The COVID pandemic has been interesting for relationships. Some flourished under the new socially distanced, together-all-the-time conditions; others fell apart because of added stress and unresolved issues. But one interesting, and dare we say uplifting, relationship trend, however, is that a lot of couples got engaged during COVID. In addition to an increase in social media engagement announcements, there was a noticeable uptick in the sale of engagement rings in both the U.S. and abroad. COVID engagement stories aren’t strange. But it still seems a bit surprising to think about, doesn’t it?
Maybe not. But because it’s very, very easy to grow frustrated with our partners right now during this weird time we currently exist in, it’s genuinely nice to know that some folks’ coronavirus proposals went well. So, we wondered, without irony or any other motivation besides curiosity and the chance to hear some uplifting news, what compelled people to get engaged during the pandemic? Was it impromptu? Did being together 24/7 — or not together — make people realize what they were missing? Was the idea of planning a wedding (whenever those can take place in their true form again) an ideal lockdown activity?
Here, 12 different individuals explain why they got engaged. While all their answers vary, one through line remains: the pandemic made them realize how much they meant to one another. So let’s share some socially-distant appreciation for these stories, and the couples who’ve found the pandemic’s ultimate silver lining.
I’d Planned it For Months.
“I proposed to my then-girlfriend in May. I got the ring last year and decided that I would wait until summer to propose. Well, summer came, and so did COVID. But, I thought, ‘This doesn’t really change anything, does it?’ I still love her. I still want to marry her. The world is just weird right now. Right? I figured that married life will be full of challenges we never anticipate. So, why not start out on the right foot by committing to each other during one of the most challenging times of our lives? I didn’t say it as eloquently when I proposed, but it was a more nervous, bumbling version of that which, thankfully, worked enough to get her to say yes.” – Aaron, 37, Maryland
It Gave Us Hope
“I hate saying this, but I feel like our engagement was a grab for hope. The state of the country has us both so, so depressed. Like, every day it just seems to get worse. There were weeks at a time when we realized that all we had was each other, and that we wouldn’t be able to get by day-to-day if it wasn’t for one another. It wasn’t a formal conversation, just a realization we both came to at around the same time. We talked about getting married, then, and a week later he proposed. I can name about 100 terrible things to come out of this pandemic, but our engagement will be the one good thing that outshines them all.” – Michelle, 34, New York
It Was a Special Moment to Remember About Quarantine
“No restaurants. No bars. No shopping. All we could do for the longest time was go walk on the trails in the nature reserve near our house. Before long, that became one thing we had to look forward to in all this mess. It was just a nice, peaceful escape from our home, and a reminder that there is still beauty out there. So, on one of our walks, I proposed. It seemed like a perfect moment. We’d both discovered this new activity together, in the middle of such chaos, and I thought that would be a perfect place to commemorate our love and (hopefully) get engaged. She said yes, and now we have a special moment to remember about quarantine that will last us for the rest of our lives together.” – Scott, 32, Ohio
We’d Grown Stronger As a Couple
“Both of us got COVID. I ended up in the hospital for a night with shortness of breath, which was really scary. I’m a pretty healthy guy otherwise, so I don’t know that I ever actually feared for my life. But there was a moment when I had this mini ‘now or never’ epiphany. When we both recovered, I went back to the jeweler where we first looked at rings. She helped me pick one out, and I proposed that night. I guess I figured that this whole thing has been a test. It’s not over, of course, but we’ve gotten stronger as a couple through it, and I think that’s a good place to start our relationship as husband and wife.” – Brian, 33, Pennsylvania
I Missed Her So Much During Quarantine
“My birthday was in June, and my girlfriend asked me what I wanted. I thought, and I couldn’t come up with anything. She asked me again the next day. Still nothing. She asked me the next day, and I said I wanted her to come over. We’d been over-cautiously quarantining and hadn’t seen each other in person for almost three weeks. We FaceTimed all the time, and I missed her so much. So, she came over on my birthday, and I said, ‘I figured out what I want for my birthday.’ She said, ‘I thought you wanted me to come over?’ I said, that’s because I want you to be my wife.’ Then I asked her. All things considered it was pretty smooth.” – Pete, 29, Illinois
We Weren’t Sure What the Next Year Would Look Like
“My wife and I got engaged and married during the pandemic, both because we were ready, and because we weren’t — aren’t, really — sure what the next year is going to look like. Culturally and politically, there’s a chance we could have a lot going against us. So, we decided that getting married now would make it so we could do things on our own terms, and come together as the team we’ll need to be. We had a friend get ordained on the internet — I think it cost like $30 — and had a small ceremony in the courtyard of our apartment. Then we just Zoomed and FaceTimed everyone to tell them. We’ll celebrate ‘for real’ at some point. For right now, we’re just happy to be together, and supported.” – Rebecca, 35, New York
We’d Talked About it For Years
“I took my fiancé by surprise. First, I asked him. We’ve talked about getting married for years, but there’s been a lot going on in our lives, and it seemed like there was never a right time or place to do it. Then I got COVID. Luckily, I was okay, but being isolated for two weeks really put things in perspective. As soon as I was cleared, after not having seen him for so long, I asked him to marry me. He was taken by surprise, of course, but we both just knew it felt right. I still don’t officially have a ring, which is fine, but we’re engaged as of July. Had it not been for quarantine, who knows if we’d have ever found that ‘right time’?” – Melissa, 36, New Jersey
We Were Basically Already Married
“Living together during the pandemic showed us that we’re both annoying, petty, ridiculous, and dramatic. But, despite all that, we learned that we still love each other very much. I was so, so nervous when the pandemic first began. I started thinking, ‘Oh my god, this is going to be like jail.’ And, at times, it was. But, then I realized that, while getting through each day was a challenge, it was something that we conquered together. So, I popped the question last month. I really think that couples who’ve been ‘forced’ to spend time together during this whole thing lucked out. It shows you all the worst parts of your relationship and, if you’re lucky, that you still love the other person despite them.” – Nick, 37, Connecticut
We Realized Happiness Was Simple.
“Imagining our life together, I think my fiancée and I always thought we’d be doing a ton of traveling, going out to restaurants all the time, and generally just living an exciting life. Then, we got locked down because of COVID. At first, we were incredibly frustrated. Like, to the point of being totally bratty about it. ‘I can’t believe we can’t go to a restaurant!’ But then we started realizing what we enjoyed about all of those dreams and ideas was the fact that we’d be doing them together. We got engaged because we learned our marriage will be wonderful together, instead of together and always doing something fun.” – Russ, 35, Colorado
We Made a Bet.
“I forget which one, but there’s a movie where two of the characters make one of those pacts that’s like, ‘If we’re both single by the time we’re both 40, let’s get married.’ Our engagement was similar, but it was, ‘If we’re stuck in the house for more than six months during quarantine, let’s get married.’ It started as a joke, of course, but then six months rolled around. I reminded my then-girlfriend, saying something like, ‘So, uh, it’s been six months…’ She laughed, and said, ‘Oh my gosh, I was thinking the same thing.’ Neither of us could believe it had actually been that long, because the time we spent together had been really nice, and flew by. We were in a really good place as a couple, so we made it official. All because of a bet.” – Andrew, 35, Ohio
I Found the Right Ring.
“I’m not a big diamond ring girl. I’d told my boyfriend that I’d rather have an engagement ring that was unique and came with a story. Our first trip out of the house after the big initial lockdown was to a flea market, just as a way to try and lighten things up. Almost as soon as we got there, we found a jewelry booth with this amazing topaz ring that I fell in love with. It was very serendipitous. My boyfriend bought it for me and, later that night, he said, ‘I know you said you don’t want a diamond engagement ring. How about a topaz one?’ I was completely floored, but then he reminded me how I’d always said I wanted a ‘unique ring and a story’. I can’t think of a better story than that.” – Allie, 33, California
It Just Felt Like the Riht Time
“I don’t know how to explain it, but it just felt like the right time. It was Saturday, July 18. It was a beautiful day. We were just sitting outside on the balcony, and all the shit going on in the world didn’t seem to matter. Maybe that’s why I knew I wanted to propose. Sitting out there with my boyfriend, it was the first time in months that the world didn’t seem so terrible. It was quiet. It was calm. And, in our little corner of the world, it was perfect. So, I asked him, and of course he said, ‘Are you serious?’ Then we laughed. We cried a little bit. And now we’re engaged.” – Keith, 40, Colorado