By Isabella Dominesey | Idominesey@radford.edu
COVID-19 has undoubtedly impacted college life in a variety of ways, both academically and socially. However, one of the most significant impacts COVID-19 has had on students is their ability to create and maintain relationships.
Since the start of the semester, Radford University has implemented and enforced multiple social distancing rules and protocols to stop the virus’s spread.
Many students have found these university rules affecting their dating lives from limiting the number of people involved in gatherings to preventing guests from entering resident halls.
[epq-quote align=”align-left”]”We are inherently social creatures, and we are hardwired to have romantic relationships,” Dr. Christensen said.[/epq-quote]
“I would definitely say it’s harder to meet people,” Junior Jasmine Anderson said. “Not as many people are on campus, and you can’t really have conversations during classes on Zoom.”
The lack of personal connections made due to COVID-19 may be more than just an inconvenience.
According to Dr. Niels Christensen, a Radford University Professor of Psychology, romantic relationships are crucial in life. Being unable to engage with a partner could negatively impact one’s mental health.
“We are inherently social creatures, and we are hardwired to have romantic relationships,” Dr. Christensen said. “It’s a strong desire in humans, certainly during young adulthood, especially as a time of exploration.”
With the challenge of meeting new people in a face-to-face setting, singles around the country have been turning to dating apps in the hope of making connections. Nationally, dating app downloads have been on the rise since April, according to reports from Business Insider.
Students at Radford seem to be no exception to this trend.
“It’s not for everybody, but it’s convenient, and you can meet some nice people,” Anderson said.
Like Bumble, many dating apps have recently changed settings in response to the pandemic, allowing users to choose the most comfortable meeting condition.
However, even with these changes, online dating still presents faults.
“Dating apps are a double-edged sword,” Dr. Christensen said. “I think there is a challenge with many of these dating apps that there is a focus on superficial qualities.”
[epq-quote align=”align-right”]Anyone attempting to create a romantic relationship, whether in-person or online, needs to be aware of potential dangers.[/epq-quote]
Dr. Christensen believes that although the apps can be useful in connecting people who may not have met otherwise, there is a strong focus on short-term rather than long-term relationships.
Anyone attempting to create a romantic relationship, whether in-person or online, needs to be aware of potential dangers.
Although emotional connections are an essential part of everyday life, it’s vital to remember the pandemic’s current state.
“You’re either taking a sort of risk on the interpersonal psychological side, or you’re taking a risk on the physical health side, and those are both real challenges,” Dr. Christensen said.