It seems the dating world has turned upside down. Everything from hasty break-ups to couples moving in together have COVID-19 to thank. The stress of this worldwide lockdown is causing romantic destruction while boredom is reigniting old flames (or maybe just providing an excuse to text your ex). Regardless, people are handling this bizarre time in numerous ways.

It seems boyfriends have disappeared into their TVs with all the video gaming going on and girlfriends cannot grab their attention even by dying their hair. Now, this is just the general consensus I have received from reaching out to some friends in relationships. As someone who jumped into both worlds this quarantine, I can say I understand the gaming addiction as well as the want to experiment with colourful hair. That being said, guys, c’mon and put some time aside from the online world to FaceTime your SO (significant other.) And those curious about changing their hair, well, to be honest, there is no better a time than this to see what you would look like with purple hair and bangs, so go for it.

On the one hand, we have the couples who have been complying to government standards and haven’t seen each other in over a month. Props to you guys, it is certainly easier said than done, having to stay apart from your gf/bf for so long. On the other hand, some couples have moved in together to quarantine. Also props to you guys, once again, maybe it was easier said than done, and you feel like problems are arising from spending too much time together. If that is the case, don’t be afraid to address it with your partner and maybe set aside a couple of hours each day to be by yourself. Do some reading or Netflix binging on your own, write in a journal or play an instrument, or even surf social media by yourself in an empty room.

Any sort of alone time will make the time together that much better and may solve some problems that were caused simply by stepping on each other’s toes too much

Now, there is also romantic destruction. It really is the best and worst time to break up. It isn’t like you’re going to awkwardly run into your ex at the store or a bar… there are no immediate physical consequences because, well, no one can physically see each other.  Isolation, however, calls for a lot of alone time, and for someone going through a heartbreak, way too much of it. This means way too much time to overthink and stalk social media profiles.  I suggest taking a break from your phone and picking up a hobby like reading or baking to cope with all the time on your hands. Nothing is worse than getting into the habit of checking your ex’s social media. Been there, done that… not worth it. Take advantage of the fact you can’t see them or their friends in public to deal with the heartbreak on your own terms.

Speaking of exes and the absence of immediate physical consequences –  it does sound like the perfect time to reach out to that one person running through your mind. As Megan Abbott has put it, “there is something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls.” To those who reached out or got reached out to, and reconnected with a certain ex, ask yourself one thing: is it a true rekindling of a relationship or did the loneliness and boredom just get the best of you? In a weird time like this, it is dangerously easy to fall back into bad habits. I get it, you are by yourself, wanting someone to talk to, and craving attention. Aren’t we all… but maybe before reaching out to someone who used to be in your life, reach out to someone who is. Text a friend, start a convo, and bounce the idea off them before sending that text. Chances are, they’ll bring you back to your senses if it really is a toxic idea.

Now, what about those of us who just recently started talking to someone? Starting a relationship in the midst of all of this is quite very frustrating as you are stuck in the “talking stage” for what seems like a never-ending amount of time. No one knows when quarantine will end, never mind when people can start going on dates again, or even get within six feet of each other. Having someone to text every day and send TikToks to is fun and comforting, but it comes to a point where it feels like you really are stuck. I get it; you just want to hang out with them and see this relationship through. For now, I can offer some advice for dates from home.  Watch movies together, and by together, I mean through Netflix party where you can live chat throughout. Or even just make sure you press play at the same time and keep your phone nearby to text. Then there is FaceTime! The closest thing we have to being present with someone while being in different places. Drive-bys could also be a good idea (as long as you keep your distance) as you get that in-person feeling we’ve all been craving. Another idea is, dare I say, video games. You heard me. Might as well give it a try since it enables you to talk and hangout without the pressure of having to make up conversation topics if they run dry… playing a game lets you communicate without even thinking since you’re both focused on the game.

Quarantine is what you make of it, whether that be taking more time to focus on yourself or putting in the effort to get to know someone better.

It is also important to note how romantic relationships are not the only relationships under stress during this time. Make sure to check in on and keep in contact with your family and friends. Now more than ever, it is essential to foster connections and communicate effectively with those you care about. As different and uncertain a time this is, the only way to get through it is together, and by that, I mean physically staying apart.


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