All relationships have challenges, especially if it's long-distance, but of course, every relationship is different and while we could sit and wish we had a love like Lauren and Cameron Hamilton from "Love is Blind," that's not always the case, especially in the middle of a global pandemic right now.
So, I asked women in relationships how COVID-19 has affected their relationships, and honestly, the answers were not what I expected. I was thinking these women were going to all have similar answers, but they didn't because everyone is handling the pandemic differently.
Being quarantined with your partner can be tough, especially if you two have never spent more than a weekend with each other. It's no secret that the divorce rates have spiked since quarantine began.
For that reason, I was curious to see what these ladies' least favorite part about being in a relationship during a pandemic was.
America, 19, is social distancing from her partner and communicating through FaceTime. She said that her least favorite thing about being in a relationship right now is the lack of attention and sometimes communication.
Secanda, 45, is quarantined with her partner and says that she hates going out and having to touch stuff.
Maria, 21, is also social distancing and says that she misses not being able to go out and do their regular daily activities, like attend concerts or play shows since they are both entertainers and this has affected their income.
One of my participants is expecting her first child with her husband and her least favorite part are the rules restricting him from being a part of the pregnancy at the hospital. At the time the survey was given, her husband hasn't seen an ultrasound since they first went in got confirmation that they were pregnant. Many women are going through this pandemic pregnant right now and while a woman's pregnancy should be the best and most stress-free time of her life, COVID-19 sure isn't making it easy.
Since we are limited to doing regular things and going out on dates, I wondered what these ladies did to find creative new ways to keep the romance alive.
One couple made a tent in their living room and had an at-home movie theatre night with boxed candies. Another couple who is social distancing has gotten bit by the TikTok bug and send each other new videos just about every day. She said, "It's just a nice little reminder that the other person has been thinking of you or saw something that reminded them of you."
Secanda's life didn't really change that much aside from cooking together, doing DIY projects, making a garden, finding new series to watch together, and even bringing the salon to their homes and giving each other new looks by styling, cutting, and dyeing each other's hair.
Every couple has a special thing they do and a pandemic may have helped a few of these ladies and their partners discover what they like the most about being quarantined with them or distanced from them.
Jenni, 21, says that she loves the fact that they can spend quality time together with no distractions. Another couple said that COVID has forced them to be creative about how they pursue and talk to each other. Another lady seconded that and said that her and her partner's communication has improved and become more intentional and more frequent and they can focus more on each other.
Above all, if quarantine has taught any of us anything, it is to also care for ourselves mentally and physically, so I asked if any of these ladies have fallen in love with themselves and prioritized self care.
While two ladies said no, the remaining ones said they have fallen in love with themselves and begin prioritizing self care. America said she has worked more on herself and is hoping to get to a more peaceful state of mind. Someone else said they are starting to eat better, take a daily vitamin, work out more, and focus on clearing up her skin which has really boosted her confidence!
But at the end of it all, it can still be difficult to find that perfect balance to not stress in the middle of a pandemic, especially college students, and Maria can seriously empathize with this:
"The raging doubts and fears that are associated with graduating college in a pandemic and recession have not been the most helpful for self-love or for being in a relationship. We are both a little nervous but can share those feelings. With our age and mental health status, there are good/easy days and there are hard days. I will be graduating college in the fall and the state of the world has put me in a situation where self-care sometimes feels a bit challenging, I just need to make it through the day."
All of these women who participated are strong in their own individual ways and the rest of the ladies who are in relationships, too. Don't let "Ms. Rona" keep you from loving your partner with all of your heart and don't forget to love yourself in the process. We can get through this together! Remember, wear a mask and social distance!
*Many of the participants in the survey chose to remain anonymous.*
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