By: Taylor Dinardo
Question: How can I stop being fearful of high divorce rates?
Response: This question speaks to the fears of so many, especially those who have witnessed the divorce of close family members or who have gone through a divorce themselves. It can be difficult to dismantle this worry in light of the considerably high divorce rate in the United States. So first, know that troubled emotions on this matter are normal and valid.
In relationships, the most important factor in gauging security is having intimate knowledge of one another. Specifically seek to learn your partner’s values: What would a happy, fulfilling life look like for them? What are their non-negotiables for their future? What do they envision when they think about family?
Of course, your partner should have this same understanding of your values as well. While this knowledge comes naturally with time to an extent, it is necessary to actively communicate about what is important to you both. Before considering marriage, you should feel comfortable in talking to your partner about these matters transparently, and confident that both of you truly know what you want.
As corny as it sounds, there is no such thing as love without the risk of heartbreak. It is entirely possible to begin a relationship with the best of intentions and faultlessly drift apart. It is crucial to maintain independence throughout every stage of your relationship to avoid codependency. Don’t compromise on the values that fulfill you and be sure to maintain a support system outside of your romantic relationship. Not only is autonomy needed in the event of a breakup, but it is necessary among all parties in a healthy, successful relationship.
Question: How do you find a new relationship (romantic or platonic) during the covid-19 pandemic?
Response: As a student, there are so many opportunities to connect with people through events and organizations hosted through the school! Clubs are one of the best outlets for this as they’re a fast-track for meeting other students with shared interests. Many organizations are hosting meetings virtually to maximize accessibility, so you can stay connected from home. If you’re on campus, make sure to check out RA-hosted events in your residence hall; their whole purpose is to offer residents an opportunity to make friends! Not to mention, there are usually really neat activities to partake in. Class group chats through platforms like GroupMe and CircleIn can also offer opportunities to chat with your peers and form study groups.
The internet is a major resource for making friends, and there are plenty of platforms that can help you to do this in a safe and fun way. The app Slowly allows you to exchange letters with a virtual penpal. The interesting thing about this app is that it delays the messages depending on the distance between the sender and receiver to create an authentic “snail-mail” effect. If you’re on Facebook, there are a countless number of groups for every interest under the sun. Some are even organized by town/location so you can interact with others in your area.
Don’t forget that your current friends can help you to establish new relationships! Before your next Zoom hangout, tell your friends to invite their friends and span out your web faster. Having a mutual party tends to diffuse that first-time-meeting awkwardness much quicker. Though the pandemic presents an array of challenges in making new friends, with a little extra effort and some skillful applications of online resources, you can keep your network growing and take comfort in those around you during these more isolated times.
Question: What’s the best way to keep things fun in a relationship during a pandemic when you can’t go to many places?
Response: For those who need to isolate, virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom and GoogleMeet can be leveraged in creative ways. The rise of the “Zoom date” is real, and it’s fun! Try doing an organized activity on a video call like a “paint and sip,” or have a cook-off by preparing the same dish and then enjoy the meal together. Playing board games virtually is possible with Tabletop Simulator, and JackboxTV also offers a great night for larger remote group hangouts (hello, double date). If you and your boo are movie buffs, Netflix Party and Hulu Watch Party enable you to enjoy movies and TV shows synchronously so you can keep your partner/friend on the phone and react in-sync.
If you are able to venture out of the house with your partner, take some time to investigate what is open in your area. It may seem like the only thing to do is go to a restaurant, but chances are you can find other venues. Try a study date at a local cafe, or browse the isles of an arts and crafts store for something fun to create together. If the weather allows, grab some tennis rackets or a basketball and indulge in some playful competition. Should it be too snowy, sledding, building forts and snowball fights are 100% an option.
If you decide to stay in, consider a relaxing spa night with face masks and peaceful music, or get your endorphins pumping by doing an at-home workout together! Studies show that couples who exercise together are happier and tend to be more emotionally bonded. On the flip side, you can always try setting up an extravagant assortment of food to share. Try preparing a charcuterie board or homemade fondue! Shopping for the ingredients together can be a part of the date.
I hope this gave you some inspiration for future dates. Experimenting with different activities together is a great way to grow with your partner and discover newfound qualities in one another.