Students Faced With Unmasking the Secrets to Successful Pandemic Dating
By Shana Carey
Opinions Editor and Marketing Editor
Imagine this. You’re a teenager looking for love. And bam! A pandemic strikes. Social distancing is the new norm that makes maintaining relationships and meeting new partners a challenge. This is the exact situation in which junior Mackenzie Zagroba found herself. “This past year, I went a little boy crazy,” she said.
Zagroba and her pre-pandemic love interest danced around the idea of dating. However, she found it difficult to maintain a relationship while social distancing. According to Zagroba, they couldn’t go on a date during the lockdown.
Dr. Jodi Stauffer, a school counselor, thinks that couples can lead healthy relationships during the Covid-19 pandemic as long as they are on the same page regarding quarantine. She says that being honest about how you want to approach social distancing is important.
Because Zagroba’s partner wanted to follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, their relationship consisted of Zoom calls and text messaging. “We’re better in person than over text,” she said. According to Zagroba, they eventually stopped talking completely due to a lack of communication.
Dr. Stauffer said, “I think that it’s great that we have the technology to do video calls.” She also brought up the point that you see less of a person when they can hide behind a screen.
“I wonder if it wasn’t for quarantine if we would have worked out. I had feelings for the guy,” Zagroba recalled her romance. According to her, it was the right person but the wrong time to start a relationship.
After her romantic fling, Zagroba jumped back in the dating pool and started talking to new singles. Right before school, she went on a dinner date but did not feel a connection. This made Zagroba want to focus on her schoolwork instead of relationships. She attributes lack of communication to the end of her romances.
Dr. Stauffer said, “I think the biggest barrier in any relationship is lack of communication.” She thinks that students can have a valuable relationship while still maintaining social distancing. According to her, quarantine is a great time to get to know people since they cannot go out on roller coaster rides together.
This was true for senior couple Jason Mendicino and Jocelyn Herres, both of whom managed to stick together through the pandemic.
According to the couple, they didn’t follow CDC guidelines during the quarantine. Although, they were monitoring how they were feeling. “We were around each other enough,” Mendicino said, “that it was like being around your family.”
Because the couple had more time to communicate and see each other, Mendicino even went so far as to say, “quarantine was better for the relationship.”
Herres said that she and Mendicino had nightly phone calls and kept in constant communication. According to Dr. Stauffer, it’s important “to communicate with your significant other more regularly than not during a pandemic.”
Dr. Stauffer says that the pandemic can make or break couples dependent on how honest they are with each other. She says that “problems occur when you don’t agree and you pretend to agree” regarding social distancing.
“I think kids can have a safe picnic together and stay socially distanced,” Dr. Stauffer said. She explained that there are safe and smart ways to date during quarantine. According to her, couples need to communicate, be honest, and respect each other in order to be successful.
Whether couples are socially distancing or not, Dr. Stauffer says, “you still need to give that vulnerability.” She thinks that it is important to openly get to know your significant other and what their quarantine precautions are.
She says, “Communication is key right now – and should be anyhow.”