What Has COVID Done to Our Romantic Relationships?

Laura Kipnis in LitHub:

If you’re reading this you recently survived a massive world­wide extinction event, congratulations. Too many didn’t. Have a nice big helping of residual simmering rage (so great for the immune system!) at being abandoned by our “lead­ers,” at the profiteers and incompetents and liars, at a cleverly murderous microscopic entity that wants to exploit you as a host and strip your organs for parts. Along with the grief about everything that was lost. About everyone who was lost.

On another but not entirely unrelated subject, how’s your love life? No doubt living through an extended planetary con­tagion will be infecting our relation to other people’s bodies and droplets for years or decades to come. A deadly virus alters your sense of what gets transmitted between people and what threats they pose, probably long after the patho­gen itself gets beaten down (and apparently we’re not getting back to “normal life” anytime soon).

But it’s not just viruses that mutate, so do we. Our emo­tions mutate, our relationships mutate. Maybe our ideas about love and what we need or can realistically give another person have mutated. We’re different than we were before, including at the cellular level. We’re cohabiting with some­thing malevolent—for how long? Everything important is uncertain. How much that shifts the interpersonal calculus is another of the unknowns.

More here.