From Moving in to Moving on: Here's What Love Looks Like During a Pandemic

We asked real people to tell us about their experiences with love over the past year amid the COVID-19 pandemic

01 of 19
Dating amid pandemic

As we prepare to celebrate Valentine's Day following a year of lock-downs, social-distancing rules and isolation, it seems impossible that amid the illness, loss and grief that continues to affect the world because of COVID-19, love would continue to thrive.

But behind closed doors, beneath masks, under our thumbs and behind our screens, love is still flourishing.

We collected stories from couples from all over the country who fell in love on dating apps, moved in together as a result of quarantining, strengthened their marriages, and yes, even found love for themselves apart from a partner.

Here are their stories, in their own words.

Due to the personal nature of these stories, some people have chosen to remain anonymous. Some stories have been edited for length.

02 of 19
Hayley and Weston 
Courtesy of Renée Dee Photography

Names: Hayley & Weston
Ages: 27 & 26
Location: Westchester, New York
Submitted By: Weston

Hayley and I had been living together for two years already when the pandemic hit, so we thought we knew what we were in for. Being isolated together while working full-time jobs virtually from our two-room apartment has definitely proved to be difficult. We've tested each other's patience with our quirks. As people who both work with youth, our home is always filled with kids' voices from every angle. Which, after 10 months, is enough to drive anyone crazy.

We've experienced grief for what our life was: going to see shows, performing Hayley's music at live venues, going to the beach, seeing our families, throwing our arms around friends, adventuring with our dogs. We've gone through losses this year that were immeasurably difficult. We've gotten sick with this virus and had our bodies break down. We've lost our way on our individual paths as creatives. We've gotten back, maybe not on the same paths, but better ones.

All of this we've done by each other's side. At the end of every day we've made each other laugh and smile, no matter how difficult it was to. Through the toughest days we've held hands and walked through every season of this year together. That's why I knew when fall was in full swing and the leaves were just the right colors I was going to ask Hayley to marry me. She said yes and now we have a wedding planned for the fall.

It's nice having something to look forward to. We certainly will look back at this year of our lives, but I think along with the mourning we will be thankful. With this time together I've solidified my future with my very best friend. I know with certainty we can get through whatever life throws at us. I can't wait to say "I do" surrounded by our families and friends.

03 of 19
Carly and Marcus 
Courtesy of Carly Ann Filbin 

Names: Carly Ann Filbin & Marcus
Ages: 35 & 37
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Submitted By: Carly Ann Filbin

I'm a comedian (a talented and hot comedian) and in 2020 I took advantage of the stillness and slowness to write down every detail about my disastrous dating life. And though the final product will be VERY FUNNY, the process has been depressing and shameful. It was right there on the page: my desperate and insecure approach to finding love. It made me want to get out there, to date again in my 30s, now that I know myself completely and possess the type of confidence that makes people on the street whip their head around and whisper "Who's that girl!?" Sure, dating in a pandemic would be hard, but not harder than spending eight months alone in my studio apartment.

So I started swiping on Hinge. I wasn't looking for love. I was looking to finally have fun dating as opposed to being tortured by it. Marcus was so hot that I was like "wait they let models on Hinge?" I almost passed him up because he has the same name as my dad. But he had a dog so I swiped right.

Our first date was freezing, dark and such a blur but somehow, three weeks later, I was meeting his family for Christmas in Michigan (we drove and were COVID-safe).

My quarantine is stuffed with the romance my life lacked in my 20s, the cute relationship s--- I've always wanted but never thought I would actually get. He makes me playlists and he makes me dinner and he makes me happy. Timing is everything, and it's ironic and poetic that this cynic of love found it in a hopeless place. We haven't said "I love you" yet. But I love him. I hope we don't break up before this is published.

04 of 19
Nawal and Ahmed 
Courtesy of Nawal

Names: Nawal & Ahmed

Ages: 32 & 30
Location: N.Y.C. and Toronto
Submitted By: Nawal

On June 8, 2016, I met the love of my life. The thing is, it would take this raging pandemic for me to learn my Canadian co-worker would soon become my future husband.

Back in 2016, I was visiting the LinkedIn Toronto office, wandering around lost, when Ahmed offered to show me around. Our interaction was so brief I didn't even remember meeting him. We connected on LinkedIn, messaged each other every Ramadan to stay in touch, and that was it until March 2020. I was adjusting to new work-from-home orders when all of a sudden I got a message from Ahmed! He knew I was living alone in N.Y.C. — then the epicenter of the virus — and wanted to check-in. After a few minutes of messaging back and forth, I said "We should finally become friends!"

That Friday we met for the first of many Zoom catch-ups. I was literally the heart eye emoji on our first call — his charisma and warmth carried all the way through the WiFi — and we talked as if we had known each other forever. I remember saying, "I can't believe we have never met before!?" and he wasted no time letting me know we had in fact met, four years ago. Fridays at 10 a.m. became a standing Zoom meeting, which turned into exchanging numbers, which morphed into daily FaceTimes, a countdown to our first hug at LaGuardia Airport (pictured right), to Thanksgiving where he met my parents, and now, we're planning his move to N.Y.C. — and yes, eventually a 2021 wedding!

The pandemic allowed the world to pause life in a way that allowed us to find one another. It took four years of being around the corner from one another, but this strange time brought me the person I can't wait to spend all my time with. And yes, you can still catch a weekly Friday Zoom date on our calendars, 40 weeks later. And yes, "We Found Love" (... in a hopeless place) will be the first song to play at our wedding.

05 of 19
Mary Joy and Tyler 
Courtesy of Mary Joy 

Names: Mary Joy & Tyler

Ages: 28 & 24
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Submitted By: Mary Joy

Though I felt like I have always had a full and exciting life, being single at 28 in South Carolina while many of my Christian college friends were on their second child made me feel behind and sometimes lonely.

I would complain about being single, but at the same time never felt like I had time to pursue any kind of dating life as I often just packed my schedule in every possible way. On top of being a natural busy body, I am a high school theatre teacher and spend my life at late-night rehearsals. That was what was so strange about my season of quarantine. It made me stop. It made me sit at my house and rest for what felt like the first time in forever. I couldn't plan the next production or schedule the next social outing.

That's when Tyler showed up out of nowhere. We had gone to church together for a few years, but we had never noticed each other before. From our very first date, I knew he was going to be special. He is kind and intentional in every way. Tyler has felt like home in a time when nothing has seemed steady. Because of the type of year we are having, I have felt allowed to slow down and just spend quality time with him. As a Christian, I trusted that God would send me someone at the perfect time and now I can see exactly what He was doing.

06 of 19
Emily and Devin 
Courtesy of Emily 

Names: Emily & Devin
Ages: 25 & 26
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Submitted By: Emily

Devin I met my sophomore year at Bard College, and we have now been together for just over six years.

In October of 2019, just before our five-year anniversary and ahead of the pandemic, we went through a pretty bad rough patch. We struggled for a while but went into quarantine with a fresh outlook and the hope that spending more time together would naturally repair the cracks that I had caused between us.

We worked so hard on our relationship, but no matter the history, no matter how much love there is between two people, no one — and I mean NO TWO LIVING ADULT HUMANS — should be in the same 200-square-foot room together for as long as we were.

One day I left for a bike ride and rode around aimlessly for an hour because I just couldn't go home. I contemplated going to a hotel for the night, just so I could feel like I had some semblance of space and privacy. I hated the forced confinement made me want to run away. But realized that was what I wanted to run away from, not Devin.

It was uncomfortable to feel this way. I was embarrassed about the state of our relationship but came to find that it only made us stronger. And yes that is the cheesiest thing in the world but after almost a year of this pandemic, we have figured out how to make this insane situation work for our relationship, how to talk to each other better, and how to reconcile loving each other so much while also wishing more than anything that we could get away from one another.

07 of 19
Simone and Doug
Courtesy of Simone

Names: Simone & Doug
Ages: Both 26
Location: New York City
Submitted By: Simone

Three years ago, I had the perfect New York life. I was very happily single and living in a mouse-infested six-floor walk up in the West Village with my best friend. The thought of sharing a life, or even a single device, with someone else was unconscionable to me. Imagining someone else's tastes ruining my highly curated Spotify algorithm made me grimace.

But then I met Doug and as we spent the years taking each other to concerts and comedy shows, the horror began to dissipate. What I thought would be a repression of my identify — sacrificing my tastes for someone else's — actually proved to be the opposite. Sharing a life, and content, with someone I love has made me open my mind to new concepts and discover parts of me that I love.

We started off 2020 casually discussing the possibility of moving in together — our Upper East Side to West Village commute starting to feel like a long-distance relationship. And then, on March 12, I packed a bag with two weeks of supplies to ride out the quarantine at Doug's apartment. Less than a week later I was diagnosed with COVID-19. At that point, so much about the virus was unknown. I was scared. But what I did know is I had the best partner to take care of me.

He distracted me from my fever by letting me introduce him to Harry Potter as we binged the series and recorded his reactions to each one. When days seemed the darkest, we had two-person dance parties with music that ranged from Jacques Green to Carly Rae Jepsen. But the most monumental was the progression of Doug looking skeptically across the room as I watched Bravo to becoming a full-fledged Vanderpump Rules addict. (TomTom if you need a third I know a guy.)

So when two weeks turned into four months and we decided that a studio apartment housing both of us living and working full time wasn't going to cut it, we decided to get an apartment together. And while I had to give up the walkup I loved so dearly, I knew I wasn't giving up the person who lived there. I was adding to her with new music, new shows, new traditions and new family. Amidst a time of chaos, we've built a home of support and stability. But more than anything, I know I'll always have someone beside me to validate my opinions on which Housewives are the worst.

08 of 19
A young woman taking a break from technology

Name: Anonymous
Age: 26

After a five-year sabbatical from our first attempt at romance, my boyfriend and I finally got it right in the fall of 2019. As someone with a long-stemming history of abandonment issues, I was definitely hesitant at first. But I knew him, and I knew I loved him. He was a part of my life for five years. Even while we were not together, he still managed to pop up from time to time. And then suddenly, it just worked. It felt right. So I did it. I finally gave into love. Dare I say I finally started to feel secure in love?

Just as we had finally gotten into the groove of things, like in all great love stories, a pandemic came into the picture.

My boyfriend lives with someone who is immunocompromised and I have roommates, leaving our options to quarantine together pretty limited. He decided he was going to stay with his family while I ended up shuffling between staying with my family and my apartment.

Like most of the population during the 'rona times, I was alone A LOT. This left me with copious amounts of time to have existential crisis after existential crisis. I questioned my choices, my career, my living situation, and — you guessed it — my relationship. He was my first real love, my first real relationship. It wasn't until we were together again and started to fall into our "new normal" that I realized after all of that time apart, what I really missed was the comfort. I missed the familiarity. Being alone for so long made me fall in love with the idea of being in love, thinking that a relationship would fix all of my issues with abandonment and intimacy.

As the iconic Ru Paul always says: 'If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?' And that's just what I need to do.

09 of 19
Audree and Alex 
Courtesy of Audree Lopez 

Names: Audree Lopez & Alex Fredkin
Ages: 28 & 29
Location: New York City
Submitted By: Audree

Alex and I matched on Bumble in late March 2020. We were both quarantining in our New York City apartments and set up a virtual first date over FaceTime. It went well, and the next night we FaceTimed for over six hours, ordering the same late-night drunk food and eating it "together."

Once we decided to meet in person, we spent every weekend together. It was definitely difficult to navigate as a new couple with the anxiety of COVID, being safe and learning to be creative with date ideas. We spent the majority of our time in my apartment and we planned 'Formal Fridays' where we would dress up, order from a local restaurant and try a new cocktail recipe. I believe that 2020 progressed our relationship quickly because we didn't have distractions or conflicting schedules, and it encouraged us to have those intimate and deep conversations at the beginning of our relationship.

Alex just moved into my apartment this past week and I'm so happy I met him in 2020 and he helped me survive this past year!

10 of 19
Michelle and Jason 
Courtesy of Michelle 

Names: Michelle & Jason

Ages: 29 & 27
Location: Sunnyside, New York
Submitted By: Michelle

Our love in the pandemic was more an evolution from casual dating to building a life together.

The pandemic wasn't just the danger outside but a very present addition to our relationship. In the past year, we both started jobs at the Department of Health. Every conversation we had, professional and casual, was framed in terms of the pandemic. With stay-at-home orders put in place, our usual date nights of fun banter over cocktails were replaced with serious late-night talks on the couch about healthcare, race and equity.

These tense conversations as the pandemic wore on went from insular anecdotal discussions of our lived experiences and grew to more thoughtful and real reflections of how we would raise our future children. Coming from different backgrounds: I'm Latina and he's white; I'm a liberal Queens girl, and he's a mountain boy from Denver. Somehow we found common ground. We balanced each other in a way that New York City made me intense and the Rocky Mountains made him calm. In October, he proposed and I said yes.

The pandemic still governs our days but we have found ways to make happy memories alongside it. As health workers, we were able to get our first dose of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine sitting next to each other, chatting with the vaccinators about our Fall micro-wedding; followed by a kiss as they filled out our vaccination cards. Our second dose is on Valentine's Day.

11 of 19
Kerissa & Paul 
Courtesy of Kerissa

Names: Kerissa & Paul
Ages: 29 & 28
Location: Denver
Submitted By: Kerissa

What can I say, I "met" Paul the way all the modern folk do it — Twitter! As much as I don't want to admit it, the pandemic 100 percent brought us together. We'd known of each other as casual Twitter followers for about a year, but our mutual interest in social justice issues sparked a genuine conversation around the protests and our feelings about the moment. As they say, the rest is history. Sharing a foundation of something that means a lot to us as individuals was totally unexpected, and made for a genuine connection. I'd like to think our relationship is a result of serendipity. I had been planning to relocate from N.Y.C., but COVID had other ideas.

After several months on lockdown, I decided to take a mental health trip to the great outdoors in Denver. I am a known nomad, so I was also open to the idea that I could possibly live there if I liked it. Paul happened to be living in the same city, unbeknownst to me as we'd only been talking for a week by that point. We planned to meet, he had the perfectly thoughtful Denver themed hiking + picnic first date; he's been the best tour guide since I relocated here.

Admittedly, it's different navigating a relationship in a quarantine-like situation, but it definitely shows you exactly who you're signing up to be with. There's only so much you can hide after that many hours inside together! But I've enjoyed this experience more together, thankfully, and feel like it's fortifying our relationship in a way. It gives us a story for sure! I don't know that I'd go as far as to say I'm grateful for the pandemic for bringing us together, but I absolutely can say it's made me believe everything happens for a reason: I can say I'm happy that it brought me my reason.

12 of 19
Felicia and Valentina 
Courtesy of Felicia

Names: Felicia & Valentina

Ages: 27 & 23
Location: Astoria, New York
Submitted By: Felicia

Valentina and I started dating Jan. 5, 2020. Pre-COVID, she was living in Manhattan and I was in Westchester, New York. For my birthday in March, we had plans in the city. The news of things slowly shutting down was on our radar but we wanted to push through with our plans. The pandemic was declared on my birthday. We both knew the city was going into a hard lockdown so we had a tough decision to make: Should we stay apart or quarantine together in a relatively "new" relationship? She packed a bag for two weeks to come to the suburbs "while this all blew over."

Fast forward almost a year. We have our own apartment in Astoria. COVID matured our relationship faster than anything else would have. We recognized what we have is important and found a way to make moments special for each other.

In May, I graduated with my master's and wasn't even planning on attending the online ceremony. Valentina demanded that I put on my cap and gown and took me to visit my late father at the cemetery so he "could see me all dressed up." Those little moments of keeping some normalcy alive went a long way.

We were faced with sick family and friends together. We cared for each other's needs. We learned about each other's deepest fears and biggest dreams. We respected each other's space. We shared shows, hobbies, movies and books together. We shared special moments together. We pushed each other out of comfort zones. We decorated our apartment together. Most importantly, we took a horribly, scary and uncertain time and built a strong foundation of love and trust.

13 of 19
Lyndsay and Tommy 
Courtesy Lyndsay 

Names: Lyndsay & Tommy
Ages: 27 & 28
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Submitted By: Lyndsay

I was on Hinge throughout the spring and summer of 2020, declining potential lovers when I saw Tommy. I audibly gasped. I knew Tommy! We had met on Tinder in April 2019, and again on Bumble that August. Both times we had one date before he mysteriously disappeared on me. It was September 2020, exactly one year, almost to the day, since I had last seen him. This guy. What nerve showing up on my Hinge feed.

Obviously I "liked" him and sent some cheeky message, making fun of him for posting something about Lord of the Rings on his profile. He replied back immediately, saying "Wow we always run into each other on these apps, maybe it's a sign we should meet up."

Pre-pandemic me would probably have said, "No way," but here he was, popping back into my life. And he was just so cute, and I was remembering all our fun times. Plus he was an excellent kisser. So I said "sure," and we met in Prospect Park with some blankets and some wine. A couple hours later, we were tipsy and giggling and catching up and making out like middle schoolers. Social distancing rules were ignored entirely.

One month later, after countless dates (and I mean countless, we were both unemployed due to the pandemic) he told me he loved me. And by golly I love him too. I love this guy.

Telling this story sometimes makes me feel self-conscious about trusting someone who (twice) flaked on me. It's not easy, but I think sometimes it just takes courage and honesty to let folks back in and love them despite their history and flaws. He disappeared on me not once, but twice. We matched on three separate apps. It took over a year, but I love him and he loves me. I feel it and I know it. It took a pandemic to drive me deeper into loneliness and longing for a partner, and some determination to keep swiping. But I finally found my partner.

14 of 19
Alexandra, Subbu (and Ronnie)
Courtesy Alexandra Rodriguez-Beuerman

Names: Alexandra Rodriguez-Beuerman & Subbu Mishra (and their dog, Ronnie)

Ages: Both 28, Ronnie is 3.5
Location: Chicago
Submitted By: Alexandra

Subbu and I had been dating for four-and-a-half years when the pandemic hit. At the time we were living about two miles apart in two different apartments — me with three other roommates and him with one — and going back and forth every four days or so (with our dog, Ronnie). Once we got the news that we shouldn't really be traveling, even such a small distance (Ubers and public transportation seemed unsafe), we decided to spend the next few weeks (or so we thought at the time) of quarantine at my place. Believing that it wouldn't be too long, we settled into living in my bedroom with the shared living room space of everyone in the house and their plus-ones. At one point, we had eight people in a home that was really meant for four.

Working and living in one bedroom certainly had its difficulties — Subbu is in medical school and I was finishing up graduate school while working, so we would alternate working at the desk or on the bed. Though it was crowded, I was grateful that we were able to be together. When I was feeling down he would force me to go for runs with him, knowing that movement would make me feel better, and it always did.

In August of 2020 we had been planning on moving in together, and though that had been a long time coming, there were certainly still the usual worries of moving in with someone new — would we have similar cleaning styles (short answer: no)? Would we get sick of each other? What would we eat? But after sharing one room for the better part of six months, I was no longer concerned. We had been able to create space for each other and I knew that after that, sharing a full apartment would be a breeze. And truly, it has been. Now, when we need our "me" time (video games for him, reading for me), we have different rooms to be in. And anything that the future holds for us, I'm pretty sure we can take it.

15 of 19
Jane and Brandon 
Courtesy of Jane

Names: Jane & Brandon

Ages: 29 & 45
Location: Columbia, South Carolina
Submitted By: Jane

I started a new relationship on January 1st of 2020. We were taking things pretty slow and enjoying our time together for the first few months. In March, when the pandemic initially hit, we decided to not see each other, thinking it would only be a couple of weeks. But even a week apart was torturous at that time. So we decided to try a "socially distanced date" dinner outside at his place. That evening ended being very not socially distanced.

It was difficult to navigate the choice to keep seeing one another, and came loaded with plenty of anxiety and guilt over whether we had made an ethical decision. Ultimately, it was the right decision for us, and being each other's "bubble" has been really important to getting through this tumultuous year. We do often wonder aloud at how the pandemic has shaped our relationship, and sometimes there is a lot of frustration tied into it. Not being able to get out and experience the world together sucks. But especially last summer, we worked hard to keep things fun and exciting within our apartments. He built us an epic pillow fort in his living room, we had a country-themed date night, I threw us a two-person party complete with helium balloons, gift bags and a piñata.

In some ways, it's great: we know that we love each other because we have shared real intimacy without the distraction of the outside world.

16 of 19
Self Care

Name: Danielle
Age: 29
Location: New York

I had been in a relationship for about a year when the pandemic hit. We had just moved in together in January 2020, a decision I didn't take lightly after what was a beautiful yet difficult first year in love. 2019 was hard for me: inconsistent working conditions, a tense living situation, news my father was sick and beginning a new relationship. I was forced to confront head-on emotional and intimacy trauma that I thought I had dealt with while being happily single for years prior.

Quarantine was tough. Everything we'd built and enjoyed about one another was now being squeezed by the vice-like confines of our New York apartment. However, this chapter of life became entirely about falling back in love with myself. I had started going to therapy right before the lockdown, and throughout the months that would follow, I navigated the depths of my trauma, my fears, my rage, my humanity, my relationships and yes, my inner child. I started to listen to that still, small voice inside me who knows and loves me as I am right in this moment. I started writing, drawing and painting again. I took courses, read, cooked, tended to myself and did a heinous amount of laundry in our tiny portable washing machine.

Throughout this year, my entire life changed for what looked like the worst. We gave up our apartment because we'd lost our jobs and couldn't afford it. My father passed away followed by the sudden passing of one of my best friends. I was broken up with ... twice during the holiday season and had to move again.

And yet, I truly returned home to myself during this time. I have been reminded of the strength inside me that allows me to navigate changes in my body, my environment, my family, my intimate relationships and beyond with grace and kindness. To be of service and to know that I am worthy of unconditional love, of compassion, of help. And that starts with me! I might not have anyone to celebrate Valentine's Day with in 2021, but don't I?

17 of 19
Sam and Chris 
Courtesy of Sam Davis

Names: Sam Davis & Chris Mayer

Ages: 25 & 28
Location: New York
Submitted By: Sam

We had our first date in April of 2019. We started dating and were officially a couple by that June. It felt like I was living in a romantic comedy! She made me laugh like no one ever had before, and she appreciated my somewhat odd sense of humor. I loved being around her, she was my best friend, and she still is.

When quarantine first began in early March, we pretty much started spending all our time together. We couldn't really do much because of COVID, and became even closer than before. I loved Chris before quarantine, but now I am sure she is the woman I want to spend my life with. She loves me when I am all done up at a bar, and she loves me when I am crying on the kitchen floor. It isn't always easy, and we fight sometimes, but now I know that it always ends up with us laughing again. I know now this is my person. We went through a once-in-a-lifetime experience together. One that triggered anxiety for us both. But we are coming out stronger, more in love. It isn't all fun and games now, but it is safe. It is home.

18 of 19
Cristina and Ryan 
Courtesy of Cristina Scheers 

Names: Cristina & Ryan Scheers

Ages: 29 & 30
Location: New York
Submitted By: Cristina

Ryan and I have been together for five years and married for three. No relationship is ever easy or picture-perfect, but we experienced a lot of rough patches emotionally due to my husband's PTSD as a result of being in the Marine Corps. Between years of us both working and then throwing a kid into the mix, time for "us" wasn't really made a priority. We fought more often than not, he excluded himself from any activities with me and our daughter and chose to sleep when he wasn't working — it was taking a huge toll on our marriage and relationship. As a result of the pandemic, Ryan was out of work from the end of March to July. We were given nothing but time to reconnect not just as a family, but as a couple. The fights were scarce, and were replaced with memory-making in our new home.

Happiness and laughter took over what was once tears and anger. Our marriage became stronger and it felt like we had just started dating all over again. In October, he was once again home for two months after breaking his foot on the job (because when it rains, it pours) and it flowed right into the worst couple of months for him annually as a result of his PTSD. I thought that it would take our marriage back down a rabbit hole of issues, but it didn't. The pandemic made our marriage, our love and our overall family stronger. 2020 sucked for a lot of reasons, but it gave us something positive. Now we never take each other for granted, because tomorrow is really never promised to anyone.

19 of 19
Sarah and James 
Courtesy of Sarah 

Names: Sarah & James

Ages: 28 & 29
Location: Atlanta
Submitted By: Sarah

In September, at much pressing from a girlfriend on a Zoom hang, I re-entered the online dating world with Bumble. It was the same old same old B.S. messages and conversations for the first 24 hours. Then I matched with James, with cute pictures and an interesting bio: "How do you sustain a relationship? Communication, honesty and great sex." I was sold!

There were some new things to adjust to in the world of virtual dating in COVID. We had to make an agreement together that while we were not exclusive — because that would be crazy before date No. 1 — we weren't going to pursue anyone else until we proved/disproved that we would be a good match.

First date was virtual and went well. Our first in-person date went even better: seven hours together. Our second in-person date was at my house. Because, what are you gonna do in the height of COVID? Ten hours of talking and cooking in the privacy of your home is an "intimacy level" I didn't expect on date No. 2 and it set the tone for our relationship.

Five months later, We've been together since Sept. 11. We've been sure we were each other's forever partner since Oct. 3. I've never looked at someone before and gone "that's my husband" until him. The butterflies are inexplicable.

We've laughed, we've cried, we've commiserated on COVID, we've been stuck inside together, we've puzzled, we've watched seemingly everything on Netflix, and we've grown together in this period of isolation. Love is wonderfully hard and beautifully frustrating — but growing in the same space as another person is comforting. I literally don't know where I would be without him if we hadn't met. I'm forever grateful.

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