Teen Dating During a Pandemic

Right now, connecting with people is a difficult task that most teens find to be necessary for their daily lives. Before the coronavirus, students were able to see their teachers and peers all day long, whether it be in the classroom, hallways, or during after school activities. Constantly, there were people around us, but now it feels like we’re constantly alone in our bedrooms, staring at a series of black boxes. 

Due to the difficulty of finding time and safe ways to see our friends, I was quite surprised to find that some teenagers were going out and starting relationships. In a 2015 article from the Pew Research Center, a study showed that 35% of teens had some experience with dating or romantic relationships, and 18% were currently in a relationship of some kind. Those numbers must have dropped since then, especially with the coronavirus. To give readers some insight into the dating lives of teens during the pandemic, I conducted interviews with students who had started relationships, maintained relationships, and ended relationships.  

Anna Scherling and Silas Sutherland

Anna Scherling (‘22), a Woodinville High School student, has been dating her boyfriend, Silas, since October of last year, right around the time of Homecoming. They had their first period class together and then a mutual friend helped introduce them. “He also slid into my DMs and started talking to me,” Scherling stated with a laugh. When asked about ways they’ve kept their relationship afloat during COVID-19, she informed me that they did a lot of FaceTime and hanging out together after school; “I think FaceTiming and communication has been the biggest thing that’s helped us, […] when [the virus] first started it was bigger, but now that it’s eased up we still hang out whenever we can.” Apart from video calls and seeing each other in person, she said that when she’s busy with work or hockey she makes sure to send Silas a text message to let him know she’s thinking of him. I assumed that dating would be much more difficult in the time of the coronavirus and Scherling confirmed that when she told me that it’s “harder in the sense that I don’t see him as much.” However, even though Scherling said that dating is much harder, she also informed me that she believes her relationship with Silas has grown stronger because they’ve had time to be apart and miss one another. 

Salyna Woods and Tommy Stratton

Fellow coug, Salyna Woods (‘21), met her boyfriend, Tommy, who currently attends IHS, a little over a month ago through the social media outlet, Snapchat. As a way to try and make new friends, Woods randomly added a plethora of people to her “friends” list on the app, leading to her and Tommy’s meeting. I asked Woods if she thought relationships between people from different schools last, and she responded with: “It honestly depends on the people. I think it could be a really great relationship if both people are committed to it.” She later added that there are pros and cons to being at the same school, as well as different schools. Similarly to Scherling’s response, Woods informed me that she and Tommy keep their relationship afloat by trying to see each other as much as possible, as well as having strong communication, yet she doesn’t think dating is harder because of the pandemic. Woods said dating right now is “not super different, […] [but] it’s not as flowy as it would be without the pandemic”. Even though she thinks their relationship is strong and will last the rest of this year, Woods highly doubts that she and Tommy would have met if the pandemic wasn’t currently going on. 

A Bothell student who wished to maintain their anonymity had their five-month-long relationship end during quarantine back in March. Although the couple did break up during the pandemic, their breakup was not caused by it. Turns out, this student whom I interviewed was having some mental health problems that were worsened by the COVID-19 caused quarantine last spring, and their partner didn’t fully understand why they weren’t talking to each other as much. Over the course of quarantine, this person knew that the feelings that were once felt at the beginning of the relationship were no longer there. Unfortunately, this person had to wait until their partner felt that the relationship needed to end; “I wanted [them] to accept it because I lost feelings, but I didn’t want to break up with [them] because what if [they] got really offended?” When asked if quarantine made it harder to stay connected with people they said: “I would definitely say that [it was harder], especially after a breakup when you want to go hang out with friends.” Although this student was in a somewhat unhealthy relationship entering quarantine, they thought that if they had been in a healthy relationship with someone who understood their mental health problems, the relationship would have lasted through this pandemic.

Overall, it seems that these students aren’t having much trouble with their relationships, but more with the toll on their mental health since COVID-19 precautions have taken effect. Luckily, they either have their partner or friends there to help give support when needed. While I still don’t really understand how easily some people can go from texting each other for weeks on end to full-on dating (personally, I would be incredibly awkward), these couples seem to be doing just fine. If any other Bothell students out there had relationships end since the beginning of the pandemic, whether it be due to the virus or other outlying factors, lean on your friends and family, it’s what they’re there for.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email