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'My boyfriend moved in just before coronavirus lockdown - now I can't imagine how I would've felt if he hadn't been with me'

Eimear McGovern

Eimear McGovern reveals what happened when she and her boyfriend decided to share a house before the coronavirus regulations were imposed


Loved up: Eimear McGovern and boyfriend Richard

Loved up: Eimear McGovern and boyfriend Richard

Loved up: Eimear McGovern and boyfriend Richard

My boyfriend Richard and I made the decision that he would move to Belfast to live with me around a week-and-a-half before the coronavirus lockdown was announced.

I had just got off the phone with my parents in Dublin, having realised that I might not be seeing them for a few months at least. While the south of Ireland had already enforced more stringent measures than the UK at that stage, it seemed like we were well on our way to having to stay at home all the time.

It was a wake-up call for me as I realised Richard and I would have to cancel a two-week holiday abroad we had planned for months, but I didn't even have to consider what we would do if we couldn't see each other as he offered straight away to move from Coleraine to the house I share in Belfast.

Looking back, it was such a selfless gesture on his part because he is a key worker who is based in an office in Derry who has to get up at 4am every morning to get to work in time.

It means an early bedtime for him every night and a long nap when he gets home from work in the afternoon, but so far it has helped us to make the most of our weekends, so he can catch up on his rest.

Not only is he travelling almost the width of the country and back every day, but he's also an amazing cook and has filled the fridge with enough bolognese and chilli to see us through, meaning I'm living in the lap of luxury when it comes to meals. All he's asked for in return is a haircut in the garden, and I did my best not to decapitate him with his trimmer.

We've been together for just over a year but have known each other longer than that.

Our plan was to move in and live together for the first time later this year, but it's worked out that we now have the time to spend together planning for what might happen down the line.

Shopping for two is a new experience. While we both enjoy similar food, he's had to adapt to my never-ending fondness for potato waffles, and I've accepted his Diet Coke addiction after previously wondering how we were managing to get through innumerable cans a week between us.

Living together for the first time without the option of continuing with your own separate hobbies and friendships outside of your home and relationship definitely has its challenges, especially as I'm cooped up in the house all day and I'm usually raring to get out for some exercise by the time he gets home from work.

I'm not sure how long we'll be in lockdown for, but we're now settling into a rhythm where he gives me my space to read and have long baths and he plays with vocabulary apps on his phone or re-reads Lord of the Rings.

We can't go out to restaurants, drive to the beach or go to the cinema, but we're trying to recreate those experiences by watching The Crown together and celebrating the arrival of the weekend with a glass of wine.

My favourite time we've spent together so far in isolation was my birthday last week, when he made pancakes for breakfast, we watched films, spoke to my family via Skype and enjoyed a takeaway. It was a birthday like no other, but it's given me fresh perspective on what's important.

I can't imagine how I'd have felt if he hadn't been with me.

Belfast Telegraph