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Heart Beat

Dating right now? Hard. So here’s an actionable list of self-isolation, long distance date ideas for you and your sweetheart: 

 

  1. Find an online game to play together. My partner and I like to play Club Penguin right now, because it’s free, nostalgic and so silly. We go on dates in the pizza parlor, race each other on the ski hill and try to out-do each other’s igloos and crazy outfits. Also try other online multiplayer games: Sims 4, Webkinz, Animal Crossing or Minecraft. I’m a big fan of the silliest, most-child-like game you can find. 
  2. Have dress up movie nights on Zoom. By now, I hope you all know that when you share your screen on Zoom, you can check the little box at the bottom that says “Share Audio” and watch a movie together (tip: It works best on Macs). Or if you both have Netflix, try out the Netflix Party Chrome extension. Try choosing a movie you can dress up to, to make it a little more special. Watching Lilo and Stitch? Wear your swimsuit and sunglasses. For extra fun, you could surprise your significant other by ordering them and yourself a pizza to your respective houses. 
  3. Use GoogleMaps or Under Armour’s MapMyRun app to plan out a special running or walking route for them, or send them the route you usually run. Or, have them run past some of your favorite spots. It will make them feel closer to you, knowing they’re navigating the world through your eyes. 
  4. Take an online exercise class together. Use Zoom again, and pull up a YouTube workout. Cheer each other on and keep each other accountable. 
  5. Go on a walk “together.” Grab your phone, call them up, and go out for a walk. Every so often snap pictures of where you are or cool things you walk by to share what you’re doing. 
  6. Don’t discount or hate on virtual sex. It’s completely normal to want to be intimate, even digitally. But do make sure you’re being safe. WhatsApp, Cyphr, Signal and Silence are all apps that offer end-to-end encryption. Apple iMessages do too, but Facebook Messenger and SMS text messages do not! For video, avoid Zoom sex. Not private at all. Try the encrypted Apple FaceTime, Signal or JitsiMeet. Encryption means hackers and the folks at that company won’t be able to see your photos. Note too that most photos you take on your phone have metadata (hidden data) that tag your location, time and date. Which means if the photo were to get out, there is a lot of identifiable information associated with it. This is an easy setting to turn off on iPhones, or you can use the app ViewExif to see and remove metadata from your mobile photos before you send them. 
  7. Don’t rule out sex toys. There are a lot of bluetooth or even synced sex toys for long distance partners. Try Lovense, WeVibe or Vibease. Most of these have their own encrypted apps that let you control your partner’s toy, and send private messages, photos and videos. Expensive? Ya. So if you’re unsure or not ready to invest that much money (the economy is not great right now!), check out knock off options on Amazon. Just make sure the controller is something your partner can have access to from a distance (either bluetooth app or long distance remote), and that the materials are safe to, you know, have in your intimate areas. 
  8. Don’t underestimate snail mail. Yes, the postal system is slower than ever. But sometimes there is nothing nicer after a long day than getting a handwritten note. We are all a little over-tech stimulated right now, and that gets exhausting as the only way to communicate with someone! It’s hard when you want to love up your partner, but don’t want to spend another goddamn minute on Zoom or FaceTime. Speaking from experience, it feels really good to get something that actually touched your partner’s hand as they sat there and took the time to write it out.
  9. Drop off dinner at their house if you’re close enough. Cook one of your favorite dishes, and bring it to their doorstep. Get in your car and give them a call. It’s also a good excuse to see them and talk to them in person a little. Technically during a “Stay at Home” period, at least in Minnesota, you cannot make social calls, even from six feet apart. But you can still drop off or pick up food… we love a loophole. This is, of course, less of a big deal if you have just decided you don’t really care. Or perhaps your governor has more relaxed rules. But it is a bigger deal if you’re navigating a family that is at risk or very concerned with COVID19. 
  10. Listen to music together with the app JQBX. There are other ways to share music, but JQBX is especially fun because it connects to Spotify, and plays off each of your queues and alternates songs from each of you. At the end, when you turn it off, it automatically creates a playlist of the music you listened to together. How cool is that? 
  11. Make a two person book club. We all have a little more time to read right now. Reading the same books gives you something new to talk about that’s not how much self-isolation sucks, or how much you miss each other or how bored you are. That can get draining. But the latest fantasy novel or best seller? That’s something different. 
  12. Go star-gazing or cloud-watching “together.” This one’s for us especially romantic folks out there. We’re all under the same sky. Go outside, call them up, and chat about what you see up there. Bonus if you remember your constellations or cloud formations from elementary school. 
  13. Plan out your next trip together for once this is all over. Do research on the places you might want to go together, and add it to the bucket list. Or even make a more general bucket list that you share on Google Docs or Apple Notes. 
  14. Use this as a time to deepen your relationship. Try swapping stories about things you thought were good ideas when you were a kid, or answering the famous New York Times “The 36 Questions that Lead to Love.”
  15. Play Truth or Dare. It’s fun because you can ask all the questions you’ve been secretly dying to ask. And then you can dare them to take a video of them loudly singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in front of their entire family, without offering any explanation. Or to write you a cheesy haiku.