• Heather Graham

Why you should take it fast

Updated: Sep 22

Moving in together is a big decision for many, unless you’re called Dana or Joe, and happen to be one day away from national lockdown.


Dana Chalmers, 23, met Joe James, 21, last Christmas and they haven’t left each other’s sides since.

But this wasn’t star crossed lovers on the dancefloor or a meet-cute situation. It was numerous shifts working together, a mutual attraction and a compliment on the boobs that pushed the pair together.

Photo: Dana Chalmers

Dana was the supervisor in Tropicana, a Glasgow nightclub, and Joe was a university student needing some extra cash and became a glass collector. Although Joe was attracted to her, she was technically his boss and he didn’t know how to play it. He said:


“Right up until the night we got together I thought she disliked me and I remember when I paid her a compliment I was wondering if I should have done that because she was my superior.”


Additionally, due to some crossed wires between coworkers, they both thought the other had no interest for quite a while.


Thankfully, Dana is known to be a ‘21st-century woman’ and when she thought there was maybe a chance, she outright asked him what he was looking for.


There’s not much history to go over since they only met in December, but it has not stopped them from acting as if they have been together forever. Dana said it can actually get quite sickly but she doesn’t care. She said:


“It’s disgusting how happy I feel and I feel really lucky, safe and supported. I don’t even think about how long we’ve been together. I just feel like this is my life.”



As Joe was a student, he lived in shared accommodation with flatmates. To say this wasn’t a key factor in them moving in together would be a lie. Dana was not a fan of the communal kitchens or the lack of central heating, but since it was in the city centre it was useful on the rare occasion.


New Year’s Eve was the final straw for this horrible-but-convenient flat. They had both worked that night and came home in the early hours, exhausted and needing to sleep. Unfortunately, their neighbours had different plans.


Cold, freezing and shattered, the pair decided from then on to spend most of their time at Dana's flat outside of Glasgow.


For the next three months, they were working and spending all their free time together, but the constant travel between flats was slowly taking its toll on them.


They both agree there was No Big Conversation about it. Guaranteed it was convenient for them, but it also felt natural. After what seemed like a thousand hints and jokes, Dana popped the question.


Excited and thriving in their new relationship, they were finally living together and happy at the end of March.


22nd March 2020 to be exact.


Not only had Dana and Joe moved in together three months after meeting, but they had also moved in together the day before lockdown was imposed.


Some people would be distraught at this idea, but they said that it has worked out quite well for them, which they admit must be annoying to see. They both know you cannot learn everything about a person in three months, but they felt comfortable enough with what they did know to go ahead with the move. Dana said:


“I don’t think we fully knew each other before we moved in but I think we now do. There’s a couple of habits but it’s not much of a surprise or a bad thing.”


Joe jokingly disagrees:


“If I’m honest I wish she gave me a list of her film choices.”


Since the pandemic started, they have had more time together than they bargained for and it has affected them in different ways. Dana still had a sense of normality with her second job working in a call centre, but with university finishing and his job at the bar on hold, Joe’s life was at a standstill.


Although Dana was coping quite well with the changes, she could see how difficult it was for Joe. She said:


“For the first month or so he was going slowly insane, he couldn’t go out or see anyone. He hates video chats as well, so he didn’t do any with family or anything like that.”


Joe agrees, the lockdown wasn’t easy at first but he's now used to it and is doing better. He said:


“It’s nice because it’s brought us together, but I am looking forward to getting back to work and uni so we can have that missing each other aspect again.”

Photo: Dana Chalmers

They have received nothing but support from friends and family about their fast-paced relationship but Dana found herself worried when talking to acquaintances.


Dana would often talk about Joe as if they had been dating for years and when people found out it had only been a few months she felt a bit awkward. She said:


“I wouldn’t like to judge and say that I was judged, but maybe it was a preconceived judgement on myself, thinking that other people were going to judge me for it."


Despite her worries, Dana still admits she probably would judge people getting engaged or pregnant really quickly, but that her experience has made her more sympathetic as these things really can just happen.


In relation to having babies and getting married at the same speed as they moved in, it’s a definite no. Dana said:


"We never went into it with the intention of 'let’s get married, have babies and love each other forever'."


The pair are very happy with where they are and have emphasised that moving in did not feel rushed to them. They think if they had gone on dates for months, it would have been for the wrong reasons. Joe said:


“We could’ve prolonged it and went on dates but I knew how I felt so what was the point in prolonging it for the sake of others?”


Joe urges people to not look at moving in together as a ball and chain situation and instead see it as an opportunity to grow together. He said:


“People in our generation are scared of commitment and think if they stay with someone it’s going to hold them back in terms of career and things like that. I've gone into it seeing it more like we grow together and not as a negative."


Dana added:


“We definitely make each other better. If everything in your whole self is saying this is the right things to do, just go for it."


The couple are taking life at their own pace and although living in each other's pockets during lockdown wasn't in the plan, it has worked out well for them. For now, they are just concentrating on themselves and doing what's best for them, when it's best.

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