‘We moved in after 5 months of dating. Not because we were madly in love, but because of the pandemic. We had a 50/50 chance of this working out.’: Woman shares pandemic love story

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“When COVID really hit in February 2020, Jay moved in after five months of dating. We had a 90-minute commute between us, 11-hour workdays, and concern over the positivity rate of what was turning out to be ‘more than the flu.’

As much as we’d like to say Jay moved in because we were madly in love, Jay moved in because we were both busy working adults and it was the best way to see each other. We also figured we’d hunker down through the pandemic together.

This put pressure on the relationship, no doubt. Despite the many variables around us, we knew we had a 50/50 chance of working out – or not working out.

Courtesy of Lisa Cleary

Jay himself was logical and calculated, and folded his socks in small, neat rectangles, even stacking them vertically. When he did things like prepare his breakfast, he chopped off identical slivers of cold butter to fill every square inch of his bagel. Me? I just smear the schmear in globs until it’s falling through the center.

Jay’s mannerisms, of course, made sense to me, because he’s a numbers man. Literally. He finds beauty in accounting, margins, ratios, and formulas.

I, on the other hand, am the emotional one. I don’t mean this in that I’m a dramatic, bumbling basket case. Rather, I write what I feel for a living, and I rely on what my emotions tell me.

At the time, my emotions had me laughing at the irony of finally finding a boyfriend after being single for five years – yet, here we were, in the middle of a pandemic on lockdown. I desperately wanted to go to all of the spots I had never been: the fancy restaurants, wineries, and bowling alleys with a partner in tow.

But we surprisingly found more joy in the small moments, like making stovetop popcorn with homemade seasonings and planning our version of at-home paint nights. We stopped wearing perfume and cologne. I reluctantly stopped sleeping in my contacts and started wearing my really ugly glasses. We started getting more comfortable.

Since we couldn’t go anywhere for almost a year (and counting), we talked. We talked about our most embarrassing moments and my fear of having my book become a failure and his favorite memories with childhood friends.  Those small, intimate moments in our relationship began to add up. I let him see all of me and I think I heard him cry once in the dark.

Then, this past December, Jay proposed. By that time, we already knew we both wanted to, as he put it, ‘Tackle this life together.’ And so of course, I said yes.

Courtesy of Lisa Cleary

These days, a year-and-a-half later, being together still means more Netflix, more carryout, and more sweatpants. We fight over cleaning schedules and kitchen appliances and our very different sleep schedules. But no matter what happens, we enjoy each other’s company.

Mainly, being together means more talking. We’re even planning our wedding with our constant third wheel, ‘rona, in mind.

The other constant? Jay will always be my numbers man. We laugh because I often ask, ‘Do I make your life easier or harder?’

‘You make my life infinitely more complicated,’ he always responds, ‘And I love you for that.’”

Courtesy of Lisa Cleary
Desiree Ortman Photography

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Lisa Cleary. You can follow her journey on Instagram, Facebook, and her website. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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