Dating during a pandemic: not for the faint at heart

Technology both makes and breaks couples in the era of COVID


Isabella Cifaldi

Couple Andre and Abby enjoying their time, pre-COVID, at a park in Philly.

Isabella Cifaldi, Student Life Writer

High school can be an exciting time for many: sports, driving, proms, school events, classes and dating. However, since last March, the school year has looked a bit different. 

What was once the “norm” of catching up with friends in between classes and sitting with your classmates in classrooms and lunchrooms are no longer a common sight. Virtual classrooms and stay-at-home lunches are what students have accommodated to, unless they attend school on their assigned day for in-person learning (socially distanced, of course). 

So, with these new “norms” how does a couple “date” when typical dating formalities cannot be taken?

With this in mind, one long-term couple, a newly minted couple and a now non-existant couple were asked about their relationships during a pandemic and the circumstances that contributed to their relationship (or, end of their relationship). 

Juniors Abby Cifaldi and Andre Faigal described what it is like to be a couple during COVID. 

“We go on bike rides, watch T.V. shows, we run together and walk our dogs,” Cifaldi said. “If [COVID] did not happen we would be watching movies at the theaters, not at home.” Despite the challenges of dating during a pandemic, COVID hasn’t stopped this couple from going strong, as they celebrated a year this past September. 

Finding common ground has also proven to be crucial to this couple’s success. Both Cifaldi and Faigal run for the school’s cross-country teams, and have been actively staying in shape together throughout the pandemic.

A 21st-century pandemic has one benefit as opposed to those of the past: technology. The use of technology has proved to be beneficial in helping couples stay in touch and see each other, despite distance and quarantine measures.

“We FaceTime all the time and talk for hours, communication is key” Faigal said. FaceTime allows them some valuable and intimate communication when meeting in person is not an option. 

In fact, the use of technology has also contributed to another RV junior couple, Lexie Corn and Nolen Olson-Warwick. This newly minted couple has prospered from all that technology has to offer. 

Technology has helped so much with being able to FaceTime and text, allowing us to express our feelings and take comfort in knowing that even when we can’t hang out we can still talk to each other from our phones and say how much we miss each other,” Corn said. 

FaceTime–in addition to other methods of communication, such as texting, Snapchat, TikTok and Zoom–provides face-to-face interaction, something many teens need in a romantic relationship.

More important, in the midst of the pandemic, when Corn and Olson-Warwick began their relationship, technological components were significant to the initial stages as they were not able to fully talk in person at school. RV’s hybrid scheduling is determined by one’s alphabetized last name, leaving Corn and Olson-Warwick under different days of the week for in-person class.

But technology isn’t all sunshine and roses. The abundance of technology and opportunities for communication can’t solve all romantic woes. While some couples thrived under lockdown, others withered. 

One RV couple, who wished to remain anonymous, struggled from the lack of contact during lockdown.

“Due to the pandemic we never saw each other and we wouldn’t really talk because we didn’t have a lot to talk about,” said one member of the now-extinguished couple. Many couples need shared experiences and interests to keep going. Without ways to foster those experiences, maintaining communication can be difficult. Additionally, when New Jersey went on lockdown and enforced a curfew, meeting one another and hanging out for this couple was not an option.

Teenage relationships already bring about their own challenges, and with the addition of the pandemic thrown into the mix, one could confidently say that 2020 was a tough year all around. 

Despite this, there is always the mantra that if you can make it through the tough times, it makes the good times that much better.

“Although these times have been somewhat challenging for certain aspects of our relationships, we continue to find new ways to make time for one another,” said Cifaldi.