Netflix and chill sessions have become a thing of the past since COVID-19 annihilated the dating scene back in March.
Quarantine and chill has become the new normal, as couples had to choose between either not seeing each other for weeks at a time or being cooped up with each other 24/7.
Although they inevitably look different, dates themselves do not have to cease altogether, as there are many new ways couples can get quality time together and still be safe.
Creativity is the key factor to successful COVID-19 dating, and luckily there are endless options for singles who are starting to date or couples who just need something new to do together:
— Have a movie night with the Netflix Party Extension.
Netflix Party is a browser extension that synchronizes playback and adds a group chat so that couples can watch the same movie and discuss it together. If physically going together to the theater is off the table, then this is the next best thing.
— Plan an outdoor drive-in movie together.
After a while, quarantine can start to feel like the walls are caving in. A great solution to this is to get out of the house for a drive-in movie. All that is needed for a successful drive-in is a computer, snacks and a car.
— Cook a new meal together over FaceTime or with each other.
Couples can try either cooking a new meal or a specific type of food, such as brunch food. Help each other through the process over FaceTime and share the results in the end.
Sophia Garcia, a sophomore majoring in kinesiology, discussed her experience cooking with her significant other.
“Before COVID, we would go on more dates out in public, but now that COVID has hit we cook a lot more at home together. The first time we cooked chicken tacos, rice and salsa and then we cooked chicken, rice and broccoli. It was nice cooking with him, but sometimes it’s kind of frustrating because he’s a little hesitant in the kitchen. But we really enjoyed spending that quality time with each other,” Garcia said.
— Make something together.
During quarantine, boredom prompted many people to pick up crafting, which has endless possibilities.
Amazon has many kits that could provide couples the chance to try knitting, crocheting, embroidery, tie-dye, sewing, painting, pottery or even digital artwork. Creating something together can be a great opportunity for bonding and sharing something special.
— Have a picnic with each other.
Having close, safe access to a park has never felt more important, and a picnic is one of the best ways to utilize this asset.
Charcuterie boards have become extremely popular on TikTok, and they are perfect picnic food. Charcuterie boards consist of a variety of meats, cheeses, fruits and nuts arranged in various patterns. In a pinch, a backyard serves as a close second to a local park.
Lillian Blough, a freshman majoring in agribusiness, detailed her experience with picnic dates during COVID-19.
“With me and Chandler, I lived near the reservoir, and it had picnic tables. So one time we got pizza and coloring books and went out to the reservoir. Shockingly it was a lot of fun. We really didn’t talk that much, but it was just a lot of fun being able to sit there with the color books and pizza,” Blough said.
- Take an online class with each other.
With everyone wanting to get into new activities, taking a class to learn new ideas and skills is a great way for couples to escape the rut of mental lethargy. YouTube offers a lot of tutorials on multiple topics and the best part is, it is all free. For couples wanting a more structured class environment, Skillshare offers a free trial, and then it is $19.00 a month or an annual membership for $99.00.
— Attend a virtual workout class with your partner.
There are so many online workout classes available that it is easy for everyone to find something suited for them. YouTube tutorials such as Chloe Ting workouts and Yoga with Kassandra have become very popular since the start of COVID-19. It can be fun to work out the built-up stress and anxiety that being quarantined has caused throughout the day.
It is essential to take the time to either see each other — while still practicing social distance guidelines — or take the time to call each other at the end of the day.
Caroline Clark, a freshman majoring in social work, discussed how she and her boyfriend are keeping their communication alive since having to quarantine from each other.
“We figured out what helped a lot was phone calls and FaceTime. Every day, if we did not see each other in person, we would talk on the phone for an hour, or we would FaceTime for 30 minutes before bed.”
“We’re a weird couple; we talk nonstop. I thought we were normal until I realized most people don’t talk to their significant other 24/7. One thing that helped with not seeing each other as often or communication differences was we would talk on the phone a little bit every day,” Clark said.
Even though COVID-19 has put a lot of stress on relationships since March, all it takes is a little creativity and flexibility to keep the spark alive.