How’s everyone’s love life during this once a millennium pandemic? Not everyone has the pleasure of worrying about such a seemingly small and insignificant matter, but when you’re a freshman who just got kicked out of the dorms, it’s hard not to miss Thursdays at Wild Greg's or running into your crush on Northrop Mall. Thankfully, for some, social media has come to the rescue in terms of appeasing loneliness.
The different stages of our modern-day relationships come with their own unique adaptations and struggles during this time. Although a global virus was something most of us didn’t see coming, getting ghosted by Tinder boys could’ve been seen from yards away, regardless of stay-at-home orders. With the ambiguity of our release date looming over our heads like a cloud of uncertainty, it’s easy to make empty promises and give a little bit of your attention to a lot of people for the sake of filling a hole of loneliness.
Some people’s continued desire to find relationships has led them to dating websites that set you up with other college students across the country. Zoom University is a website that helps you find people to talk to. Their website reads, “are u bored, single, and ready to mingle but covid-19 got you stuck inside feeling lonely? we got you. ZoomU is a social dating service that sets you up on DOUBLE DATES WITH YOUR BEST FRIEND.” Additionally, dating apps such as Tinder have changed users' abilities to alter their locations to anywhere in the world. This doesn’t limit your matches to the pool of people near your current location but anywhere in the world. If all dates are virtual, it doesn’t make much of a difference of where they’re from.
Coming into our stay-at-home order with a partner is no piece of cake either. There is an added pressure that comes with maintaining a relationship during any stressful time. COVID-19 introduces a new element of distance between partners. When everyone had to leave campus and head home, it created unexpected long-distance relationships in the process.
Certain aspects of you and your partner that you had never seen before start to emerge before you even realize it. Their lack of cellphone usage may not have bothered you when you both were living on campus together, but now you’re both in your respective hometowns and you’re starting to question a missed text or read receipt. Intrusive thoughts like this are so easy to slip in and out of your head when we don’t have the daily routine and chaos to distract us from far-fetched and irrational ideas.
This could be a good time, whether apart or together, to take note of their love language and incorporate that into your relationship. My heart goes out to the folks who rely on quality time and physical touch to show affection. Learning the ways your partner communicates and wants to receive affection can be a great way to show each other some extra love during this time. Instead of a typical date night in Dinkytown, maybe set up a FaceTime call while you both are eating the same box of mac n’ cheese. Or if they enjoy words of affirmation, send them a handwritten letter.
We’re all collectively dealing with a new and never-before-seen added level of stress. The effort that you and your partner make to take each other’s needs into consideration can really show how much someone cares. It also highlights areas that may need work or growth.
Bottom line, nothing is easy right now. Everything is being tested, and it’s important to be aware of your actions during this time. Just because we have lost a large part of meaningful, face-to-face interactions in our society does not mean we have to follow through with an attitude of lost hope and apathy. Meaningful relationships are still possible as long as we remember to see the people we’re talking to as people like us with hopes, fears and dreams — not just contact pictures on our phones.