Weird couple of weeks, huh? 

I’ll start off by saying I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during these trying times. Obviously, it’s important everyone is complying with recommendations and mandates to protect yourself and those around you. That's where the concept at the forefront of everyone’s mind comes into play: self-isolation, quarantining and social distancing. 

This week, I was curious as to what our students have been doing during this time of social distancing, and how that has had an effect on their relationships. I caught up with Sam Johnson, an 18-year-old UF exploratory freshman whose parents live in Atlanta. A few weeks ago, she made the four hour drive home to be with them as she self-isolates.

“It’s been so weird to go from everyday life, where I’m constantly around other people, to being mostly by myself at home. I don’t have siblings and lived far away from my friends growing up, so being in close proximity to the people I’m close to was one of the things I enjoy the most about college,” she said. “To lose that, on top of the added stress of the circumstances, is definitely difficult.”

There is no doubt Sam is not alone in this feeling. For so many, Gainesville is a home base for relationships and social togetherness. Countless romantic relationships are born and flourish every year in the city and university. Having to go “home,” while not an option for some, can be a hindrance in the relationship field. 

Scott Shanbom, a 20-year-old UF zoology junior, said his relationship has felt the effects of these current times.

“I’ve had to go home early, so now we aren’t going to see each other for quite a while. We still talk every day, so it isn’t too bad right now. But if this goes on for a long time, it could get quite a bit worse,” he said. “We’ve spent whole summers apart before, so we aren’t strangers to being apart for several months. It’s tough, but we’ll get through it like we have in the past.”

While social distancing is a must, so is communication. For Scott, it doesn't have to be anything grand. Just checking in and showing you care can be more than enough.

“By keeping up with what’s going on in the other person’s life, it helps to remove a little bit of the distance,” Shanbom said.

Alright, bear with me, but here’s a cheesy take: Whether it’s your partner, your friends or your family, take this time to reach out and tell the people in your life that you love them. The physical distance can be far less daunting by becoming closer through communication and connection. 

Stay safe and stay sexy.

Contact Alyssa Archard at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @Alyssa_Archard.