Dating during the age of social distancing
Just because we’re currently following strict social distancing guidelines doesn’t mean we can’t add some romance to our lives.
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Dating might seem like a foreign concept right now, with most of the world, Australia included, abiding by strict social distancing policies. However, we're here to tell you that whether you're looking to meet someone new, trying to keep a relationship alive from a distance, or looking for exciting new ways to have a date night at home, there are plenty of options available for you.
How to meet someone new
With the solitude that comes with going through the coronavirus pandemic alone, you might be considering taking a little time out to find your perfect match. And why not? There are millions of people just like you out there who are looking to find love or make new connections. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.
1. Online dating.
It doesn't matter if you're a total newbie or a seasoned subscriber, you have just as much a chance of meeting Mr or Mrs right online as anyone else. If you've been keen to sign up and want to know which of the many dating sites rank as the best based on different consumer search criteria, check out our guide to the best online dating sites. Remember, it might seem a little daunting at first, but millions of Aussies find partners online every year, and with so many success stories, you may as well give it a try.
2. Speed dating.
Many speed dating companies have adapted their services to factor in social distancing rules. This allows singles to speed date from the comfort of their own home. And, just as you would with a regular speed dating event, don’t forget that your dates will be able to physically see you via a live video stream. Dress up a little, smile, be yourself and remember, if they don’t like you for you, they’re not a match.
3. Reach out to an old flame.
Ever wondered why that old flame burned out even though it felt like a match made in heaven? If there's no blaringly obvious reason for your split from a previous partner and you've been wondering whether you can rekindle what you once had, why not seize the day? The wonders of social media can make reconnecting with those we've lost touch with amazingly easy, and if they're still single too, they might have been wondering the same thing. You'll never know if you don't take the leap.
4. Get your friends to set you up on a virtual blind date.
If you've got couple-friends, they've probably been suggesting setting you up with someone for a while now. With nothing much to fill your evenings during this period of isolation, it could be worth a shot. And the best bit about a virtual date is if it's going badly, then you can just end the video stream early. No hard feelings, no awkward moments while you wait for the bill to arrive. Just a quick "Nice to meet you! Bye!" and you're out of there.
5. Should I consider dating during the age of social distancing?
That is entirely up to you. If you're in the right mindset to put yourself out there, then there's no reason to delay it just because of the way the world is right now. And who knows how long this is going to last? That being said, if you don't feel ready to start something new, don't feel that you have to push yourself right now. Be kind to yourself – there's no pressure either way.
Ways to stay connected from a distance
We understand just how difficult it is for couples that are having to distance themselves from one another. But, with a little creativity and some dedication, surviving this time together could be fun and may even make your relationship stronger too. We've rounded up some of the great ways that couples can stay connected while they're apart.
1. Host a weekly date night.
If you can't actually be together physically, you can still spend some great quality time together using free video calling software such as Zoom or Skype. Arrange to cook the same meal or watch the same movie to make it feel more like you're together. Dress to impress too, just as you would on an actual date. By setting a regular weekly date night, you'll also give yourself something to look forward to and prevent the days from blurring into one.
2. Write your lover a letter.
Letter writing truly is a lost art in the technological age. However, think of how nice it would be to receive something other than bills, junk mail and bank statements through your letterbox. Letters can be just as fun to write as they are to read, and creating one will help you to build on your creative writing skills. Add a small spray of your perfume or cologne to your letter before popping it in the envelope and their senses will be drawn to the memory of your scent.
3. Create a photo collage of the two of you together.
Collect all your favourite photos of the two of you as a couple and have fun creating a photo collage. Hang the completed collage somewhere in your home as a nice reminder of all the best parts of your relationship. You could even create your collages together via video chat as well.
4. Send gifts directly to their door.
You don't have to spend much, but a small gift that's personal to your partner or your relationship will let them know that you're thinking about them. Their favourite flowers, for example, or the bottle of wine that you shared on your first date. Perhaps even a piece of lingerie that suggests the promise of a fiery reunion. Whatever your relationship is about, there's an inexpensive gift out there that will let them know how much you care about them.
5. Sexy texts.
Be it photo messages or written texts, add a little spice to your conversations to keep the passion of your relationship alive. Who says you can't have a bit of fun in the boudoir together while self-isolating separately?
6. Have a Netflix party
Netflix has launched an amazing browser extension called Netflix Party, which allows you to watch films and TV shows with your friends and loved ones remotely, and chat via an online chatroom while you watch. Simply set up your event, copy the link and share it with your partner to enjoy tandem viewing together.
Ideas for date nights at home
While the prospect of having to spend excessive amounts of time together can be daunting, it doesn't have to put a strain on your relationship. Keep things fresh with an array of date night ideas that you can do without leaving your home.
1. Themed dinner dates.
Where in the world will you eat this evening? The possibilities are endless. Prepare a Mexican feast fit for a king and put on some lively music for ambience. You could even go all out and create some themed decorations to give your date some extra wow-factor.
2. Take a romantic moonlit stroll.
Australia is full of beautiful scenery and much of it is even more spectacular by moonlight. There's something extremely romantic about walking by the light of the moon, hand in hand with your partner. Take in the world around you in the late evening light and allow the rest of the world to drift away.
3. Prepare a meal together.
Cooking together is a fun and creative experience that offers an opportunity for you to learn and experiment as a couple. Plus, after all your hard work, you'll be able to sit down and enjoy a delicious meal that you've created together.
4. Purchase a wine or spirit tasting package.
There are so many local and independent brands offering wine and spirit tasting packages right now that it would almost be rude not to! Add to that the fact that a tasting session will arouse your senses and could lead to something even more, and you can call that one successful date night.
5. Couples quiz nights.
Round up your friends and arrange to host a couples quiz night using a free video calling app. By teaming up with your partner, you'll be able to bond and enhance your trust and sense of competitiveness as you go head to head against the other couples.
Take a blanket out into your garden or local park and take in the night sky side by side with your partner. In preparation for this particular date night, you could research different constellations that should be visible in your area and impress your partner with your knowledge of astronomy.
7. Explore museums and art galleries together virtually.
With most of the world currently in one state of lockdown or another, travel seems to be off the cards for the foreseeable future. The Louvre in Paris, Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and even the Great Wall of China are all offering virtual tours online at the moment, which means you can explore some of the world's most iconic museums, galleries and travel destinations from your favourite spot on the sofa.
8. Give and receive sensual massages
Dim the lights, light a scented candle or two and scatter some rose petals on your bed to set the mood. With your trusty massage oil at the ready, strip down and get back in touch with each other through a relaxing massage. If you're not sure what to do, there are plenty of how-to videos on YouTube that can help train you up and give your partner a night to remember.
Tips and tricks for keeping your relationship healthy while isolating together
- Take some personal time. It's really important to take some time out for yourself and spend time doing things that make you happy. It could be as simple as reading a good book or playing an instrument but set aside an hour the day for some well-needed me time.
- Share household chores. If one person feels like they are constantly tidying up all the time, it's highly likely to lead to resentment. Luckily, this one's easily solved. Help out your partner and, if you're not sure what needs to be done, ask how you can help.
- Play games together. This is a fun way to interact indoors with your partner. A tip though: if you're both competitive types, it may be a good idea to play a game or do a puzzle that involves you working together (like a crossword puzzle) instead of one which pits you against one another.
- Remember to have a break from screens. With the majority of Aussies working from home, it's becoming increasingly difficult to switch off right now. But it's really important that we do. This will help to prevent the line between work and play from blurring, which will, in turn, give your day a bit more structure.
- Talk. Don't fall into a routine that sees you both perched on opposing ends of the couch watching TV in silence. Make time to talk. Whether it's about the things you want to do when this is all over or even just the best concert you've ever been to, one topic can open the doors to an engaging conversation.
- Declutter your home. Use this time as an opportunity to declutter your home and make a start on projects you've been putting off. It's a good idea to make a list of all the jobs you need to do and work together to give yourselves a shared sense of success.
- Be kind. Not all partners are eager to share their personal thoughts and feelings all the time. If yours is being quiet or distant, there's likely a reason why. Try to encourage them to open up, but don't push. If they need their space, give it to them.
- Take up a new hobby together. Why not use this time to try a new hobby that you're both interested in? This will allow you to help and encourage one another while you learn something new, and it will lead to a shared feeling of accomplishment.
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