RELATIONSHIP: Lockdown Love Stories

In B.C. (Before Corona), dating went as follows: you met someone, you guys did a dance and eventually – you either got it together, or you didn’t. Sometimes the union lasted, at other times it didn’t.

There’s something about this pandemic that makes everything seem like it’s intensified and pressurised. Decisions have significance and clear-cut repercussions that aren’t as easy to ignore.We’ve had to change the way we look at so much – from how we live, the way we choose to love, to the intensity with which we do it.

For many people, the pandemic has proven to be a defining moment in their lives. Almost like fire: some relationships, like plastic, melted and burned under the fiery heat of the pandemic. Others, like clay, were forged stronger because of it.

For the first in this series, we have a lovely blended couple: Ciru, 36 – and Cheikh, 33. Both in their thirties, the couple met right before COVID wound its way through 2020.

Below is their story, of Lockdown Love

I was in the prime highlight of my carefree dating life. I enjoyed being single, was very happy to wait until the best guy for me came along. You can’t rush perfection, I always say.

We matched on a dating app. I thought he was super cute. I didn’t think he’d work as a boyfriend, but as a friend, definitely – he had a nice, open smile and expression, with a fun profile bio.

When we spoke, though, I confirmed in my mind that we couldn’t be compatible – he had four large dogs, and I have two very fussy cats. Yup, I’m that cat-lady! Any pet-parent can tell you – it’s hard to blend pet families!

So we went for a friendly coffee – it couldn’t hurt, right? When we met, he was just as I’d hoped he would be – nice, friendly, open.

We said hello for the first time around noon. I’d planned we’d hang out for an hour, since it was just coffee. However, I looked up to realise that much more time than that had passed.

Several hours later, we decided on a walk through my neighbourhood. I was still nervous – we all know the stories of crazy charmers, who do all sorts of vile things. My heart was in my throat, but I took precautions and kept faith.

Pleased to say he wasn’t a psycho at all.

But I still thought we’d just be good friends.

The next hangout started off very friendly. I met him, super relaxed mentally, sure we’d just do a calm hangout and then part ways as friends.

This time, however, something was different. Whenever he touched me, I found myself aware of him, everywhere. I realised the feeling was mutual, so I decided to keep an open mind.

After that, we saw each other almost every single day. We found ourselves connecting physically and emotionally. He started incorporating himself into my world, and me into his. I met his mother, his brothers – and his house-full of pets. HE met all my friends.

By this point, we were joined at the hip. Those first few weeks, every day felt like waking up from a beautiful dream.

The dream didn’t last long. COVID-19 came and lockdown started. By then, we knew what we’d have to do.

I felt so sad at the thought of parting ways with him – so we did something crazy. While dating during a pandemic sounded like a terrible idea, we decided to take a leap of faith and take it one step further.

We moved in together! Not just to have “company” or a lockdown boo during the pandemic – but to get to know each other in these strange times.

During the lockdown, we grew so close. He did video calls to meet my friends. He took care of me whenever I got ill. I did the same for him. We had socially distant lunches with his parents, so they got to know me quite well. After awhile, it felt like we’d been meant to know one another all our lives.

We introduced our pets, determined to make it work even though we knew it would be a disaster. It was… initially. It’s still not easy, but at least our pets are learning to get along; and it’s proven to be the hardest part of our entire relationship. We’ve even adopted a dog together!

As the pandemic wore on, I began to realise something.The more time I spent with him, the more time I wanted to spend around him. Hardly a day went by, when I didn’t include this man in my prayers – this human being, who felt like he’d been tailor-made for me.

This man, who was the Muslim to my Christian, the West African to my East African self. A dog-lover to my cat-owning self. Different languages, with one in common: our language, of love. They say opposites don’t get along – but, I’m happy to say, not in our case! Opposites do attract. You just have to find the right one that you vibe with. Not that everything is that crisp perfection like the movies claim – it’s even better: it’s real, and true.

I’d made the best possible decision for my love life: taking a chance on myself and on love. Eleven months ago I swiped right – and not too long ago, I found myself swiping “yes” to “I do.”

Now, I have one more addition to our blended family: we’re expecting a baby!

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About Author / Efua Oyofo

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