Has Covid Changed How You Feel About Dating and Relationships?
March 4, 2022
As we approach the two-year anniversary of Covid-19 shutting many things down, I’ve been reminiscing on how it’s changed the world around us. But did you ever stop to think about how it’s affected dating and relationships?
As many schools, jobs and extracurricular activities turned online, so did dating. At times, we’ve been prevented from engaging in typical social activities and with that, a chance to meet people in a potentially romantic way.
However, over the last two years, we’ve adapted. We started to go on virtual dates and host virtual movie nights. When necessary, we learned how to have socially-distanced hangouts.
Even with these adaptations, when you’re mainly interacting over the phone or computer it can feel hard to form the trust and comfort needed to maintain a healthy relationship. The intimacy part of a relationship—whether emotional or physical—was much harder to achieve in quarantine rather than face-to-face, at least for me.
Although it’s been difficult, I believe there were some upsides to the situation. Being quarantined gave me space to focus on understanding who I am and what I want in a relationship. Before, everything was so fast-paced that it could feel like there was no time to pause and reflect. I feel as though for me and many teens, the pandemic has made us take time to think about what we want from a partner, or re-evaluate what we like about and expect from dating.
I was interested to know: what did other teens have to say about dating and the pandemic?
“I realized during quarantine I did not need to rush into getting into a relationship. I could take my time, since I survived the quarantine just fine without being in one. I should just be patient and let anything happen naturally.
Before the pandemic I would always put on an act during dates or when I was talking to someone I was interested in, but the pandemic made me realize there was no need for that and I should just be myself. Although I usually try to show the best side of myself, I [now] make a conscientious effort to just be myself as much as I can.
“[Earlier in] the pandemic I went out less frequently to reduce my risk of contracting the virus, so I had to be very picky if I went on a date. That has continued even after I got vaccinated and began going out more. I am significantly more picky with who I go out with. Although some might consider this a negative thing, I personally feel it is a good thing for me.”
—Kevin, 17, Hillsborough, NJ
“I only started dating when people started to become a bit more comfortable with Covid. I need [people I date] to be vaccinated; I ask whether or not they’re vaccinated. [Any pandemic relationship stories?] I had to wait to see their face behind their mask.”
—Rianna, 18, Queens, NY
“I increased my social media usage due to how hard in-person meetings have been. I think the lack of human connection has made me a lot more open to dating. I am more outgoing [now] when it comes to dating. I guess the threat of a spontaneous global lockdown makes you brave.”
—Aiden, 17, Pittsburgh, PA
“[The pandemic] has shown me a lot about people based on how seriously they take it. I get to see more about what people are actually like and how they treat Covid. However, it’s made me a little more reluctant to date. People who don’t treat Covid seriously are people who won’t take me seriously.”
—Maria, 18, Clayton, NC
“As someone who travels a lot, I always knew that long distance would be a factor in any relationship I had. Because of COVID, that was solidified.
I met my current partner of one year over Zoom class. We started long distance and have been alternating between being in-person and long-distance since. But our relationship is strong and thriving and I believe a large part of that is because of the effort and commitment long distance requires.
Long distance has been tough, but we text daily and video call on weekends. We also send each other letters to keep things romantic.
Being long distance sometimes is good to keep you active in your own personal life. For example, we can both have jobs and plan careers and hang out with family and friends even when we cannot be together. It helps keep a balance.”
—Lamis, 19, Hempstead, NY