As the lockdown in South Africa continues, the longing to try new things increases.
For some people, living with their partners during lockdown has shown cracks in their relationships that they hadn’t seen before. This has been the case for Thandi* from Johannesburg.
Thandi* spoke to DRUM about her online affair that started a week after the president announced the lockdown.
“My boyfriend and I have been together for about five years. We kind of lived together back when we were in varsity but we both had our own living arrangements. We both thought it would be a good idea to be in lockdown together since we are far from home and it isn’t something new for us,” she says.
Her affair started after lockdown and it wasn’t something she was planning to have. The thought of doing the same thing for over a month had her looking for something with somebody else.
“Being indoors the entire day means we both have a lot of time on our hands and we run out of things to do. Lockdown is new to everyone and doing the same thing every day is taking its toll on me. We’re both working from home, so we don’t have time apart. The only time we are not together is when we’re showering or when one of us buys groceries. My job requires me to be on social media most of the time and I find myself being distracted by the crazy things that happen on there.
“I started speaking to an old friend of mine from university after seeing his picture on Instagram. I was the one who initiated the conversation, but I don’t quite remember who made the first move. I wouldn’t necessarily call it an affair or cheating because we’re far from one another and we’re both in relationships. Some people may see it that way because my boyfriend doesn’t know what’s happening,” the 27-year-old says.
When asked about how she maintains both her relationships, Thandi did not hesitate to speak about how her schedule works.
“I have something like a schedule, it sounds crazy I know but it isn’t that bad. My boyfriend knows that I have to be on my phone and my laptop for work therefore he doesn’t get suspicious with the amount of time I spend on it. Video calls usually happen when my boyfriend is either showering or taking a nap. My apartment is a two-storey, so I know when he is awake or coming down the stairs. The other man’s girlfriend has a permit to go to work which means she’s never there and I can call whenever.
“The only times I have felt bad for what I am doing was when he tried to change our lockdown situation. He would ask me out on a date night where we would either cook together or he would cook, we dress up and sit at the dining room table. The other time was when I was taking nudes for this other man,” Thandi explains.
Thandi made it clear that she would continue talking to the other man throughout the lockdown period. Their constant chatting and sending pictures are adding the bit of excitement she says is missing from her life. She emphasised on the fact she does not see the affair going any further once the lockdown is over.
“I am just looking for a bit of excitement in my life right now. I don’t think I have it in me to move from chatting and video calling to the physical side of things. It’s harmless fun if you ask me and I already know my boyfriend is with me for the long run,” she says.
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of the writer