Dating in Quarantine


Elizabeth Secor, Editor

Valentine’s Day is approaching, but the high school dating scene has had to deal with significant challenges this year.  With social distancing, weeks without face-to-face contact, masks, and other protective measures in place, finding and maintaining a relationship in high school has been more difficult than ever.  But many couples, like junior Ainsley Barnett and her boyfriend Carter Ranton, found creative and quarantine-safe ways to go on dates through the pandemic.


My favorite [date] was when we would get dressed up, like a normal date, and make dinner in our own homes while on facetime,” Barnett said. “Then we would eat dinner and just talk for the rest of the night.”


Not all dates happened over Facetime after there was more clearance to interact with a few people outside your home. Senior Chase Haskell and his girlfriend of two years, Lyanna Carlile, found safe ways to go out.


“We do a lot more outdoor activities now, both to be more distant from potentially infected strangers in public,” Haskell said. “As well as to get extra exercise to make up for closed or unsafe-to-visit gyms.”


While some couples both face-timed and found safe indoor activities, as more places opened up in late August to fill time together. 


“We have been to the movies a couple of times together, staying 6 feet apart,” senior Aribela Chavez (dating Andrew Haskell) said. “We also spend part of our relationship facetiming and playing video games together.”


Many couples like Haskell and Carlile found even the littlest things to keep upbeat in a time where getting together was challenging.


“There has not really been anything easy about this situation,” Haskell said. “Except perhaps the lack of highway traffic last summer when there was normally a lot, as my girlfriend lives about 15 minutes away.”


Many couples have seen a change in relationships and the dating scene around them, including a drop in the number of couples formed during the school year. 


“It is exponentially harder for people to meet someone they would want to date because everyone is wearing masks, and it kind of sets a boundary between people with the lack of intimacy when looking at them,” Chavez said. “Masks have, in a way, become these ‘imaginary walls,’ making it hard to tell how people feel. It is very hard to meet new people when it is not encouraged by others in regards to safety.”


Barnett sees the lowering number of couples due to how the school had to run to keep everyone safe.


“I have seen a lot less relationships because homecoming was canceled, as well class sizes being extremely small,” Barnett said. “But mainly, I think it is because the people you see at school is only half of what it normally is because of the different cohorts.”


Homecoming being canceled was a kink in senior year plans, but couples managed to find alternatives. Chavez spent the time at the homecoming football game with her boyfriend, celebrating the winning season. Haskell and his girlfriend hope to have future make-up missed dance plans, while others like Barnett found other alternatives.


“Instead of doing a redo homecoming, we instead stayed inside,” Barnett said. “Had dinner together and watched a great movie.”


Many couples have hopeful plans for when more places are open and it is safer to go out. Barnett hopes to visit Legacy Hall and sample all the different foods available. Both Chavez and Haskell hope to take day trips.  


“One plan we have is traveling,” Chavez said. “We feel like a road trip would be fun!”


Not every part of relationships during quarantine has been easy for couples. Many like Chavez began their relationship mid-quarantine and had to adjust to the changes in dating and succeeded through even the little things (including learning to know when the other is hangry and to give them food).


“A hard part for me was trying to learn how the other person operates in the relationship,” Chavez said. “Being together is fairly new to us, but it is important to communicate about what we can both work on to keep each other happy.”


Communication is a common thread in how couples got through difficult times during the relationship, especially for Barnett and Ranton, whose relationship started only a few weeks before the quarantine. 


“Getting to know each other on a more personal level, because of all the extra facetime calls you get to talk about so many different topics you get to know so much about them,” Barnett said. “I feel like this was a big reason why our relationship has been so easy and amazing.”