BY ELIANA DOCKTERMAN for TIME Magazine APRIL 11, 2020
When Caitie Bossart returned to the U.S. from a weeklong trip to the U.K., her dating life ought to have been the least of her problems. A part-time nanny looking for full-time work, she found her inbox filled with messages from companies that had instituted hiring freezes and from families who no longer wanted to bring a babysitter into their homes in response to the spread of COVID-19. Her aunt, whom she had been living with, prevailed upon Bossart to isolate herself at an Airbnb for 14 days upon her return, even as Bossart’s economic future looked uncertain.
At least Bossart wouldn’t be alone: She had met a great guy on the dating app Hinge about a month before her trip and had gone on five dates with him. She liked him, more than anyone she’d ever dated. When their state issued stay-at-home orders, they decided to hole up together. They ordered takeout and watched movies. In lieu of visiting museums or restaurants, they took long walks. They built a bond that felt at once artificial—trying to keep things light, they avoided the grimmer coronavirus-related topics that might dim the honeymoon period of a relationship—and promising. Under no other circumstance would they have spent such uninterrupted time together, and over the course of their confinement, her feelings for him grew.
But six days in, Bossart’s crush was ordered to self-isolate for 14 days so he could take up a six-month job posting abroad. On top of job anxiety, worries about her living situation and stress about her family’s health, Bossart faced the prospect of not seeing this man for the better part of a year.
“I’m 35, which is that ‘dreaded age’ for women, or whatever,” she says. “I don’t know if I should wait, if I can wait. It’s scary.”
Since COVID-19 swept across the U.S., much has been made—and rightly so—of the plights of families facing economic and social upheaval: how co-habitating couples are adapting to sharing a workspace at home, how parents are juggling work with teaching their children trigonometry while schools are closed, how people cannot visit their parents or older relatives, even on their deathbeds, for fear of spreading the virus.