Regardless of your relationship status, just about everyone is in a long-distance relationship while self-isolating due to the novel coronavirus. Technology needs to be your BFF right now.
Since you can’t see each other IRL for now, there’s no reason to push the pause button if you just started dating someone new, or if you can’t spend time with your partner.
Keeping the flow going while staying connected digitally is essential. It will help you perfect your flirting skills while keeping the spark alive, and it may help you define the relationship by creating a stronger bond.
Since you might have already spent time together before being quarantined, jumping on a video date is the perfect way to help your relationship grow in such a critical time.
Instead of talking about the news cycle, try scheduling some fun virtual activities together to create new memories. While it might feel awkward at first, it’s the new normal, and with these nine tips, I know you’ll master this in a digital heartbeat.
1. Go on a Virtual Happy Hour Date
Who doesn’t want to feel happy right now? The first place to start is with an online happy hour date using video chat. Whether you’re using Facetime, What’sApp, Skype, Zoom, or an in-app feature on a dating app, remember to check your lighting so you can look your best.
Both of you can show up sipping a quarantini (the popular drink du jour).
While no one looks exactly like their profile photos these days, you’re not expected to show up with over-the-top filters.
2. Graduate to a Dinner Date
It’s time to ditch the sweats and show up wearing something hot, or date-night appropriate. You can cook a meal together, or binge-watch the same shows at the same time, taking turns in selecting ones that are captivating and uplifting for both of you.
At the end of your virtual dinner date, make sure you schedule the next one, like you would at the end of a great in-person date.
3. Send a Food Delivery
Since many of your favorite restaurants are still providing food-to-go or delivery options, ordering a meal to be delivered in time for your virtual date will be a fun surprise.
Talk about any food allergies with your date in advance, or find out if they’re gluten-free or vegan before you send over a pizza or a steak.
You’ll get bonus points if you send over a box of chocolates.
4. Binge-Watch Shows Together While Apart
Everyone’s been asking friends what they’re watching, and “Netflix and Chill” has been replaced by “Quarantine and Chill.” Think of all the shows and films you were too busy to watch, and make a list with you boo, now that you have some extra time on your hands.
Netflix Party is the new hot date idea. There’s a Google Chrome extension for this feature, where you and your date can watch the same shows simultaneously. With Netflix Party, you can invite other friends, chat during the program or film, and push the pause button when you want to talk about it, or take a break to dine with your date in a video chat. It’s also a great feature for double-dating.
If you’re stumped on what shows to select, Entertainment Weekly published a list, including “Love is Blind” and “Isolation,” which both seem relatable right now.
5. Keep on Texting
Continuity is key, so sending a text in the morning to each other to check-in and show that you care is a great way to start the day. Texting helps you stay connected when you’re taking a night off from having a video chat.
Create a ritual by sending a fun video or meme to your date to brighten up their day, and make sure to use the wink emoji wherever possible.
Remember to send a message at night before you go to sleep to leave your partner with thoughts of you in their dreams.
6. Ask Meaningful Questions
Getting to know someone, short of being in a deposition, is the fun part of being in a relationship. If you aren’t sure what to talk about that’s non-coronavirus related, an easy and bonding default is Arthur Aron’s list of 36 questions to help you fall in love.
If you’re not exclusive, head over the OkCupid app, where you can both answer thought-provoking questions to see how your match percentages add up. Since there are over 4,000 questions, ranging from politics to sex, you can spend months answering these questions to get to know your date better.
Michael Kaye OkCupid’s Global Communications Manager sent me a list of some of the new questions added to their app, including:
- What’s your ideal virtual date?
- Would you say “I love you” to someone you’ve never met in person?
According to OkCupid, 25% of Millennial and Gen Z respondents have already been on a virtual date during this period of self-isolating, where the app saw an enormous increase (900%) in mentions of Coronavirus and social distancing in February and March.
The Skin Deep has a collection of questions and answer cards for every relationship stage. I recently purchased both the Dating Edition and the Couples Edition from [The And], which are both good for dating with 6-feet of separation.
Each box comes with 199 questions about the size of a deck of cards, with enough to cover a month’s worth of dates. Also, they have a Long-Distance relationship version, which describes just about everyone’s relationship status during this quarantine period.
Some questions include:
Dating: What would your ex say they taught you? and What’s an opinion you have that you rarely share?
Couples: Which one of my friends don’t you trust? and What would you do differently if we weren’t together?
7. Add in Music
If you love music and are disappointed you’ll be missing Coachella, plenty of artists are holding living room concerts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitch with your date.
On YouTube, they’ll be releasing a documentary, Coachella: 20 Years in the Desert on April 10th. Tagged as #Couchella, you can feel like you’re in the desert while watching from your living room at home.
Paul McCartney released a playlist of his songs, which he said was inspired by home, family, and kindness. You can stream Sir Paul’s playlist on Spotify, or request songs on your Amazon echo that help you feel safe at home.
8. Go Museum Hopping Around the World
If you’ve ever dreamed of going on a romantic trip to Paris, now’s your chance to go to the Louvre or visit Hermitage in Russia without a passport.
From the convenience of your comfy sofa, you can view thousands of museums and art galleries together. If you prefer staying in the country, you and your date can visit the Guggenheim museum in New York or the Smithsonian in Washington, DC.
9. Become Your Date’s Favorite Digital Pen Pal
While I’ve spent decades coaching singles on not becoming a digital penpal by encouraging them to meet offline, now’s the time to stay safe at home. By becoming your date’s steady pen pal, you can talk about the places you’d like to go, and dates you’d like to go on, when the coast is clear, and it’s safe to meet IRL.
Know that you’re in the same boat as everyone else right now, and the need to connect, form, and maintain a meaningful relationship is heightened. There’s no reason to let a hopeful relationship fade, just because you’re stuck indoors. Let technology be your best friend during isolation.
Until then, I’ll see you in my digital dreams.
Need a little hand-holding? Ask me about the Cyber-Dating Expert Swiping Right Dress Rehearsal, where I’ll be your date before you go on your first virtual date.
I’m Julie Spira, and I’m an online dating expert who’s been coaching singles on finding love online for over 25 years. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @JulieSpira and sign up for our Free Weekly Flirt.