Dating in the Era of Coronavirus
It is undeniable that the coronavirus pandemic has affected many aspects of life. Along with establishing new norms for work, school, and social interaction, the pandemic has forced romantic relationships to undergo alterations.
“When can I see you again?” my boyfriend, Will, asked for the umpteenth time. Will works for an essential business, and to protect me, we had ceased visitations during quarantine. This resulted in lamenting our desires to each other for even the smallest amount of closeness. Our video chats and twice daily phone conversations simply weren’t satisfying our needs.
Thankfully, as lockdown restrictions gradually began to lift in the U.S., our in-person interactions increased, though not without precautionary boundaries.
“It’s like you’re in the early stages of dating again,” my mom said as she drove me to a nearby restaurant. I briefly reminisced about the days long ago when my mom was my chauffeur and Will hadn’t yet learned how to drive my wheelchair-accessible van. Those days of going wherever we pleased without parental assistance is a memory now.
As we waited for our food to arrive to our outdoor table, Will and I bravely decided to hold hands for the first time in several months. We didn’t do this, of course, without first applying hand sanitizer. Yet this tiny occurrence of human contact prompted a burst of happiness inside me.
Living without Will’s touch has made me feel like Stella in the 2019 teenage romance film “Five Feet Apart.” If you haven’t seen it, the character Stella tells the story of her life with cystic fibrosis. She falls for a boy — also named Will — who has the same disease, which is an unfortunate circumstance that could pose a health threat to both of them.
Like Stella, I am forced to temper my affection for someone I love due to the fragility of my health.
Despite our longing to resume physical affection, Will and I are not ones to turn down a challenge. In the past few weeks, we’ve gotten creative with our dates. Going on walks in different neighborhoods has provided a fresh change of scenery. We’ve enjoyed picnics in the cool shade of trees, as well as indulging in our favorite treat, frozen yogurt. Bonfires in my backyard have always been a favorite activity, even more so these days.
Although it saddens me to think that our days of smooching, cuddling, and Netflix-chilling may not return for some time, I am thankful for the small, yet cautious time we are able to spend together.
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