Though much of campus has returned home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNC students aren't letting the romance go from their lives — and many have found ways to stay connected while socially distancing.
Some students have turned to dating apps to meet new people.
Krissy Thompson, a junior anthropology major, said she downloaded the dating app Hinge due to boredom and having lots of time on her hands.
She said she started talking to a guy who asked if she’d want to go on a virtual tour of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in D.C. as a date. Thompson said she hesitated at first but ultimately had a good time.
“We’ve watched Netflix movies together on Zoom, and I’ll call him on Zoom just to hang out," she said. “The second date was online Uno and Scrabble.”
Gabby Lamb, a sophomore psychology and human development and family studies major, said she has enjoyed her experience online dating so far.
Because there is no opportunity to meet in person, she said she's had to meet people on a more emotional level.
Lamb said after social distancing, she is looking forward to pursuing her relationship in person.
“I think we’re both very antsy to see each other and hang out in person, and I wouldn’t say it’s getting boring,” she said. “I hope that these restrictions don’t cause things to fizzle out, and hopefully we can continue to communicate to the best of our ability. I think I definitely will end up meeting up with this person after quarantine restrictions end.”
Online dating takes a new meaning as the shift to a new normal creates opportunities for connection beyond the physical.
A Bumble spokesperson said in an email that the online dating company has launched new features in response to the current situation, such as removing the distance restrictions. She said Bumble believes this feature will help students who are practicing physical distancing and studying remotely.
“There’s no doubt that we’re currently living through a challenging time — both physically and emotionally,” the spokesperson said in the email. “It’s so important now more than ever to build an empowering support network around you.”
For those already in relationships, it may feel like things are paused or pushed along more quickly than expected.
Graci Daby, a sophomore advertising and public relations major, is an out-of-state student from New York.
She said she made the decision to move in with her boyfriend in Raleigh when the University switched to remote learning. The pair had only been dating for a month before the shutdowns began in North Carolina.
It’s been tough, she said, but they were unwilling to separate from each together for such an extended period of time with it being so new.
“It feels like we’ve been dating for a year,” she said. “You really get to know someone when you live together."
Aliena Battista, a junior psychology major at North Carolina State University, has been dating her partner Dani for a year, and both have apartments in Raleigh. Battista said they switched between their two homes at first, but decided it was for the best to stay in one place when Governor Cooper issued the stay at home order at the end of March.
They’ve been spending time together by cooking, binging Netflix and going on outdoor walks.
“Overall, things have been great," Battista said. "No fighting, no getting sick of each other yet and we are doing well balancing solo time and together time.”
Emma Uhrlass, a sophomore human development and family studies major at UNC, said she finds the shift difficult since she is a few miles away from her boyfriend. But she said it’s not the end of the world.
“Like we’ve been Facetiming every night, passing the time,” she said. “It's super cheesy but we’ve been playing Minecraft of all things ... but it’s actually really fun. Just the simplicity of it all.”
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