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How your romantic life can thrive, even when things look different.

Whether you’re looking to jump back into the dating scene or are in a committed relationship, our love lives have taken on new challenges. The good news is that meeting someone new or staying connected to your partner is not only possible, it may even be more fun these days.

“Absolutely, individuals are still dating and meeting new people,” says Tina Knorr, a licensed clinical social worker at Geisinger. “Even though we’re in a pandemic, our lives have to go on — finding some semblance of normalcy is not only important for our social lives, but for our mental health as well. Thanks to technology like dating apps or using video chats for first dates, we have new ways to find potential romantic partners. And both singles and couples are finding ways to spend time together, even while they’re apart.”

How to meet someone new

Although you may not feel comfortable going to the gym, coffee shop or other public place to meet a potential love interest right now, you can still meet someone. Ms. Knorr says, “Finding a potential love interest isn’t impossible — you just need to get a little creative.”

Here’s some inspiration on how to put yourself out there:

  • Join a dating app: Many are free and allow you to connect with available singles in your area. You can access them virtually anywhere, anytime from your cell, computer or tablet. Dating apps can be a great way to offset boredom and loneliness, even if they don’t lead to a relationship.
  • Opt for video dating: Yes, virtual dating is a thing — and it’s changing the way that people are finding dates. Have a video chat over a coffee, cocktail or mocktail as you get to know someone new. The best part? No awkward moments over who’s picking up the check or having to arrange for a ride home. Using video to talk can help you discover whether you have chemistry with one another, while setting boundaries. You may even want to set a timer (5 or 10 minutes) for the initial chat to decide whether you want to end the conversation or keep it going.
  • Sign up for a virtual class: You can find online classes about virtually any topic, from fitness to cooking classes to continuing education. Expand your horizons while you learn how to make a great lasagna or how to speak Mandarin — and as you chat with any virtual learners who might catch your eye. 
  • Ask people you know: Ask people you know and are comfortable with if they have any single friends. If they do, set up a video blind date and get to know each other over text or chat.
  • Use social distancing to your advantage: Thanks to masks being our No. 1 accessory, the eyes have it these days. Strike up a conversation with a stranger while you’re shopping at the store or waiting in the checkout line. Or, if you and your furry friends have been spending more time at home lately, get out for a walk around. Get to know a fellow pet lover at the dog park or in your neighborhood. 

Spending time alone together 

Already dating and want to spend time together while social distancing, but stumped for ideas? Here are a few ways to bond when you’re physically apart.

  • Watch the same TV show: Put on your favorite show and watch an episode together. Even though you’re in separate locations, you can live-chat or discuss what’s going on to help you feel like you’re watching together.
  • Game together: If you’re both into video games, ask your partner to join you for some healthy gaming competition.
  • Attend a virtual concert: Many artists are live-streaming performances online. Tune in together and sing along to your favorite tunes. When the show is over, make a playlist for you and your partner to remember the moment.
  • Send flirty messages: Messages let the other person know you’re thinking about them and can infuse unexpected romance into your day.
  • Talk on the phone: Call the person you’re dating — yes, on the phone. You can enjoy some good old-fashioned conversation and connection during the call. If you don’t have much to say or you’d rather connect other ways, simply text or chat online.

“Remember, you don’t have to completely avoid spending time together in person,” adds Ms. Knorr. “Going for a hike, a bike ride or just taking a walk are great social distancing dating options. You’ll get some exercise and fresh air while avoiding crowds.”

Keeping the spark alive

If you’re in a committed relationship and cooped up at home, romance may be the furthest thing from your mind — but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few things you can do to add some excitement to your time together.

  • Have a date night in: It doesn’t need to be anything elaborate. Order your favorite takeout or whip up a meal together — you can get dressed up or stay comfy in your pajamas. Then park yourselves on the couch to play a game, watch a movie or indulge in some serious binge watching.
  • Go for a drive: Get in the car and drive to nowhere in particular. Use the time together to talk, listen to music and connect after a long day (or week).
  • Take a hike: Pack a picnic and hike to a favorite spot or find a new place. When it’s time for a break, sit down and enjoy your lunch (and the scenery) together.
  • Work out: You can find a variety of free workouts available online or through a streaming service. From cardio drills to weightlifting and everything in between, enjoy a sweat session with your significant other to get those endorphins going.
  • Try something new: Listen to a podcast, learn a few phrases in a new language, complete a project or try out some dance moves. Doing new activities together can help keep things exciting.
  • Write love notes: Small notes of gratitude can go a long way. Leave a note for your partner on the bathroom mirror, their computer screen, the fridge or wherever they’ll see it to brighten their day.
  • Eat on the patio: Some restaurants are offering outdoor dining. If you’re ready to make that leap, call your favorite restaurant to find out what they’re offering and if there are any special instructions you’ll need to follow.

“Being stuck in the house doesn’t have to put out the fire,” Ms. Knorr says. “Taking time to connect with each other is easier than you might realize.”

Next steps:

A few easy ways to get some exercise together
Learn about self-care
Visit our mental health resource center

Dating and intimacy

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