I Started Dating My Partner At The Height Of The Pandemic & Here Are 6 Reasons Why I Loved It

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Patrick and Veronica. Right: The streets of Toronto in 2020.

Patrick and Veronica. Right: The streets of Toronto in 2020.

This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.

Here's a hot take for you — 2020 was a great year. For me, anyway. You see, while everyone else was using the apocalypse to hoard toilet paper and sell medical masks at a small fortune, I was using it to entice the ladies.

And by that, I mean adding my exes back on social media and seeing what happens.

It's not a strategy I'd recommend. However, it did work out surprisingly well for me. So, if all else fails, give it a whirl — just don't blame me if you get yourself blocked and have to go cowering back to Tinder.

It's how I roped the love of my life back into talking to me through a well-timed friend request.

And, I'll bring you an even more annoying take — being in a pandemic made our relationship better.

How could this be? Wasn't Toronto's Public Health telling people not to face each other during sex at the time?

Yes, they were, and I'll tell you why! You gotta keep scrolling, though, because that's how I'm laying out this article.

It gave us an excuse to reconnect

Veronica and I met in Toronto back in 2015 after we both swiped right. We dated for a little, but, at the time, she wasn't looking for anything serious, so things fizzled out after a month or so.

Our connection was strong, but the timing wasn't right.

Five years later, we reconnected after I sheepishly sent her a Facebook friend request. I was at my parent's home in St. Thomas at the time because the city was in lockdown. So, I was doing a lot of creeping online.

As fate would have it, she was in a similar situation.

Soon, we were talking on the phone for hours, getting to know each other all over again. Something that wouldn't have been possible if our lives hadn't been put on hold by COVID-19.

After a month of nightly phone calls, we returned to the city to meet up. A few weeks later, we were dating since there was nowhere to go, we practically lived together.

It fast-tracked our emotional connection

During the early months of dating, couples typically spend a decent amount of time apart because, well, people have to work.

But Veronica and I got together during the first lockdown when you could drive across the Greater Toronto Area without hitting traffic.

Everybody was at home collecting CERB, her included, and I was working remotely, which for us meant being in the same room 24 hours a day together and loving it.

We got to know everything about each other. We skipped the casual part of dating and started working on building a strong emotional connection from the get-go—all thanks to the luxury of time the pandemic afforded

I learned so much about skincare

Until I met Veronica, my skincare was basically just me splashing water and soap on my face every day and hoping for the best. Now I do my best to avoid moisture and use a cleanser as much as possible.

I've stood many nights in the doorway of our bathroom, watching her go through the steps of her skincare routine in awe. It's a world I'd never been exposed to, so naturally, I had a lot of questions.

She's quick to tell me when my pores are clogged or my hands are dry and give me solutions on how to care for myself better, which I would never have found on my own.

We were forced to avoid generic date ideas

Where do you go to make memories when everything is closed for the foreseeable future? That was the dilemma we faced back in 2020.

Luckily, we'd gotten together in early summer, so being outdoors was a viable option.

Dinner and a movie wasn't an option for us. So, our dates had to be imaginative.

We ended up spending the entire season taking road trips to private beaches and hiking in secluded woodsy areas — our lack of options made things more unique and memorable.

It gave us something positive to focus on

I sat through a lot of COVID-19 press conferences in 2020. My job was to stay on top of the government's updates and inform people of upcoming changes.

Which, during a week when good news was seldom, could get me down.

Veronica and I both had a fair share of dark days during the pandemic, but the others constant presence kept us from feeling isolated.

Once you've fallen in love with someone, there's little they can't fix by holding you and telling you everything will be alright.

We were each other's distraction from all the chaos happening around us.

I got to become a bird dad

Out of all the things I didn't see coming for me in 2020, becoming a father figure to two birds has to be the most wholesome.

Veronica has two cockatiels named Barbara and Shia. She informed me early in our courtship that I had to get along with the little dinosaurs to make the relationship work.

At first, they scared me a bit. It's an odd feeling when a tiny parrot flies onto your head and sets up shop there. But you get used to it.

When Veronica returned to work, I offered to babysit her birds for her, and within weeks we were best friends. Well, Shia and I were. I'm still working on getting Barbara to like me. She's a feisty one.

Nowadays, I don't know what I'd do without them. I'm so used to having birds crawling all over me that I sometimes don't even clock them until I catch them in the mirror.

Taking care of them has even made me more empathetic for pigeons which I used to loathe.

So, in a small way it's made me a better person.

Overall, I'd say finding love during a pandemic taught me the importance of finding a silver lining when times are tough.

You never know when I little light is going to seep through the darkness.

Patrick John Gilson
Patrick John Gilson is a Creator with Narcity Media focused on Ontario gas prices and is based in Toronto, Ontario.