Bathroom sink

Lyss Erhardt places her belongings on the sink alongside her boyfriend’s after moving in.

It’s no secret that committed romantic relationships take a lot of time and effort. Relationships are changing and need diligent care to evolve and naturally grow. Often, outside forces can play a large part in the evolution of a relationship.

With the onset of COVID-19, many have been subjected to changes in the dynamic and circumstances of their romantic relationships. Changes in living situations are common, bringing some partners physically closer together while forcing others apart.

Malie Buchheit, sophomore elementary education major, was long-distance with her boyfriend before COVID-19 but moved home to St. Louis after it hit. Buchheit said moving home has affected their relationship positively.

“All of my college career has been spent three hours away from him, so it’s nice to have a little preview of what our life together will be like after I graduate,” Buchheit said.

Buchheit is thankful for the time she has with him, despite the upsetting circumstances. Since being with him, her mental health has improved.

“With all the changes that are going on in the world right now, it is hard to see the positives, but the time I have had with my significant other has been fantastic,” Buchheit said. “It is the best feeling in the world to wake up next to the person you love every day.”

Buchheit said she and her boyfriend have taken advantage of the opportunity and been trying new things.

They have cooked, built a birdhouse, accomplished things around the house and explored new towns and places together, all while practicing social distancing.

Dakota Hunter, Buchheit’s boyfriend, said he has been pleased with their trips to McDonald’s.

“There have been many McDonald's parking lot dates, which are the best,” Hunter said.

Buchheit said the biggest challenge in her relationship since being home is balancing school and spending time with Hunter.

“I’m trying to catch up on two years of being apart from him,” Buchheit said.

Lyss Erhardt, sophomore nursing major, moved into her boyfriend’s Springfield apartment after being together less than three months. Erhardt previously lived in campus housing.

Erhardt said the decision to move in with her boyfriend and the physical move were completed in one day. The decision was made after MSU requested on Wednesday, April 29, for her to be isolated in Kentwood Hall.

“I actually had to move in with my significant other because I was being tested for COVID-19, and the university didn’t want me staying in the apartments during that time,” Erhardt said.

At the time of publication, Erhardt said she is awaiting the results of her test.

Erhardt said the move hasn’t affected her and her boyfriend’s relationship greatly, but they do spend more time together, which has brought them closer.

The move has presented challenges, as her boyfriend has to provide care to her frequently.

“There have been some challenges because I was, and currently still am, so sick,” Erhardt said. “He’s been acting as my nurse, in a way. He takes my vitals three times a day and makes sure I have all my medications.”

Overall, Erhardt said the move has been a positive experience.

“While there are times I wish I could have my own space, I know I’m much happier at his apartment than I would be at Kentwood,” Erhardt said. “Living with the person I loved seemed like a better option.”

Breanna Rodgers, senior exercise and movement science major, had to move away from her boyfriend at a time they needed to be together. Both are seniors and are graduating this May. 

Rodgers said she and her boyfriend needed this time to plan the next step in their lives. It’s been difficult because they want different things.

“When we get frustrated with each other or concerned for our future, we can’t just cuddle and make up,” Rodgers said. “We just say, ‘Okay, we’ll figure it out,’ and end the phone call.” 

Rodgers said the change has been difficult, but there is a bright side to it.

“We were used to seeing each other two to three times a week,” Rodgers said. “Now, we only call or Skype. It has been nice, though, because we are more appreciative of our time together.”

Rodgers said the biggest challenge she and her boyfriend have had to work on is communicating.

“He is fine going without calling for three to four days,” Rodgers said. “For me to feel connected, I want to call every day or every other day. There are just some things we have to compromise over.”

Rodgers said even though they are away from each other, she finds herself doing an old habit from when she was with her boyfriend.

“He likes to watch one Netflix episode with every meal, so sometimes I find myself turning on Netflix,” Rodgers said. “Then, I choose nothing because I can’t watch our shows without him.”

With Missouri’s stay-at-home order being lifted today and summer approaching, people soon expect life to return to normal. Consequently, couples may get back into the groove of things soon.