AFTER enduring a sex drought for years, Ulrika Jonsson finally met a man who made her jump into bed like a love-struck newlywed.
But just five months later, the TV regular, 52, has had to isolate at home with kids Bo, 19, Martha, 15 and Malcolm, 11, away from her new man.
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Today, In a hilarious account, Ulrika tells how she is coping with love, lust and lockdown.
THOUGH we are living in a time of pestilence, social-distancing, isolation and suffering, it would, as my Swedish Grandmother always used to say, be, “shameful to complain”.
I’m trying my hardest to be grateful for what I have and empathise with those who have not, but these are extraordinary times.
Granted, I’m not the most optimistic person — I’m more of a realist, nudging the boundaries of pessimism at times — but then, bear in mind, I do find myself locked up with two daughters who are invariably at each other’s throats, IF they ever leave their rooms. I must have been a truly terrible person in a previous life to be forced to isolate in this way.
Every day starts with the same argument about who is suffering the most. As teenagers, it’s clearly the absolute worst for them.
But I asked them to spare a thought for their old mum who, just five months ago, went on a first date and has since been nurturing a new and exciting relationship with a handsome man who I fancy the pants off, until coronavirus came along and brought lockdown with it.
I mean, you couldn’t make it up. I’d come out of a largely barren, 14-year relationship, then, 18 months later, my engine gets all fired up.
All the parts well-oiled (not a euphemism) and mind-blowing, passionate order is restored.
ROMANTIC, SEXY, THRILLING
Oh, how I smugly giggled to myself, that I would never let that physical and sexual aspect of my life become dormant again.
I would never accept anything less than palpable, sensual, human touch on a very regular level ever again.
I’d got my mojo back and I was going to make sure I never let it go. Ever.
Unless, of course, a pandemic sweeps the world and causes chaos and bans us from seeing people other than the ones we’re living with. Shoot me now.
Look, I know there are worse things to be forced to endure right now.
I mean, I have nothing much worse than two female teenagers at home, but I fully acknowledge this is a time of crisis and people are risking their lives — some are losing theirs — and others are suffering immensely.
But in a world where IF I’m allowed to have a little moan about something, could I please have a massive moan about the bizarre situation of starting a relationship, getting very excited and thrilled, then things coming to an abrupt and unexpected halt?
I can’t be the only person going through this, surely?
I’ve heard some couples who have just started dating took the massive leap of faith and decided to isolate together rather than have to endure time apart.
I applaud them. In the early stages of a relationship, I can’t imagine anything more romantic, sexy and thrilling. As long as there are no children involved, of course.
But being the wrong side of 30, me and my man have offspring and responsibilities, which puts a spanner in the works in terms of shacking up together. So we are apart.
I have been bloody loving having someone in my life.
I can’t even begin to tell you how dead (pardon the use of language) I’d been feeling inside for many years.
I felt like a vessel — some automaton that cooked, cleaned and walked the dogs.
It’s not surprising, I guess, when you consider that I was not just staggering through a sexless marriage but was also under attack from the menopause.
It was pretty awful both physically and mentally. I never in a million years thought I’d ever actually have sex again, let alone feel any “fanny flutters”, as Maura from Love Island would say.
So imagine my surprise when I finally force myself out on a date last November and find I’m not only laughing, but feeling excited again.
And let’s face it, it takes time to get to know someone — especially at my age — both personality-wise and sexually/physically.
So, these past five months have been well spent getting closer.
This relationship has been gathering steady momentum.
It’s been an exciting time, too, because I’ve suddenly wanted to transform myself from dowdy, hairy-legged, stay-at-home mum with no make-up to someone who actually started to care about what she looks like.
I’ve absolutely loved my twice-weekly routine of getting myself groomed and ready for his or my arrival.
You know, like you used to when you were 18 only now it takes at least another two hours.
It became like a little ceremony of joy and happiness.
LOVE IN TIME OF CORONA
My daughters were initially a bit perturbed by the changes, but then they became very encouraging.
They enjoyed seeing their mum happy — which is in stark contrast to how bloody miserable they are now in lockdown.
I have loved feeling appreciated and adored. The situation has brought so much joy and hope. The future feels exciting.
Love in a time of corona, however, feels anxiety-fuelled and uncertain.
It’s been over a week since we last saw each other and neither of us know when we might be reunited.
Thankfully, he’s an eternal optimist so keeps drumming into me that “we’ll get through this together” and I promptly correct him “apart”, because that’s the naked truth isn’t it? Few of us are actually together.
These times are forcing a new kind of courtship.
Dating apps have reported more traffic and longer chats between matches.
SHOW HIM MY PUPPIES
And at a time when standing two metres apart makes sex a real challenge, we are probably getting to know each other in different ways — in a deeper way, possibly?
My man and I are trying to keep the flame burning by messaging and WhatsApping during the day. He has taking to video calling.
Typical man, doesn’t realise that me dragging my way through the day like Waynetta Slob is not compatible with an unexpected video call.
When he does call, I show him my puppies. No, really, my bulldogs, they’re better looking by far.
But I wonder how we will sustain this relationship over the coming weeks (don’t say months, please!).
I’m trying to remain optimistic and romantic. One of my daughters suggested FaceTime dates.
The real point being that what we all really, really miss is touch.
It’s what makes and keeps us human. I’m crying out for physical contact.
Just as much as I want to hug my girlfriends and embrace my loved ones, I want to snog the face off my man, touch his strong arms.
To be quite frank, I’d be happy to poke him in the eye with my index finger. Anything.
I asked my eldest daughter whether it would be wrong of me to ask him to send me nude pics. It was worth it just to see her face.
At night, when my bed feels empty, I think of all the poor couples forced to spend 24/7 together but who can’t stand one another. And how unbearable it must be for them to share a bed.
Then I think how lucky I am to have someone to miss — someone to long for and look forward to seeing albeit when I’ve doubtlessly grown a beard, the hairs on my legs have turned into an equatorial rainforest and my roots have gone greyer than Judi Dench’s.
Maybe it will feel like starting dating all over again.
And maybe by the time we are all released from lockdown, I’ll be a virgin once again. Maybe.
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