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Sex + Relationships

How Quarantine Led Me To the Relationship Revelation I Needed

As college students, we're used to an uncertain future. However, add on a pandemic and the phrase takes a completely different meaning. COVID-19 brought travel plans, internships, jobs, school years, and even relationships and friendships to a grinding halt. The one thing that quarantine didn't put on hold for me and many others is personal growth.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been in love with the idea of love (I partly blame the Pisces in my chart). Ask me for my ideal relationship progression and I can give you a detailed storyline, starting from the first meeting to marriage — including all the major and minor details, of course. It’s a rarity for me to go two months without having a crush, whether it’s on someone who walked past me in the crowded hallway or someone I’ve known since middle school who had suddenly become attractive in my eyes.

Once I began college, however, I felt lost. Suddenly, I didn’t know anyone around me except for my roommates and my high school friends. Whose last name would I test out next to my first name? All my friends told me to get Tinder and Bumble, because that was supposedly the only way I would meet someone. As someone who has been shy when meeting new people my entire life, it seemed terrifying to talk to strangers on the Internet and then meet up with them without knowing them previously. It was either this new land of online dating or staying single for the rest of my life. Was this the new normal?

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It took me a few months, a couple of rejections, a lot of silent crushes, a cringe worthy almost Bumble date, and a quarantine to figure out that for me, it isn’t. Now, don’t get me wrong — I've heard quite a few stories of Bumble and Tinder love stories (I know, I was surprised too!). But that doesn’t mean that all of our soulmates are combing through the popular dating apps, and the only way to meet them is by swiping right on everyone that you see. You might run into them at your favorite coffee shop, or they might be walking down the same street as you. But even if they aren’t, that doesn’t mean you have to settle for who’s convenient.

Society tells us, as women, that to be happy and to feel whole we must be with someone else. For a long time, I believed that. I accepted not being completely happy with myself because I felt like I wasn’t even a whole person, just a half meant to fill a whole. But I finally know that isn’t the truth. I’m a complete person who just isn’t in a relationship, and I’m completely happy that way.  

It took me 19 long years and a pandemic to finally accept the version of myself that was alone, and I'm so grateful that I did. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to listen to love songs without daydreaming about being in love every time, or to listen to “Say Something” without singing along as if I’ve had my heartbroken 10 times before.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not grateful for COVID-19. I still love to imagine a world without it. But with an event as drastic as this, I’m glad that I was able to get something out of it — besides a positive test for coronavirus.

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Naziah Roberts is a junior at UCF majoring in Clinical Psychology and minoring in Human Services and Social Inequality and Diversity. You can often find her trying out a new dessert recipe, making a new Spotify playlist, or reading about astrology when she isn't busy learning about the inner workings of the human mind! She is pursuing a career as a Clinical Psychologist for underprivileged youth.
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