What it’s really like to live with a couple in a national lockdown
A tale of snog fests, FOMO and domestic dramas from the perspective of an embarrassingly single Valentine’s Day cynic
Let me set the scene for you: six close-knit friends living under one roof during a national lockdown, in a relatively large student house in Lancaster town centre. Despite the obvious university-related stresses and the restricting nature of the ever-extending lockdown, it seems like a pretty decent setup, right?
No nagging parents invading your space, being a stone’s throw away from your closest friends, even the boys’ midnight FIFA tantrums are bearable – but throw a romantic couple into the mix and watch that house get a whole lot smaller.
We’ve got to talk about the elephant in the room, and by elephant, I mean the couple in the middle of my couch playing tonsil tennis whilst I’m cooking my daily serving of pasta (a portion that could feed a small village). Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. Luckily, I’ve been blessed with a resident couple that doesn’t partake in gross public displays of affection. However, a few vodka mixers and mutual glances later on a Friday night in…
You can fill in the gaps.
The real trouble starts when the romantically unattached (i.e., painfully single) housemates witness this drunken passion and, in their alcohol-induced envy, decide to pick up their phone and text that guy or girl. A word of wisdom from a professional singleton: don’t do it!
Sometimes, ignorance is bliss for us singletons, especially when Valentine’s Day is upon us in the early weeks of February. We would happily avoid any lovey-dovey advertisements that pop up on our Instagram and scroll swiftly past the inevitable masses of candid couple photos on Snapchat. Instead, we would opt for a more Bridget Jones-esque approach: curling up on the couch in our pyjamas (embarrassing print compulsory) with a large glass of wine where, after listening to our tragically empty voicemail, we would perform a poorly lip-synced rendition of ‘All By Myself’ into a rolled-up copy of OK! Magazine.
But unfortunately, when living with a couple, this tragi-comic paradise is out of reach. Even though you aren’t actually in the relationship, you might as well be with the endless questions like “what should I get for her?” and “do you think he’ll suit this top?” and possibly the worst one of all, “what would you do for Valentine’s if you had a partner?”
Don’t get me wrong it’s not all bad – there is the possibility of being offered disgustingly expensive chocolate after the happy couple has indulged enough in their commercialised confectioneries. I told you I was a cynic.
It’s tough not to get caught up in arguments when you’re living with a couple, especially when they’re both your friends and want you to choose a side. Living in a house with some pretty big opinions with the added tension of being in a lockdown doesn’t always end well. It could start over something as small as who took the bins out last, but it escalates fast when it comes to couples.
But nine times out of 10 the fire is put out within minutes of it starting, so, drawing back to my experience on the board of professional singletons, my advice would be to play Switzerland, not a referee.
The ‘Single’ stigma
For me, one of the hardest things about being single and living with a couple is the feeling that I’m behind other people my age. Knowing that 90 per cent of your friends are in committed relationships is one thing but seeing it first-hand every day is another. Doing their big food shop together, cooking each other meals, cuddling up on the couch; sometimes it gets you thinking about why you haven’t found a significant other yet. Jealous? No, no definitely not…
Okay, maybe a bit. But let me explain.
Maybe I’m not the bitter cynic I’ve cracked myself up to be. We’ve all heard of FOMO – that’s how it sometimes feels when you’re living with a couple the same age as you; however, I want to stress that single does not mean lonely. Some people are just at different stages in life and are ready for different types of commitment. I’ve committed to watching several Netflix shows all at once – that counts, right?
Lessons in love
All jokes aside, there are some valuable lessons to be learnt from living with a couple in a national lockdown. First of all, I’ve learnt that some of the best relationships start as friendships and who wouldn’t want a best friend and a spooning buddy in one?
Another important thing I’ve taken away from this experience is that a relationship can thrive even under the most stressful and unorthodox circumstances. Putting it into perspective, they’re living under the same roof, they have the same friends and the only outing they get is their weekly shop at Aldi. Even if they do have the occasional argument, who cares? No relationship is perfect, so hats off to all of you young lovers who are living together in lockdown.
This last one is for all of my fellow singletons out there that are cohabiting with couples in this Valentine’s lockdown season. The three magic words: you do you. Don’t compare yourself to others when you’re doing just fine on your own. Sometimes couples get lonely too, even when they’re living together; lockdown three has got us feeling a million different things. But if you’re really in need of some TLC on the 14th February, I’m sure that your resident happy couple wouldn’t mind making a little extra room on the couch and sharing their heart-shaped chocolates with you. After all, three’s company! I’m sure that’s the expression…