Quarantine has changed the landscape for some aspects of dating. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
CAITLIN SEGRAVES | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone — no matter their relationship status — has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic in some way or another. Maybe a casual Tinder user has noticed their screen time increasing by ten folds. Maybe the migration of sulking college students back to their hometowns forced a budding relationship into the rigorous task of long distance. Or maybe a couple in the throes of their toughest academic years are finding time for each other like never before.
Grace: “Why was he trying to slide into anyone’s anything during quarantine?”
Grace Johnson, a sophomore psychology and criminology double major, currently enjoys swiping through dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble to pass the time when she is not in class.
“I think I just have Tinder for fun, but I guess you could say that about both of the apps,” Johnson said. “But sometimes I don’t know why I’m on dating apps, because I also don’t know if I have the time to date; I put a lot of work in at school with my grades and my extracurriculars, and I take them very seriously.”
Johnson has a lot on her plate. Her homework-filled quarantine days leaves her seriously contemplating the effort she would have to divert from her studies into a relationship. Conversely, she recognizes there is more free time than usual during quarantine.
“We have that downtime to be on our phones and the opportunity is really present, but even with that I’m pretty selective,” Johnson said. “I guess I’m really only on Tinder because I don’t really want anything serious, or honestly almost anything at all right now.”
Dating apps have seen an uptick in usage as people are forced inside their homes. According to one TIME magazine article, Bumble reported significant increases in messages sent in large cities like Seattle, New York and San Francisco.
In addition, Johnson is quick to dismiss actually meeting up with anyone during this time of social distancing. In the course of her swiping, someone actually did try to meet up with her.
“I’m not just going to risk the health of my family members for some random guy,” Johnson said. “Why was he trying to slide into anyone’s anything during quarantine?”
Threats to society’s health aside, Johnson admits she isn’t the biggest fan of using dating apps. Even after matching with several people, she still loves being single.
“I have not loved my experience on dating apps, it’s been weird,” Johnson said. “I feel like it is something to pass the time. It would probably be easier to be single, but [it’s] lonelier.”
Katie and Isaac: They had a lot of summer plans
The rhythmic buzzing of a FaceTime call comes across Katie Strohl’s phone at 8 a.m. At the same time, Isaac Wall, a sophomore engineering major, is making that FaceTime call at 10 a.m. The couple, who are almost 1,000 miles away from each other, start their days like this — in different time zones. They FaceTime each other two to three times a day: when they wake up, when they go to sleep and whenever they find time between Zoom classes.
Being several states away, Strohl, a sophomore actuarial science major, and Wall, a sophomore engineering major, had a lot of summer plans to see each other. For Strohl, she was ecstatic to fly from Denver, Colorado to Wall’s town of Bourbon, Indiana for the Fourth of July festivities. Because of quarantine, the couple is avoiding travel.
“[We’re] just kind of waiting until we’re able to start traveling and quarantine is over,” Wall said. “And then [I’ll] fly down.”
Despite the unusual circumstances, Wall and Strohl are no strangers to long distance. Wall and Strohl have been together for seven months and have been best friends since they arrived on campus.
They have already experienced one summer, one winter break and one spring break apart, as if in preparation for something like this. While Strohl and Wall must endure unforeseen time away from each other, the couple expressed their confidence in their relationship.
“We definitely know for sure that this is a long-term relationship and we plan on spending our lives with each other,” Wall said. “I know that doesn’t look as serious to some people, because we’ve only been dating for a little over seven months, but when you know, you know.”
Megan and Matt: “We’ve gotten to spend a lot more time together”
Far from the world of combatting long distance and dating apps, engaged couple Megan Farny and Matt Becker, who have been spending their isolation together. Although their October wedding has not been affected by the pandemic, they still have a back up plan — just in case.
“We were talking to the priest who’s marrying us and he said that if for some reason [the pandemic is] still going on in October, he’d marry us and we just wouldn’t have a big thing,” Becker said. “We haven’t done much other than that and we’re pretty sure we’ll get married in October regardless.”
Farny and Becker, a fifth-year in Butler’s physician assistant program and a fifth-year medical student at Marion respectively, still experience nerves in spite of this reassurance.The unending flow of canceled and postponed summer weddings leaves Farny a little worried, though she keeps calm the best she can given the circumstances.
“I think it’s just kind of taking things one day at a time,” Farny said. “But I think just focusing on the fact that we still have our health, that everything is still on, that nothing drastic is happening in our lives, knowing that — like [Becker] said — no matter what happens we’ll still be able to get married. I think just keeping that in mind has helped me.”
The Hoosier natives and their families are in each other’s quarantine pool, and have learned to love the extra time given to them.
“We’ve gotten to spend a lot more time together, so it’s one of the silver linings,” Becker said.
Relationship status aside, these Butler students continue to work with their new normal, whether it is through video calls, dating apps or wedding planning.