I went into lockdown with my boyfriend after just a month of dating
‘The time has now come for us all to do more. ‘From this evening, I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home,’ Boris Johnson strictly stated via the telly in my small, solely-occupied flat. ‘So, shall I come and stay with you then?’ my new boyfriend, Matt, asked over the phone 10 minutes later. I paused. Matt and I had only been dating for a month and I was still deep in the swooning phase. The previous week, I even giggled coyly to my best friend: ‘I think I love him a little bit.’ Despite having a fault-free handful of dates, I found myself with mixed emotions at the thought of living with him – for god knows how long – in my tiny, ‘single-gal-takes-on-the-world’ flat.
I still carry emotional baggage from past live-in relationships. Fall-outs from washing up or bickering about money strains. Not least getting fed up over who used the last bit of toilet paper.
I at least knew we were safe from falling into the latter doom pit, as I’d just been out to the apocalyptic supermarket to purchase a 24-pack of loo roll. My brain quickly did the maths. It was a toss-up between total solitude with daily ‘I miss you’ phone calls and a bonafide live-in-lover. F**k it. We decided to leap in. I drove to pick Matt up. He packed a backpack with five pairs of pants, a few t-shirts, his guitar and half a bag of dried penne pasta from his house share. We’re now nearing the end of week three of 24/7 dating. It’s an amalgamated squish of daily lay ins, freshly ground coffee and country music, steamy shared showers, wobbly yoga attempts, and daily walks basking in gloriously warm rays. We’ve also virtually met each other’s friends via Houseparty, which was far less daunting than a real-life scenario. We’ve gone to a series of gigs by queuing up an evening’s worth of live YouTube recordings and even stood up and clapped between each song. We’ve made a very successful lasagne to accompany a ‘when in Rome’ themed date night whilst Dean Martin croons ‘That’s Amore’ in the background. Via social media we saw others learning new skills such as Latin or embroidery, so we ordered a book about tantric sex and some more condoms.
The things you find when you eventually move in with a long-term lover have shown up early for us. Personal grooming, for example, was on this morning’s agenda. My beau mused over his multigrain-hoop cereal: ‘I’ll tidy up my beard after this and I should probably trim the top of my ass too, aye?’
Our daily exercise walks have been painted by romantic pastel pink cherry blossoms and letting stories from our past unfurl at ease without time pressure or limitation. We’re able to dive into each other’s deeper currents and feelings, with each other’s full attention. Our dreams and desires have air time. There’s no need to drop a conversation to hop on a bus or hurriedly get to the office. There’s no mistaken mishaps with clumsy texts or work stresses to distract our attention. Of course a few blips have arisen. There’s the cohabiting quirks you only find out about someone after giving them a key to your abode. Leaving the lid off the toothpaste so that the innards goop all over the sink. Guitar strumming the same riff over and over until the melody is carved in my brain forevermore. Matt also panic-bought a garish zebra print robe pre-lockdown and now lives in it until around midday. In the first week the scent was riddled with attractive pheromones, but I sense week four will bring a spin in the washing machine for this fleecy animal. Boredom has encouraged a few little itches to be mindlessly scratched. Little anxieties presenting themselves like black smoke in a jar, just willing itself to be burst open. But through opening the jars together with care, we’ve discovered that we’re a capable match to hold each other’s feelings with respect, thereby accelerating our deeper levels of trust. Advertisement Most importantly, we’ve laughed every day. In fact, most days we have taken each other to tears with some quip or quick wit. Whilst the world spins in complete precarity, I’m grateful for my lockdown-lover keeping my small section of the planet filled high with joy. I feel like I’m taking part in an intense dating social experiment, and for now, the results are very encouraging for our future.