Welcome to Love Lockdown: a weekly column about how people are navigating romantic relationships in the time of coronavirus. This week, Danielle Vanier, a content creator in London, tells Sadhbh O'Sullivan about going into lockdown away from her new girlfriend, despite how strongly they already feel about one another.
"My girlfriend and I met at the beginning of January this year on Bumble. She messaged first and my first thought was, Wow, she’s beautiful – I can’t believe she's messaging me. From the moment we started talking we’ve honestly never stopped. It sounds really cliché but from the very beginning I felt so at ease with her. We only waited a week to meet and since then we haven’t spent more than a week apart from each other. We keep saying [to each other] that although we've been together such a short time, it feels like we've known each other for years.
Because of my health and my girlfriend’s job we decided to go into lockdown separately. She’s a key worker and has to be around people constantly; social distancing is nigh on impossible. I have fibromyalgia and a bit of a weakened immune system, so to lower my risk of catching [coronavirus] we made that decision.
It's been really hard to adjust. I know that I could very easily move in with her tomorrow and it would be great. I'm quite thankful that we haven't had to rush straight into things – I think it's still giving us that shiny new couple feeling. I feel so safe in the relationship already that I'm not concerned that spending this amount of time apart is gonna be too detrimental. But I must admit, when I'm scrolling Insta stories and I see both couples that have been together forever and new ones, just doing simple things daily together, I am a bit jealous. I haven't been sharing too many 'I miss you' posts because we all fucking miss our people – it's not groundbreaking – but it is difficult. I think every day, Oh my god I just want a cuddle.
This is definitely making us very aware that after all of this, we do want to spend every minute together. There won't be so much pressure then. We're just doing it on our own accord when we want to, not because we've had to. Good things come to those who wait, so they say.
We already FaceTimed a lot before this and we speak every day anyway so we're just continuing with that. Obviously FaceTime makes it slightly better but there's nothing [like] actual physical contact. And I miss doing nothing with her. It's nice to go out and do things but I miss just having her next to me and going about life together.
When we first started dating everybody said, 'Oh, you'll have moved in after a month and you'll be engaged' and all that [because of the queer 'urge to merge' stereotype]. We laugh about it because sometimes I think I could, to be honest. I never felt that when I dated men in the past, but I've never felt half of the things I feel before. Even though everything that's going on at the moment is so terrible and my anxiety is through the roof, I've actually never felt happier.
I miss doing nothing with her. It's nice to go out and do things but I miss just having her next to me and going about life together.
We're pretty much on the same page [when communicating digitally]. We haven't argued yet – can't wait for that! But we are very open with how we communicate and say what we think. I haven't ever misconstrued anything that she's said. She's been out for a very long time and [a relationship] isn't new to her, so she's very careful that she isn't just steamrolling into this or going too far. She's very caring [in that way].
At the beginning I was so excited to share our relationship, especially on Twitter. I guess I was like an excited puppy! I had a thread of our first dates and the sweet, lovely things she was doing. But she has a very private life with her work and doesn't want people to follow her accounts or gain any followers. She doesn’t mind that this is my job, she just wants to keep that private. I'm very careful now to respect her boundaries and she understands that sharing my life is what I do.
We've made a bucket list of the things we want to do once this is all over. The first thing is drive down to my parents in Devon because I've met her family but she hasn't met mine yet. It sounds so stupid but I miss going on drives with her. She looks really fit when she's driving! [I love] the thought of watching her drive three and a half hours down to Devon while I sit in co-pilot and change the radio station.
I can’t wait to do the normal things like go for brunch, go on a spa weekend, go for walks and buy coffee together. Nothing too grand, just daily life. You can make all the coffees you want at home but it's just not the same, is it? I think we’ll have a new appreciation for everything when it's over."
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.