For many people, the pandemic meant an unrelenting grind of home-schooling, the uncertainty of furlough or the faltering of relationships. But for others, two years of lockdowns led to something entirely different: the start of a love affair.
“We went for walks in the park where we could actually talk and get to know each other,” says Jessica Haymen, 31, of the boyfriend she met on Tinder during a 2020 UK lockdown. “It was great spending time together, and it almost felt like the summer romances you see in films like Grease.”
For Haymen, who lives in Brighton, UK, her lockdown love story was a true whirlwind romance. She and her partner made things official just two weeks after their first date, and were able to spend months hiring bikes and taking hikes – activities that allowed them to talk, explore and have fun “like we were kids”. She says being in lockdown and both temporarily out of work meant that they spent a lot of time together, and that their relationship felt on fast-forward.
“I felt very intimidated meeting all his friends,” she says. “It went from being in our own little private world to suddenly meeting five new faces per day. I would secretly wish I could run back home to the TV and sofa. I knew he felt the same, meeting my family one day and then coming to bottomless brunch with my friends the next. He looked deflated by the end, and we just found it all a lot.”