Before the COVID-19 pandemic, my boyfriend of a year and a half and I were close. But this year we got even closer — literally.
After my roommates moved back home at the beginning of the pandemic, my boyfriend invited me to stay with him, so we shared his one bedroom apartment for more than four months.
The hardest part about living together was moving a lot of my stuff into his place. I have so many useless items that, to his chagrin, I practically took over his apartment.
My boyfriend became the best Zoom-roommate I could have asked for. For the first month, he sat in the background and became an honorary member of my classes, despite the fact he isn’t in school. He wanted me to succeed in class by having a professional space to work in, and this sacrifice demonstrated how much he cared about me.
With him being furloughed as a legal assistant, and me working from home, our schedules no longer revolved around our separate eight-hour workdays. After I took my last final exams and finished my junior year, we could wake up and go to bed whenever we wanted. It felt as though every day was Saturday and we were back in middle school.
I was only allowed to work eight hours a week because of the pandemic moving everything online, so we had plenty of time to binge-watch every Netflix series, cook every flavor of baked oats and fill in every coloring book in the house. Before the pandemic, I was a very social person, whereas my boyfriend was a homebody, so I thought I would get bored pretty quickly. But having him by my side not only occupied my time but made the quarantine bearable.
Of course, we grew a little sick of each other at times. I learned his most aggravating habits, like waking up at 6 a.m. when he couldn’t sleep and napping from 2 p.m. until dinner. He probably grew annoyed with my constant Zoom meetings while he was trying to practice guitar.
But we didn’t just coexist, we encouraged each other. He made me feel safe because I was with someone who could make me laugh and forget about the tragic world outside, even if for just a moment.
In the midst of a global health crisis that ruined all of our travel plans, it was like a mini staycation.
Although we rarely moved off the couch and I wasn’t as productive as I would’ve liked to be, quarantining with my boyfriend was like a four-month-long trial of what it would be like if we moved in together permanently. With a little more space, I think we would make perfect roommates.
Moreover, I’m thankful that I got to quarantine with my boyfriend when so many couples had to live apart from each other for months.
I don’t live with my boyfriend anymore, and I’m back to my regular commute between Temple University and his apartment in Center City. I miss waking up in his queen-sized bed, working from home in my pajamas, not having to cook any of my own meals or do my own laundry and not having to spend money on Uber.
Although I see my boyfriend every other day, I miss him when I am alone. I’ve become more dependent than I was last year because I’m not still used to being away from him for more than a few hours. But I’ve also learned that our relationship is strong enough to withstand a pandemic.
I’ve learned not to take time spent for granted and to appreciate the simplicity of staying in with someone you love. At the beginning, I had looked at the pandemic with a pessimistic point of view. But it gave me the opportunity to spend time with my boyfriend lounging around. As the school year starts, and I’m back to juggling two jobs, two student organizations and an internship on top of school, all while living on my own again, I think back on those memories with a smile on my face.
Here’s what I learned about love in quarantine: love requires sacrifice. My boyfriend values his alone time and has never had a roommate before, but he gave that up for my sake. I sacrificed my independence, my apartment and my primary source of income for four months, but I don’t regret it one bit.