This Berlin queer wasn’t looking for monogamy, but coronavirus left him with little choice – and it’s truly a love story for the ages
When thousands of smartphones pinged with a new notification – the World Health Organization had just declared the coronavirus pandemic – the world changed.
Many couples uneasily shifted, wondering whether a road ahead of seeing no one but their partner or a period of separation would be ahead of them.
Aron, a 39-year-old queer man based in Berlin, Germany, explained to The Cut his story of discovering and navigating love as a viral crisis rampages on and, honestly, if neither Barry Jenkins or Luca Guadagnino grab the film rights to it we will sue.
In the shrinking world of coronavirus, all this Berlin queer man now knows is his partner.
It all started, of course, with a Grindr notification.
“My most recent ex and I were in an open relationship, but I was newer to openness, and not entirely open to it,” Aron, an academic, explained.
“It worked at the start when the stakes were lower. But over time, my ex started using the queer foundations of this open relationship to create a very specific playground in which he used sex and openness to manipulate me.
“I felt gaslighted and abused. After 11 months together, I ended things in December.”
A couple of months later in early February – as the coronavirus began to crawl closer to countries and rustle world leaders – and Aron linked with Elias, an architect, on Grindr.
The man he playfully calls his “plague f**k puppy”.
“I liked his beard and sense of melancholia, which felt honest and vulnerable, not self-destructive,” he said, describing how they met and hooked-up shortly after.
“By the time we met up again a week later, Berlin was already starting to turn inwards,” Aron added.
“We see each other once or twice a week. He usually comes to my place after work (his offices are still open), and we spend a few hours together.
“We get warmth and comfort from each other, and the sex is really good.”
‘Could I survive all this alone? Yes, which makes this feel like more of a choice.’
“This is a very special moment in our history — monogamy is actually queering Berlin’s default queer relationship structure,” Aron explained, noting he’s since veered away from dating apps.
“Right now, the reality is that there is only Elias in the world.”
As the concept of a calendar melted away, and the days blurred into weeks, Aron said he’s come to embrace monogamy. He might have been able to survive the lockdown without a partner, but it’s the decision to be monogamous, rather than be expected to, that gives him meaning.
“So, it is now my exercise, my special project with myself, to rediscover joy in monogamy,” he said, “to learn how to have one person, to invest in them, and to not lose myself
“It’s a weird tango,” Aron added, “I don’t know what lies in the future, but for now, Elias is my meaningful other.”