Northwestern students share experiences dating during the pandemic

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Illustration by Carly Schulman

From FaceTime calls to outdoor meetups, Northwestern students are finding creative ways to date amid the pandemic.

Arianna Carpati, Reporter

If there’s one song that college students can relate to in 2020, it’s Soulja Boy’s 2008 hit “Kiss Me Thru The Phone.”

Weinberg sophomore Max Paik and his girlfriend, Communication sophomore Kylie Lin, started dating in April when stay-at-home orders were still in effect. They are both from the Bay Area of California and were able to see each other in the spring and summer. But this fall, Paik moved to Evanston while Lin remained in California.

Paik and Lin spend a lot of time on FaceTime together now that they’re long distance. But Paik said being in person at the start of their relationship helped them get to know each other, especially since they weren’t around their larger group of college friends.

“We were very isolated from a lot of friends physically, but we were still able to see each other in person, and I think that that was something that I ended up valuing a lot and really helped out with helping us get together,” Lin said.

The pandemic, Paik said, pushed them to communicate better since they knew they had to be long distance so soon into their relationship. While they were home, Paik and Lin spent a lot of time going on walks or hikes and going to the beach, but missed out on eating at restaurants often and other indoor activities.

Bienen and Weinberg sophomore Aspen Buckingham and Weinberg sophomore Maddy Foutes began dating in September after they both returned to Evanston for the fall. They both live off campus, and have been going to brunch together and watching movies.

Foutes and Buckingham said they have been creative about finding activities to do, like going on runs and to an escape room which was open. They said the extreme circumstances of the pandemic has not necessarily made their relationship stronger, but living off campus has helped.

“I think living off campus is much more conducive to a relationship than living in the dorms. There’s a lot in dorm life you have to deal with in terms of privacy because you’re all so close together,” Buckingham said.

Being in a new relationship, Buckingham and Foutes talked extensively about how they were both planning to stay safe during the pandemic. They have a lot of mutual friends, and formed a bubble with that group in order to limit in-person interactions with too many different people.

“We also take advantage of Northwestern’s free testing, and our friends do too. I think we both understood that it probably wasn’t realistic for us to be distant from each other,” Foutes said.

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Twitter: @ariannacarpati1

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