- The couple hasn't been able to see each other since the global coronavirus lockdowns started.
- Kim and Christian are among numerous couples in the world who share their stories via the #LoveIsEssential and #LoveIsNotTourism movements.
- Here is their story.
Christian and I have been friends for nearly a decade via Facebook after meeting on a group ont he platform. We added each other as friends and, from time to time over the last ten years, have commented on one another's posts and shared the odd chuckle.
Little did either of us know that we were both harbouring a little bit of a crush on each other and had secretly been thinking for ten years how we would love to get to know one another better. However, neither of us had been in a position to do so.
Out of the blue on the 9th of January this year, he posted about travelling to Europe and I flippantly replied, asking him when he was coming to South Africa with a little wink. He replied straight away, asking when I would like him to.
The next second he had sent me a direct message saying he hadn't realised how cheap flights to S.A. were from the U.S. I was a bit shocked and hesitant at first, but we started talking more and more each day, mostly about things he should do and see when he got here.
Eventually, things became a bit more personal and we divulged that we were single and had a bit of a crush on each other. Out of that, something fantastic grew and on our first phone call date on the 18th of January, we chatted for 6 hours nonstop and both knew right away that we were smitten and this was something we needed to take further.
Since I already a passport and U.S. visa clearance, on the 26th of February this year, I took the leap of faith and climbed on a plane to meet him in Florida. The trip was ten days of what can only be described as "The Most Epic First Date Ever." For ten glorious days, we got to spend time together, got to know one another, and fell head over heels in love.
I returned to S.A. on the 10th of March but with plans galore for him to be here in May for a holiday. We also began initiating the process to get his critical skills visa so he could see about getting work here and moving to S.A.
And then the world shut down. I cannot begin to describe how heartbreaking it is having our plans scrapped and living with the uncertainty of not knowing when we will get to see each other again.
Both of us are well into our forties, so we are not youngsters and acting frivolously. We are very aware that this is a second chance at happiness for both of us as we are both divorced and not getting any younger. We have planned a future together and now that future is uncertain and every day away from each other gets harder to bear.
Despite all that is happening, we are making it work in our elationship and still dedicating time to each other daily and going on virtual dates.
We have little routines that we both follow to add some consistency to this and show our commitment to this relationship. We talk on average for about two hours a day, always send each other good morning and goodnight messages, so the other person has something to wake up to.
We watch movies together every Saturday and Sunday night via Netflix and put each other on video calls. All the talking we have been doing has only cemented for us how much we love and value one another and this relationship, and how much we want to be together, whatever it takes.
Currently, the restrictions on flights and borders only allow S.A. citizens to be repatriated or persons with work visas, marriage visas, or other approved visas. We do not have that luxury even though we have been with our significant others long enough to know that our relationship means something and that #LoveIsEssential.
In Europe, the #LoveIsNotTourism movement has been very successful, and Bi-National couples have been allowed to get their partners into places like Denmark and Norway through proof of Love Contracts and even by having what is known as Sweetheart Visa issued to the overseas partner.
Along with Denmark and Norway, Netherlands, Czechia, Iceland, Austria and Switzerland were the first countries to allow unmarried partners to enter their countries to visit their sweethearts.
The European Commission made a press statement recently encouraging all countries in the European Union to enable partners into their countries. Germany, France and Finland have since followed suit and partners are now being awarded temporary or tourist visas to be reunited with their loved ones.
We can only hope that we will be allowed to travel to be with each other soon, and are hoping the same for other couples in our situation.
What's your lockdown love story? Share it with us here.
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