A midlife dater, a mistress and a thruple: how lovers are coping with the 'new normal'

Three writers share what would happen to their relationships under the new 'sex ban' for couples not living together

Couples from separate households are not allowed to meet indoors - meaning liaisons are strictly off limits
Couples from separate households are not allowed to meet indoors - meaning liaisons are strictly off limits Credit: Antonio Diaz/iStockphoto

In the latest news on lockdown restrictions, the government has made it illegal for two people from different households to meet under one roof. In other words: no sex please, we're still in lockdown. 

The measure could affect millions of singletons and couples who live apart, as a writers below explain... 


'I've behaved irresponsibly during my corona summer of love' 

By Rob Crossan 

Rob Crossan admits he's struggled to abide by the lockdown rules

The news that the government is considering making it illegal for two people from different households to gather in one house is comforting for the vulnerable, and possibly the celibate. But for those like myself who are back on the dating scene after a Covid-induced break up, it poses an ethical dilemma fused of those uncomfortable bedfellows: social responsibility and horniness.

After a two-year hiatus, three weeks ago I went back onto the dating app Bumble (the one where only women can make the first contact, in case you’re wondering). And I have never seen anything like it. The virtual scene that greeted me felt like the last days of Rome: an army of sexually frustrated Caligulas and Livias were swiping right until they developed RSI in their fingers.

The majority of online daters I’ve spoken to don’t seem to be unduly bothered by matters of social distancing and coronavirus (beyond the opening salvo: ‘how’s your lockdown going?’ seems to be the new ‘do you come here often?’). Picnics and walks are the go-to options when a first date is mentioned – but often in the same breath as more touchy-feely flirtations. Reader, I confess I’ve been on dates since my break-up that have continued after the picnic finished. Blame it on the two years of monogamy.

If that all sounds excitingly risqué, then annoyingly, I’m starting to feel a bit guilty about my actions. I can cite excuses – even invoke the Cummings Effect (‘no one else is following the rules, so why should I?) – but there’s no getting away from the fact that I haven’t behaved with complete social responsibility during my corona summer of love.

So now, that’s going to change. As much as I fear and loathe the idea of a Zoom date, I know I have to adapt. And, the more I think about it, the more I think there might just be some advantages to Covid-secure dating.

Firstly, I don’t have to pay any first-date bar bills. My Zoom dates shall be run on a purely BYO basis. Secondly, if my date and I don’t like each other, there’s no need for another half hour of strained conversation followed by a long night bus home. I’ll simply log off and get back to watching Ozark.

But best of all, at the grand old age of 42, I’m going to have to finally learn to take it slow and stop seeking picnics back at mine. Perhaps I’ll find a socially distanced match that’s built on more than lust, Sauvignon Blanc, and a loose interpretation of the Covid rules.


'My affair is hanging in the balance'

By Anonymous

I was desperate for lockdown to be over, because I have waited for over two long months to see my mistress. I’m not unhappily married, but we haven’t had a sex life for several years. My wife doesn’t ask questions, we’re still good friends, and have a young daughter who I don’t want to leave. I met my lover, Anna*, at work before Christmas, and we started a mutually successful arrangement, where I’d ‘work late’ a few times a week and go to her house, where we’d sleep together, have a drink and an interesting adult conversation. I meticulously compartmentalised my two lives, and until March, everything was going brilliantly. I had a stable home life and a great sex life with Anna, who seemed equally satisfied with our part-time arrangement.

Lockdown has been very tough. Anna has been looking after her vulnerable parents, and I’ve been working from home, so we haven’t been able to meet at all. We’ve texted and talked on the phone, and I know she’s equally desperate, after over two months of celibacy, to see me. I’ve found myself missing her horribly, and longing for lockdown to be eased to I can go and see her again. But while to some people, my visits to her house might be immoral, I never expected them to become illegal. If the proposals to ban socialising in the home become law, I won’t be allowed to set foot in Anna’s bedroom for the foreseeable, and as for outdoor sex, we’re both in our forties and as she lives in a terraced city street, I can’t see us having a teenage bunk-up in her small, overlooked garden or behind a tree in the park. Plus, public indecency is illegal too, and I’d never mortify her or my wife by risking getting caught.

I don’t want to break the law, or risk spreading the virus, but I am desperate to spend time with Anna. Of course, I could just go and sit in her garden and chat, but when lockdown began, our relationship was still at the ‘ripping each other’s clothes off’ stage, and I don’t know if I’d have the willpower to resist if she was just 2 metres away.

Maintaining an affair while maintaining your distance proves difficult Credit: amriphoto

Not having a clue when we can resume our affair – or even where – is driving me crazy. There are no hotels open either, of course, so any physical contact is genuinely impossible for now. Of course it’s my own fault. If it was all above board, we could live in the same house. As it is, my two separate lives have never felt so far apart. All I can do is wait until something changes, whether that’s a vaccine or the end of my affair – whichever comes first.”

*Name changed. 

As told to Flic Everett


'I'm spending quality time with my wife but missing my other partners'

By Anonymous

Some people are antsy in lockdown with their spouse, while others are having tearful phone calls with partners they are apart from. I am experiencing both. I am a polyamorous woman, which means that, although I live with my wife, I have two other partners who I currently can’t see.

One is locked down just five miles away with his wife. In the four years we’ve been together, we usually see each other once or twice a week, but that came to an end when the restrictions were imposed. Our last date before lockdown was cancelled when his wife unfortunately contracted coronavirus.

We are calling each other weekly, and a lot of that time is us grumbling about how we can’t see each other. We also do video calls so we can have some intimate time together virtually, and I’ve sent him flowers too.

We thought about meeting up in a park for a socially-distanced date, but came to a conclusion that it’s just not safe. Neither of us drive, so I would have to get on a train, which I don’t think is a good use of public transport. Also, we would have to stay two metres apart, which I think would make things even harder. I would be able to see him, but not hold his hand.

One consolation in all this is that I know I’m not alone in finding this tough. Some surveys have shown that up to a fifth of people in the UK have more than one partner. I don’t know how many of them are finding it difficult like me, but I’m hearing similar things among my poly friends.

There are some bright spots for my love life, though. I am getting to spend much more quality time with my wife, which is wonderful. We’ve been together for 16 years but usually don’t get to spend much time with each other because we’re both busy with friends and sports. It’s usually just Thursday nights that we have together.

She doesn’t have other partners, but has been supporting me really well with how much I’ve been missing mine. At the beginning of lockdown I told her that she would be responsible for all the hugs I need now because she’s the only partner I get to see.

But the truth is that when lockdown is lifted, I’m sure that things will go back to normal. It’s nice to see more of her, but I miss the others in my life.

As told to Helen Chandler-Wilde