The pandemic did not just affect us individually.
It is not merely a nuisance that COVID-19 has taken an emotional toll on us individually. Now that we’re seven months into a worldwide pandemic, the challenges we’ve faced throughout this period have had a significant impact on our social lives, work lives, and even our love lives. To some, this pandemic challenged them to find an alternative to their erratic online dating routine. Others chose to separate themselves from their partners. Still, some have fought to find a way to successfully live with the unknowingness of this worldwide phenomenon within their romantic relationships—marriage or even long-distance.
Managing a healthy relationship was already a tricky task before the outbreak, so if you’ve fought for, maintained, or even bettered yours, I commend you. Relationships come in all shapes and sizes, but complexity is the thing that allows them to relate to one another. So how exactly have they made it through the pandemic? Five different couples open up about their journeys.
Sam and Zek
“We’ve been in a long-distance, monogamous relationship for about two years and three months now, with Zek living in Canada (Ottawa) and me living in the US (San Francisco, but recently moved to NYC in January 2020). We had planned to visit each other more often in 2020, but because of COVID, those plans got postponed. Since quarantine, we’ve grown closer in our special ways, despite being used to having to maintain a long-distance relationship. We spent most of the quarantine watching shows together, talking on the phone more, et cetera. I learned that Zek listens to me a lot more than I thought he did. And Zek says he learned how to better help me get through uncertain times. Since quarantine started, we both feel like the hardest thing has just been the uncertainty—not knowing when we’ll see each other next is new to us.
“However, we’ve managed to keep the romance alive by sharing our hobbies as much as we can! Our dates are all virtual, but we have ‘movie nights’ [and] ‘drinking nights’! We’ll usually plan a night to drink and watch a TV show together. We hope we can keep doing that even after quarantine.”
Abbie and Cody
“Creating space has been a big focus for us during this time. We live down the street from each other and see each other pretty much daily. Our job situations varied, and it created stress in our relationship early on in the pandemic. We broke up and got back together a couple of weeks later! Our relationship is full of love, but May/June was also full of stress, anxiety, and frustration due to the situation. Since we rekindled our relationship, we find ways to go on dates that are socially distanced: long walks together, cooking at home, and dressing up. School and work are basically back to normal for both of us (online school and service industry), and this allows us to have time apart from each other. We are each able to focus on our own goals and tasks and come back together after a long day or weekend of exhausting work and enjoy each other’s company. Honestly, this situation sucks, but it made us a stronger couple and we look forward to celebrating our second anniversary in November.”
Maddie and Clark
“Teamwork has become a priority for us since the start of the pandemic. One of us had a job pop up in L.A., and the other’s lease ended after getting laid off, so we figured the best way to get there was by car. After that, we kind of just figured we would feel more comfortable out of NYC, staying with friends and family, trying to be as careful and considerate as we can. Because we’ve been on the road together for about a month, our mobile life has strengthened our camaraderie and helped us try to make a routine in tandem, rather than having separate or individual routines day to day. Whereas, prior to COVID, most of our weekdays would be very separate. Also, we spend all day, every day, together and we live out of a car. Ultimately, we were very much on the same page about everything and decided to plan to hit the road and just figure it out. It’s a comfort knowing that we’re in the uncertainty together, and that’s definitely made us stronger. Constantly experiencing new things and having the privilege to do what we’re doing has kept the romance alive—we saw the Grand Canyon at sunrise the other week, and there was something really special and intimate about sharing that moment with someone.”
Monica & Daniel
“Quarantine has allowed us to reflect on our relationship and analyze any rough spots. It’s been great having to work on them and watching us grow as a couple. At the beginning of the pandemic, we struggled to cope with my (Monica’s) need to socialize versus his (Daniel’s) desire to isolate. Luckily, we’ve been seeing a couple’s therapist, which has been very helpful for us. In order to keep intimacy alive during this time, she recommended for us to add romantic massages in our nighttime routine, as well as setting boundaries in our daily routines, giving each other space to be alone when necessary, and reassuring each other more about any progress we’ve done in our personal goals. Early on, we noticed that if we don’t fall into this routine, we take it out on one another by being rude and getting easily annoyed at one another.”
Naajidah & Megan
“We moved back in with each other from Northwest Arkansas to Austin, TX. So we’ve grown closer by having deep conversations about our future together during this pandemic in the company of our two dogs. The fact that we’ve been financially stressed and unsure about our futures has made us worry about almost everything—but we’ve managed. For example, we used to love going to the movies and eating out at restaurants, so instead, we’ve been getting takeout, eating outside, and going to drive-in movies to stay socially distanced.
“We’ve also had some issues with libido—one of us has a higher libido than the other, but it’s a work in progress. Overall, we’re excited about the future because we have endured this and many other things and still have made it. But we’re also nervous because we don’t want to both be unemployed.”
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