#bumble | #tinder | #pof St. Mary’s students adjust to dating while social distancing – The Rattler


Graphic by Ivan Briones


Among the changes that the coronavirus pandemic has brought on everyday life, one that students continue to adjust to is the new reality of dating in a time of masks, social distancing and precautionary testing.

What started off as waiting out the spring break quarantine, then the stay-at-home orders finally led to a new reality for current couples and singles interested in dating. Junior history major Claudia Sanchez said that she and her now-boyfriend agreed to wait until a vaccine was available for them to begin seeing each other.  

“Until it’s completely safe to see each other, we’ve been going on online dates and texting daily. Although there’s nothing better than seeing each other in person, FaceTiming or talking on the phone has helped the both of us get through not seeing each other,” Sanchez said.

Virtual interactions have been one of the primary ways couples and individuals have begun to form and maintain intimate connections. Victoria Salazar, senior international and global studies major, said that her main source of connecting with people is through
online platforms.

“It’s really about meeting people online right now, using dating apps such as Bumble and Hinge. Then a lot of FaceTiming happens before even considering going out with the other person,” Salazar said.

Salazar also mentioned that the newfound free time for a lot of students has allowed for her dating experience to move at a more consistent pace, with both parties having increased availability to spend
time together.

“I used to be the type of person to think you talk to one person and that’s it, you’re going to end up with them. But dating is happening at a faster pace due to everyone’s free time during COVID. So I learned that it’s okay to date for fun, but cautiously of course,” Salazar said.

The level of caution and comfort varies with students and their experience with COVID-19. Some might prefer to meet their dates at the destination rather than being picked up and partake in social distancing and mask-wearing throughout the course of the date. Others choose not to participate at all depending on how confident they feel in their date’s interactions
with others. 

The safest approach would be to limit the relationship to online for the time being or have both parties take a COVID-19 test before seeing and interacting with each other. The former being difficult, but also beneficial to the relationship, according
to Sanchez.

“It is obviously harder than traditional dating because you spend a lot of time wishing you could be with your partner more,” Sanchez said. “It is also harder because it’s a little more difficult to build a deep connection with someone you aren’t able to physically interact with. However, I’d say that it can be considered better because it’s forcing my relationship to flourish slowly, which I think will create a stronger relationship
and bond.”

Another silver lining to COVID-19 altering the way people decide to spend time together is the creativity needed to find new and safe dating ideas. Victoria Permillion, sophomore exercise and sports science major, said that her boyfriend resided with her during the quarantined break, but the two still needed to find activities to do together while keeping each other and those around them safe.

“Dating during the pandemic has been better than it was before because due to places being closed, people have had to be more creative when it comes to what to do. This makes situations more fun and unexpected.”
Permillion said.

Whether one is seeking a romantic connection or longing for those wholesome moments with friends and family, the new reality has added much more value to the connections fostered during this
difficult time.

“The pandemic taught me how special the moments you spend with another person are. Any in-person interaction I have with my partner means so much more since I am not able to see them regularly,”
Sanchez said.

Although the pandemic has halted the social scene, students continue to use this situation as an opportunity to explore their connections with potential partners and strengthen current bonds in the simple moments spent with a significant other.

“One of the things I’ve learned about dating during the pandemic is to make the best out of every situation. Although places were closed and there weren’t a lot of options for going out, making the best out of whatever you can do was extremely important,”
Permillion said.

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