What does romance look like during a pandemic?

Charlotte couples share how they're keeping a healthy relationship and romance alive during the stay-at-home order.
Shelda-Bennett-quarantine-couples

Relationships are difficult. They require a lot of work to blend two lives, personalities and families. Not to mention the daily stressors. While many unexpected things can happen in relationships, navigating a pandemic is not something any of us imagined would be on the list. But here we are, in week three of a stay-at-home order until at least April 29. 

Some couples are practicing social distancing from each other and using technology to stay connected. Married couples and domestic partners are finding new ways to add a spark to their relationships while respecting each other’s alone time. Everyone is figuring this out and taking it one day at a time.

We asked Charlotte couples how they’re adjusting their romantic time during the quarantine.

Shelda + Bennett

Dating:  3 months

Imagine beginning to build a relationship — the butterflies, first kiss and all the feels. Then, boom, you find yourself quarantined because of a pandemic. That’s exactly what happened to Shelda and Bennett who made their relationship official in January after initially connecting online in October.

How have you been keeping the romance alive during quarantine? 

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“We have FaceTime lunch dates,” explained Shelda, who added that their busy schedules haven’t slowed down during the quarantine. “We often took lunch at different times when working outside of the home, which made it hard to connect. Now, we schedule lunch at the same time during our workdays. “

Shelda, a physician assistant, looks forward to daily lunch dates with her beau because they provide a good mental break. Bennett agrees. He works a full-time job and manages several side hustles. 

“Not only do I look forward to the time with Shelda, but it’s often a reminder to eat!” he said.

The couple shared that their daily lunch dates have strengthened their relationship by “assuring we have something consistent in our daily lives while living in very inconsistent times.”

On being a new couple hit with a new normal so early in their relationship….

“It creates the opportunity to be continually reassured of our position in each other’s lives. It is mostly uninterrupted time carved out of the day to feed into each other,” Shelda said. “We both joke that if we make it through this pandemic we may as well get married. We’ll be able to make it through anything.”

Diamond + Tim 

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Married: 5 ½ years

Diamond and Tim aren’t strangers to finding creative ways to stay connected. The couple met in Chicago in 2012, and after six months of dating, Tim moved to Charlotte. Diamond joined him in 2014. 

Six years and a 2-year-old daughter later, the couple is once again finding themselves relying on technology to connect. 

Tim loves playing spades. They found an app where they can play as a team against others. 

“We invite our friends to join for virtual game nights. It’s so much fun to connect with him on something he loves,” Diamond said.

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Diamond and Tim enjoy a picnic outdoors with food from a local restaurant. Photo courtesy of Diamond Nurse

In what ways is your relationship different now that we’ve been quarantined? 

“We are able to spend quality time as a unit and watch our daughter grow right before our eyes,” Diamond said. 

The couple shared that their busy schedules also left little energy to connect, even on an intimate level. 

“We found ourselves getting so stuck in the routine; we didn’t take time to be present. Now I can say, we are praying and meditating together again daily. We are using this time to get back to our ‘why’. For once, we are truly living in the moment, and that has made a positive impact on our relationship.”

What are some fun ways that you’re spending this additional time?

“Our nanny comes daily to help us with our daughter, so we take intentional time during lunch hours to go on walks and eat together, even if it’s right on our front porch. We sync our calendars to ensure we can have the time uninterrupted.” 

Another pastime, ordering take-out from their favorite local restaurant and enjoying their meal at the park…of course, maintaining social distance from others.

Brenda + Quincy

Married: Less than a month; dated almost two years before getting engaged in August 2019

At the beginning of the year, Brenda and Quincy were planning for an April wedding with more than 200 guests. By mid-March, they realized that they may not be able to have the wedding of their dreams. They made the tough decision to cancel their big wedding and opt for courthouse nuptials.

“Initially it was hard to break the news to everyone, and I cried until I couldn’t…but I wiped my tears, the only thing that mattered was the safety of our loved ones and the world…” Brenda shared on a social media post announcing the couple’s recent vows.

The newlyweds thoroughly enjoy each other’s company, yet they intentionally create space to spend time separately. During the day, Brenda jumps on Zoom calls with her friends while Quincy plays video games.

“This weekend, we have a cute couples date planned by downloading an app and asking one another questions,” she said. 

Before the quarantine, Brenda and Quincy ate at a different restaurant each weekend. “Now, we have resorted to supporting a local restaurant once a week. We love food.”

How has the downtime strengthened your relationship?

“We pride ourselves on having good communication. Now, we have really taken that to the next level. We talk about everything. We are truly best friends. We are grateful to have this alone time together to set the foundation for our marriage.” 

Jasmine + Carlton

Married: Celebrated their second anniversary on April 7

When Jasmine and Carlton got married in 2018, the college sweethearts would’ve never imagined they’d be confined to their homes during a pandemic on their second anniversary. Despite the circumstances, the couple celebrated by cooking a new recipe and setting up a candlelight dinner at home.

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Jasmine and Carlton celebrated their second wedding anniversary with a candlelight dinner at home.

How have you been keeping the romance alive during quarantine?

“We binge-watch shows on Netflix. (We finished “Ozark” in two days.) We watch crumping videos, and we’ve organized spaces in our place,” Jasmine explained. “He’s also swindled me into playing some competitive games on Xbox.”

Myeisha + John

Dating:  7 years

How has the downtime strengthened your relationship?

“Sometimes, the days run together, and you don’t get to spend as much quality time as you would like with your partner,” Myeisha said. “This quarantine has helped us to readjust our priorities for each other.” 

The pair started doing things together that they would usually do separately, like working out. 

“We’re both gym fanatics, but we didn’t work out together. Now, we work out as a couple, go grocery shopping and cook together. We’ve been creative so the romance has also been spiced up and fun,” she said.

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Myeisha and John have been using time during the stay-at-home order to workout as a couple. Photo courtesy of Myeisha Hamilton

Kristen + Derrick

Married: Will celebrate their fifth anniversary in May

With two children under 3 years old, Kristen and Derrick have their hands full. Organization has been key between countless meetings, work time and educating their children. 

What’s working for your relationship during quarantine?

“What drives our romance during this season of uncertainty is when we show support towards one another throughout the day. There’s nothing like feeling like we’re each other’s teammate, and we’ll do whatever it takes to make life a little easier during this quarantine. 

“We feel stronger than ever in week 4 of this quarantine because we were so unorganized and didn’t really have a house-rhythm prior to this. This season in life has truly made us better! We will come out of this so much better than how we came into it!

“When the kids go down for naps, we dance together, sing and flirt. It’s all a part of keeping the romance alive. We are literally each other’s work boo and best friends.”

Jordan + Kalvin

Engaged: 8 months; dating since 2017

How are you using this time to bond?

We decided to read books together. We’re currently reading ‘Deep Work” by Cal Newport. We enjoy being productive together. We are both excited about tackling our joint and individual goals once we finish reading the book. We alternate reading a chapter aloud, and then spend another hour reading individually.”

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Jordan and Kalvin spend quality time reading books and working on goals.

Lillie + Brandon

Married: 3 years

How are you being intentional in keeping the romance alive?

“We have daily mental health check-ins about how we’re dealing with life during a pandemic. This usually leads to deep conversations which are always eye-opening and helps us connect on a deeper level. This downtime has strengthened our relationship because our conversations have become increasingly meaningful. Before the pandemic, we were both busy and often didn’t have the time that we do now.

“On a lighter note, we joke and laugh a lot, cook together and dance around the house. We offer words of encouragement to each other every day. We typically end our days cuddling on the couch and watching TV.”

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