Finding love in lockdown gave me the courage to come out to my parents | #tinder | #pof

These past few months of lockdown have turned out in a way that I can’t quite fathom.  

In March, the prospect of packing up my shiny London life and taking it back to Suffolk to move in with my parents filled me with a fear of the uncertain. Little did I know that it would be exactly what I needed. 

As a family, my mum, dad and I are happily close knit, yet I had always kept my romantic life to myself – I never saw my bisexuality as a locked away secret, but I never mentioned it to them either. Not ever, and I’m not entirely sure why.

I knew they wouldn’t be bothered by who I was dating, and that the only thing that mattered to them was my happiness. But, still, I’ve tried to conceal my bisexuality from them in the recent years since I realised it.

Then, I met someone on Tinder who quickly became a big part of my life.

I cared about her, and it soon became apparent that one day I would have to bring her home to meet my family. Not out of necessity, but because I wanted to.

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Since lockdown started to ease and socially distanced picnics became acceptable, Lizzie and I have actually been able to see each other in the flesh (Picture: Grace Oram)

With the early stresses and anxieties of lockdown, it was eased greatly with getting to know someone very lovely. 

I wanted my parents to know about this new and exciting chapter in my life, and the person in it. My dad would tell me how happy I looked and I just wanted to explain why!

But the build-up and high-anticipation of ‘coming out’ always dragged me back and stopped me from telling them. 

That was until on one of my daily lockdown walks I listened to Sandi Toksvig’s episode of Desert Island Discs. She explained that people would ask her, ‘When did you decide you were gay?’ and she’d think, ‘Well, when did you decide you were heterosexual?’

The way she said that so simply resonated with me and made me think, ‘yeah, f*ck it. I’ll tell ‘em’. 

So one April evening, after a Zoom date with Lizzie and a few glasses of wine that brought me swigs of confidence, I marched downstairs to announce that I was, in fact, a raging bisexual.  

It wasn’t like they were at all surprised, nor did they see it as a big deal. In fact, sharing that piece of my life with them brought us closer together and they welcomed Lizzie with open arms (but not literally because of social distancing, duh). 

It was a lovely success and I’m so glad I told them. Looking back on it, I’m so unsure why I didn’t do it sooner as I knew they would be great about it. Alas, we are here now.

I wanted my parents to know about this new and exciting chapter in my life, and the person in it (Picture: Grace Oram)

Love in lockdown has obviously been very different to what it was like before the pandemic. Now that dating happens in the virtual world, it’s brought in a new form of romance – which is entirely dependent on communication and completely wiped of touch.

But it has also given us so many new ways of connecting; Lizzie and I sent each other gifts and shared meandering conversations late into the night. It was different to what we knew, but in a nice way.

Distance and being apart can be rough, but you have to remember that breakfast in bed, watching apricot sunsets in places we don’t yet know exist, and drinking glasses of wine in fields with cows, will come.

We will eat as much tarragon as a sensitive stomach can handle, and there will be vegan mac and cheese on every occasion possible. 

Although, since lockdown has started to ease, we’ve actually been able to see each other in the flesh. It’s meant that we could finally experience a closeness that had previously been denied. It felt very surreal when we first met, but instantaneously natural at the same time.

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My single self would have felt disbelief at the present sight of me. Music holds a stronger potency than it did before. And it turns out that letting someone cut your fringe, even if a part of your brow goes with it, isn’t so scary after all. 

Of course, it is frightening to make yourself so vulnerable to someone else; to unpick the armour that surrounds your heart and place it in the delicate hands of another person. 

But I have had to allow myself to trust the process. If you meet someone who you get along with like a best friend, they make you laugh till your belly aches and you have a gorgeous time, hold onto that.

That is the stuff of life and it doesn’t happen often.

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