Countless Australian couples have chosen this moment to move in together, betting on their relationships when nothing, not even love, feels certain at all.

It would be cute, if it weren’t for the pandemic.

“Is it just isolation acceleration?” Sophie* asked herself. “Probably, but who knows.”

The threat of coronavirus (COVID-19) has forced the nation into lockdown mode, limiting the ways we live, work, and crucially, date, all in an attempt to slow the virus’ spread through the community.

But mandatory lockdowns are damaging in their own cruel way.

Tens of thousands of Australians are suddenly without a job. Businesses have folded. Our lives have been put on pause, with Australians urged to limit contact with the outside world.

Many couples are now faced with a choice: watch their emotional bonds fade with diminished contact, or make a home, together, to help their relationships outlast the virus.

Speaking to PEDESTRIAN.TV, Sophie said the lockdowns helped to slingshot an old relationship back into her life.

“My partner and I were living together, but broke up at the end of last year,” she said.

“At the start of the year we started seeing each other again here and there, but we both have differing and busy schedules, so it was pretty casual.

“Now that we’re in lockdown, I am finding myself spending progressively more and more time back his place, and enjoying it, to the point where I could see myself moving back.”

Her choice to spend more time with her partner is technically legal, even if lawmakers have been cryptic about the details of lockdown legislation.

It was only last week that authorities in NSW and Victoria confirmed that lovers won’t be fined for visiting their romantic partners.

Not every jurisdiction has been so permissive, though. England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jenny Harries issued an ultimatum last month: couples should stay apart, or “test the strength of their relationship, and decide whether one wishes to be permanently resident in another household.”

For Bree, living with her partner has been a test.

Lockdowns convinced the self-proclaimed introvert to move in with her boyfriend of under a year — and his brother.

The new dynamic is tough, she confessed, requiring adjustments from someone who needs “some alone time.”

“It’s a bit… claustrophobic,” she said. “Like, I love him very much. But being here all day, every day with nothing much to do is leading to cabin fever.”

She has questioned if  “missing him from afar” would be better than co-existing in such close confines.

As it stands, she’s “slowly getting ready to beat my head in with the pointy end of a DVD case trying to get away.”

The adjustment has been easier for Annie, who has been living with her partner for two weeks.

“Seriously, it’s been so good, weirdly,” she said.

She described living room dance parties and impromptu red wine dates, book-ended by hours where they hardly see each other at all.

“Some days we’re just doing our things separately, like he’s making some beats in a room, and I’m listening to a podcast or reading in the living room,” she said.

Others are relishing the proximity.

Alyssa and her partner of two years worked alternate hours before the lockdowns took hold.

With mandatory shutdowns forcing her to work from home, Alyssa says isolating with her partner has permitted them to grow closer.

Much closer.

“I have way more energy and we’re getting nasty almost every day,” she said.

“Normally it’s less often because we have conflicting schedules and live apart, so the lockdown has boosted our sex life.”

While moving in together is not feasible for every couple swooning through the global health crisis, the situation has moved some people to define their relationships in the first place.

Candace had only been dating a guy for a matter of weeks when he trekked overseas for an unfortunately-timed holiday.

They kept in contact for months. They watched as COVID-19 swept across the planet.

Finally, as he returned home, they endured his fourteen-day mandatory quarantine. They were in the same city, but never further away.

“It made the connection incredibly difficult,” Candace said.

Touchingly, their bond survived the chaos. In a moment when nothing seems certain, it’s a relationship she believes in.

“We were only ‘seeing each other’ and the distance pushed it over into proper boyfriend-girlfriend sitch,” she said.

“Because we missed each other enough to know where our feeling stood”.

NSW’s lockdown provisions are slated to lift on June 30, depending on COVID-19’s continual impact on Australian society.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison‘s messaging has been more pessimistic: he has warned Australians should be prepared to “completely change the way they are going to live for the next six months, at least.”

As Australia tumbles into the unknown, Sophie has found comfort in the unexpected familiarity of her relationship.

“It feels like it’s back to normal, before we broke up, which I didn’t expect to happen this quickly,” she said.

“There’s also a feeling of really being in this together that’s creating a deeper connection.”

*Names changed after requests for anonymity

Image: Sony Pictures