It has now been 71 days since I last touched my boyfriend.
When Scott and I parted ways the weekend before lockdown began, we figured we would be spending a month apart at most. We've been together for two and a half years — a few weeks apart wasn't going to be easy, but it wouldn't break us. If I'd known then that it would be closer to three months before we were able to go for so much as a distanced walk together, I think I may have moved in with him there and then.
New government guidance stipulates that couples like us who have been separated can now meet up at a distance in a public space or garden, but still can't touch, and certainly can't have sex. I know at least one couple that is ignoring this entirely and has just decided to start seeing each other again. I'm sure many others are, understandably, choosing to do the same.
Meanwhile, it seems as if lockdown has as good as disintegrated in the past two weeks, with parks and beaches now full. You don't have to go far from your house to see that social distancing seems to be a thing of the past. It's why the rules around couples are so frustrating.
If you went to a park last weekend, the chances are you saw groups four times the size of the latest government stipulations sharing picnics and drinks, standing right next to each other, but my boyfriend and I still aren't allowed to so much as hug? I can't be the only one struggling to see the logic behind the restrictions.
That doesn't mean I'm thinking of breaking them, far from it. We have come this far and intend to continue following government guidance. But it isn't easy, particularly when it often feels as if changes to the guidance are made in spite of the risk the virus still poses.
I'm relieved we are now allowed to see each other from a distance, and in the past two weeks, Scott and I have gone on the odd distanced walk, which has been wonderful. But it isn't easy to stay two metres apart from your partner, especially after such a long time. Fighting the instinct to be close to each other can leave you feeling emotionally distant too, as so much of the intimacy in relationships comes from the physical side of things. It's almost easier not to see him as standing two metres away from him seems so strange, but I want to follow the rules and I'm also worried about passing anything to him.
Scott and his dad both have asthma, and his mum has been caring for his gran who is shielding. Meanwhile, my mum is a community nurse so has been out and about as she's a key worker. Our household had the virus in early May (my mum think she caught it from a patient). My parents were both tested and had pretty nasty symptoms but thankfully are healthy now. I had it mildly, experiencing just a few days of fatigue.
Like so many people, we are all wondering if we have antibodies which mean we would be unlikely to contract the virus a second time. If so, surely it would be safe for me to mix with Scott and his family? Once again, it's so hard to make an educated decision when the science still seems so thin, and the restrictions so baffling.
It has crossed my mind to isolate in my room for two weeks and then move in with Scott, but I don't want to impose on his parents and we've come so far now, I feel we should wait until we're truly allowed.
For now, then, we are doing what we have done for the past 71 days. We are following the guidance, and doing what we're told. I only hope this doesn't last much longer.
As told to Eleanor Steafel