Amidst the pandemic, many aspects of people’s ordinary behavior and attitudes have changed. One thing that has not though, is our lookout on and desire for love. Times of social isolation have made some people feel increasingly touch-starved. A study by Dr. Viviana Horigian from the University of Miami reported that during a survey of 1,008 people aged 18-35, 65 percent of participants experienced increased feelings of loneliness since COVID-19 was declared an epidemic . a method people combat this loneliness is by seeking out romantic relationships.
At Wellesley, the mixture of the block system, mask regulations, social distancing and other prohibitions might make stepping into a relationship difficult. However, this wasn’t the case for everybody .
Managing On-Campus Relationships
When Wendy** met her girlfriend through social media within the months leading up to move-in, the 2 decided to make a block together. Before stepping into a politician relationship, however, the 2 attached with one another . the scholar attributed their getting-together to their mutual comfort and therefore the loneliness the COVID-19 pandemic had caused.
Additionally, since they were blockmates, it made their decision so far much easier. they might still eat with each other without worrying of being reported and, perhaps more importantly, were ready to be in one another’s rooms. Currently, however, with the interviewed student off-campus and her girlfriend on-campus, she finds it difficult to balance employment , relationship and faculty . With remote classes, it’s hard finding time to get on Zoom or FaceTime with one another . One new activity that the couple does to spend time with one another is practice yoga through Zoom.
Other students across campus have also gotten into relationships with their blockmates. A sophomore who was on-campus last semester and is studying remotely now discussed the naturalness of dating their girlfriend.
“Blockmates are the sole people you’re alleged to hang around with,” they said. “These become the people you primarily hang around with so it’s easier to urge on the brink of one another .”
Even though they were during a block together, however, the sophomore said that COVID still had an impression on their relationship. as compared to a traditional academic year , there have been fewer events and parties happening , with more students staying within their residence halls and dorms. As a student who was never in their room last year and always out, it changed the way they now interact with people .
The sophomore couple is now cohabitation off-campus, and said seeing one another constantly has not caused tension in their relationship. Although they periodically need time to be out of their home and obtain away, the scholar says they need yet to urge bored of their girlfriend.
However, no matter how COVID has impacted relationships, there are still breakups. The interviewed sophomore describes the block dynamic with someone they were not during a relationship with anymore to be initially difficult.
“Due to shut proximity, you see one another all the time,” they said. “You need to find people to hold out with.”
In a normal year, it might be easier to avoid a clumsy encounter with an ex together could spend time in several parts of campus. Unfortunately, the blockmate system discourages that and makes it far more complicated to try to to so.
For some relationships, though, COVID has not impacted much, with the exception of getting no more off-campus dates. Activities like thrifting within the Garment District and exploring new restaurants in Boston were common for one senior and her boyfriend before the pandemic.
“The most enjoyable thing we do now’s grocery shopping within the Ville,” said the senior.
Wellesley’s limitations on off-campus travel have encouraged students to seek out fun in what would usually just be something routine. the consequences of the restrictions go much deeper, and therefore the interviewed senior was a touch apprehensive to how certain rules are approached. When asked if COVID rules had put stress on her relationship, she said that she and her boyfriend discussed the principles and tried their best to form appropriate decisions.
“The fear of retribution by Wellesley was the worst thing,” she said.
One of the foremost common fears couples discussed was other Wellesley students reporting them for things like sitting too approximate within the living room . This stress impacted their psychological state greatly. But when asked if these challenges made them a stronger couple or not, the senior affirmed that it did because that they had to speak with one another far more .
Getting caught was a good more consequential worry for college kids in relationships outside of every other’s blocks. One on-campus first-year described the experience as being very complicated. She and her current girlfriend found it difficult to navigate the overall restrictions that the varsity mandated and therefore the ones her own block found out .
“We didn’t want anyone to be uncomfortable,” she said, reasoning that if someone in her girlfriend’s block got COVID, then that might put everyone in her block in danger .
The two prioritized openness and honesty and have become friends with the other’s block. The couple was also exclusive and monogamous to mitigate exposure and risk the maximum amount as possible.
They realized that the start of the new semester would likely entail stricter rules, therefore the first-year decided to hitch her girlfriend’s block. She described how sneaking around took a toll on her and her relationship, and says that the chance to be more COVID-conscious by blocking together ultimately makes her happier and easier .
Maintaining Long Distance Relationships
For Wellesley students unable to ascertain their spouse , their long-distance relationship still offers a way needed reprieve from the pressures of fast-paced academics and strained social lives. The College’s strict no-guest policy has prevented many couples from visiting each other as they could during a COVID-free year. Nevertheless, Carrie Goeky-Morrey ’24, a first-year living on campus, maintains a healthy and fulfilling relationship together with her girlfriend attending university in Texas.
Having started dating mid-summer in 2020, agreeing to a long-distance relationship was always a part of the deal. Through FaceTiming and staying connected together with her friends online, Goeky-Morrey was ready to get to understand her current girlfriend, developing the connection even without the guarantee of seeing each other face to face . This made the selection to pursue long-distance simple, explained Goeky-Morrey, who shares how dating during the pandemic “opened our eyes to the chances of maintaining closeness virtually.”
Although the College’s restrictions still impact all students, first-years have uniquely needed to navigate the start of school during a distanced, masked and mostly virtual environment. While separation from loved ones may bring its share of difficulties and challenges, Goekey-Morrey affirms that staying connected to her girlfriend offers great comfort.
In the hopes of an epidemic free sophomore year, the couple looks forward to visiting one another . Yet Goekey-Morrey and her girlfriend are flourishing despite the space . Though she acknowledges inevitable disadvantages of geographical separation, she appreciates that long-distance came “surprisingly easily.”
An on-campus senior, Wanda**, has also had to regulate to the space . Though her boyfriend of three years, a senior attending university in Boston, is merely half an hour away, the couple must now approach their relationship differently. during a normal year, the Wellesley student explained, visiting one another was commonplace. Now COVID regulations compounded by busy senior schedules have added significant challenges to communicating.
Having spent all of winter break together, returning to their separate college worlds was a difficult transition. to remain connected during hectic weeks, the couple mapped out specific days of the week to catch up with a distraction-free conversation.
“Even FaceTimes were getting hard,” Wanda said. “Sometimes you would like the entire night to figure on a drag set. Our FaceTimes then only became that — working, all the time.”
To remedy this, the couple takes advantage of their proximity to ascertain one another on the weekends.
Breaching protocol brings with it a replacement set of pros and cons, the Wellesley senior explains. Since both of them are enrolled in remote classes and frequently receive COVID tests, she feels secure enough to go to her boyfriend in his off-campus apartment. to stay her friends safe, she self-isolates upon return until seeing a negative test result on the CareEvolve portal.
Though she describes their COVID-era separation as temporary, graduating might mean a more permanent distance.
“After senior year, I’m not even sure if we’re getting to be within the same place,” she said. “I desire we’d like to form the foremost of now.”
The couple remains trying to balance their schedules, regulations and quality time with one another , navigating FaceTime and weekend trips. Though this year has brought unique difficulties, both are willing to place within the effort to take care of their relationship and are looking forward to the experiences to return .
Without a doubt, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape of affection , sex, and dating. At Wellesley, long-distance couples are not any longer ready to see one another as easily as they wont to , counting on video call and wanting to become more creative with virtual dates. On-campus relationships have transformed also , as they navigate COVID regulations and harm-reduction strategies. Fortunately, love prevails and Wellesley students have still found ways to take care of romantic relationships.