A lot has changed in the last year, and with the pandemic still prominent in the world, this year's Valentine's Day is going to be different for many relationships.

Prior to the pandemic, Valentine’s Day was a day where restaurants, movie theaters, shows, spas and hotels were filled with couples celebrating their love for each other. This year, many will have to get creative and find new variations on their usual plans, and others are unable to spend it with their significant other at all.

At Saint Peter’s University, students are candid on how they are celebrating Valentine’s Day in a pandemic and the impact it has had on their relationships.

“My boyfriend and I met online playing Fortnite, and we met in person for the first time this past October when I traveled to Colombia.” says Valeria Calle, a sophomore whose online boyfriend coincidentally lives five blocks away from the house she grew up in.

Since they met online, they have sent each other many gifts, love letters and drawings. This year, Calle will be sending him a gift basket filled with his favorite snacks, balloons and a hat because she knows how much he loves them.

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Valeria Calle and her boyfriend. Image courtesy of Valeria Calle.

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Another romantic photo of Valeria Calle and her boyfriend. Image courtesy of Valeria Calle.

Although Calle won’t be able to spend Valentine’s Day in person with him, they have made plans to spend it together virtually. “We are going to play video games, like we always do, and watch movies together,” she says.

Calle also mentioned that the pandemic has had a positive impact on her relationship.

“I originally planned to spend two weeks in Colombia, but because the past semester was virtual, I ended up staying for three months and was able to spend more time with him and really get to know him,” she says.

Emely Guerrero, a junior who is also in a long distance relationship, has been dating her boyfriend for five years. Two years ago, Guerrero’s boyfriend joined the Marines, and since, their relationship has changed greatly.

“For Valentine’s Day, we would usually go out to eat, go to the movies or stay at home and enjoy each other's company. Since he left, the holidays haven’t been the same; this Valentine’s Day is another one away from each other,” says Guerrero.

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Emely Guerrero and her boyfriend. Image courtesy of Emely Guerrero.

After Guerrero’s boyfriend left, they have been communicating mainly by video chat, exchanging letters and sending gifts to each other.

“Sometimes we facetime and watch movies together. It isn’t easy, but it’s all worth it,” she says.

Due to the pandemic, Guerrero isn’t able to visit her boyfriend at the base he was sent to.

“I was planning on visiting him this summer, but I don’t think it’s going to be possible. Regardless of the distance, we always try to make it feel as if we were together in person,” says Guerrero

Rachel Malkowski, a junior business major at SPU, has been in a relationship for over three years and usually celebrates Valentine’s Day before or after the fourteenth.

“We normally surprise each other with small gifts and spend quality time together. He makes me feel so special everyday, so I don’t ask for much,” says Malkowski.

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Rachel Malkowski and her boyfriend. Image courtesy of Rachel Malkowski.

During quarantine, their relationship faced some challenges, and, like many others, because of the stay at home rule and everything being shut down, they ran out of things to do.

“We made the best of it, and our relationship has grown stronger because of those hardships. He and I are just happy that things are starting to look up after almost a year [of] this pandemic,” says Malkowski.

Although many couples were affected by the pandemic, senior Crystal Cruz met her boyfriend because of it. Prior to everything being shut down, Cruz’s boyfriend was going to move to Florida to work for Disney, but those plans were cancelled.

“As weird as it sounds, this pandemic gave me my relationship,” Cruz says.It made me believe that things happen for a reason, because I was able to meet my best friend and the love of my life while stuck in my house.”

Since Cruz’s boyfriend is a chef and works at a restaurant in NYC, he’s going to be really busy on Valentines Day, so they plan on staying in watching movies, drinking wine, eating chocolate and painting.

“We randomly give each other gifts all the time, so I’m not expecting a gift, but he’s probably going to cook for me,” says Cruz. “I’m going to get him something small that I know he really wants, because he appreciates that more.”

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Crystal Cruz and her boyfriend. Image courtesy of Crystal Cruz.

Even though Cruz believes that Valentine’s Day is a holiday made by businesses to get people to spend their money on it, she says that in these difficult and uncertain times, it’s a privilege to spend it with the one you love.

“To quote one of my favorite songs My Funny Valentine, ‘each day is Valentine’s day’ and I think that’s a very true statement when you’re with the right person,” says Cruz.

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