GRAPHIC DESIGN Sarah Pasquini
With recent social adjustments due to COVID-19, many have been made to abide by pandemic restrictions; which makes me wonder how romantic relationships of any nature are progressing. So I will be exploring insights into the ‘new normal,’ if there even is one, from couples and those on the casual dating scene, since they will best determine where ‘love’ has fallen amidst a global pandemic age.
For fourth-year Ryerson and York University couple Nicole Colozza and Kai Dingman, quarantine was something experienced together in past months.
“We started living together since both of us were out of work … This meant a lot more time together. We did have a few picnics in parks, and some nights we would blast music while drinking and dancing to mimic being at a bar or club. Since we had little to do, we just had fun together every day, so there definitely was not an absence of connection or quality time,” said Colozza.
According to a study done by The Knot; The Lasting State of Relationships Report, 40% of couples surveyed reported spending more than 20 extra hours a week with their partners due to social distancing, which is a position that Colozza and Dingman found themselves in throughout quarantine.
“I feel like this really helped me cope with some of the mental frustrations that quarantine and the pandemic brought as I had someone constantly by my side to keep me company, reassure me, and overall just to have fun with,” said Colozza.
Alternatively, my partner James Elmhirst and I experienced a majority of quarantine and COVID-19 restrictions apart for nearly two months.
68% of participants surveyed from The Lasting State of Relationships Report, stated that they prioritized strengthening their emotional connection and discovering new ways to spend time together through the pandemic. This is something that Elmhirst and I resonate with throughout our quarantine experience.
“Date night definitely changed once this pandemic began. They were now over facetime, we had to get creative and find new ways to spend time together. We started watching movies, online shopping together all over facetime, to stay connected and entertained. This pandemic made our communication as a couple stronger, and I also think being apart for so long brought us even closer together,” said Elmhirst.
Statistics released by Tinder have highlighted a recent 10-15% per cent increase in use from February to March 2020, as well as messaging.
While pandemic relationships have faced challenges, so have the trials and tribulations of a single’s casual dating life. Statistics released by Tinder have highlighted a recent 10-15% increase in use from February to March 2020, as well as messaging.
For fourth-year Law Student Ella Moher, dating apps were an option she turned to out of boredom and the obstacles that COVID-19 restrictions put in place.
“I had to leave my residence on campus early due to COVID-19 … When I returned, I wasn’t working or involved with any of the normal activities that I usually do. I was bored and had nothing better to do, so I decided to join the dating app circles,” said Moher.
University of Guelph student Lance Montalbo, experienced the frustration of pursuing new relationships during the pandemic. He believes that it was realistically impossible to plan for a date with previous safety restrictions in place on top of the difficulty of planning specific dates.
Beyond dating obstacles, many have been getting creative with socially distant ways to connect. This is a familiar concept for Medical Office Administrator Sarah Sheppard, who experienced a unique virtual date a few weeks after the pandemic began.
It was great because we were both in the comfort of our own homes and didn’t have the increased risk of seeing someone outside of our household.
“With all the usual go-to date spots closed due to the pandemic, he got creative, and we each ordered HelloFresh one week and facetimed while making the meals that week and then had dinner “together.” It was great because we were both in the comfort of our own homes and didn’t have the increased risk of seeing someone outside of our household,” said Sheppard.
With restrictions recently easing up, Moher, Montalbo, and Sheppard have varying perspectives on personal precautions, including mask-wearing to dates.
“Personally, I wouldn’t wear a mask on a date simply because it kind of takes away from someone’s body language such as their facial expressions. Assuming the girl doesn’t work somewhere of high risk ‘, added Montalbo, ‘I’d much rather wait things out before I go on a date.”
For Sheppard, the in-person dates she has attended have been mask-free as they have been outdoors, and she has not felt the need to wear one. While Moher has brought a mask and sanitizer to a previous date as an option to explore if she felt uncomfortable or unsafe.
Romance remains an individual and ever-changing experience, despite the adjustment to our world’s ‘new normal.’. One that is dependent on current safety restrictions and personal comfort levels, as seen above.
“If it’s worth it, if you can feel in your heart that it’s right, just go for it! I wish more people would follow this advice. Try to continue safely living in the moment, even though it may seem like there is no end in sight to this confusing and anxiety-inducing time,” said Moher.