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6th November 2020

Manchester’s love scene: All locked-down

How has the pandemic affected Manchester’s lovebirds?
Manchester’s love scene: All locked-down
Photo: Agata Flak @The Mancunion

COVID-19 has been on everybody’s minds for what seems like an eternity. Apart from weakening our bodies, the virus has the magical power of successfully turning our world upside down, and in some cases, leaving permanent scars.

It is obvious that it has influenced both our social and professional life, having isolated many from the reality they knew before. But how exactly did it impact our love life?

The beginning

The view of couples walking down the streets of Manchester can warm every heart. They can be seen holding hands while having a stroll down Oxford Road or taking cute pictures in Piccadilly Gardens.

But it hasn’t always been like this.

Many lovebirds had to say goodbye to their other half just before escaping Manchester back in March, when nobody had any idea of what was going to happen. When asked about the impact of the pandemic on their relationship, Alex and Tom, two 20-year-old students at The University of Manchester, said that it all “feels like such a waste of time while [they] should be doing cool things.”

Another young couple, Sam and Lola, felt like “there were times in lockdown when [they] were arguing a bit because [they] were stuck at home,” a point of view, to which many can relate.

Apparently, the arguments were not serious, and in most cases, did not cause any permanent damage to the relationship itself. Instead, they seemed useless and unmotivated, the reason behind them being mostly loneliness.

Not being able to see our loved ones was the hardest hit for many relationships, putting them to a test they had never faced before. For instance, having gone back to her country and family, Alex did not see her boyfriend for almost five months, which, according to the couple, would not have been the case under normal circumstances.

But can ‘isolation’ be considered the only leading theme of lockdown?

A light at the end of the tunnel

The initial shock seems to have been overcome now. Although still somehow restricted by national and regional guidelines, couples have been given the chance to reunite.

Looking back, the pandemic has not exactly helped young couples. But many of them admit that there have been some positive sides.

Having survived the chaos of the first months, Mélanie and Bonar took the opportunity to meet each other’s families and, while always following national guidelines, explored France together. “I had it easier thanks to him,” Mélanie says. “I always had someone to talk to if I had issues with my family. He made me feel better.”

On top of that, some couples admit that the situation improved their relations by encouraging them to take big steps. And even though it might seem terrifying, maybe a little push is all we need to be happy.

Some used the outbreak as a reason to move in together or adopt a new pet, while others kept coming up with new ways to have fun and maintain good communication, even over FaceTime.

The pandemic has also left some space for new flames to start. Diego and Alex, 19 and 20 respectively, discovered their feelings when a national lockdown was still in force in most countries. “We saw each other for the first time mid-August. […] This is a relationship that happened because of this pandemic,” they happily confirm. “There have been no negative sides other than not being able to travel earlier because of restrictions.”

What’s next?

Lockdown did represent a halt to many growing relationships. Nevertheless, lots of couples appear to have learnt important lessons over the period.

“We have to value time together more,” says Tom looking back at the past few months. “I feel like, after coming back to Manchester, we did cool things together instead of watching Netflix.”

Similarly, Bonar and Mélanie “realised that they were meant to be together.” They said: “If we managed to stay together during lockdown, we can face everything.”

All in all, COVID-19 has definitely made significant damage, forcing couples to face the reality of long-term separation. But despite being harsh at first, not only did the pandemic eventually have mercy and allow lovebirds to meet again, but it also taught them important lessons which none of them are likely to forget.

The moral of the story?

Global disaster or not, true love will always find a way to thrive.

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