Words by Adam Smith
Has your relationship survived 2020? If it has you deserve a medal. But could it survive another lockdown?
Romantic relationships are hard enough to maintain anyway but throw in a bomb like lockdown and they can crumble. Relationships have been put under more pressure than any time in living memory. As the old saying goes ‘familiarity breeds contempt.’
Anyone stupid enough to try and have two relationships in these days of mobile phones, social media and GPS locators must be mad. But as any cheater will tell you, it is the unplanned, the emergency situation which will scupper the most expertly weaved web of lies.
I know a fella who had a brain haemorrhage and woke up with three women around the hospital bed, if ever a man had a reason to fake amnesia it was him. I bet the nurses were gawping at better drama than in the nearest theatre.
The hardest days for bigamists in the year are Christmas Day and Valentine’s Day, excuses need to be made, meticulous plans need to be created and car-break downs invented.
Unexpected turns of events create hard choices. The lockdown announcement was a historically bad day for cheaters, and their partners. I’ve heard stories of cheaters leaving on that Monday night, not to be seen again until the post lockdown removal of personal items from the family home.
Cheaters were forced to play the worst ever game of stick or twist.
Those in two relationships were forced into a decision they had not planned to take so soon, or so definite.
I know someone whose wife left him to shack up with her other guy, another left immediately taking the kids and then using that they had moved in with her self-isolating elderly parents stopped the other parent from seeing the children.
On that lockdown Monday night the country was in shock and as usual the messaging was not clear; on Radio 5, a guest said children of divorced parents would have to stay with the parent they were with for six weeks sending listeners in blended families into an instant tailspin. The amount of arguments that bad piece of info would have created is incalculable as the message was unforgivable.
We have lived through an incredible and unique time which will never be forgotten, all relationships were tested, forged or forgotten. Many got through by the skin of their teeth, if both people are burying their heads in the sand then they probably will limp along fine together.
I’m pretty sure loads of women lost respect for their hipster fellas when they got obsessed by trying to make the perfect sourdough brioche – and plenty of men got jealous how Joe Wicks got their ladies moving in the morning.
I know one woman who has decided to leave her husband because he first believed “5G fries brains” then started banging on about COVID being a hoax – and for the cherry on the conspiracy cake, he now thinks Bill Gates wants to put a microchip in him via a vaccine. “I’ve realised the man I married has turned into a knob,” she said, which I’m not sure is actually grounds for divorce but I’m glad I’m not in his shoes.
And then there is technology’s effect on relationships, like when my friend’s extra-marital dirty talk was exposed after Apple synced devices and his son started getting sexy texts from his mistress. Or the guy who went upstairs to watch some porn on his phone not realising the sound was coming out of Alexa in the kitchen.
We are all different and everyone’s pandemic has been different; I know people who loved having a few months off to pursue their indoor passions. And some relationships thrived because the habit and routine of never being there was broken. One dude reignited his relationship with his wife because he was furloughed and enjoyed being able to spend time with his Mrs… oh, and the lockdown meant he had to stop seeing his mistress.
The sex toys industry saw sales rocket during the lockdown – as couples made their own fun to ease the boredom. Singletons now have an option, the new generation of sex dolls giving people the chance to live the plastic fantastic.
A bloke I know hires out ‘Amber’ for £200 a week or £500 for the month. He assures customers there is no wear and tear, and he gives her an antiseptic bath on return. Parts of her body are even guaranteed till 2040. No human on earth can guarantee they will be around in 20 years, let alone their genitals will be in working order.
And what about swingers? How can you socially distant swing, surely that can’t be a thing?
The oldest profession in the world cannot be done at a sweaty social distance either. There were fewer happy endings in Erdington massage parlors during lockdown than in an entire Scandinavian detective series.
However, for a shocking amount of people the prospect of another lockdown means sheer misery. Of all the crime in Erdington in September 25% was domestic abuse.
Relationships with cracks in them got a severe testing in 2020 and some would have resulted in violence for the first time. Whereas others would have given the abuser more time and opportunity to hurt the one they meant to love.
How did my relationship get on during lockdown…? We couldn’t see each other because of underlying health issues so absence made our hearts grow fonder.
We attempted Zoom dates and I tried to recreate a nightclub in my room by flicking the light on and off and putting a plant in front of my laptop, I think it terrified her.
(WARNING: The following video is not suitable for children… or most adults)
So, we went old school and spoke over the phone from then on – agreeing never to mention it again.
I would never be as daft to offer pandemic relationship advice, if I did the combined energy of my exes rolling their eyes might tilt the earth off its axis. So, I will leave it to Stephen Stills: ‘Love the one you’re with.’
If you believe you are a victim of domestic abuse, you can seek help and advice via the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline is 0808 2000 247
For more information visit www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk