Quarantine Diaries: Maintaining Relationships

Quarantine Diaries is a communal project of stories from our readers about how they are managing their lives during the coronavirus crisis. In this piece, readers share how they’re keeping their relationships strong.

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My fiancé and I have been playing what we like to call “flip cup toe.” Pro tip: Don’t play with White Claws. You will burp up a storm. ⛈ I have retired the game for a bit, because the morning after this time brought my first quarantine hangover — not pleasant. But it was definitely fun, and I shared it with my friends and neighbors. They’re now playing, too! 

Justine Rellosa, 30, from Los Angeles, California

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My husband and I have been working from home for the last couple of years, now with two daughters. COVID-19 didn’t technically change a lot about our daily routine, but the things it did change were apparently all that was keeping us sane: hiring babysitters for date nights, working at coffee shops, getting out of the house as a family. We make the most of it by taking lots of walks, decorating the neighborhood with sidewalk chalk and letting the kids watch nursery rhymes on YouTube ad nauseam. We are thankful for our health and for our jobs, but some days we feel like we just might go insane.

Jenny Williams, 33, from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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My husband is getting creative with date nights! We are 49 years old and high school sweethearts. We will have been married for 24 years this August, and started dating when we were 16 years old.

We returned home on Feb. 16 from a trip to New York and were required to self-quarantine for 14 days because of the virus. I had been very stressed out because the trip was so strange due to the pandemic. My husband knew this and wanted to do something to delight me for date night away from our three teenagers. He made Bellinis and creme fraiche in his home office on a day full of Zoom meetings (somehow he managed this without my suspecting anything), ordered caviar online, and packed a feast into the trunk of our Tesla. He then took me for a “drive” and set up the car with LED candles, placed a cutting board over the console for a table, poured champagne and served me dinner with the Fireplace app on for ambience. It made me feel special and took the world away, right when I needed it most! 

Christian and Marnie Cotichini, 49, from Vancouver, British Columbia

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We had our small dream wedding planned for April 4 and a 50-person party on April 5. We decided once this started that we would obviously have to postpone the party. But we wanted to be married through these times, so we decided to have the ceremony on March 22 with just our parents, my 9-year-old son and our old dog Blue. However, the day before the wedding, my husband’s father fainted and was taken to the hospital. He had emergency colon surgery and found out he has stage 2 cancer. My husband’s parents did not make it to the ceremony. My father also could not come to the ceremony because he’s in a nursing home and they wouldn’t let him leave due to the virus. We had a friend film the whole ceremony so our parents that could not be there could see it. We married each other, and it was full of love. We were so happy. 

But after the wedding, we had to put our dog down. We buried her in the backyard and planted a tree. Shortly after, my father was in the hospital due to an extended abdomen and he had to have surgery. He never woke up from surgery and died on April 17. My family has had so many unfortunate things happen. And still. Somehow. We wake up every day and are thankful for what we have. Somehow, every day, we manage to laugh. And we are kind to each other. We keep each other company — and try to fill each day with love. We play a lot of board games and go for walks. We talk to each other. And we reach out to our friends and talk. There is nothing constant in our lives but each other. And at the end of the day, I think we have it pretty great to have each other. My marriage started off with a ton of sadness. But we will get through this. And if we can make it through this, we can make it through anything. Love conquers all.

Tasha Copley, 40, with her husband Luke Roggenbeck, 37, her son Anderson and her mom, from Melbourne, Florida

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Isolating from a one-bed apartment with boyfriend and two cats, so life is quiet right now. Boyfriend and I have become closer. We are both fortunate to be able to work from home. We are cooking, reading, walking, watching movies and communicating more while isolating. Having the time to really look at each other has been lovely. We are most anxious for our families and the incompetent leadership at the federal level. 

Rachael L., 28, from Boston  

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I never expected a global pandemic to completely redefine my dating experience and, in doing so, enable me to fall in love with someone really special. At 60+ years old and divorced for over 20 years, I’ve met my share of scammers, players, egotists, liars and ghosters. It always seemed to me that men weren’t interested in putting in the time to get to know the real me.

After meeting “M” at a casual potluck and comedy night at the end of February, I joined him at a popular indoor market the following Saturday. He checked a lot of the boxes and it seemed he liked me, too. But we never got the chance for a third date, as the following week we were forced into social isolation.We started chatting on the phone, texting, and on Saturday nights, sharing FaceTime dates.

It’s been two months strong now, and we’ve learned such a lot about each other during our nightly conversations. We talk about everything and anything. We each long for the day we will be able to connect in person. … It’s a fantasy now, but it’s going to happen. In the meantime, this experience has helped me believe that positive things can come out of a bad situation. I’m 65 and retired (from the health care industry; I actually worked through SARS at Mount Sinai Hospital). M is younger and not retired, and, in fact, working harder and longer than ever through these difficult times. 

Debbie Hogarth McDermott, 65, from Milton, Ontario 

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I have been in a relationship for nearly five months with that perfect guy. I am in love with him and this time apart has actually enhanced our bond. However, I miss him so damn much! We are both enrolled first year in college, and so we still live with our parents. My parents are somewhat strict and paranoid regarding this whole COVID situation, so they do not want me to go out or receive any external visits. I understand this and I am trying not to give them a hard time, but my heart aches from missing him. I just wish we were quarantined together. I would not care for how long it goes on then! 

Angie Hayek, 18, from Lebanon 

Read Other Topics in the Series
Dealing With Kids
Working Through it All
Finding & Spreading Joy
Coping & Staying Sane

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