Shocker — it’s not easy to date during a pandemic.
I met my now-boyfriend on Tinder in June, just after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer rescinded the stay-at-home orders. Despite this, it was still inadvisable to really do much in public — restaurants were just opening back up at limited capacities, and I was reporting on the state’s response to COVID-19, so I was reminded of the climbing case and death counts daily.
So, our first dates consisted mostly of meeting at the halfway point of East Lansing to grab coffee, browse through records and sit in his car. There wasn’t much else to do — movie theaters were closed, no events were going on and the idea of being near a plethora of strangers in public didn’t seem too redeeming.
However, despite the general lack of things to do, we filled our time together to the brim and we saw each other nearly every week, doing much of the same things we did the time before. We were just happy to be in the presence of one another.
Fast-forward about eight months: the baristas at Blue Owl know our “usual” drinks, our record collections have increased tenfold (seriously, someone should calm us down) and we substituted sitting in a car for sitting in a dorm room. While sometimes, it can feel frustrating to feel reduced to the restricted amount of options available to us, these options never seem exhausted because I get to do them with someone who makes me happy.
This pandemic has reinforced to me how much I value the little things — just getting to spend time with the one I love, regardless of what shenanigans we get up to.
No matter how much I’d like to go to a concert with my boyfriend, I’m perfectly happy staying up until midnight every Thursday night to listen to whatever new music was just released with him instead. Rather than going out for dinner, I’m content scouring Ingham County for Chromatica Oreos (which, by the way, were harder to find than you might think).
Despite the obvious difficulties that were onset by the pandemic, I truly feel like it has made our relationship stronger because there is nothing else to do but get to know each other more deeply. And that’s really special to me.
I don’t mean to get sappy, but getting to know him on the level that I do has been the best thing to come out of the past godforsaken year.
While the coronavirus took away any chance we — or any freshly bloomed relationship in the past year, for that matter — had to do what we normally would be doing, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I get to spend every day with someone who makes me giddily happy, and that’s enough for me.
P.S. — thank you for listening to that Ariana Grande album with me. I know it wasn’t that good.
This column is part of the Restricted Romance print issue. Read the entire issue here.