Coronavirus: The couples who faced lockdown love dilemma

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Two figures unable to touch each other through glassImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Some couples had to decide whether to move in together or risk not seeing each other indefinitely

Couples have spoken of the dilemmas they have faced trying to maintain relationships during lockdown.

With Wales about to enter its fourth month since severe restrictions were imposed on people's lives, some couples have been unable to see each other.

And although lockdown measure have been eased, some couples had to decide whether to move in together or risk not seeing each other indefinitely.

BBC Wales has spoken to three couples about their experiences of lockdown.

In Wales, people from two different households can meet outside, but must remain 2m apart.

Travel restrictions which allow people to travel no further than five miles will not be lifted earlier than 6 July, First Minister Mark Drakeford said on Friday.

Resisting temptation

Image source, Cadi Thomas
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Cadi Thomas and boyfriend Yusef, pictured before lockdown, live in separate shared houses

Cadi Thomas, 23, has been separated from her carpenter boyfriend, Yusuf Rustem, since lockdown was announced on 23 March.

With Yusuf, 27, still in work and both of them living in separate shared houses in Cardiff, the couple decided it would not be practical to move in together.

"The most frustrating part about it is that he lives literally about two minutes away from me so the temptation to pop by is so strong," Cadi explained.

Image source, Cadi Thomas
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Cadi and Yusef have been on socially-distant dates since restrictions were eased on 1 June

Since restrictions were eased on 1 June, Cadi and Yusuf have been on some socially-distant dates, like bike rides and walks, to try and stay connected.

Cadi said it "feels weird" to have to stay 2m apart, but that it was "better than the alternative" of not seeing each other at all.

"We've been talking on the phone for hours every day," she added.

"We've both said even if we are bored, it is better to be bored together."

'Not worth the risk'

Image source, Lauren Richards
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Lauren and boyfriend Rhodri, pictured before lockdown, decided to live apart

For Lauren Richards and Rhodri Thomas, it was not just themselves they had to think about.

With Rhodri, 30, initially experiencing symptoms and with key workers and vulnerable people in their immediate families, the couple, from Maesteg, in Bridgend county, decided seeing each other was not worth the risk.

Lauren, 22, said they would usually spend four nights a week together and "are very much a part of each other's daily routine".

"The situation is just a bit weird and bizarre to go from seeing each other so often to seeing each other maybe once every two weeks, or whenever we are passing," she said.

Competition has been a big part of how the couple have stayed connected.

They have been challenging each other with baking, reading and fitness challenges so they can do activities separately but "just have a bit of fun together".

"We are both really competitive people and both work with children," explained Lauren.

"It's been quite nice because we have both been collaborating and setting challenges for the kids in the area."

The couple had a holiday in Rome before lockdown and Lauren said planning things for the future "keeps spirits high and gets us through".

'Horrible feeling'

Image source, Alexandra Gough
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Alexandra has been unable to see boyfriend James since she travelled to Hong Kong to live with family during lockdown

Alexandra Gough is a student at Cardiff University and her boyfriend, James Davies, lives in Exeter, so the couple are used to maintaining a long-distance relationship.

But when Alexandra decided to be with family in Hong Kong during lockdown, she said she did not realise how long they would be apart.

"The biggest frustration is definitely not knowing when we can see each other again," she said.

"It's great that we have Zoom and I can see his bad haircuts and silly faces, but there's this really horrible feeling of not knowing when something is going to end."

Image source, Alexandra Gough
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Alexandra says one positive of the lockdown is that she hopes she will be able to attend James' graduation ceremony once it is rearranged

The eight hour time difference is an added element of separation which requires "a lot of adjustment", she added.

But the couple, both 22, are keeping their spirits up by sending each other letters and care packages, and are trying to see the positives in a difficult situation.

"Never knowing when it is going to arrive makes it a nice surprise," Alexandra added.