25-year-old 'Charlotte' navigates lockdown alongside her partner...and his parents! In this week's Love Lockdown, she spills the tea on maintaining her fitness routine, getting alone time, and how her sex life has changed since the COVID-19 quarantine began.
My partner and I went to school together. He was one year older than me and we shared one class and one extracurricular sport. We were barely friends but were friendly, and both left school at the same time. A year later, he had come home from travelling and needed a job which I helped him get with the company I was working for. After that, we became friends and started to flirt (mainly on social media whilst drunk!). We dated for six months and then broke up, but after taking a year apart he began pursuing me again. We’ve been together for over five years since getting back together.
How About Finances?
I’m a Marketing Officer for an Edinburgh festival/educational charity and my partner manages a wine bar. We're both furloughed, although, I come on and off the scheme as projects arise at work. For the first two weeks (pre/early lockdown), I was working from home five days a week. Although both our jobs are secure—in the sense that our employers can pay us through this time via schemes and other finances—everything felt so uncertain. We had put an offer in on a flat just before the lockdown so we rescinded our offer an hour before closing. We’ve been using this time to increase our potential deposit.
"I’m more frugal than my partner. Every penny of my savings is money I worked for. He’s incredibly lucky to have been left a large sum of money from his deceased grandparents, and as such, he can be a little careless with spending money on items that don’t seem necessary."
We’re really open about finances. I’ve made it clear that I hope we can come out of this with a little more saved. He’s agreed. I still don’t think he quite understands how it feels to have earned every penny and to, therefore, feel weird about spending it. He works hard but he enjoys his life.
How's the Sex?
Earlier this year, I had to terminate a pregnancy so our sex life has been a bit weird this year. I wanted to wait until my period returned before we had sex again, which happened about a week into Lockdown. Then when we had sex again for the first time since my termination and the condom slipped. The next day, I took emergency contraceptive and ordered birth control online. As such, I’ve had a few weeks of anxiety and fears about getting pregnant and the additional hormones now in my body (can’t get my preferred mode of contraception as it would involve going into a clinic and I’d like to avoid human contact as much as possible right now).
Both my libido and attitude towards sex have changed because of these two incidents. However, I’ve always been the one with the lower libido in our relationship. I’m grateful he still tries and we are having sex again...just probably not as much as he would like.
Because my partner and I have conflicting work schedules, and the fact that we don’t live together normally we weren’t having sex multiple times a week before as we weren’t seeing each other that much.
"The only effects I’ve noticed are within me. I feel guilty sometimes and stressed that I ‘should’ be doing more than I am."
How does Charlotte Keep Fit in Lockdown?
I lost 35lbs between July 2019 and March 2020. In the weeks of lockdown, I’ve put about 5lbs back on. I have weekly counselling for anxiety and trauma anyway so that has continued virtually and has helped iron out a lot of issues. Having said that, I’ve had two panic attacks leaving the house and have had some very low days. A lot of this can be contributed to the fact I was already having a very difficult year emotionally, and sometimes, it catches up with me.
Some weeks [I'm taking care of my body], other weeks, no! At the moment, I’m trying to walk four or five times per week (minimum of 40 mins) and only drinking three or four nights a week. I’m currently trying to eat less of the foods I was leaning on during low days or boredom.
I tried to maintain a daily routine do this initially but once I was furloughed and felt increasingly more uncomfortable going outside, I fell off the ‘healthy routine’ wagon. It comes and goes in waves. I’ve been good for two weeks now which is the longest a wave has lasted since the start of everything. I think it’s been prompted by gaining a bit of weight again.
"I’ve had other weeks where I don’t go outside or shower. I play Animal Crossing for 8+ hours and eat six slices of toast in one sitting!"
When I live at home, I don’t drink. Drinking was never an ‘at home’ thing—even with dinner. But I’d always have a drink at my partner's house. And because I’m isolating here… that meant every night for the first three/four weeks. Even though I’m not drinking every night now, it’s become a lot easier to drink to excess on the nights I do have a glass.
This is something I think we’re great at! Even before lockdown, we used to do a thing we called ‘laptop club’, which is when we are both in the same room but doing our own things on our phone, laptop or gaming console. The layout of my partner's house means that we each have our own space, too. He set me up with a desk for my work computer in his old bedroom (we’ve been sleeping in what used to be his little brother’s room as he lives in Aberdeen and the room is cooler, quieter and slightly larger) while his computer is downstairs at the dining room table. We like to spend large chunks of the day doing our own thing, checking in every now and again while making cups of tea, or just wanting to move around a little.
"Everyday, we meet at 5:30 in the kitchen to start preparing dinner. The evening is when we spend most of our time together—like it used to be before lockdown."
So, has isolation bought us closer together?
Yes! Although preparing to buy a flat together and having tested living together for a week or two in the past, this really is our first time living together properly. It’s confirmed for both of us that this is 100% the right decision. Especially considering that outside of lockdown we would see each other much less. Lockdown is an extreme version of living together for us.
If you're quarantining with your partner and want to share your story, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.