Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Virtual date ideas to keep the spark alight

Let’s face it – there aren’t many couples that would choose to be in a long-distance relationship over one where they could see each other regularly. However, with the UK currently being under lockdown, most of us have no other choice. Long-distance may be tricky to get to grips with, but it does not have to be all doom and gloom. If you have found that your cocktail and steak date nights have been replaced with repetitive facetime calls, it’s time you started thinking outside of the box.

I spent the last six months on my year abroad living in the French region of Lorraine, meaning that I lived in a separate country to my boyfriend for most of the academic year. My return home has clearly not been accompanied with the rom-com style reunion that I’d been hoping for. Nevertheless, I have learnt what you can do to keep the spark alight. 

Long-distance may feel restrictive but you just have to learn how to keep things exciting. In theory, video calls sound like a brilliant idea. Not only do you get to have a chat, but you get to look at each other while you do it. In practice, it doesn’t always work how you might want it to. 

You could both take your daily walk and chat at the same time

In real life you wouldn’t sit directly in front of someone and simply stare at them while you force a conversation, so why do this over video call? One of the best ways to prevent an awkward call is to be doing something else at the same time. You could both take your daily walk and chat at the same time or prop your phone up on the kitchen counter while you bake your fourth loaf of banana bread. The other person doesn’t have to be doing the same thing, it just makes those potentially awkward silences feel a bit more natural if you are both busy.

If you are fed up of just talking, there are plenty of other things out there that work as an alternative. JQBX is an online platform that allows you to sync your Spotify playlist with another person, so you are both listening to the same songs at the same time. Combine this with a bottle of beer or ten and you’ve got yourself a makeshift club night that you can enjoy together. Who needs the Kasbah indie room when my own playlist only includes songs that I know all the words to?

You can have a movie night together from the comfort of your own homes

Another platform for sharing is the chrome extension Netflix Party, which is perfect if you enjoy binge-watching series together. Pick a new series that you have been meaning to see and start watching it together, setting a designated time every few days when you can watch the next episode. You can easily use a video calling service to speak to each other in the background, and conversation will flow a lot more naturally. Pair it with some snacks and some cosy pyjamas and you can have a movie night together from the comfort of your own homes. 

Playing games together is another fantastic way to socialise and there are so many multiplayer games out there, on platforms like steam, to suit any preference. I am not a huge gamer, but my personal favourite is Stardew Valley as it is really chilled and easy to play. When playing together, you can discuss the game and conversation flows more smoothly. If video games are not your style, Tabletopia has over 800 online board games that you can play with other people, from the classics such as chess and backgammon to completely new and obscure board games that you can learn together. 

It’s so important we all support one another and can be there for one another

Not everyone’s love language revolves around spending quality time together. If you prefer receiving gifts, sending something to your partner can also work well. This is also a way to support small Esty businesses who can provide personalised cards, letterbox gifts, or handmade jewellery to send straight to your significant other. We are all students with limited budgets so spending a lot of money isn’t necessary, but it is the thought and time spent looking for the gift that really counts. 

Whatever you decide to do, the most important thing should be that you are making time for each other. Even if it is just a couple of hours a week, having time where you give your attention specifically to your partner will make long-distance feel a lot more pleasant. In these difficult weeks, it’s lovely to have someone you can spend time with as an escape from the news or your exam stress. It’s so important we all support one another and can be there for one another in these turbulent times, with your partner being no exception. 

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