The nationwide lockdown has not only affected people’s freedom of movement and their physical or mental wellbeing, it has also often negatively affected their relationships with those closest to them.

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But for Reatlegile Rathlagane and her boyfriend, things have been good. When the lockdown started, they decided to move in together after dating for just two months. This saw their relationship grow from strength to strength – and now almost in their fourth month of dating, the couple couldn’t be happier.

This is their story.

“My boyfriend and I have been dating for three months now, going into the fourth month. We decided to move in together at the beginning of the lockdown. Well, we didn’t really decide to move in together, I was just there to go into quarantine with him when the lockdown started but once it got extended, I just found myself living with him. When we moved to level 4 of the lockdown, I went home to let my parents know that I’d be staying with him for longer and to fetch more of my belongings.

“The experience of living together has been fantastic. I enjoy spending all my time with him and I love being with him. I’ve also seen our relationship grow stronger as we spend more time together. When we started dating, we didn’t really know each other well and didn’t know what we liked about each other besides what meets the eye.

“Now that we live together, I can point to so many things I love about my boyfriend, such as how he shows interest in my career and my schoolwork. He’s also very involved with helping me reach my goals and in guiding me. He’s very understanding, and we actually discovered that we like the same things. We both read a lot and share new reads with each other.

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“What I’ve learnt about him during this time is that he’s a foodie and enjoys cooking. I was surprised to learn that and I’m still getting used to how he’s always the one who cooks and prepares all three meals for us every day. He comes up with new meal ideas every time and he also does the grocery shopping.

“A typical day for us is him getting up early in the morning, since he’s working from home, and leaving me in bed. At around 10am he wakes me up if I’m not awake yet and he starts to prepare breakfast while I clean. After breakfast he gets back to work while I keep myself busy on my phone or I go to the shops to go get stuff and for some fresh air. When he’s not having a hectic day at work, we watch movies all day. Once I get back from the shops, he’s already prepared food for us. After supper he’ll bath or I’ll bath but usually we like to bath really late at night around 11pm to midnight. We basically just laze around, watch movies and eat all day.

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“When it comes to chores, we sometimes share responsibilities. He cooks all the time and I’ll clean but sometimes I don’t do much because I don’t have to clean every day. When his day is really busy, the only thing he’ll do is cook and I’ll do all the other things such as our laundry. I just tidy up and make sure the place is neat.

“This experience of staying with my boyfriend has taught me that relationships aren’t easy. You need to put in the work, strength, commitment, patience and love. You need to be willing to understand your partner and constantly have to remind yourself of the reason you fell in love with them. You also need to reassure each other of the love you have for each other. We’re not always happy, as sometimes we both get moody, but we constantly reassure each other that we’re there together no matter what.

“I don’t have any regrets about moving in with my partner, in fact, I believe that this was a good decision because we’ve learnt a lot about each other. We’re also tolerant of each other’s bad habits and are constantly learning about each other’s strengths and flaws and doing the best to help the other reach their full potential. If I were to do this all over again with him, I absolutely would.”