How love survived the pandemic air, N.W.T. edition

As we approach the one-year pan-iversary, we take a look at how couples in the North stayed together while being forced to stay together

Tik Tok and tacos — pandemic love tales from the territories

Jessica DeLeary, from Dettah, N.W.T., with her partner Duncan Sangris. She says it's the little things that he does day-to-day that really opened her eyes. 'This is my partner in life and he's a pretty great choice,' she said.   (Jessica Deleary)

What is that in the air?

A bird? A plane?

It's love.

With Valentine's Day right around the corner, CBC North spoke to a couple of couples about how their love survived the lockdown. 

Here's three stories of northerners who managed to come out on the other side stronger. 

Pandemic and a baby

For Jessica DeLeary, the pandemic gave her blended family time to breathe and grow. 

A member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, DeLeary lives with her partner, Duncan Sangris, and their children in Dettah, N.W.T.

"You know, we were all just so busy in our daily routines, and then once the pandemic happened the world kind of just shut down," DeLeary told CBC. 

Taking the opportunity to get back to nature, the parents and kids headed out to the family cabin.

"We really took our time to just go out on the land and live without constant TV, without the constant iPods and cell phones, and rebuild or build up our relationship with each other that we already had," she explained. 

With the chance to unplug and recharge, the family learned to slow down and appreciate each other.

Then later in the year, DeLeary found out she was pregnant.

"I think it's just the little things that he does day-to-day that really opened my eyes that, this is my partner in life and he's a pretty great choice," she said. 

"He really puts me and our kids first and I think that's something that I would never take for granted and I really, really love that about him."

Jessica DeLeary and her partner Duncan Sangris and their blended family. (Submitted by Jessica Deleary)

Let's taco bout it

Murina Menicoche never realized her partner didn't like tacos.

Originally from Fort Smith, N.W.T., but now living in Edmonton, Alta., Menicoche said her partner, Collin Moonen, used to work a camp job spending two weeks away and then two weeks at home — but when the COVID-19 outbreak hit Canada, he stayed home due to his health. 

"Last year we've been together every day and it's been a challenge, but it's also good at the same time because we get to spend that time together," Menicoche said.

Taking up walking and cribbage, a game Moonen usually wins, Menicoche learned to appreciate the little things.

"I'm so more appreciative and grateful for the little things that you take for granted every day, like a good morning hug or even a coffee brought to you," she said. 

Murina Menicoche, originally from Fort Smith, N.W.T., with her partner Collin Moonen. 'I'm so more appreciative and grateful for the little things that you take for granted every day, like a good morning hug or even a coffee brought to you,' she said.   (Submitted by Murina Menicoche)

And communication helped the couple strengthen their relationship.

"I didn't realize how patient he really is with me," she said.

"[You have] to really communicate and really listen … really listen from your heart and keep your eyes open and be mindful about how or what they're going through too."

And with all the extra time for communication, Menicoche stumbled across some surprises, including a not-so-favourite dish.

"I didn't know he didn't like tacos," she said with a laugh.

"I had been making him tacos for like five, six years. Then this year, it was, 'Oh, I don't really like tacos … I like burritos.'"

 Tik Tok to the rescue

Coleen Hardisty got some of her best relationship advice from Tik Tok.

The Fort Simpson, N.W.T., local turned Yellowknifer moved in with her partner last May.

"I would say our relationship hasn't changed a whole bunch, we're both pretty introverted and homebodies … and we're a new relationship, so I think it's still in the romance phase," Hardisty told CBC.

The couple has been together for two years and she says the forced time together has given the pair a chance to grow in a short amount of time.

Coleen Hardisty, formerly of Líídlįį Kúę, N.W.T., turned Yellowknifer, with her partner Bryce Hierlihy. She said she got the best relationship advice — to make out twice a day, verey day, for at least five seconds — from Tik Tok. (Submitted by Coleen Hardisty)

"We learned each other's habits, learned how to kind of read each other, but we also check in with each other on a regular basis and really try to make life as easy for the other person as possible," she said.

The little things can be as simple as grabbing groceries or doing dishes when the other person is tired.

"Remember that it's the two of you, or however many people in your relationship, against the problem and not against each other," she said.

Her other favourite piece of advice is courtesy of the popular social media platform, Tik Tok — make out twice a day.

"It really resonated with me because I've had times in my life where I have a partner that I live with and I don't super connect to them or I'm starting to feel like we're roommates," Hardisty said.

According to Tik Tok, the make out session needs to be at least five uninterrupted seconds, twice a day.

With files from Rachel Zelniker


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