We might be grounded at home, but love is still in the air. While virtual dates can't beat the real thing, being forced to get creative in lockdown does wonders to keep your relationship fresh.
In other words - take this as a challenge to shake up your ol' restaurant date routine.
Whether you're turning the heat up with your Tinder match or hanging out with your partner from afar, go forth and make mushy memories with these virtual date ideas.
Get things sizzling (literally) with a cooking sesh over Zoom. Pick a recipe to whip up together - think something with long, slow simmering to leave room for chatting - and prop up your laptops where you can see each other.
The best part? You can keep the date going right after with your cosy homecooked meal. For inspiration, here're some fuss-free recipes we love.
Take a virtual stroll together
Holding hands might be out for now, but the charm of the classic sunset stroll never fades.
Video call your other half while you're out on a walk, and show each other the sights - the playground you grew up frolicking in, the coffeeshop you dabao food from daily, the stray cats you've managed to befriend. It's a rare chance to get a peek into the place your loved one calls home.
Netflix and chillPHOTO: Unsplash
Break out the popcorn and snuggle in for a long-distance movie marathon. If you're catching something on Netflix, Netflix Party is a handy Chrome extension that helps you sync your streaming. For downloaded flicks, there's Syncplay - a free app to sync up multiple media players.
The key, of course, is to keep your video chat window open in one corner, so you can share the laughs and gasps together. Check out some films on our watchlist to kickstart your binge.
Paint each otherPHOTO: Unsplash
Whether you think you've got the artistic chops or not doesn't matter - it's all about getting those creative sparks flying. Painting someone is always an intimate act, so set the mood with some soft music and get your partner posing for your paintbrush.
Make it steamy, or make it silly - either way, you're sure to have fun.
Go on a virtual vacation
With virtual tours and live cams coming into vogue, we've plenty of fodder to beat the wanderlust blues. Explore Croatia's stunning castles and coasts with this virtual roadtrip, soak up Iceland's natural wonders, or have a scenic ramble through Kyoto's zen gardens and shrines.
Be sure to bookmark all the spots you want to see once travel takes off - take it as planning for your next couple getaway.
Groove out to online jams
Here's one for the music lovers. Get your rave on with the many live concerts and DJ nights happening all over the world - we've rounded up a handful of regular jams to get you started.
While the club vibes just aren't the same at home, you can dim the lights and break out the booze to get you in the mood. Or to really get to know each other's music tastes, how about curating a playlist together and taking turns to play DJ?
Read to each otherPHOTO: Unsplash
There're few things more soothing than having your loved one's voice in your ear. Itching to unwind after a long day? Pick an old literary favourite and read aloud to each other on the phone.
If you're up for some drama, opt for a play and have fun hamming up your lines (you can even get dressed for the occasion). Let's just say a risque novel really turns up the heat too.
Send a surprise treat
Wine is always a good idea, and so is dessert. Sweeten up your beau's lockdown life with a care package of gourmet treats, then carve out some time to savour them together on video call.
Bonus points if you can slip in a personalised note or coordinate a flower delivery.
Let the games beginPHOTO: Unsplash
A lil' friendly competition is the spice of life. Houseparty has plenty of quickfire games to get you cracking up - Heads Up, Trivia, Quick Draw, and more.
Escape from reality with a virtual escape room - this Hogwarts-themed one is your ticket to a magical night. If you're going old-school, you can pull out card games like Exploding Kittens and Cards Against Humanity, or even put together a jigsaw puzzle virtually.
Have a 'show-and-tell'
Besides introducing your partner to your pets, now's your chance to show off all the funky stuff in your space. It might be your liquor collection, your handmade craft pieces, that heirloom quilt with a storied history - the stage is yours.
Don't forget to dust off the old photo albums too - you wouldn't want your partner to miss out on cooing over baby you, would you?
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This article was first published in City Nomads.