Because of social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, maintaining a relationship has gotten more difficult. With Loyola’s student population dispersing across the country, students who live in different states than their significant others have had to transition to long-distance dating.
Not everyone lives hours away, however. Some couples live in the same part of town, such as Loyola first-year Kat Maier and her boyfriend Renzo Ledesma.
Fortunately the pair already have experience with virtual dates. Maier studies forensic science at Loyola and Ledesma is a first-year computer science and music double major at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Being in different parts of Illinois prompted Maier and Ledesma to find ways to spend time with each other virtually.
“Before we were quarantined, in our normal routines at school we would FaceTime at certain points in the week,” Ledesma said. “We would try for every day, obviously that usually doesn’t work out because we both have busy schedules and it’s hard when you’re on different campuses.”
Ledesma also said that since quarantine, communication has gotten easier for them, as they have more time to talk to each other over the phone or through FaceTime.
Loyola first-year Sam Roch shared a similar sentiment about her relationship, finding a silver lining in the situation.
“It’s been nice in a way,” she said. “We have been communicating more.”
Roch said she and her boyfriend had to adjust the way they stay in touch, since they didn’t often call or text each other while they both lived on campus. She said she feels like she’s missing out on valuable quality time, adding they “find it so much easier to be in person.”
Roch isn’t alone in this feeling — people across the world have found innovative ways to connect with others during these less-than-ideal conditions. The internet is full of viral date ideas, from meeting virtually in Nintendo’s “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” to long-distance meet-cutes on TikTok.
Maier and Ledesma have figured out how to have their own virtual dates. She said the two of them often watch movies and TV shows together over video calls.
“We cranked through an anime called Demon Slayer recently,” she said. “We just kinda watch movies here and there.”
“We mainly watch rom-coms or anything pretty lighthearted for the most part,” Ledesma added.
While first-year Becca True and her boyfriend haven’t been relying on virtual dates, she tries to keep up the spontaneous gestures they did on campus. True recently surprised her boyfriend by mailing him a hat he’d wanted for a while.
“You kind of have to get creative,” the 19-year-old biology major said.
She said that while quarantine has put a strain on their communication, she tries to keep an optimistic outlook.
“The situation sucks but it’s better to view it in a positive light,” she said. “I try not to get really down about it.”