John Brown University is already surviving and thriving longer than other universities across the nation. With in-person classes still in session, the university has been able to maintain in-person relationships as well. Relationships formed in a COVID-19 setting seem likely to break apart. However, this is generally not the case.
Three students shared their dating experiences during COVID-19. In response to how COVID-19 has impacted her relationship, Lauren West, sophomore political science major, said, “COVID has definitely been a hindrance in my relationship with my boyfriend because it has made it difficult to go out together … because [al]most everything was closed.”
Catherine Fox, junior elementary education major, has faced similar challenges. “At first I saw [COVID-19] as a hindrance,” Fox said, “but [m]y boyfriend and I … just grow in love no matter what. I see COVID as another challenge for us to overcome together.”
Some couples have struggled due to the obstacle of obtaining the physical and psychological closeness of traditional couples. West said, “The hardest repercussion due to social distancing was deciding together what we were going to do … We … decid[ed] to go ahead and consider each other like family … We could be without masks and we didn’t feel it was necessary to distance.”
Fox stated that the temporary prohibition of open dorm hours has not affected her and her boyfriend “because we have always had other places to spend time with each other.”
In answering how COVID-19 has possibly deepened her relationship, West stated that, “Indirectly the virus has led to deeper connections with my boyfriend because we realized how much we could handle together … I think we are a lot closer now than before because we’ve … gone through this experience with each other.”
Fox said, “My boyfriend and I hold the same beliefs about COVID, so our respect for each other has grown greatly. We both have grown compassionate and … have reached that super comfortable stage in our relationship where we understand what the other needs without having to ask.”
Lucy Kieffer has been dating her fiancé for five years. Kieffer notes that “Having such similar opinions about the virus and that we’re both taking it seriously … I think that really helps.” Whether in a dating relationship or not, her words offer a reminder in this social-distancing era of the coronavirus.
As JBU has weathered the storm of the virus, JBU students have taken the same initiative to maintain their dating relationships. The pandemic has only made their relationships stronger.