By Blaine Ochoa
“Love is of all passions the strongest, for it attacks simultaneously the head, the heart and the senses.”
– Lao Tzu
As human beings, we all have the need to feel a sense of connection, attachment and ultimately love. The desire to be understood and appreciated by someone are feelings that we are created with. It has been a challenging time for people to connect during the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic. People and their relationships have been affected in different ways. This pandemic has created a change in the way people communicate and connect with one another while continuing relationships and dating.
People need connection. During the changing times, the world has had to adapt to new ways of connecting with one another. Society has transitioned into connecting with friends and loved ones via technology. FaceTime phone calls, Skype, Zoom and social media are just a few outlets people have been using to connect with each other. Without human interaction, the mind and body can start to feel a sense of void and emptiness. “Loneliness can affect an individual’s health. Studies have shown extreme loneness is associated with the immune system increasing inflammation.” (Time) A positive emotional, mental, and physical connection with someone can increase health and overall happiness.
COVID-19 has made an impact not only on how people connect and communicate, but also on relationships in general. Married couples, single people, and couples who are dating have experienced different issues and adaptations during these evolving times.
Married couples have the ability to still connect with one another due to living together. Not much has changed with the dynamics of this relationship except for learning to adjust to spending more time together than normal. This could have an affect on some marriages, potentially bringing the couple closer to one another or further apart/separation.
For single people, filling the void of lack of connection and affection, could be more difficult during this time of social distancing and quarantining. Touch is an important part of human interaction. People who are unable to connect physically may have higher levels of depression, anxiety or stress. Sex, kissing, cuddling, or even a simple hug or holding hands can reduce stress and sometimes create a sense of security. Touch “reduces stress. It makes people trust one another. It allows for cooperation.” (Time) The question that also rises, is if one should risk in-person human interaction. “In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that when it comes to singles meeting up, it’s up to the individual to figure out whether or not they were ‘willing to take a risk’ of contracting coronavirus.” (Insider)
What about people who were currently dating and starting new relationships? Dating during a pandemic can be an interesting time to start a relationship with someone, however couples have still managed to pursue a relationship with one another via different ways of connecting. Technology has had a greater influence on people starting out in the dating world. Social media, FaceTime calls, texting, etc. have grown even more in the beginning stages of meeting and dating someone. People have also become more health conscience, which has also greatly influenced whether or not to physically connect with someone.
Due to the pandemic, the dating social norm has shifted during this time. Previously, couples starting out most likely would enjoy dinner out at a restaurant, group dates with friends, and traveling and going different places together. While most couples still see each other in person, the time spent together is primarily by themselves. Due to social distancing I feel couples are experiencing more alone time together amidst simplicity, while getting to know one another without outside distractions and influences. This may even bring couples closer together on a deeper level sooner, or bring out reasons and differences that lead to ending the relationship sooner.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a change in the way people connect with one another, relationships, and mindsets. These new dating dynamics could possibly change the way people date and connect in the future. COVID-19 has helped society realize the importance of human connection and that having a relationship with someone, whether that be a friendship, a loved one, or a romantic partner, is vital and special.