Couples unite to face COVID-19 together


Cierra Quintana

Newly couple Tyler Mack and Bridgette Torres quarantine together for the shelter-in-place in Sacramento, California.

Cierra Quintana

Due to COVID-19, Gov. Newsom issued an executive order on March 19 for all people living in California to stay at home except for essential needs. This shelter-in-place order has many college students looking for ways to pass their time by themselves or adjusting to living with their families again.

For couples however, this quarantine could prove to be either a period of growth or a period of struggle. Whether it be a beginner relationship, a senior year relationship, or just somewhere in the middle—kindness and patience can only last so long. 

Not every relationship is the same and not every individual goes through the same problem. However, with this pandemic, couples are finding new ways to explore their relationships. 

Finding good things to focus on takes some creativity in quarantine, but there’s an obvious opportunity at home: that trove of photos and videos of vacations, outings, and celebrations that you’d never had time to go through. Now you do. These can be a source of positivity at any time, and couples stuck at home together can use them to happily “nostalgize”—a verb coined by social psychologists who have discovered remarkable benefits in reliving the past.

Bradley Hall, an East Bay alumni, and Angie Gonzalez, a student at Sacramento City College, have been together for four years. They both are faced with set schedules, which stretches their relationship. 

COVID-19 has brought them closer than they can imagine, with Hall working from home and Gonzalez continuing to work for her construction company, it’s difficult for relationships to maintain a healthy balance from being the significant other, to student, and a  hard worker. 

“Patience is key, sometimes when I’m really stressed out on my online classes, I’ll ask Brad to go to a different room for me to concentrate on my studies,” said Gonzalez. 

Academic researchers report that 37% of long-distance couples break up within 3 months of becoming geographically close. Couples are just as likely to break up during the distance phase as they are after distance ends. 

Gonzalez and Hall are dedicated to work through their silent time and keep eachother happy and healthy. 

For Sacramento residents Rachel Ronkowski and Jacob Greenstein who have been dating since June 2019, they are using this time to stay fit and healthy together. 

“Routines are somewhat the same, but instead of going to the gym, we do at-home workouts,” said Ronkowski. “It’s been a tough adjustment to get motivated to work from home, workout and try and keep a decent sleep schedule. The first week was definitely the hardest.” 

Ronkowski has an Instagram account, @hiker.hustle, where she posts all her adventures and trails she’s gone on. She also uses her personal account to show her followers the workouts that she and Greenstein are doing. 

According to Psychology Today, it has been a long-standing concept in social psychology that the mere presence of someone else affects your ability to do an activity. Even if you already feel competent doing a particular exercise, bringing along your romantic partner may be a fantastic way to boost your energy output. Your partner’s presence will improve your speed, without you necessarily being aware of their influence. 

During this pandemic, Ronkowski is giving her and her boyfriend space as they quarantine together. 

“We give each other space. Acknowledging that it’s an adjustment and openly communicating your needs makes all the difference,” said Ronkowski.

Relationships are all about learning one another. Although this pandemic has forced many to stay inside their homes, Tyler Mack and Bridgette Torres have decided to take this time to get to learn more about each other. 

Mack just recently moved to Downtown, Sacramento when Torres volunteered to accompany him for the time being from San Francisco. 

Although the couple has been together for a short period of time—two months—they are eager to learn more about each other during quarantine. 

“The advice we can give to those couples out there is try and not make your person the only source of entertainment,” said Torres. “We try and make it best by allowing ourselves some alone time and do things we wanna do by ourselves.”

This stress that COVID-19 puts on relationships, is also helping Torres end her addiction from smoking.

“I’m a smoker and smoke cigarettes so it’s hard to go outside and smoke. So I buy puff bars so I can smoke indoors, this way the quarantine is helping somewhat quit,” said Torres. “Yesterday Tyler took me to get puff bars because I ran out, so in hindsight he’s helping me get my nicotine but also helping me quit.”

With relationships in this pandemic are accompanied by memes going around social media stating how they can’t handle their significant others anymore, comical Facebook posts, and couples making YouTube content, everyone is going through a hard time and everyone is trying to make it the best time.