The coronavirus pandemic struck all of America suddenly, causing us to have to take extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
Earlier this year, states all over the country enforced a mandatory lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The restrictions included the closing of many restaurants, stores, beaches and parks. The stay-at-home orders forced families to stay within their homes and only interact with one another.
This affected not only their academic lives but personal lives as well. According to many students at FAMU, being stuck at home for months on end can either positively or negatively affect your relationships. Let’s take a look at how romantic relationships have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The beginning stages of the coronavirus where the stay-at-home orders took place, prevented many couples from seeing each other.
Olivia Carter, a kinesiology student, and Nia Wesley-Jones, a forensic student, said they waited about a month after being in quarantine to see their boyfriends.
Some students like Andrea Forney, a business administration student, waited even longer to meet up with her boyfriend. Andrea says she didn’t see her boyfriend for two months because of the outbreak. She said she wanted to wait until everything cleared up before meeting in person.
After the stay-at-home orders were lifted, depending on the state, not all businesses and recreational facilities were open yet. So what does that mean for our reuniting couples looking forward to their long-awaited date nights?
“It’s kind of hard trying to find what’s open and what’s an okay place to go due to Covid-19,” said Forney. “We mostly stay at home.” Forney said that she and her boyfriend typically go to the beach when wanting to get out of the house.
Olivia Carter explains that going out to eat was difficult because they could not go inside most of the restaurants. “We just tried to stick with fast food.”
Even if places were open to the public, they came with limitations. “We got ice cream and had to eat in the car because of Covid-19.” Nia Wesley-Jones said.
Not only did the quarantine affect current relationships, but it also brought upon new ones.
Chazriq Clarke, a theatre and performing arts student, said that before the pandemic hit, a relationship was the last thing on his mind. He felt he had too much going on and that he didn’t even have time for himself, let alone someone else. “When Covid-19 came, my life slowed down just enough for me to find “love”,” Chazriq said.
“I honestly don’t think we would’ve met,” said Jones. With nothing to do during quarantine, Nia says she downloaded tinder out of boredom.
Similar to Jones, Forney says she doesn’t think she would have talked to him if she were never on quarantine. “I started talking to him because I was bored at the house.”
Who would have known being bored at home on quarantine could help build relationships?
Strengths and Weaknesses
Now to truly answer the questions: Did the coronavirus and the quarantine that came with it, truly change relationships?
Did Covid-19 weaken or strengthen these relationships?
Jazmin Mackey, a broadcast journalism student, said that forced distance, in particular, took a toll on her relationship. “During quarantine, I feel my relationship weakened,” Mackey says. “The distance changed the dynamic of our relationship and that brought many struggles.”
Olivia Carter felt that the element of time caused them to argue more than usual. “We just had too much time on our hands,” Olivia said.
Sean Owens Jr., a business administration student, said that he felt that Covid-19 made his relationship weaker because of the minimal interaction he and his girlfriend had.
On the other end, some students felt that the quarantine made their relationship stronger.
“I think it made us stronger personally,” said Clarke. “…quarantine allowed me to not be around other people. [It was] just us.”
Quarantine is over..now what?
Now that quarantine is over, and couples are returning to school, how have these relationships changed?
Clarke says that he is scared for life to go back to normal as it is normally hectic. “..There’s never enough time with organizations, social life, obligations, school, and so much more,” Chazriq says. Now that the quarantine, he feels that his relationship has changed.
“I think our relationship has had a few bumps in the road concerning balancing the attention I give to my friends and to my relationship.”
On the other end, Andrea Forney says that she and her boyfriend see each other a lot now. “it’s helped us become closer,” Forney said.
Jazmin Mackey also feels that since coming back to FAMU, her relationship has become stronger. ‘“Those obstacles we went through pushed us to be better people for one another.”
Nia-Wesley Jones feels the dynamic of her relationships has not changed much since quarantine is over. “We’re just seeing where things go,” Jones said.
Ultimately, relationships change based on the people in the relationship. Therefore, in the end, the quarantine was just another hurdle for these couples to jump over.