What do our love stories look like in a COVID 19 world?

The COVID 19 pandemic, and the many, many, MANY lockdowns that it has put us in, have forced us to adjust our relationships. Whether that’s been moving in with a partner, trying to date, or adjusting the way we love ourselves.

Data collected by GiftsOnline4U found that 12% of couples in the UK moved in together in 2020. Despite how much you love someone, it’s difficult to live, work, and exist in the same space as one person for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Anita 

My fiancé and I have had a very close relationship and spent a lot of time together ever since we first started dating in the summer of 2017. We met at work and moved in together after just two months. Before COVID, we used to sit in different departments and didn’t really interact much during the day. We mostly spent evenings/weekends together, but also had a lot of alone time as my fiancé would travel for work frequently and I would go on weekend breaks with girlfriends, etc. 

Then COVID and lockdown hit, and we stopped going to the office. We stopped traveling, and we started to basically spend 24 hours a day together. 

My biggest challenge in the last year has been being away from friends and family. My fiancé has been my rock through it all, and we have been really conscious of being open and supporting each other when needed, but also giving each other space if we just need some alone time.

It’s now been more than a year since we’ve seen friends and family, but our relationship is stronger than ever. I am just so grateful that we have gone through, and are still going through, it all together. I think this time has been a make-or-break point for many relationships, and we are coming out stronger than ever. We’re even planning our wedding for 2022 (hopefully!). 

Photo by Gabby K from Pexels

For those of us who are single, COVID has presented us with a new challenge- how do we date when we can barely leave the house? And what happens if we meet someone and, dare I say it, fall in love? 

Oisin

We met on hinge around September time, when you could go out but not go out out. We were chatting for a good 2 or 3 weeks, and, eventually, he suggested for us to meet up. I booked for us to go to a bar, where we had a few drinks. Obviously, a lot of the chat was pandemic related, but we did find time to chat about non-pandemic related stuff.  After the date, we agreed that we were going to meet up again. 

2 or 3 days later we agreed to go out again. I booked another bar for us to go to. We went to another bar, shared a £10 platter, and had a cute time. We stayed there for a while, only because the cocktails were cheap, before ending up in GAY Late. Stuffed from a £10 platter, but needing to buy a substantial meal in order to carry on drinking, we had a couple of cocktails and a couple of shots.

It was two months after our first date, during the Christmas period, and we were going to walk to the Tate to see the Christmas lights. After 2 hours, we couldn’t find the lights, and it turns out that we had walked to the wrong Tate. So, we gave up on Christmas and walked down the bank to find somewhere to sit and continue chatting. It was there that he asked if I wanted him to be my boyfriend. Since then, we’ve been going strong. 

Photo by Designecologist from Pexels

It seems that the COVID 19 pandemic has not stopped us from trying to find ‘the one’. In fact, according to Statista, there were 67.9 thousand Tinder downloads to android devices in March 2020 alone. That being said, there are some people who are still finding ways to meet people organically. 

Holly

As I was sat in the waiting room to get my eyes tested, I spotted one of the workers. We made eye contact, you know because that’s the only kind of contact you can really have right now. 

I didn’t think much of it, had my eyes tested, and then went to sit down to get my lenses measured. Low and behold, it was the same guy I had spotted earlier. We were sat there, and he was chatting about lenses or whatever, honestly, I feel like he charmed me a bit because I ended up paying about a hundred pounds for new lenses. 

We were chatting away, talking about the music that we were into, and what I do for work, and he was saying that he did some business stuff on the side and that he might need a business lawyer someday. There were flirty vibes, but obviously, when you’re wearing masks it’s hard to tell, he could have been frowning the whole time. He seemed really nice. He had really nice eyes, and he just seemed really cute and friendly. 

Nearing the end of my appointment, he asked me how we were going to keep in contact. I wasn’t too sure if he meant because I was a lawyer or if he was being flirty, so I just thought, do you know what, I’m going to shoot my shot. You only get your eyes tested once every few years, so why not.’ I asked him if he had a pen and paper, I don’t know why I said pen and paper because I obviously had my phone on me, and I wrote my number down for him. It was the first time in ages that I had met somebody who I don’t live with and who I vibed with, so I just thought why not, we’re in a pandemic so if I’m not going to give out my number now when am I going to? 

I left and felt all giddy because I had never given out my number before, especially on a post-it-note. He never text me, but I did feel very empowered by the whole situation. 

There isn’t much of a love story, but it was fun while it lasted.  

For some people, myself included, their lockdown love story has been focused on themselves. Looking within and working on the act of self-love.

Mel

I decided to love myself more during Lockdown. I moderated my drinking, and made friends with my undiagnosed ADHD I never knew I had until lockdown.

In March 2020, my successful hospitality business became another victim of the Coronavirus pandemic. I owned a successful, award-winning, under 5’s play barn and restaurant in Essex called The Nurture Barn. We were the community stop for weaning, breastfeeding, and socialising– it’s lonely for new Parents. 

Of course, unlike nurseries with bubbles, we couldn’t open or change to fit COVID, as new parents don’t want to be where potential germs are. Plus, the Government wanted a certain distance between children in play centers, which meant that we could only have 6 customers in at a time rather than 40.

My anxiety was high. I missed the social aspect, 8 redundancies were looming- all mothers, homeschooling had started, and I escaped it all through drinking too many wines and binge-watching Netflix after my 10-year-old went to bed. I also realised, at 48, that I had ADHD. For the first time ever, there was little stimulation and distraction to help my impulsivity. That wasn’t comfortable.

In June, I decided I needed to do something about my situation. Noticing I was dangerously drinking up to 50/60 units a week when the recommended weekly amount for adults is 14 units, I needed moderation. Whilst homeschooling, I set about creating an alcoholic cucumber spirit with less alcohol in it. The result was Mooze 12%. It kept my busy mind entertained, it was good for my ADHD, and drinking a glass of Mooze & Tonic worked as a dopamine placebo for me. 

An award-winning local Gin distillery in Essex was appointed, I got my friend Mo involved and we launched in November.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich from Pexels
Iona 

I have fallen in love with the body I have and learnt to be more patient with my weight gain, and loss, over the months. My weight literally fluctuates week to week, and I think I’ve turned a corner in not stressing over it. I love all my stretch marks, and the fact that one boob is definitely bigger than the other, and all the other odds and ends that I used to fixate on changing when I was younger. 

Photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels
Khushbu 

Loving yourself sounds easy and simple, doesn’t it? It certainly isn’t.

To be honest, my journey with self-love began a couple of years ago, when I first took myself out for a coffee date, followed by dinner dates, and then solo trips. The list kept going on and the feeling stronger. But, in its true sense, it began during the lockdown.

From painting my house all by myself to cooking my favourite meals, the quarantine period has given me an opportunity to spend time with myself. It has given me the strength to look myself in the mirror and feel grateful. I realised, no matter what happens outside in the world, what truly matters is how I feel on the inside. I began to look at my flaws with glistening eyes and realised how they’re the most beautiful parts of me. The scars I wear are the true mark of courage. Nobody’s got my back the way I do. Every time I plan a surprise for myself, I feel the warmth that’s going to protect me. I wrote my first love letter to myself during the lockdown. Now, each time I read it, I know I’m the best I’ll ever get.

Photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels

As the COVID 19 pandemic goes on, we are constantly being bombarded with messages of sadness and despair. This pandemic has been, and still is, incredibly saddening, but there is still love, in all its forms, to help get us through.