11 Long-Distance Relationship Bonding Tips During The Coronavirus Outbreak
If Love is Blind prepared us for anything, it’s keeping the romance alive in pods. With the recent outbreak of the coronavirus, public health experts and many government officials have encouraged people to practice social distancing, limit unnecessary travel, and stay home. For many long-distance couples, the coronavirus poses quite a challenge.
“Many long-distance couples are forced to spend unexpected time apart and forgo plans they were looking forward to," says Rachel Dack, a licensed counselor and dating coach. "It may feel like a sacrifice or inconvenience to change your lifestyle and plans, but [travel is] not worth the risk."
While long-distance couples are pros at going long stretches without seeing each other, the impact of the coronavirus outbreak is still stressful. “The current situation is leading to a lot of anxiety and uncertainty, which makes it feel very different even if you typically go a week or two without seeing each other," she says. "Long-distance couples are faced with the difficult task of navigating when and how they will see each other again, as well as how to keep their connection intact and their stress levels low.”
According to Carmelia Ray, a matchmaker and online dating expert, couples should work to be open about their concerns ranging from when they may see each other next to how this could affect their jobs and finances. Dack adds that extra communication is crucial to maintaining normalcy and easing stress during this time, saying, “Keeping the lines of communication open, not neglecting each other’s needs, prioritizing your partner, and keeping up with quality time will all help keep your romance alive."
Even though life might feel strange right now, there are plenty of creative ways to ease the pain of being apart. Beyond staying in touch through texts, calls, and video chat dates, here are some ideas for bonding with your love — even when you're miles apart.
Make A Playlist Inspired By Your Relationship
That song you first danced to together. That high note they couldn’t quite hit while singing to the radio. The theme song to your favorite show. The Taylor Swift ballad that perfectly describes your relationship. Add them all to an unforgettable playlist and blast it when you miss each other.
Cook The Same Meal
Sign up for a meal kit delivery service, such as Blue Apron (meals start at $7.49 per person) or Home Chef (meals start at $6.99 per person) and choose the same meals, then pick which day to cook each meal together. Set up a video chat or a call to stay in touch while prepping the food, then enjoy the finished product together. Even better, get the same bottle of wine to “share” with the meal!
Watch TV Together
Thanks to the Chrome browser extension Netflix Party, you and your partner can watch the same episode or movie in sync and chat the whole time.
Swap Puppy Videos
Make a daily routine of sending your SO cute puppy videos (or whatever your animal of choice happens to be). Fun, lighthearted content “will help offset any anxiety or panic you feel about COVID-19 or being quarantined. Talking about the news, going over the latest stats and analyzing petrifying what-if’s during every phone call or video chat will only drive your anxiety,” Dack says.
Virtually Visit A Museum Together
While you both might be confined to your own four walls, museums are offering free virtual tours of their facilities that will take you beyond them. Explore collections from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Louvre, or the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, among others. Make a lunch spread and video chat to talk over your favorite pieces.
Plan A Trip For When This Is Over
For many long-distance couples, looking forward to trips keeps them going. With the uncertainty of this pandemic, it can be difficult to know when that trip will be able to happen, but daydreaming about travel might lift your mood. Start a shared Pinterest board with places you’d like to go, Instagram DM each other travel photos to inspire your next vacation, or come up with a list of your top 10 destinations and the one thing you’d like to do at each. When it’s finally safe to travel, go ahead and book your dream trip!
Play A Game
Download Words With Friends, Four in a Row, Hearthstone, or Swoords and challenge your boo. Have fun getting competitive even when you can’t have game night in the same room. If virtual games aren’t your thing, play 20 Questions or Never Have I Ever to get to know each other even better.
Master Your Dirty Talk
Dirty talk is totally healthy and can bridge the gap when you can’t be physically intimate with each other. Video chat, call, or if you feel more comfortable, text, and tell your partner how much you’re thinking about them. Work off of each other’s energy going back and forth about what you’d like to do the next time you see them.
Reminisce About Your Favorite Memories
It can be difficult to manage the uncertainty of when you’ll be able to see each other next, so reflecting on past positive memories can be a good way to remember how much fun you have together. Talk about your walk on the beach, your favorite meal from a past trip, or something new you learned about each other — all while getting excited for the next time you can see each other.
Whatever your preference is, there are so many Internet quizzes out there, you can take a many as you want with your SO to pass the time. To get started, try:
Send A Sweet Note
With the instant nature of texting and FaceTiming, taking the time to slow things down and write a letter shows commitment to communicating with your partner. You can save the note to look back on and remember this time both in the world and in your relationship.
This is a challenging time, but it's also a chance to strengthen your relationship and grow your communication as a couple. There are plenty of ways to get creative and show your long-distance significant other that you care.
Carmelia Ray, matchmaker and online dating expert
Rachel Dack, MS, LCPC, NCC, a licensed clinical counselor and dating coach