This past spring, some Ohio University students found themselves in unplanned long-distance relationships, The Post previously reported.
Sidney Engelman, a freshman studying early childhood education, was one of them.
Before quarantine, Engelman graduated high school and started to take a gap year — then suddenly, all her plans to travel and work were not only changed, but totally cancelled. She had only been dating her girlfriend for a week when the COVID-19 shut-downs started. It was hard not seeing her.
“She was my first girlfriend and it felt like it wasn’t even real?” Engelman said in a message. “Because she lives 30 minutes away, I can’t drive, and now we weren’t allowed to leave our homes?”
Much like Engelman, Lily Janson’s relationship experienced an unplanned long-distance endeavour. Janson, a freshman studying early childhood education, went a while without seeing her boyfriend. It was hard, too, she said in a message.
“Then we started seeing each other again,” Janson said in a message. “Then his sister got corona, and we had to quarantine from each other again and it just feels like a never-ending cycle. We do not want our parents to get sick.”
Janson and her boyfriend have been dating for a year and a half. Staying home so much has almost made them closer and it’s fun, she added. But they’ve both had to cope with the effects of the pandemic.
“We both have lost parts of our schooling that we are upset about and he has helped me so much from losing my senior year,” Janson said in a message. “He’s been my rock. And we have been understanding more about each other and dealing with our problems and helped our communication. I love being with him."
The dating landscape is evolving during the pandemic — dating apps with it. In January, Bumble added a video chat feature. Tinder CEO Elie Seidman said in an interview with Forbes.com that daily messaging activity among the app’s American users has risen by 10% to 15%.
Yang Chen, a senior studying finance and marketing, said that describing his love life is hard right now. He’s single and usually only met people in class, student orgs, events and parties.
Nevertheless, he’s still trying to meet potential partners — even though right now, it’s just virtually.
“Regardless of safety, probably meeting people online is the primary choice and then meet (in real life),” Chen said in a message.
But Chen feels differently about meeting new people than before the pandemic. Safety comes first.
“When (I) meet friends, I feel much safer than meeting strangers,” Chen said in a message.
However, for Hannah Campbell, a freshman studying journalism, meeting new people is somewhat more comfortable during the pandemic.
“You’re able to actually talk to a person more, prior to being able to go out,” Campbell said.
Campbell has been sort of playing the dating field, she explained. This year has been different; lots of outdoor dates or going on drives. She’s mostly meeting up with people she knows already and keeps in touch with on Snapchat.
“I’ve been able to go out on a few dates,” Campbell said. “It's still hard because of social distancing and not everything being open. It’s really hard to go on a typical restaurant date.”
Engelman and her girlfriend have done lots of online dates, like watching Netflix and Facetiming. With restrictions lifted, the couple has been able to see each other more, but still haven’t gone on a traditional date.
“(Five) months in and I’m just wondering how long until I get to get all dressed up and take her out without worrying I’m gonna spread the virus or contract it.”—Sidney Engelman, a freshman studying early childhood education
“(Five) months in and I’m just wondering how long until I get to get all dressed up and take her out without worrying I’m gonna spread the virus or contract it,” Engelman said.
She also finds the summer between high school and freshman year of college to be a difficult time. She thinks the pandemic on top of freshman year will make incoming students less likely to seek relationships.
“I couldn't imagine that a lot of people want to date the first year of college to begin with, let alone during a pandemic.”