The Love Bug: Stories Of Finding Love During The Coronavirus
Despite the pandemic keeping people quarantined in their homes and preventing physical intimacy, all around the world strangers are still trying to find love. No global virus seems to be able to slow down Cupid’s swift arrow, flying left, right and centre, and hitting unsuspecting bystanders in its’ path. From Tinder swipes, to roommate romances and friendship fancies, here is a collection of love stories from the coronavirus.
Name: Ethan Lane
Occupation: Data Analyst
Location: London, United Kingdom
I first met Patricia during my first year of university. We had a short fling two years back when she was on a break with the guy she was seeing at the time. But after our initial fling, she went back with her then boyfriend and we didn’t speak for two years.
When lockdown was happening in the UK, my family took the last plane back to New Zealand. I stayed behind. I was furloughed at the time and was stuck in the house. A couple of days later Patricia sent me a message, and it turned out she had been living down the road from me. Initially I panicked, but she made me laugh in her messages, and I finally replied back.
At the time, we still didn’t really know what the rules were. I think everyone was extremely lonely, isolating by themselves. And I guess for me, lockdown really helped my dating life. I was used to travelling and bouncing around, and quarantine settled me. I asked Patricia if she wanted to quarantine with me, and we’ve spent the entire lockdown together. We did all kinds of things, like move the chair out to the garden, cook together, work-out together at home and even I got a Disney plus subscription.
She’s not officially my girlfriend yet, but I am going to ask her. I am actually going to buy 200 pieces of rods and stakes and stick them in the ground, and have it spell out ‘Will You Be My Girlfriend?’. She won’t be able to see it from the ground, but if you climb up to the roof, you will be able to read it.
I think if it wasn’t for the lockdown, I would have found a million ways of not spending time with her. Quarantining together was kind of like, we’re in this together.
Name: Patricia Cherana
Occupation: Law Student
Location: London, United Kingdom
To put it briefly, I met Ethan 5 years ago and due to unexpected circumstance I needed to block him back in 2017. Just after the lockdown started, I unblocked him. Normal people start living together after few years of dating but in our case, we went straight from not talking to living together for a month and a half. I didn’t know what to expect.
The first few days were weird. It was clear that we weren’t comfortable together but it didn’t take long until we adjusted to each other. There are many things that I would like to write about, but I’ll pick a few of my favourite:
His alarm goes off every morning at 6am. Most days he would just wake up, do his own thing and let me sleep. However, I started to calculate how much attention I need in the morning and how much of his time would I simply waste. For example, if he’s alarm was set for 7am, I would wake him up at 6:45am. That gives me 15 minutes of full attention and unlimited cuddles before he starts his day.
I also came up with a second morning routine. He would give me a piggyback ride from his room to downstairs on the kitchen counter. That really helps with my morning crankiness and if that’s not the definition of happiness then what is?
So when he asked me in the end if I enjoyed living with him, I said yes. And in a weird way, I meant it. Apart from the fact that I got ill twice. He kept opening the window during the night! For him, it was a constant battle between sleeping next to baby girl in a sauna or sleeping in the next room with the A/C on. The only downside was that we wouldn’t sleep together. Some days I would wake up and he would be in the next room with the A/C on. I don’t know how he does it. It’s freezing in there!
Name: Rachael Ng
Location: Toronto, Canada
My boyfriend, whom we can call Collin, and I met months prior to Covid-19 in a school club. I was never interested in him, and it was the same on his side. One day, my roommate and I were discussing how I seemed to have commitment issues when it came to dating. I would go on dates with these really great guys that seemed to check off everything I was looking for, but I just couldn't develop feelings for any of them.
Then the internet blessed me with a piece of information. I learned about the aromantic spectrum and resonated with the community. It felt like it all made sense now. I told Collin about how I was questioning my sexuality, was I really aromantic? There are so many different categories and labels! I decided it was time for me to experiment with my sexuality. Although many aromantics are also asexual, I knew for certain that I wasn't. I wanted some action, although at this point in time I hadn't even kissed a boy.
I had already slept over at Collins place on several occasions. But after a short night of clubbing, I went back to Collins place. Collin and I decided to watch a movie, and I don't know if it was the moonlight reflecting off the water outside his condo, or the reminiscence of the alcohol, but I was in the mood. One thing led to another, and I ended up losing my first kiss that night.
Every weekend after that, I slept over at his place, slowly losing more firsts. Him and I agreed that this was a friend only thing, since he knew I was experimenting with my sexuality. This kept on for a couple months, and I found myself wanting more. I told him. I felt something for him, and he said it was the same on his side.
Then one Friday, I packed a weekends worth of stuff and went to his place for our usual thing. Then suddenly coronavirus was all over the news, I got the stomach flu and my roommate didn't want me home. So, my one-night stay became a 3-months lockdown stay. And during this time Collin and I became an official couple. As I type this, I am still at Collin's place, months later. We are both aware that I'm somewhere on the aromantic spectrum, but he respects my wishes and I communicate what I feel. I think being quarantined together just sped up the inevitable, coronavirus or not.
Name: Jakub Chmurka
Location: Warsaw, Poland
I was living in Western Poland during the initial outbreak of Covid-19. I got on Tinder and found myself chatting to three girls. But honestly it really wasn’t that interesting, and it really wasn’t going anywhere. Around three to four months ago, I moved to Warsaw, and I went on Tinder again. And it was crazy! People were just getting out of lockdown, and we were in the phase where people were ready to go out but still cautious.
We were talking about how we were all doing during the pandemic; things like how it impacted them and what they were doing given the situation. People had been pretty trusting on Tinder. It was loosening up. There were a lot of girls on Tinder looking, it was quite clear. Typically, they’re usually less assertive. I met up with a couple of people, but it wasn’t super nice, and I really didn’t meet them again.
But as the epidemic was slowing down, I was also talking to a friend from London, who had a female friend flying into Warsaw. The female friend was going to be quarantined for two weeks and wasn’t able to leave her house. I wasn’t in lockdown, but I wasn’t meeting that many people. Warsaw was a new city to me, and I didn’t have my community there and I wasn’t meeting too many people during the aftermath of Covid-19. So, I agreed to go over to the girl’s house along with my friend.
We went to hers’ to have some wine, listened to music, and I thought she was the most intelligent woman I had ever met. She was so free-spirited and also extremely cute. We told each other about our coronavirus stories and what we did during lockdown. I was making eyes with her, and there was definitely a connection. We’ve started going out ever since. It was definitely more organic than going on a dating app.
Name: Zara Denham
Location: Hong Kong
My boyfriend and I met at university in the UK. Once lockdown started at the end of March, and all of our friends and flat mates went home, I ended up moving into his room so that we wouldn’t be isolated on our own in our separate flats. Living with a boyfriend after just a few months together was a little daunting, but thankfully it worked out really well and we became a lot closer.
However, in May, my parents expressed that they were keen for me to come home, so I booked a ticket back to Hong Kong and had only a week to pack up all my things and say goodbye. I’ve now been in Hong Kong for a little under a month, while my boyfriend is still in the UK with a seven-hour time difference.
I don’t know how long I’m going to be here for, and because he isn’t a Hong Kong resident he can’t come visit for the foreseeable future, so we have no idea how long it will be until we see each other again. Neither of us have ever been in a long-distance relationship before, nor were we really expecting to be in one so suddenly, and we’re both pretty inept when it comes to communicating online, so we are still getting to grips with FaceTime calls, texting, and finding times when we’re both free to talk, especially after spending the last month living together in such an isolated way.
I’m trying to look at this as a healthy experience that will benefit us in the long run, especially since I plan to do some of my university time abroad, but the uncertainty of everything is making things difficult. I do have faith in our relationship though and am happy to say things have been going fairly smoothly so far!
Name: Thomas Slee
Occupation: Packaging & Inbound Logistics Coordinator
Location: Gold Coast, Australia
Prior the virus, I moved into a new house. Moving into this house, I went from living with two people to living with five which was a big step for me because I am quite introverted. The people I was living with were very friendly, there were a couple of girls, and one that I basically became involved with.
Essentially things began when Molly and I were spending a lot more time together because people were working away from home. We got to know each other quite well, we were going out for walks and getting coffee. It was innocent, but it eventually turned into more than just a friendship. Around 4-6 weeks, we had a few conversations here and there about the chemistry between us. I was reluctant at first because I didn’t want to ruin the friendship or make things awkward for the rest of the house.
Then there was an evening we had a lot of drinks with a backyard fire. This was when we were fully in the crux of Covid-19. Molly and I both had a fair few drinks which involved plenty of tequila and vodka. Once the drinks took effect, we ended up getting really comfortable with one another. I guess the feelings we had for a while became undeniable. There was something there and we had to explore it.
Being in close proximity during lockdown was interesting. Living together was a change in the dynamic, but things have gone really well. We had a lot in common. Things haven’t progressed exceptionally quickly, but we both skipped a lot of steps, and went from being friends to trying to work on a relationship whilst living with each other. It’s definitely interesting, but I kind of like it. It makes you get to know that person.
Name: Simon W
Occupation: Personal Trainer
During the coronavirus lockdown when I was in Singapore, I downloaded Tinder. I think most single people who are bored download Tinder. I considered it a bit of a pastime. I ended up matching with this girl on the app. She was beautiful and super funny. I like talking to people in general and it’s always nice to chat with someone who is impartial to your life, someone who doesn’t have a bias or an agenda. The conversations were good, and it was more relaxing than dating someone in person.
Obviously, it was a shame we couldn’t see each other in person, and so I suggested we meet up at the supermarket. She jumped at the idea and I was also very keen. We both loved going to supermarkets, so we would go and pretend to shop. It was really nice. We felt like we had known each other a lot longer than we actually had. It was quite an experience walking around the supermarket doing groceries, exchanging compliments and I even asked about her parents. I wouldn’t have changed much apart from not wearing a mask and maybe some physical contact!
There was no concern about catching the virus as we both have been isolating and social distancing. But after doing the supermarket shopping date twice, I figured how strict the government is with fines and honestly, I just really didn’t want to be fined.
I eventually went back to the UK, and with the time difference and not being able to physically be there or have that intimacy, everything kind of fizzled out. When you start an online relationship and you don’t go out with them, it’s a very different dynamic, there’s not much intimacy. So now, at this moment, I am still on a dating app.