I'm self-isolating with someone I've only been dating for 2 months — here's everything I've learned so far
- I've been self-isolating for the past two weeks with someone I began dating in late January as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Jake and I decided to live together at his apartment when it became clear the only other option would be to not see each other at all for the foreseeable future, since we live on opposite sides of London.
- While there are some downsides, such as not being able to go on dates like a regular new couple, overall it has brought us closer together and improved our relationship.
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If you had told me at the start of this year that I would soon be living in quarantine with a guy I had only known for two months due to a pandemic that had left the UK (and many other parts of the world) on lockdown, well, I wouldn't have believed you.
But that's somehow where I have found myself, after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson closed all bars and restaurants and introduced strict social distancing measures to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Living in London means I can now only leave the house in "exceptional circumstances," like buying essential food or exercising (which we can only do once a day), and we can no longer go outside in groups of more than two.
Jake and I went on our first date in late January after matching on Tinder the week before, and while we knew we were serious about each other pretty early on, we had no intention of rushing things. But the increasingly strict coronavirus measures have forced us to speed things up a lot — namely, moving in together for the foreseeable future.
He lives in west London and I live an hour-long tube ride away in east London. As the pandemic worsened and stricter social distancing rules were introduced, it just wasn't feasible (or safe) for either of us to keep commuting such a long distance. So we decided to self-isolate together at his place two weeks ago.
Things would have been completely different in the 'real' world
I've never lived with a partner before (and certainly had zero intention of doing so with someone I'd only been dating for two months), but faced with the prospect of either living together or not being able to see each other at all for weeks or even months, the choice was obvious, even for such a new relationship.
It's also worth noting that our relationship is so new that I had to specifically take a photo of us for this story, since none existed before now.
Of course, it wasn't an ideal situation, and we had some concerns at the start — were we moving too fast?
Well, yes, but there wasn't a whole lot we could do about that one.
Would we get sick of each other? Would we even still like each other once the mystery that comes with a new relationship (i.e. only presenting the very best version of yourself) had disappeared?
Thankfully, it turns out that I needn't have worried about any of those things.
We've learned a lot about each other in a very short space of time
I've discovered that Jake is a great cook, always takes the trash out, and never complains about my inability to do either of those things.
We also have a lot of fun together given the circumstances — having to stay indoors about 98% of the time means movie nights, drinking wine on the couch, and going for walks together are about the extent of what we can do on dates these days.
Sometimes I feel a little sad that we're missing out on doing all the regular things new couples get to do — and that we used to — like getting dressed up and going out for dinner together, or the excitement of planning the next time we get to see each other.
But it's also been nice to go through such a strange time together instead of alone, and we've gotten to know each other a lot better in the space of a couple of months than we ever would have in the real world.
We're also both lucky that we work in digital media and can easily work from home — but I never envisioned when we first met in a bar on a Saturday evening in east London two months ago that we would now be working two feet apart in his apartment, discussing the weekly grocery list, and doing our laundry together.
We're quickly getting used to our new way of dating
We're both very independent, but that becomes tricky when you're living and working together with a new partner in a small one-bedroom apartment.
We've gone from seeing each other a couple of times a week to spending all day, every day together, and our "time apart" now usually consists of one of us walking to the store to buy groceries while the other one stays at home.
Because of that, we've had to make a conscious effort to not skip straight to the "acting like an old married couple" phase — some things like chatting about laundry and groceries are obviously unavoidable, but we try to plan fun activities like having drinks with our friends over Zoom or Google Hangouts, or making a nice dinner together as much as we can.
It's obviously not how I would have chosen for things to play out for us, but I've really enjoyed living together these past few weeks given the incredibly uncertain times we're all facing.
It's definitely brought us closer together, too — but I'm still looking forward to the next time we can actually go out to the pub together, like the good old days of two months ago.
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