Picture this for me, you’re on a date. Everything is going great. He’s really cute, likes what you like, is smart and very polite. Except you have to sit six feet away and you’re scared to touch him. Kinda kills the mood, huh. Welcome to dating during the pandemic.
After the quarantine was announced in March and everything shut down, the least of people’s concerns were dating. Well, that quickly wore off for most of the young population as restaurants started to become more available. With all the boredom of being confined to my house for months, I know I was ready to get back out there. And get back out there I did.
Getting over the initial awkwardness of not being able to physically break the ice was most definitely a challenge. You feel pressured to know what to say and be in constant communication with whoever you’re dating, or “talking” to.
I went through a breakup throughout this quarantine, as did many others. Quarantine breakups became somewhat of a phenomenon, with the hashtag actually trending on twitter.
Throughout the COVID segment of that relationship, we tried a slew of different quarantine “dates.” We would Facetime and watch a movie together instead of going to the theatre or drop off snacks at each other’s places instead of eating together. The date that I liked the most was going out to Santa Fe Lake and walking the trail there. We caught the sun setting just as we made it to the end of the trail that looked out over the lake. I would love to say that it was the distance that pulled this relationship apart; sadly, it was due to other circumstances.
However, my sadness was short-lived. About a month later a friend of mine, who had also recently gotten out of a relationship, asked me out on a date. This was about two weeks after the lockdown had been lifted.
Our first date was to an ice cream spot that quickly became our go-to. We wore masks inside and socially distanced ourselves in the restaurant until we could take our ice cream outside.
I wasn’t exactly sure how much to distance because we had been spending time together with our friends before quarantine and again once the lockdown had lifted.
The date went really well. There wasn’t a whole lot of awkwardness like I had been afraid there would be. The ice cream was great and we had an effortlessly fun time. Overall, I was very pleased given the situation.
We continued to do outdoor activities with our friends in between dates. We would fish in each other’s neighborhoods, which earned a solid five out of ten ratings for me. Mainly due to the fact that he and his friends insisted we hold the fish that they caught. Gross.
We also had a water balloon fight or two. This was a lot of fun until I stepped on a piece of glass that cut right through my toe. This one earned an eight out of ten, minus points for the excessive blood.
Our second date it was raining, so we decided to get drinks and just hang out and avoid the rain. This was one of my favorites. We ended up having a lot of quality time, which I really appreciated.
Almost exactly a week later he asked me to meet him at our ice cream spot. The date went well, he agreed that my taste in ice cream is better than his. He ordered something with lavender so I think that speaks for itself. It started raining on our way out and he chose this moment to ask me to officially go out with him. It was definitely more of a vulnerable experience than what I was used to getting from him. I, of course, said yes and it’s been a fairy tale ever since. Just kidding.
Relationships are still really hard. It’s a choice you make every day, the addition of COVID doesn’t take away from that. In fact, experiencing this whole endeavor only made our relationship stronger.
This experience has really made me appreciate my relationship, not only with my boyfriend but also with my friends and loved ones. It was definitely an adjustment to date during the pandemic. A little awkwardness, a dash of fearing for your health, you know, the typical dating woes. In the end, I am very thankful for the experience and the relationship that grew out of it.