Couples during lockdown

Couple during the lockdown confinement.

19-05-2020R.L.

Every week Frank Leavers our man with the dirty Mac and half empty glass of inexpensive vino is looking at what lies just below the sophisticated gloss of island life. Come on folks; tell our Frank what’s really happening in Majorca.

If anyone had any doubt whatsoever in the old adage that ‘Time Flies’ - I have just realised that I am a day shy of two weeks when we eventually returned to the island from our spectacularly enhanced nine week stay in the UK. In that time we have kept ourselves to ourselves whilst attacking the garden and uncovering strange looking insects in surprising places throughout the house. In all, and like most other folk, we have been under a type of house arrest for almost three months and after a while this practice became a rather strange normality.

This lockdown ‘lockup’ can be a very different experience for almost everyone involved. From the isolation and loneliness of a singe person living alone by his or her self - to trying to pacify and to try somehow teach a houseful of stroppy and bored kids; lockdown isn’t, and hasn’t been easy for anyone. However, it is my contention that a normal couple, any normal couple - the thought of being cooped up together ad-infinitum has certain horrors all of its own. Most of us who fall into this category have ‘together’ lives and ‘not together’ lives. You notice that I haven’t used the word separate, because that could be called inflammatory and let’s face it nobody needs that at the moment. It’s just that for many of us, certain things we do, apart from things such as work we need to do individually.

Putting aside the tyranny of work, the things that we do separately could be sport or a social group of like minded people. It could be a coffee with a group of girls on market day - it might be a limping foursome at the local tennis courts, followed by a beer and a discussion as to what part of your body is not functioning properly at the moment, maybe language lessons, what about Hot Yoga perhaps, who knows. However, if you take away these social activities and have to stare at each other for almost three months, the likelihood is that tempers will become frayed. You see, we are not designed to be on top of each other (if you see what I mean) 24 hours a day whilst looking adoringly with never a crossed word. No, me neither, I’m afraid. You see, I think it’s almost impossible within a healthy relationship to occasionally have a damn good, blazing row.

Indeed, I have never believed those folk who claim never to have had a crossed word in their lives - really? Mostly, couples of all sexual persuasions have managed to survive this lockdown with a certain amount of competitive bickering. Yes, bickering, it’s a method of communication that never crosses the line into mutual abuse, but acts as a sort of relief valve for those who know each others personal foibles (irritating habits) all too well. The thing with bickering, is that it develops the longer a couple are together and during this lockdown, for many people, it becomes second nature.

The reasons for lockdown bickering (LB) can be incredibly diverse. From opening the fridge 4 or 5 times an hour, to abusing Piers Morgan in the same manner each weekday morning - apart, that is from Friday’s when he’s not on the telly and that rather nice lad takes his place. Other reasons for bickering include the fact that we men, all tend to say exactly the same thing given the same set of circumstances and this can be monumentally irritating apparently. As I enter my autumnal years she says that I have become obsessed by the weather and will quiz her about it. We have a device in our kitchen that tell us the temperature both inside and outside the house and apparently at random times of the day - I will shout out things such as - “Do you know it’s 24 degrees outside and only 18 inside?” This it seems can turn a placid, kindly and beautiful woman into a spitting harridan quite capable of cutting off my Gonads.

Have you noticed that couples in a new relationship never bicker? However, after three months I suspect that LB would become a common occurrence. Mostly though, couples in a new relationship rarely bicker - they always listen with rapped interest as each other speak and don’t go in for any of that really rude eye-rolling routine even if they have heard the story about 30 times before. I’m not sure if I could go back to that though, as I am thoroughly used to being interrupted as she picks holes in the accuracy of my spellbinding stories.

As we slowly emerge from this pandemic and the enforced way we have been thrown together with our life partners I wonder if our relationships will change for the better? Will we still argue over what to watch on Netflix - or will it ever be possible for me not to repeat myself? Might it be, that when I pull open the tab on a can of beer at 17.56hrs I will not hear “It’s a bit early for that isn’t it?” Nevertheless, it is my firm opinion that only people who truly love each other become expert at bickering. Furthermore, it has to be said that we have had the time to get in plenty of practice in the art of LB over the past few months haven’t we?

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