Whether you’re single or in a decade-long relationship, it’s likely coronavirus has had an impact on your love life. With Illinois’ “stay-at-home” order and new social distancing rules in place, the pandemic has fundamentally changed how we’re supposed to interact with one another, and that can include our romantic partners. Now, some couples are unexpectedly navigating long distance because of quarantine; other single folk are trying out virtual dates now that bars and restaurants are closed.

COVID-19 has made people seek out relationships and romantic encounters. People are craving connection more than ever because it’s constrained.

Kingsley and I began isolation in our own homes, video-calling each other for five hours at a time. It became torturous because we really missed each other even though we were still kind of strangers, in a romantic sense. We first met in August but it was uneventful. After months of false starts, we re-connected in early March over a mutual personal issue, and ever since then everything changed, and he asked me to be his girlfriend.

“We started to worry about what might happen to our relationship as it had just started. The isolation was killing my soul despite all my digital interactions with him and my friends. We messaged online, we did improve shows over Zoom and WhatsApp, but it was insufficient in lieu of real-life socialization.

“Finally, on March 25, he said I should come over. I cycled from my East York apartment to his North York house, with a duffle bag full of only essentials. We both felt unprepared: How long will the isolation last? How long will I stay? Will this ruin us? We took the risk. Time feels like it’s moving quickly now. We feel so emotionally comfortable, despite only going steady for a few weeks. We’ve learned each other’s habits, which have also changed because of the circumstances: I’m in bed at 5 a.m. because I’m a night owl and struggling with my depression and limited motivation. He’s started to match my rhythm and sleep in with me. We’re having sex a few times a day but it’s already become secondary to communication.

“We said ‘I love you’ on our fourth night together, which I realize sounds insane. But, emotionally, we were there. And we said, ‘happy one-year anniversary’ to each other two nights ago, just because that’s how close it feels we’ve gotten. I feel that amount of experience in a phenomenally developmental way, as if we might be teenagers; a year of maturation and growth basking in youthful energy.”

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