When we asked you to share your #loveinthetimeofcorona stories, you answered in droves. Many shared their wedding stories—of huge parties for 500 canceled, of weddings without aging parents there to celebrate, of unexpectedly intimate declarations of love, of Zoom celebrations, of optimism amid lockdown. Others shared stories of Bumble love affairs, new relationships cut prematurely short, and missed chances to tell their partners how much they loved them, before a pandemic split them apart.
So much of our lives have changed in the past few months—routines have disappeared, daily rituals have fallen away—but if one thing is clear, it’s that the desire for intimacy has only gotten stronger. Our readers have put it best: There is still love in the time of Corona.
“It’s odd to have a man I don’t know that well suddenly around all the time.”
It’s 4 p.m. on a Thursday, and I have just made sweet passionate love to Simon for the 20th time in six days. Note: Simon is not my boyfriend. I met him on Bumble a couple months ago. We’d meet once every week or so for a low-commitment date, such as trying out a new restaurant conveniently next to my office or catching a fellow actor friend’s show already on my to-do list, with occasional flirty text messages in between. I loved Simon’s thick Australian accent. I loved how big his hands are. But what I really loved about him was he was completely accommodating and put zero pressure on me. If he suggested a get-together and I responded with “Let’s decide in a couple of days,” he was fine with that. If ever I felt I was in the driving seat of a relationship, it was now.
So when Simon showed up at my apartment, as ominous news reports of quarantine and self-isolation and possible death loomed, armed with three duffel bags stuffed with clothes and frozen meat, I thought, Oh, how cute, I guess it’s good to be prepared.
I hadn’t allowed myself to expect too much from any man, preferring to proclaim my girlfriends as my true soulmates and men as handy for dinner or a concert or a hookup. But that was then, and this is now. When the world feels like it could be ending at any moment, worrying there could be someone better out there seems ignorant and even ridiculous when there’s a sweet, loving, kind man right in front of me.
Admittedly, it’s odd to have a man I don’t know that well suddenly around all the time. Simon keeps telling me how beautiful I am, and I haven’t worn makeup in weeks. My go-to quarantine fashion statement is a gray hoodie. There are no parties to take him too, or work to impress him. It’s just us. A man and a woman experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime event together.
We’re both middle-aged parents, and our lives normally revolve around our kids, but his preteen children are with their mom enjoying a mountainside rental in Utah and my 18- and 20-year-old sons are happily stuck in the Bahamas with their dad and friends. Everyone seems to be on the same page; everyone’s content to be where they are. Normal parenting trials and tribulations haven’t factored into our bubble.
Is this connection, forged by having zero other options, what builds love? Or am I in some dating version of The Breakfast Club—when detention is over, will I go back to my old self? If my issues were intimacy, fear of getting too close, exposing my vulnerabilities for fear of getting hurt, or even fear of love itself, isn’t this the perfect time to step up and see if I can act differently, love differently? I have nothing to lose if the world is going to end. What if I used this time for self-reflection, for clarifying my priorities and identifying what it is I really, truly want in this life: love and connection?
Turns out Simon has quite a few desirable qualities beyond his bedroom expertise. He lives by a code of empathy and compassion. Like, for real. He grew up on a working farm and majored in agriculture in college, and has spent hours pruning my backyard. He can fix a toilet. He gained survival skills working at a safari. He’s a gourmet chef (literally), passionate about homemade soups. He indulges me in daily games of Scrabble and backgammon. He is clean and smells good and chops wood and tells hilarious stories that leave me laughing so hard my side hurts. He lifts me up and spins me around, physically and emotionally. His self-proclaimed goals are to give and to love. While I’m constantly texting my girlfriends, he’s trading jokes with his mates. And all through this he treats me as if I’m some kind of movie star paying attention to a background actor, like he can’t believe his luck. It feels amazing to be a team and fight the world together—all those things I had decided I don’t need but in fact I do.
As I cozied up with Simon, my phone still lit up with texts from other guys I’d been dating. I wondered what it would be like to be with them instead. I also wondered if Simon was staying in contact with other women. So I asked, and Simon answered honestly, and offered to let me read the messages. His gesture made me feel completely secure in his desire for me, yet provided that competitive edge I seem to crave when dating men. I began to realize I must treat this one with care, and not let his kindness go unappreciated.
We’re now months into this quarantine hookup, and as I’m snuggled inside Simon’s warm, toned arms, he whispers, “I’m falling in love with you, Alison.” They say miracles often arrive in disguise. They say growth is sometimes forced upon us. They say a lot of this and more. But what I say is…Simon, let’s go back to bed, and enjoy the moment together.
—Alison, 50, New York
“Just the two of us.”
On March 28, we woke up and agreed not to celebrate. This was not going to be our wedding day after all.
My partner and I were so looking forward to a daylong celebration with our loving and supportive community. But in the weeks leading up to the wedding, we watched our guest list of 300 shrink and shrink as people canceled their plans to fly out to Sacramento. Two weeks before our wedding date, we decided for the health and safety of everyone, it would be best if we canceled the wedding. (California’s stay-at-home order ultimately went into effect on March 26.) We spent days contacting all our guests to let them know our decision. It was so exhausting and sad.
We initially tried to still make the day special—we looked into going to the courthouse, but with California in lockdown, all the courts were closed. We even looked into driving to Nevada, but they too were shut down, so we gave up.
Then, at eight on the morning of what was supposed to be our wedding day, we heard our doorbell. Still in pajamas, we opened the door to find candles, flowers, and decorations on our doorstep. At 10 a.m. we got a call from our families in Minnesota, Portland, and Chicago. They made us all pour a glass of Champagne and watch the slideshow that should’ve played at our cocktail hour. At the end of the slideshow, it said, “Never leave until after the credits.” A little puzzled, we sat and continued to watch. Our eyes filled with tears as photo after photo of our friends and family holding up signs with words of encouragement appeared onscreen, promising that we would all get together to celebrate and hug once all this is through. It was such an amazing gift.
Later we set up a Zoom meeting with our close friends and families. We cut our cake, exchanged vows, and had a first dance. The song we picked out months ago was “Just the Two of Us” by Grover Washington. It seemed more fitting than ever. Although it was just the two of us, we felt the love and community of our big wedding even in physical isolation.
We continue to see the silver lining of our situation. While we don’t plan on rescheduling our wedding, we know there are more intimate special parties with our families all across the U.S. when all this blows over. Plus we were in sweatpants by 9 p.m., which never would’ve happened on our wedding day.
—Sally, 27, and Kabir, 34, California
“Love is patient, and so are we.”
I never thought I’d be a bride with a #LoveInTheTimeOfCorona story.
Six years ago I left the United States for the adventure of a lifetime: a semester studying abroad in London. Little did I know that I would meet the man of my dreams. We had a really good thing going—besides the fact that he lived over 3,000 miles away from my home, on the East Coast. When I left London at the end of the semester, Daniel and I didn’t really make any sort of plans about how our relationship would continue, but I hoped that it wasn’t just a fling.
Luckily, it wasn’t. Since May 2014, we’ve done the long-distance thing. Every few months one of us would fly to visit the other, never spending more than a week or two together at a time. It’s never been ideal, but we’ve always made it work.
About a year and a half ago, I told Daniel that I couldn’t keep saying goodbye to him. My heart couldn’t keep breaking at the end of every visit, and I couldn’t continue living my life counting down the days until the next time I’d see him. That’s when he pulled out a ring.
To be together in the U.S., we’d need to begin the K-1 visa process (yes, just like on 90 Day Fiancé) and all the paperwork it entailed. We decided not to hire an immigration lawyer, so instead, we watched YouTube videos of other couples completing their paperwork and adapted their answers to meet our needs. For nearly nine months, from February to November of 2019, Daniel and I compiled old photos, boarding passes, and text messages and completed hundreds of hours or paperwork to prove the validity of our relationship. In November 2019, we learned that Daniel’s visa had been approved—he had until March 26, 2020 (his visa validity date), to arrive in the States.
To give us the most time to plan our wedding and Daniel’s move across the pond as possible, he scheduled his flight to America for Monday, March 23, 2020, just a few days before his visa was set to expire. I was scheduled to fly to London on March 19, 2020, to spend Daniel’s last weekend in London with him, his friends, and his family, before flying back to the U.S. together to begin our next chapter. We would then have 90 days to get married and begin our lives together, so I started planning our wedding for June 14, 2020.
But COVID-19 changed all that. A travel ban went into effect between the U.S. and the U.K. on March 16, putting both of us on lockdown in our separate countries. We had no choice but to let Daniel’s visa expire. That little sticker in his passport that we worked nine months and spent thousands of dollars to get is now worthless, and we have absolutely no idea when we will be able to see each other again, when we can get married, when the travel ban will be lifted, when a new visa will be issued, or how long that process will take.
To say we feel defeated is an understatement. To come within single-digit days of finally being together only to have to begin this process again is heartbreaking. We could’ve never predicted that a worldwide pandemic would interfere with our plans in the way that it has. But love is patient, and so are we.
—Elizabeth, 26, Connecticut, and Daniel, 28, London
“They say because we met in quarantine it’s not real. But define real.”
My current boyfriend is someone I have never met in person. Last year I was on a dating app and I connected with Jim, and we exchanged numbers. We tried meeting up multiple times, but our schedules never worked out—it was mostly my fault because work and school were very intense. I rescheduled three times, and eventually it just faded out without us ever meeting.
But on March 23, Jim sent me a Facebook request. I didn’t really remember him until he sent me a message. We started chatting and ending up hitting it off—again. Working from home, I finally had time on my hands to actually get to know him. Our first date was through FaceTime, and it lasted over three hours!
Ever since then, we talk every day through text, calls, and FaceTime every night. We have grown so close and we have definitely fallen for each other. We have date nights where we watch movies together at the same time. We have already talked about our future together, what it would look like and what we want. Right now he’s in Chicago, quarantining with his family, but when he gets back to Los Angeles, we will finally get to meet in person.
I have told a few friends and family about Jim and our relationship. They kind of shrug it off and think it’s just a symptom of these crazy coronavirus times, that since we are in quarantine, it’s not real. But define real? My feelings are real and so are his. Our connection is real.
Jim has been my rock through this pandemic and I can’t picture my life without him. Hoping this ends soon, so I can finally meet and be with the love of my life.
—Vanessa, 34, California, and Jim, 34, Illinois
“As nurses, we know what this virus can do.”
My fiancé, Devo, and I are R.N.s who have been together for five years. We met while working in a nursing home—you really can find love anywhere! We were supposed to be married June 5 of this year but have had to postpone everything. Since we are both nurses, we understand the importance of quarantine, even more so because I work in a COVID-19 unit, taking care of COVID-19 patients every time I work. Devo has also been exposed at work, so things are pretty stressful right now.
Knowing this, I feel guilty every time I complain or feel sad about having to postpone everything, knowing that others have way bigger problems and are losing loved ones.
He missed his bachelor party and I’ve had to postpone mine, which was supposed to be in mid-May. I was so pumped to spend time with my favorite girls.
We are trying to stay positive. We tell everyone that our goal is to have everyone on our guest list be happy, healthy, and alive when all this is over—it’s a bit morbid, but as nurses, we know what this virus can do. That is so much more important than having the wedding ceremony on the date we originally wanted. Whenever this is finally over and it’s safe to be around others, we can’t wait to celebrate with our family and just be near them.
—Jane, 29, and Devo, 31, New Jersey
“The magistrate married us from behind bulletproof glass.”
My now husband, Thomas, and I are physicians in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is an emergency medicine physician and I am a dermatologist. We were supposed to have a 500-person, weeklong Indian wedding in Wisconsin in May 2020, but due to the uncertainty around whether that was going to be possible—and my desire to have legal rights in case something were to happen to him as a doctor on the front lines of this situation—we opted to have a court marriage ASAP instead. Our immediate family members drove to North Carolina to bless us from a safe social distance and join us for the event.
We were married on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, at the Wake County Detention Center—all the courts in Wake County were closed because of the coronavirus, so they told us it was the only option! The magistrate married us from behind bulletproof glass.
The date is special because it coincides with the auspicious Hindu holiday of Gudi Padwa. According to sacred Hindu scriptures, this was the day that the world was re-created after a natural calamity stopped time and killed many people—it marks a New Year of sorts.
—Priyanka, 31, and Thomas, 32, North Carolina
“We’re two humans and two cats in a studio apartment. It’s very cuddly.”
I’d been living alone almost eight years before I met Jacob. We’re both in our mid-30s, so by the time that we met, it was like, “Oh, you, I’ve been looking everywhere for you.” We knew really quickly. I think, gosh, probably like our second or third date, I blurted out, “I think you’re my person.”
I lived alone for almost 10 years before we were together. We moved in together right before the holidays this year, and there’s a side of me that could be getting very stressed out about handling another human living with me. We’re two humans and two cats in a studio apartment—it’s very cuddly. I could be getting stressed out about that. But honestly, I feel like it’s helping us get to know each other even better. There’s not really any way to have mystery in a studio apartment when you’re on 24/7 lockdown. It’s definitely been helping us with communication, and being patient with each other and being patient with ourselves.
We were both so busy before all this happened. It’s nice to have time to hang out and connect whether that’s cooking together, or taking a walk, or playing video games, or hanging out with the cats. It’s nice to have that little cocoon. I’m totally a workaholic. So this has been a very interesting challenge for me to learn to just slow down a little. But it’s a lesson I need to learn. So it is really nice.
— Jess, 34, and Jacob, 37, New York
“I don’t know what will become of this tender, new shoot.”
We were supposed to have lunch a couple of weeks before the crisis, but schedules did not permit. But still, the odds seemed good—both of us work careers in service of others, and most important, he resonated with my Bumble profile statement that I wanted to meet someone who “had done the work,” and worked on themselves.
Our text conversations were incredible. If there is such a thing as “text chemistry,” we had it. The longing I felt, as I texted, “All I want is to fall into you, to rest my head in that place where your neck, shoulder, and chest meet, and to be wrapped up in your arms,” gave me a bittersweet ache that I hadn’t felt in years. But meeting would have to wait.
This period of discovery was so fun. We shared deep dark secrets and spoke about our inner demons that we keep hidden from others. Our conversations heated up, and while we never quite sexted in earnest, we got as physical as one can in a virtual world while staying in our comfort zones—we are middle-aged!
I became dependent upon our conversations. So imagine my surprise and anguish when, despite sending two alluring photos, and a desperate, “Hey, I’m having a rough day. Can you just send me a hello,” I got nothing. I was filled with self-doubt and anxiety. Had I turned him off? Had I been “too much”? This is crazy! I don’t even know this man! I rationalized. On the second day of silence, I told him that I was grateful to feel 16 years old again and that I would miss our conversations, but that I could not tolerate not being responded to. Of course that got a response.
The response was kind. He said he understood and would leave me alone for a few days and then would reach out again and he hoped we could be friends. Damn! Did I imagine the heat? Did I imagine the connection? After several fraught texts back and forth, my new friend said he wanted to talk on the phone. That conversation was long and ended up being wonderful. We couldn’t end this, we realized—it hadn’t even started!
I don’t know what will become of this tender, new shoot. I think what I know thus far is that I met an attractive, very interesting, emotionally open person who I connected with, and who I will meet someday, hopefully in the not too distant future. We have imagined together what that first kiss might be like.
Maybe we will be lifelong friends, maybe we will live happily ever after, or maybe we just helped each other through a bad time. I can’t wait to find out.
“We didn’t want anyone to have to choose between fear of catching the virus and their love for us.”
Sadiq and I were planning for our big, fat Indian-Pakistani wedding on March 28, 2020, in Cleveland (my hometown)! On March 16 we decided to postpone our wedding date—we didn’t want to put anyone in a position to have to choose between their fear or anxiety of catching a virus and their love for us. (Ohio ultimately issued a stay-at-home order on March 23.)
We were bummed about this all, but a week after postponing our event, we decided we shouldn’t let COVID-19 suck all the happiness from our lives. Even though we couldn’t celebrate with a 500-person traditional wedding, we convinced our local imam to perform a socially distanced nikkah, the Muslim wedding ceremony.
It was devastating to not have my parents physically present, but being the Indian parents that they are, they just wanted their 31-year-old daughter married. We set up a livestream on Google Hangouts and FaceTime and invited my parents, close friends, and family to take part with us, virtually. We had three computers running!
We are still planning on having a big reception (hopefully) in the future, but have been enjoying our newlywed life in quarantine in NYC. They say if you can get through this together, you can get through anything!
—Mariam, 31, and Sadiq, 28, New York
“I think people do want to see happy things happen.”
Six years ago, we met on Tinder. And then we spoke. We had a really funny conversation about how our parents would meet and we would send them to Central Park—it was just this ridiculous story. Alex and I are both really creative and funky, so it was funny. But then nothing ever happened. We didn’t speak again. It was just this one funny conversation. A year later, we were both on OkCupid, so we matched on there and he was like “Well, if it isn’t my ex-Tinderella.” We finally hung out, and it was literally just like love at first sight—we’ve never left each other since that day.
We dated for six years and then fast-forward to the proposal, which was on Friday, April 3, which also happens to be my birthday. We had obviously been in quarantine, so we had not left the apartment in probably 10 days besides going on a walk down the street. We were both working, I was wearing sweatpants from Walmart or something, and jokingly I said, “Okay, time for my gift,” knowing he obviously wouldn’t have been able to go out and get me anything. He told me to close my eyes and went into the bedroom. I thought he was going to come back with a lamp or a pair of dirty sneakers or something. But when I opened my eyes, he was on one knee.
It feels strange and apocalyptic right now, but there’s also this sense of happiness—this has been six years in the making and he got the ring right before this. I feel obviously really happy, but at the same time it’s a strange feeling. I haven’t been able to see my dad or my family. I’m just hanging in there, and we’re both grateful to be healthy and together. If anything this time has made us realize we really need only the two of us to be happy.
I spent a long time wondering if it was insensitive to other people to post about our engagement—I know a lot of people who’ve been furloughed, and people who are sick. I have friends who are nurses, so I didn’t know if it was the right thing. But when I did post it, I got so many likes and comments and people emailing me and calling me and texting me—some people that messaged and called, I haven’t heard from in years. I just felt so filled up with joy.
I think people do want to see happy things happen. And so that made me feel really good even if it was just like one little picture to brighten someone’s day.
—Katie, 33, New York
Originally Appeared on Glamour