

The travel restrictions have brought us closer together as distance does make the heart grow fonder, but also making us question if this relationship is viable. Can a couple be together if they are not physically able to be together? Should we keep trying? Should we keep waiting? Should we meet other people? Should we move on?

Right now, we are choosing to stick together and see what laws change and how soon. We are choosing to stick together because we know how hard it is to find relationships and people who are compatible with each other . It’s no easy task to find someone you get along easily with. It’s not easy to find someone with your shared values and the same outlook on life.

Life seems a little unfair at the moment. On one had, I met the person of my dreams. On the other, a worldwide pandemic is keeping us apart. Were we just a passing fancy that will remain memories in each other’s hearts or will we get together soon and live happily ever after?

I’m not sure what the answer is but I will keep you posted. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts or travel strategies, please do feel free to share.

Also, everything that I did to attract and find this person in my life can be found in this book that I wrote a few years back. Pick up Does True Love Exist today (affiliate link).