How my lover, my boyfriend and I made it through lockdownJuly 4, 2020
One Saturday evening in early March, my partner, Tim, and I were sitting in a cocktail bar nervously waiting for our date, a woman called Andrea.
We’d met on Feeld, a dating app that has been called ‘Tinder for threesomes’. Like anyone who has dated online, we’ve had our share of awkward meet-ups; it’s tough enough finding someone you feel a spark with when it’s just one-on-one, let alone three.
But that evening wasn’t one of them. Our first date with Andrea went brilliantly. One glass of wine turned into two, which turned into three. When several dogs turned up in the bar, Andrea and I realised we shared an obsession. We all talked openly, and realised our outlook on life, and love, was extremely compatible.
We made plans to all hang out two weeks later. Andrea came to our place and we had an incredible weekend, laughing constantly and repeating how lucky we all felt to have met.
She left on Monday 23 March, the evening Boris Johnson announced lockdown. After he finished, Andrea texted saying ‘It was nice knowing you’ along with a sad face emoji.
I could see where she was coming from – at that point it seemed unlikely that something so new would survive months of being apart. But the thought of the relationship fizzling out so quickly really got to me.
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Tim agreed – it felt like we shared a special connection, and we knew from our 18 months of Feeld that people like Andrea don’t come along very often. So we decided to keep our relationship going.
The three of us were constantly on WhatsApp and FaceTime. We sent naughty pictures and videos. Each week we watched Ru Paul’s Drag Race together on Zoom.
Tim and I messaged Andrea separately but there was no secrecy, which meant no jealousy either. I’m a very unreliable texter, the kind of person who often misplaces their phone, while Tim is naturally more chatty. Through Andrea we got to understand our differing communication styles.
By April, we had all started to really miss each other. It was easier for Tim and I; we have been together for eight years and live together, and being able to talk face to face, or just cuddle up on the sofa, helped us to handle the anxiety of lockdown. I worried about how Andrea was coping without that.
The three of us made it through those weeks apart because we were excited enough by each other to put in the effort, and I know I speak for all three of us now when I say I’m very glad we did
Yet whilst it kept us physically apart, lockdown, ironically, brought us closer together. On that first weekend we’d pretty much jumped straight into bed together, which was very fun, but the distance forced us to talk a lot.
We chatted about our jobs, our ambitions, our families. We’d even delved into our anxieties and hang ups about sex, and relationships. We had space and time to discuss what we wanted, and what we didn’t, our sexual boundaries as well as our fantasies, and we didn’t shy away from difficult topics like our future. We all agreed that we’d each be open to dating more people beyond our trio.
When the lockdown rules finally relaxed, Tim, Andrea and I met up in a local park. We were all secretly worried that it would be awkward (and all admitted it to each other later), but we felt as comfortable together as we did that first weekend.
We said cheers with plastic cups of wine, congratulating ourselves for having made it through amid reports of soaring divorce rates and tales of lockdown induced break-ups.
When Tim and I started dating other people as a couple, we were doing it for the sex, sure, but we also wanted something more meaningful – to make real connections with real people who would enrich our lives in new and exciting ways.
One of the biggest misconceptions is that Tim and I must be ‘bored’ of one another, and that Andrea is there to liven things up for us. I find this really annoying. First of all, it’s disrespectful to Andrea – because who would want to be some kind of human sex toy in a couple’s dysfunctional relationship?
Secondly, making this dynamic work involves a huge amount of honesty and openness. Sometimes there’s real emotional work needed too. Believe me, a couple who were tired of one another wouldn’t bother. No relationship, monogamous or otherwise, is fun all the time but hook up culture and dating apps encourage us to forget that.
The three of us made it through those weeks apart because we were excited enough by each other to put in the effort, and I know I speak for all three of us now when I say I’m very glad we did.
We’ve had loads more great weekends together since lockdown eased and we’re planning some road trips around the UK. Right now, we’re looking forward to spending the summer together.
Back in March when Andrea approached our table in that cocktail bar and I thought ‘Wow, she’s hot’ I obviously had no idea of the situation we were about to find ourselves in.
However, now I’ve been through a global pandemic as part of a couple with a lover, I realise that love is about being willing to try.
All names have been changed.
Last week in Love Or Something Like It: I’m a Black woman who has only dated white men, but Black Lives Matter has changed everything
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