GTPulse: Love in Quarantine, How Coronavirus is Changing Romance
If you’re currently in a romantic relationship you’re either spending more time than ever together or apart. COVID-19 has changed the way we shop, communicate, work and date, and couples everywhere are adjusting not to just the “new normal” way of everyday life, but also of dating and romance.
“I wouldn’t say spontaneity is gone but it’s definitely more difficult to do right now,”
Ashley* is a Traverse City local who has been dating her boyfriend Tyler* for almost a year now. She hasn’t been home since March 8th because she and Tyler decided to quarantine in his Suttons Bay home.
“He brought it up because I have three roommates and they were all still going into work and I wasn’t, so it just kind of made sense so I wouldn’t be exposed.”
Tyler is a medical professional who is still going to work every day which gives them both time apart.
“My quarantine is different than his so there’s kind of a disconnect there,” Ashely said. “It’s hard because he thinks it’s like a staycation for me, which it kind of is but it’s also stressful. I’m jealous he’s going into work. There are some difficulties there.”
They’re navigating their cabin fever frayed nerves through maintaining routine and spending time talking about their day with each other.
“We wake up every morning together and have coffee, we have a really strong morning ritual. We have dinner every night together when he gets home and we just talk.”
Jody Alyssa is a Traverse City local quarantining alone despite having a significant other.
“We’ve been together for two months. No, we never even thought about it,” she said. “It wouldn’t work. It’s too early in the relationship to even have that conversation, you know?”
Being in a new relationship poses unique challenges in that a couple is suddenly thrown into maintaining a long-distance relationship without really knowing each other yet. Jody was enjoying a lot of spontaneity within her new romance. Seeing her new boyfriend was as simple as exchanging a few texts on where to meet for drinks. Lately, she has to communicate with him in a different way and small gestures of romance have changed.
“We didn’t have to schedule seeing each other, it would just happen. Now a driveby with a honk and a frozen pizza on the front doorstep is heroic,” she said.
She finds that talking regularly through text and phone calls, and making future plans to look forward to help keep both of them connected and excited about the future of the relationship. She’s not detached from the difficult reality of it all, however.
“My birthday is coming up. I’ve been saying all I want for my birthday is a huge birthday slash housewarming party, I don’t care about how belated it is. I’ve talked about ‘if we’re still together,’ as a joke. ”
For married couples, spending this much time together may or may not be a big adjustment. Taylor and Abbey Cramer are navigating their new home life with ease and grace. Taylors job allowed him to spend time working from home before the COVID-19 crisis so not all of this is a huge adjustment for him.
“I’m working 20 hours a week right now, I was full time before,” Abbey said.
The two are spending more time together than normal, but they’re working hard to remain self-aware and understand that this is a sensitive time for everyone and nerves are raw.
“When all of this started happening with the Stay Home Stay Safe in place we knew we were going to be in a weird mental space. Societal stress was probably going to be rubbing off on us too, and so we tried to acknowledge that there were going to be emotions changing really quickly. We agreed that we would always be checking in with each other, not judging each other and just asking how one another is feeling,” Taylor said.
They’re keeping romance alive by creating intentional time for one another where they shut the outside world out for a little while, and just hang out one on one.
“Earlier in the day, we’ll say, ‘hey let’s have a date tonight.’ We’ll shower, get ready like we’re going out and we’ll have a date in the house. We’ll put our phones away and do what we would normally do outside of the house. Except we’re inside,” Abbey said.
They’re also having fun together by working on new projects. Taylor is a local content creator and is not letting quarantine dampen any creative fun. An online cooking show, Cooking With Taylor, is something that they both have fun learning, with Taylor in front of the camera and Abbey directing.
Have you found yourself sharing a space or more time with your significant other? Or are you going it alone? I’m doing it alone over here and it has been a mix of good and bad. I like waking up in the quiet and the hot water never runs outs, but there’s also no one to laugh at reruns of The Office with. Fair trade? Who knows. I’ll just be happy when this is all over and I can go get drinks with my friends, which is what Taylor and Abbey are looking forward to most too.
“For me, the list of people I want to see just keeps growing and growing and I just want to go to the most public place I can and see the most people that I’ve missed,” Taylor said.
“That’s what I was picturing too.”
As for Ashely and Tyler?
“We’re going to go fly somewhere tropical.”
*Names have been changed upon request.
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