Relationships during COVID-19

Maria Walters, Staff Writer

Love and Passion fill the air this February, where couples celebrate Valentine’s Day together, and singles party on their own. 

Some individuals prefer being in mutual relationships, while others love being single and meeting new people. But for high school here in East Grand Rapids, the question arises, what does dating look like in our city? 

For many East students, dating and hooking up are two very separate ideas. 

“Dating is when two people only want to be with each other,” Averielle Ralston ‘22 said. “Hooking up is definitely a less serious, less commitment-oriented thing that people do when they don’t want anything big.”

Here at East dating isn’t as common as being single or just simply hooking up occasionally. Instead, a lot of students pursue the talking stage throughout high school. 

“The talking stage is the in-between stage where people try to figure out what the other person is like and if they want to be with them,” Ralston said. Although, in terms of dating and hookup, “I would say the ‘talking stage’ on social media wasn’t even a thing 20 years ago,” Ralston adds. 

Communication seemed to be important to students too.

“Whether it’s hooking up or a relationship, communication has to be the most important. Without it you’re just going to be confused and feeling bad about yourself. Always clarify what you want,” Sarah Whiteside ‘21 said. “Just tell them what you want and if they don’t respect you for that, they aren’t worth your time.”

Mutual relationships can work exceptionally well for certain individuals, whereas other people prefer the benefits of hooking up.

“I think the benefit of being in a relationship is having someone there for you that you’re really close with that will always support you,” Max West ‘21 said.

But sometimes being in a relationship isn’t always obvious. Couples from across the spectrums of gender and sexuality said that it’s sometimes hard to tell when you are a “thing.”

In my past relationships with other girls,” Alaia Murua ‘22 said, “most of the people in my life didn’t notice we were dating unless I said something. They just assumed we were friends, which was fine with me because that way I’d never feel as though I have to live up to anyone’s expectations except for my partner’s.” Maura also said she prefers to keep her sexuality fluid and not limit herself to having a relationship with a certain gender.

While relationships can bring great intimacy, there are often negatives that can follow.

“The disadvantages of being in a relationship could be losing touch with yourself,” Ralston said. “When the other person is having a bad day and you put more energy into them, it’s really important to check in with yourself and make sure you’re doing well. At the end of the day, you can’t care about anyone else if you can’t care for yourself first.” 

Some students in East just favor single life.

“I think being single is so nice because you don’t have to worry about checking up on anyone,” Whiteside said. “Hooking up can sometimes get messy and annoying so sometimes it’s nice just to cut them off and move on. Again if it isn’t fulfilling for you it’s not worth it.”

Societal standards have played a big role in relationships and hookups today.

“I think hook-ups are more frowned upon because the idea of being in a relationship is extremely pushed in society and that has led more people to be in a relationship rather than just to hook up with someone,” Ralston said.

Although others, such as Whiteside, continue to break these societal norms. “Society doesn’t get to choose when I want to be in a relationship. Life is too short not to find different people and figure out untimely what you don’t like in a person.”

“I for one support hooking up,” West said in agreement with Whiteside.

“It’s simply trial and error and just being able to go to whoever you want feels pretty empowering so I say, ‘why not hookup?’” Whiteside said.