Dating during the pandemic has added a fair amount of hurdles and challenges. According to a dating survey conducted by Amherst Wire, 25 out of 67 students who took the survey are currently single, a total of 37%. On top of this, 17 out of the 67 students had to end a relationship during the pandemic, a total of 25%. Relationships have grown tougher to manage during this pandemic, so it is helpful to gain insights from people who are examples of a relationship gone right and to learn from those who have made mistakes along the way.
UMass sophomore Franklin Chen (undecided) and freshman Sarita Chen (currently kinesiology but applying to Isenberg for marketing) have been in a relationship for two years and are both 19 years old. Freshman Jason Chen (19 years old and majors in corporate finance) and freshman Miriam Jaber (also 19 and is a nursing major at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences) have been dating for two and a half years.
Economics major Haoxi Wang is 19 and a freshman at UMass Amherst. Finance major Joe Connelly is 20 years old and currently a sophomore at UMass Amherst.
These couples and individuals who are active in the dating scene help to shed light on what it is like to be dating, or in a relationship during the pandemic. From the obstacles they faced to learning what works, their experiences may help others looking to explore relationships.
Here are their do’s and don’ts of dating during a pandemic.
Talk all the time.
It is easier than ever to connect in creative ways. Franklin and Sarita explained how they constantly Facetime each other or play games through Discord such as Jackbox or Minecraft. Jason watches movies and TV shows with his girlfriend, Miriam, over Discord as well. Staying connected is important in a relationship, and with all these platforms we have now, tremendously easy.
See each other when you have the chance
Franklin and Sarita shared that a pandemic naturally makes it harder to see each other but when the opportunity presents itself, you should take it. This naturally breeds a higher appreciation for the times you do get to spend time together. Jason expanded on this, explaining that when you do get to see your partner, it makes the time together even more meaningful, no matter what you are doing together.
Be open and safe with the person you are dating
Haoxi felt that it was important to communicate test results and to explore safer date ideas. These date ideas can be creative. Jason gave a few ideas, such as late-night drives, Netflix watch parties online, watching sunsets, or casual activities like going shopping with one another. Joe Connelly’s go-to date ideas are a dinner reservation at a nearby restaurant or bowling. Joe stated how going on a dinner date is “easy to pull off with covid restrictions,” allowing for a fun but safe date. He also emphasized how going out to do something fun such as bowling helps “take away from the awkward pauses and moments” that naturally come with meeting someone for the first time.
Don’t smother your partner. Even with so much free time on our hands, allowing for space is important
Sarita and Franklin described that even though they are important to each other’s lives and want to spend time together, it is critical to give each other space from time to time. This doesn’t mean shutting your partner out, but you don’t need to be the constant sources of one another’s happiness. Instead, be supplemental to their happiness.
Don’t assume the other person’s safety precautions
Some people have varying degrees of safety with which they prefer to date. Haoxi noted that some people don’t want to hug too early or go out to eat dinner yet and everyone has different comfort levels that need to be communicated. Joe agreed on this and detailed that some people do not want to get too comfortable too soon. Small things such as wearing a mask are key to making sure your partner feels safe.
Don’t be reckless and irresponsible around others
Jason pointed out how it’s manageable to come up with date ideas that are pandemic-safe. These ideas can be as simple as going out to try new restaurants or going to a park together. It is possible to have fun dates that do not involve large crowds of people or having to be maskless.
Dating can be tricky, and dating in the midst of a pandemic can add new and unprecedented obstacles. Stay communicative with your partner and find times to connect with one another, while also giving them a proper amount of space. It is also quite doable to have pandemic-friendly dates. In terms of actively trying to find a long-term partner, it is important to be mindful of how cautious the other person may be. Times have changed, but that does not mean dating is impossible.
Email Taylor Lee at [email protected]