~ April, 2021 ~ When lockdown began last year, I was on a high after landing a book deal for my latest novel, all about self-love. I decided to give myself an overdue break from work and start having more fun. I hadn’t had a long-term relationship for almost four years and, after my latest attempt to do just that had ended in January, I was ready to prioritise my love life again.
Only then the pandemic happened, my decision to take a short career break became a forced six-month hiatus, and it became impossible to date IRL. After a few video dates that went nowhere, I decided to embrace the reality. Instead of going on a series of average dates whose openers were ‘So how was your journey here?’, I could pause dating and enjoy my own company.
It meant I had one of the most relaxed summers ever. I didn’t feel bad about being single because I had no choice. Friends stopped asking about my love life because they correctly presumed Covid had taken it away, leaving me free to sunbathe.
In September, things changed. As the bars opened, I downloaded Tinder and began swiping. A few weeks in, I met an attractive writer who made me laugh over Jane Eyre jokes. We started going for drinks, dinners (all with a 10pm curfew) and, by the November lockdown, he popped the only question that matters in a pandemic, asking me to be in his bubble.
I never expected to find a relationship during a year of lockdowns, but I’m so glad that I did. It’s brought me a connection that’s deepened with the conversations Covid has forced us into, about everything from our fears of how our relationship could change post-pandemic to Government rules requiring us to spend a month apart over Christmas. Six months in, our highlight reel includes everything from peeing in bushes on day trips, to eating Turkish takeaways in my car, all peppered with cosy nights in.
It hasn’t always been easy but, no matter what the future holds, I’ll always be grateful for this relationship coming into my life during one of the hardest years to date.