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'We'd never let the sun go down on any difference we felt' - how cocooning couples have survived lockdown together

Being together all day, every day for three months is enough to put a strain on even the strongest relationships. Four older couples speak frankly to Kathy Donaghy about the ups and downs of lockdown

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John and Catherine O’Rourke from Rialto in Dublin. John says it helps that he’s a ‘bit of a joker’. Photo: Mark Condren

John and Catherine O’Rourke from Rialto in Dublin. John says it helps that he’s a ‘bit of a joker’. Photo: Mark Condren

John and Catherine O’Rourke from Rialto in Dublin. John says it helps that he’s a ‘bit of a joker’. Photo: Mark Condren

Social media is full of jokes and videos about couples in quarantine. Take the spoof chat between the two male neighbours pleading with one another to end their torment at the hands of their wives as all they have to drink is Prosecco.

In reality, the lockdown has presented couples with very real challenges. For many over-70s, who've been cocooning at home together since March, it's been a long period of upheaval. Normal routines, like seeing friends or family, or hobbies and pastimes, all came to a grinding halt, and couples found themselves spending 24 hours a day with one another. So what happens to your relationship when you're in such close quarters for such a prolonged length of time?

For Aidan O'Hara and his wife Joyce, both 81, who live in Longford, not being able to come and go as they like has been the biggest frustration of quarantine. But Aidan says the couple, who have been married for 55 years and have three children and five grandchildren, understand that being busy in lockdown helps to keep things running smoothly at home. Dancing around the house to Glen Miller's In The Mood and daily hugs make them feel young at heart and keep their spirits up.