Does physical proximity equal emotional closeness?
It’s only natural that when two—or more—people are brought together in close proximity for an extended amount of time, someone’s bound to catch feelings. After all, there’s a good reason why plenty of great reality shows start with such a simple premise: Get a bunch of people looking for love and put them in one house. See what happens.
You’ve probably encountered some version of this in your real life, too: Summer camps are popular places for first love to bloom, and two people on any given college dorm floor are bound to get together. And even beyond that, on the edges of society, you’d be hard-pressed to find a free-love-flowing commune that didn’t have at least one confirmed couple. But now you’ve likely found yourself in a different version of this kind of relationship crucible if you’ve been isolated with your longtime S.O., weathering the storm with a relatively new partner, or virtually bringing all your app matches home on the first date (via FaceTime, of course).
If you’re single and virtually mingling
Socially distant dating certainly isn’t any easier than IRL meets, but one thing is certain: It forces you to get creative. So if you’ve filled your otherwise free nights with FaceTime hangs, you could very well find yourself poised to take things to the next level—as soon as it’s safe to do so. Or maybe you’ll just discover you have a previously untapped talent for sexting.
If you’re newly dating
It’s a situation that feels straight out of a somewhat dystopian rom-com: You were dating for a month or so and ended up shacking up (either intentionally or not) in quarantine. By doing this, you’ve essentially fast-tracked your relationship, but this can go in two different ways: Either you’ve discovered that you’re domestically compatible and you’ve really gotten to know one another, or you’ve been driven up the wall by each other’s home habits and now know the relationship won’t last. Okay, or maybe you’ve decided your better off as friends. Either way, congrats on figuring things out at a rapid rate.
If you’re in a relationship
The surprising number of Zoom weddings are at least proof of one thing: Isolating with your S.O. might actually confirm how well you both get along in the long run. But that’s not to say it’s all good all the time. When Variety writer Meg Zukin tweeted for people to email her about their relationship drama—especially if they thought co-quarantining might put those relationships in jeopardy—she got so many responses that she decided to turn it into a charitable opportunity. After compiling the stories she got into a Google Doc and charging $1 per person to view that doc, she quickly raised $5,000 for various non-profits across the country. She expanded the idea into the Social Distance Project, where people can continue to donate and commiserate.
If you’re married
Once quarantine was lifted in several Chinese cities, like Xi’an and Dazhou, divorce appointments at the registrar were quickly booked up, but for other couples, things went in a totally different way—you’ve surely seen jokes aplenty about the baby boom we might see in the latter half of this year. But this time doesn’t have to lead to something so dramatic—honest communication and lots of long walks go a long way.
And if you’ve been quarantined apart from your long-term partner? That’s a whole different story.