How do you find love when the entire world has changed?
I think we can all agree that the Coronavirus pandemic has been a total fucking nightmare. Covid-19 has taken so much away; birthdays, graduations, even my Harry Styles concert. However, one of the biggest things to change this past year has been the dating scene. How exactly does one find love in the middle of a never-ending pandemic? I spoke with three college students to try and find out.
In A Relationship:
For the past two years, Nate has been in a loving relationship with his boyfriend Ben. Life was smooth sailing for the couple until that fateful day last March.
Q: In what ways has the pandemic impacted your relationship?
A: Coronavirus has taken a toll. Trying to maintain going to college in a pandemic where there are guest restrictions has definitely made it more difficult on us.
Q: What would you say has been the most challenging part about all of this?
A: I think the most challenging part has been a lack of things to do. There are not many things to do and we do get creative, but you can only go on a picnic, have a craft night, or a spa night so many times.
Despite the many challenges the pandemic has caused, the two have still been managing to make it work. It begs the question, is love enough? They make that answer seem obvious.
Q: How have you guys been able to make it work?
A: We call each other every morning and every night, even if we’re just talking for a couple of minutes. We both have really busy lives because we're both still in school, but we make it work with phone calls and things like that.
Q: What advice would you give to people who might be struggling in their own relationships because of the pandemic?
A: The things that we’re experiencing in the world are temporary. If you guys are able to make it through this, you’ll probably be able to make it through anything.
Before Coronavirus hit the country, Rebekah had a boyfriend she was pretty serious about. As the pandemic got worse, so did her relationship.
Q: Do you think the pandemic made things worse for you guys?
A: I don’t think the pandemic caused all of our problems but it kind of exasperated it. A lot of anxiety and worry comes with the pandemic, so if you’re already having anxiety and worry in your relationship it’s going to make things worse.
Eventually, the stress and anxiety became too much, and the couple decided to end things.
Q: So what ended up happening?
A: We did end up breaking up. I’m not going to say it’s the pandemic’s fault, but I think if there wasn’t a pandemic we probably could have worked through everything.
Since her breakup, Rebekah has been trying to navigate the dating scene, but it’s been harder than she expected.
Q: How has the Coronavirus pandemic impacted your ability to meet people?
A: Personally I wasn’t able to meet people. There’s no way to meet people. Either you go on Tinder, Hinge, or Bumble, or you just don’t date basically.
Eventually, she did end up meeting someone, but things got pretty awkward.
Q: What was it like meeting them in person with everything going on?
A: He wanted to go out in a city area and I was nervous, but I said I would as long as he wore a mask. It was a little nerve-wracking going out with him because he would take off [his mask] all the time. Dating in the pandemic is always a risk but I think honestly, you get to know people a lot easier.
Q: How so?
A: You get to know people a lot better because you get to know their values a lot sooner. If they’re not taking [the pandemic] seriously or they don’t want to wear their mask, then if you’re someone who really values that you know it’s just not going to work out.
After almost a year, Rebekah is back to seeing the man she was dating before the pandemic began. This time she’s approaching the situation with a new perspective.
Q: So what are your overall thoughts about trying to meet people while this pandemic’s going on?
A:We are seeing each other, but we both know that the pandemic is still happening. I think dating in the pandemic will affect it as much as you let it. Just know what you’re getting into and know their values about the pandemic beforehand. That was definitely a mistake I made and learned from.
Single and Ready to Mingle:
Amy was single and looking for love before the pandemic started. Fast forward to almost a year later and not much has changed.
Q: When the pandemic started to get really bad in March, how did you think it was going to affect your relationships with people in terms of dating?
A: There wasn’t much of a dating scene for me at the beginning of the pandemic. So when it started I remember thinking I was going to be single even longer because I wouldn’t be able to find anyone.
Q: Has the Coronavirus pandemic impacted your ability to meet people?
A: Yeah. I want to find a relationship face-to-face or through friends, not through a dating app. If I thought trying to meet somebody without a pandemic is hard, with a pandemic is like ten times harder.
Even though it’s been tough, Amy hasn’t given up on her search to find love. She’s gone out on a few dates since the start of the pandemic, but they weren’t what she was expecting.
Q: What was it like going out on dates, knowing there’s still a pandemic going on?
A: It was very different and uncomfortable because I’m only unmasked around my family, but now I’m unmasked around this guy that I’ve only just met. He could potentially be giving me Covid, so it was a little uncomfortable.
Q: What are your overall thoughts about trying to meet people while a pandemic is going on?
A: I’ve come to the point where I feel like it’ll happen if it happens. Yeah, it’ll be a little more difficult but you have to pick yourself up and put yourself back in the saddle.
Learning more about how these people are navigating their love lives while also navigating through a pandemic has inspired me. Covid-19 has definitely been the worst, but knowing that love is still out there does make it seem a bit less scary. I say it’s time to embrace those Zoom dates and lather up on the sanitizer because love (and Covid) is still very much in the air.