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Love in lockdown: How singles and couples have faced Covid restrictions

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For those of us that are old enough to remember Kanye West's 2008 hit single Love Lockdown, we didn't know we would be actually living in a lockdown years later.

With Valentine's Day upon us, and 36 per cent of couples reporting that they are arguing more according to a BBC survey, we take a look at how love and relationships have changed during the pandemic.

And, among singletons in West Norfolk, lockdown restrictions have caused some of them to break the rules.

Many couples will be celebrating Valentine's Day at home today, but what if you're single?
Many couples will be celebrating Valentine's Day at home today, but what if you're single?

The current restrictions say you cannot meet anyone else indoors unless they live with you, or are in your support bubble.

That means a romantic meeting - with a new or existing partner - is off limits for most people.

But one Terrington St Clement resident said: "I've met up with several men from dating websites.

"I know it's against the rules and I'm putting myself at risk but it stops me feeling lonely."

One woman, 28, from Lynn lives alone with her daughter and has found it hard to adjust to not seeing friends and family. She has one man she meets up with regularly.

She said: "I don't know if he's the type I would go for if there wasn't a pandemic on to be honest and I don't know if I even like him in that way, but he keeps me company."

The government has said casual sex is a major risk factor when it comes to the spread of the virus, and sexual health charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust, have suggested that people "avoid kissing" or connect with partners by phone or online during the current restrictions.

But they have also warned it's unrealistic to expect people to abstain from sex indefinitely.

And it appears that many people simply don't care about the risks.

A Downham woman in her 20's has said: "I don't care if I get the virus, and have met up with several men for sex in the last year. I'm not going to stop my life just because we are in lockdown.

"I don't want to be on house arrest, I follow the rules when I'm out in public but no one has a say in what I do in my own home.

"These hook-ups have been keeping me from going insane."

Nationwide these sentiments have been echoed in the 20-30s demographic, many of which are willing to flout the rules for a romp.

Dating sites like Tinder are still very much active, with people hooking up in secret.

But, while many people are spending this Valentine's Day alone and isolated, it's not exactly easy if you are in a relationship either.

A Wimbotsham woman, 38, says her 10 year marriage has "come under strain" in lockdown and she has been considering divorce.

She told the Lynn News: "My husband and I argue more than ever during lockdown. We can't stand to be in the same room as each other. Now we have nothing but each other, no holidays, no outings with friends. It feels very stale, we are 100 per cent in a rut."

Some have suggested there will be a "relationship reckoning" when we emerge from lockdown, with many couples going their separate ways.

However it's not all doom and gloom as there have been many 'pandemic babies' and many couples have decided to move in together during the last year.

One couple from Lynn said: "We took a gamble and it paid off, we had only been dating a month but we took the leap and moved in together.

"We kind of skipped the honeymoon period but we realised how compatible we are and are looking forward to a future together."

Many have found a new joy in being single, and learning new skills they hadn't thought of doing before.

Claire Dunham,43, of Lynn said : "It's been a time of reflection for me and I've come to love myself in many ways, I've learned to knit, paint and just enjoy being alone. It's been a positive experience for me."

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