In any relationship, spending quality time together is vital. “The time you invest and spend is like water and sunshine to a plant,” says Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking. It helps your relationship grow and thrive.” But when you’re sheltering in place and your significant other doesn’t live with you—whether they live down the street, a few hours away, or in an entirely different country—getting that quality time in becomes much more challenging, and you really have to go the extra mile (no pun intended) to keep the spark sizzling. Enter: long distance date ideas.
Scheduling long-distance dates are one way to keep the bond strong while living apart. And no, regular phone conversations don’t count. We’re talking about scheduling a specific time to see each other virtually and do fun, creative activities together as you would on an actual IRL date. This serves as a time for you to check-in with each other, be fully present, and experience each other’s energy.
“[Long-distance dates] show how much you value the relationship as well as lessen any insecurities you might have from being apart,” Trombetti says. “It reaffirms the bond every time you connect.” Plus, it’ll build lots of anticipation for when you do see each other in person.
Ready to spice things up? Below, check out 10 long-distance date ideas recommended by dating pros.
Long-distance date ideas to keep connected with your partner
1. Have a house party
Although you may not be able to party with your significant other in person, that doesn’t mean you can’t party with them at all. Schedule a virtual DJ house party and turn your living room into a dance club. There are also plenty of Instagram Live DJ sets that you can join in on—dance and take breaks with your significant other as a date, and then invite other friends to join for a full house party.
2. Watch a live music performance together
If live music is more your scene, make a date with your main squeeze to watch a live stream performance of your favorite artist. “[You can] sing along to your favorite songs,” says relationship expert and matchmaker Tammy Shaklee. You can also tune into live streams put on by places like the Metropolitan Opera.
3. Go for a walk
Just because you’re on a virtual date doesn’t mean you have to stay inside. Pop your earphones on (and a mask!) and head outside for a brisk walk while talking on the phone or chatting on FaceTime. “Share the nature shots from each location, hear the birds, play an eye-spy for certain colors of buds and blooms,” Shaklee says. “If you get in maximum steps and work up a sweat, perhaps a virtual shower together could be a fun end to the date.” Oh, la la.
4. Take a bath together
Speaking of getting steamy, instead of your usual phone catch-up session at the end of the day while sprawled out on the couch, why not take the conversation into the bathtub? Make it a special occasion by setting the scene with romantic music, candles, bubbles, and perhaps a glass (or two) of wine.
5. Learn a language together
If you’re planning an international trip together in the future (or even if you’re not), Shaklee recommends spending date nights learning a new language. You can set up a private virtual lesson or download the Duolingo app and get studying. And if you want to add some friendly competition to the mix, you can keep score of who learns the most words in another language, or better yet who sounds the sexiest speaking it.
6. Binge-watch together
Grab your popcorn. Thanks to the technology gods, there’s an app for getting your binge on with your other half even if you’re miles apart. “Netflix Party app is a great app for watching your screens together,” Trombetti says. “You both can watch Tiger King together or whatever Netflix show of your choosing and [when you] pause it, it pauses theirs as well. It’s like going to the movies together.”
7. Have a virtual dinner date
Sweeping your partner off their feet with a romantic dinner date is totally doable virtually. Trombetti recommends lighting candles, getting all dressed up, and then ordering your favorite takeout for yourself and your partner. Sending over a bottle of wine or their favorite drink is also a nice touch. Then ring them up via FaceTime or Zoom and enjoy your virtual dinner date together.
8. Watch funny videos together
YouTube is chock-full of funny videos. So whenever you need something light and casual to do to entertain each other on virtual dates, Trombetti suggests falling down a YouTube rabbit hole and watching videos of your favorite comedians or whatever else tickles your fancy. You can literally do this for hours and have a total blast.
9. Have a listening session
Making mixtapes for the person you dig most will forever be cool and thoughtful, only now you can do it digitally by creating playlists. “Send [playlists] back and forth and talk about why the songs remind you of each other and why you picked that particular song,” Trombetti says. “This really ups the communication and creates a longing for each other because, well, music just has a way of doing that to people. It’s [also] such a relaxing thing listening to music together.”
10. Go on virtual tours
Although you can’t physically travel and sight-see together right now, you can have some memorable online adventures. Trombetti recommends hopping on Zoom and sharing your screen as you take virtual tours of museums or state parks. Or, if you’re planning an exotic vacation, get excited by watching videos of the destination and mapping out your itinerary. “It’s tough to be apart, and couples need to know there is light at the end of the tunnel, so this is fun and gives you both something to look forward to down the road,” she says. “There is nothing like anticipation to bond you both as a couple.”
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