Long-distancing during lockdown

Since 2015 I’ve split my time between Manchester and London, spending the middle of the week in the capital for work, catching the train north late Thursday evenings to spend the weekends at home in my favourite city.

I’ve always had a few casual rules when it came to dating, and a rough idea of what type of man I was, or to be more precise I wasn’t looking for. After a few failed attempts at seeing what could happen with men who lived a little further afield from central Manchester I decided I needed to change my search parameters and only look at guys within a mile radius of my flat.

This limited the number of guys I’d swipe in the apps, and I’d see the same faces coming up again and again, but I managed to go on some decent dates. Of course, this tactic didn’t abolish any of the usual dating pitfalls and there were plenty of bad dates, time wasters and guys into ghosting.

Still single in May 2019 I swiped right on an attractive guy who seemed to share a similar sense of humour to myself, plus he was finishing an art degree and creative men always pull on my heart strings. The catch? He lived 40 miles away in Leeds, how the hell did that happen?

Rule book out the window we arranged a weekend for him to visit Manchester, and as they say ‘the rest is history’. Top tip – get very drunk, promise pizza, pass out at home at 8pm before you can order one, wake up at midnight and keep him on a promise you’ll order one ‘next time’.

Me and Ste

For the best part of the year we’ve really enjoyed getting to know each other, spending weekends together and had a couple of UK stay-cations with my family. Just like everyone we were making plans about how we’d like to spend the rest of 2020, what we’d do over the summer and talked about places we’d like to visit together.

Sunday evening on 22 March Ste headed back to Leeds, I waved him onto the train at Victoria Station, not realising this would be the last time I’d see him in the flesh for some time. The day after the full lockdown was announced, with me in Manchester and him in Leeds.

It’s now been a month since we last saw each other and it has been tough, but we are surviving. There have been times when I didn’t want or need to talk, I just wanted to be cuddled up to him with trashy TV or a film on in the background.

I’ve read a few articles about long-distance relationships, both pre and post-lockdown. They’re mostly obvious, focused on communication and a little patronising – and as a couple I think we’re best placed to know what works for us. We don’t use video calls that much because we both find them a little uncomfortable, and if we’re not concentrating on each other one of us can soon feel agitated. It’s good to chit-chat on WhatsApp and he still makes jokes at my expense as much as he did before lockdown.

We were a little prepared as we usually only see each other weekly and live apart, but as the COVID-19 outbreak continues it is getting arduous. Technology can only substitute physical contact to a certain extent, and in the same way many of us are zoomed-out at work I’m really fed up of the computerised communication between me and my man.

I love and miss him so much and who knows when I’ll see him again, but hopefully in the future we can both look back at this period of our relationship knowing that it made us stronger and brought us closer together. And until we’re in each other’s arms again I’ll just have to dream about passing out without ordering him a Margherita.

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