Love during the time of COVID can either bring relationships that much closer together or tear them apart. But what happens when the man you’re married to is thousands of miles away because of this pandemic and you have no idea when and if you’ll see him again?
This is the reality for Larkin & Ken, the latest duo to be featured in Instinct’s ongoing couple series. Coronavirus has caused the latter to remain in Australia & New Zealand for various reasons (discussed below) as his other half patiently awaits their reunion at some point in the near future while being thousands of miles away in the states.
So how are these two keeping things going amid all the technical difficulties in the way? Check out our exclusive where Larkin explains how they met to where they are right now during one of the strangest times this world has ever seen.
How did you two initially meet and was it love at first sight?
We first met on Scruff. Ken & I have slightly different recollections of how it happened, but it started with him messaging me and us having a somewhat brief conversation. I could tell that he was visiting from New Zealand and so I didn’t think much of it at the time. I thought, “there’s no way this is going to be a serious thing.” But when we met in person he said that he had never had a boyfriend before so I asked him if he wanted to be mine for the weekend. He jumped at the chance!
So I took him on proper dates and all the romantic stuff new boyfriends do, just to give him the experience knowing that we probably wouldn’t see each other again. And in that sense it wasn’t love at first sight. I couldn’t imagine someone flying 7000 miles to see me, but it turns out I was mistaken!
What is your favorite thing to love about each other?
What made me fall in love with Ken was that he has a radiant personality on top of being handsome, intelligent & funny. I can be very introverted and when we are out in social situations I watch him go from person to person making them smile just being himself. He has a way of making people feel good about themselves by talking to them and watching that made me want to be more like him.
What made him fall in love with me was that I am almost exactly the kind of man he wished for when he was single. Many years ago he wrote down in a journal all the attributes he thought he wanted in a partner, never expecting to really get all of them. It was a strange mix, but it turned out to be exactly right, so he knew he had found something when he saw it even if I didn’t know yet.
Are you monogamous or in an open relationship? How do you make either work?
We were briefly monogamous but are open right now. He still lives overseas and we thought we did not want to set each other up for failure by policing that kind of boundary with 7000 miles between us. It took a lot of work to find a balance, especially early on as we were still learning to love and trust each other, but now it runs smoothly. We tell each other if we meet up with somebody mostly so that it doesn’t become a surprise to either of us should it come up in conversation later.
What has COVID been like for the two of you? Has it brought you closer together?
COVID has been rough for the two of us. He’s been living in Australia and New Zealand since we met and we have been unable to continue processing his immigration paperwork even though we’re married because the embassies are all closed. We can’t get interviews right now.
So it’s been hard to see each other as much as we used to and it might be three or four months before I see him again. We try to make our time together special because we know how precious it is right now.
Has the topic of adopting or having kids via surrogate ever come up?
We talked about kids on our very first fake date. It’s one of those questions that can be a deal breaker! When he asked me what I thought about kids I dodged and asked him the same thing. He told me that sounds like a lot of money which we can spend on traveling instead, and that was exactly the kind of answer I was happy to hear. We both came out sort of late and feel like we haven’t spent our lives being our own selves yet, and neither of us has a super strong biological clock.
What is the best advice you would give to anyone who is looking for love out there but hasn’t found it?
The best advice I can give is that if somebody wants you, they will let you know. I spent years wasting my time with people who were only kind of sorta interested. But Ken made sure to show me he was definitely into me. The guy flew 7,000 miles to see me and we have texted every single day since then except maybe twice. If you have to ask yourself “does he like me” then the answer is probably no… or at least “not enough”. Move on until you find the guy who gives you back what you’re giving him.