Keep the spark alive no matter where you are.

By Skye Sherman
April 24, 2020
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Just when society was growing accustomed to today’s bizarre landscape of swipe-rights and submarining, a global pandemic hit and the modern dating scene became stranger than ever.

Whether you’re looking to meet someone new or already have someone special in your life, chances are, you’re forcibly separated and wondering how to continue dating during stay-at-home orders.

We have good news: Sure, you’re obligated to respect physical distance at the moment, but there are still plenty of meaningful ways to kindle the flames of love and friendship. Read on for our long-distance date ideas, and take heart: If things go well, you’ll have some seriously crazy stories to tell your grandkids someday.

1. Host a virtual movie night.

Download the Netflix Party extension on your Google Chrome browser for the ideal long-distance movie night. The plug-in lets you watch Netflix shows and movies together, remotely. It synchronizes video playback, adds a group chat feature, and for now, is as close as you can get to snuggling up while seeing a flick. Plan the whole shebang like you would for a real night in: Both of you should pop some popcorn, order in takeout, put on your pajamas, and pile the cozy blankets on your couch.

2. Have a personality quiz date. 

A global pandemic is as good an excuse as any to skip the small talk and dive right in. If you’re still getting to know each other or want to go a bit deeper, plan a personality test-themed virtual date and take all the online quizzes you can find. Take the tests privately on your own computers to discover your love language, Myers-Briggs type, Enneagram number, emotional intelligence score, Harry Potter house, Holland code, and Big Five score, then discuss your results with each other — a surefire way to get the conversation flowing.

Whether you strengthen your bond or unearth glaring incompatibilities, the date won’t be wasted. It’s an exercise in getting to know yourself better, too. Plus, you can finally indulge your Enneagram-obsessed friends by sharing your number.

And don’t fret if you find yourselves in an opposites-attract situation. I’m living proof that an ISTJ, an acts-of-service-focused type 1, can be happily (if not crazily) married to a fun-loving type 7 ENFP.

3. Go on a QuaranDate.

If you’re single and quarantine has you ready to mingle, now might be your chance to star in the up-and-coming dating show of tomorrow: QuaranDate. Sign up for a date and you’ll be paired with a compatible person for a video call hosted by a neutral third party, who’s there to help break the ice and spark conversation (think of them as your pandemic dating wingman).

QuaranDate adds a new dimension to no strings attached: If you’re not feeling it, you can simply click out of the video call at any time, and since the host has apparently not yet invested in the paid version of Zoom, your blind video date lasts a maximum of 30 minutes. Oh, and the whole date is recorded, so whatever happens, you can count on supplying some much-needed entertainment to the masses.

If you’re not single, you can still enjoy QuaranDate in the form of binge-watching the 10 current episodes.

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4. Stage a video cooking competition and home tour.

While you can’t prepare meals for each other at the moment, schedule a time to cook for yourselves and share the experience together. Whether you want to show off your expertise, follow the same recipe and cook together via Zoom, or assign each other funky foods to make, a video cooking competition can spark lots of laughs and creativity — and the result is delicious. Add in a cocktail, too, for an at-home happy hour, and throw in a virtual house tour — MTV Cribs-style — while you’re at it.

Best of all, you’re your own judge – at least when it comes to flavor — so it would be hard to lose the cook-off when you’re the only one who can taste what you whipped up.

5. Create a date in a box.

Take a page from those in a long-distance relationship — the tried-and-true couples who found a way to nurture their love, even from afar. Ryan and Samantha Looney of Our Travel Passport loved each other across the world for three years, exchanging emails and hand-written letters while Ryan lived in Uruguay and Samantha lived in Portugal. Despite the distance, the lovebirds made it work: May 2 marks their fifth wedding anniversary.

Samantha’s top tip is putting together a date in a box: “Ship your significant other a box full of everything they need to have the perfect date — a mix to make cookies, a blanket, a movie — whatever is meaningful to the two of you, and then buy all the same things for yourself,” she recommends. “Once your significant other receives their package, get on FaceTime and make the cookies at the same time and watch the movie cuddled up with the same blanket together. Just because you’re physically separated doesn’t mean you can’t still have meaningful and fun experiences together.”

6. Take it off screen.

As stay-home orders lift and the need to self-isolate lessens, plan a socially distant date outdoors. Whether you go on a bike ride, plan an adequately distanced picnic, play tennis, or hike a nature trail, there are plenty of ways to limit contact while enjoying quality time together.