A few weeks ago, I was on a plane to New York to see family. I got lucky with an empty middle seat, and I thought the guy on the other side of the row was cute! About a half hour before we landed, I finally worked up the courage to ask what he was reading, and it was a book I’d been meaning to read for years. We started talking and found out we had a ton in common: I study astronomy and he takes pictures of the Milky Way for fun. We both love sci-fi. We both live in Austin! When we realized we’d be on the same plane back in two days, we rearranged our seats to sit next to each other. We talked for the entire four-hour plane ride and didn't want to say goodbye.
The next time we met up, we talked for hours over ramen, then gelato, and then some drinks. A few days, later he wanted to cook me dinner, but I had to turn down the offer because I’d started social distancing. We had a FaceTime date instead, which felt silly but it wasn’t as awkward as I expected. I flew home to Boston the next day to be with my family, but we’re still FaceTiming each other. Last night, we asked each other the 36 questions that are supposed to make you fall in love. It took us hours to get through them because we kept getting sidetracked telling stories about our lives. When we finished, we both agreed that we definitely aren’t in love, but I do feel closer to him now. Neither of us are intending to start a relationship, especially because I don’t know if I’ll ever live in Austin again, but it’s really nice having somebody to talk to while we’re both stuck in our homes indefinitely.
— Julia, 21, University of Texas at Austin
I was supposed to go on a date with someone a week before everything really went to sh*t. We both agreed not meeting up was for the best, and it kind of fizzled it out. It would’ve been nice to possibly talk in the meantime! Having someone to talk to in a romantic way would definitely be better than scrolling on my phone all day. I’m not on dating apps, but I did fill out that form by the two girls who started Love Over Zoom, though.
— Lauren, 22, University of Connecticut
About a month ago, I went on a date with this guy right when it was starting to become evident a pandemic might happen. We were going to a bar arcade, and he texted me to bring hand sanitizer. We’ve been hanging out since then and enjoying each other’s company, but he doesn’t want a serious relationship and I’m moving in two months. Every time we hang out, we end up in a long conversation about the coronavirus. It’s hard because while I want to continue hanging out with him, I’m hesitant of seeing him because of social distancing.
— Elizabeth, 21, University of Nevada at Reno
Being home indefinitely makes it easier to reach out to flames from the past, since we essentially all moved home in the past two weeks and have an indefinite amount of free time! I’ve been talking to people I’ve had connections with over the past four years.
— Kaitlin, 21, University of Central Florida
I’m very single. I have not been interested in pursuing a relationship because I wanted to accept a job and plan my next move based only on what was right for me. I think this situation has only added to my stress and made even less time to pursue relationships.
— Sam, 22, University of Iowa
I rarely experience a deep attraction to anyone, but after trying to ignore a crush since May, I finally confessed my attraction to the guy I like a few weeks ago. He confessed the same feelings for me, but with graduation looming and plans uncertain, we decided to simply pursue a sort of "intentional friendship" so we can actually get to know one another without the distraction of new romance pulling us from our last two months of school.
Two weeks after this conversation, social distancing measures went into effect, and four days after that, our school became completely remote. I'm the only one with a car, my round trip commute to school is an hour and a half, and I work 30 to 40 hours a week, so it's just not feasible to casually spend time together. And with social distancing measures in place, how do we safely practice physical contact, which is a necessary element of emotional intimacy for me? He is not currently around many people and none of them are high-risk, but I have family at high risk and I work in a high-contact service environment.
Now, there's so much uncertainty. How do I pursue a relationship when I need face-to-face interaction? How do I grow closer to him, while not compromising those I work with or my own family? What if the distance prevents this relationship from ever taking off? What about those few who know of the beginnings of our relationship — how do we deal with the social pressure if this relationship just stops? And finally, how do we find closure in the midst of crisis?
— Julianne, 22, George Fox University
I’m just mad that the guy that ended things with me because of his commitment issues isn’t forced to see me on campus now.
— Davis*, 22, College of Charleston