Keeping Romance Alive in the Days of Social Distancing

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After taking an Instagram poll, 63% of you think Zoom dating would never work out. I’m here to tell you…it can. I know you’re all stuck inside, away from humanity, but that doesn’t mean your relationship status needs to change. Zoom reigns as the new trend on social media and you can use it to your personal advantage.

You can go on a date while sitting on your couch alone. I know, genius.

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Video chat helps when talking to friends, family and school. Now you can use it to practice talking to an intriguing person. The trending #socialdistancing remark has been fun, but you can find a way around it. You lost your go-to strategy, a.k.a. fishing at a bar, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on the idea of romance. Rom-coms on Netflix won’t hold you over forever. “People have a great opportunity to advance their understanding about another with this technology. Even better, they understand themselves,” dating coach Mark Dockendorff said. This kind of human interaction keeps you from falling into insanity. Instead, fall in love.

Wondering how a Zoom date could possibly replace dating? A connection can spark. You don’t pay a Wi-Fi bill for nothing. Now, everyone relies on social media for some flirty fun. One thing leads to another and suddenly Tinder enters your most recent downloads. “There are people all over the world who were already meeting over the internet and carrying relationships for years without meeting,” University of Central Florida sophomore Madi Forbes said. Why not use the internet for its purpose or even just for fun?  Video-chatting feels the same as a real date but in a virtual life. Don’t let the romance die, instead keep it alive through the power of Zoom.

Personal Comfort

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What if I told you a world of dating exists where you don’t leave the couch, forget to worry about your looks and feel comfortable in your own home? You know what I’m going to say…Zoom dating. Miracles do happen. The best part? Through the use of video chat, your dates only see you from the waist up. Now getting ready will only take half the time.  Just toss on a cute top, throw your hair in a bun and voilà, good to go. No need to worry about your looks since you can’t go out in public. But sweetie, make sure to drag that Cheeto out of your hair. The inventor didn’t think of his delicious creation as an accessory.

We all know the troubles of a first in-person date. You face nerve-wracking challenges that linger on your mind every Friday night. You know the usual practicing sentences, listing conversation topics or stalking his Instagram to find out more about him. Sometimes you can’t even walk yourself out the door without texting him the classic, “I got held up at work, can’t make it” excuse. If you find yourself able to walk out the door, you go girl. Even then, thoughts overrun your brain like, “Oh my gosh can he tell my hands are sweaty? Will he think I’m clammy? What if he goes to kiss me? I forgot to shave!” Well with the magical power of Zoom, girls carry all the power. You can connect emotionally through a method called conversation. My only tip: Just stay yourself. It’s all about the people and whether or not they are willing to work together. A relationship is an ‘us’ thing, not an ‘I’ thing,”  Jacksonville University sophomore Sara Hollifield said. If your date goes poorly, you can always just shut the laptop.

How to Plan a Successful Zoom Date

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First, let’s start with the rule we should all know: The camera goes both ways. You don’t just sit on the phone anymore, you show everything going on live on camera. When talking to someone online you can get sidetracked by doing other things, but remember they need your full attention. (This is coming from a pro multitasker.) “Being engaged is key!” University of Florida freshman Chris Fettes said. Otherwise, you don’t look interested. If you worry about getting other work done, set a time for the date to end. This way you can control and plan out your day.

Don’t take anything too seriously. Dating in the love-bird stage should fill your life with adventure and butterflies, not the negative attitude about losing your job and going broke. That just creates a downer situation and bad impressions. “Find a new way that has more honest and vulnerable, curious and creative and maybe even courageous to ask about,” Dockendorff said. Talk lovey-dovey and explore the person in front of you. Forget about the outside world and just take some fun time for you. Relax girl, you deserve it!

Make sure to set boundaries. Zoom can get a little frisky after being locked up for a few weeks, or months. However, don’t let it get the best of you. Only pursue what’s comfortable for you. Keep the heat down for a while because you never know who might screen-record. Save Victoria’s Secret for after the lockdown.

Dating Go-Tos

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Netflix and Chill: Keep your budget on the down-low and finally chill at home for a movie date. A new feature called “Netflix Party” lets you experience at-home entertainment with friends online.

Virtual Hike: Take a stroll through the park together. You both may live in different cities, but you can walk and talk at the same time. With your significant other’s face by your side, it almost feels like a real date.

Video Games: The perfect way to hang out without actually hanging out. Online gaming using your computer, Xbox or PlayStation helps you link up online. All you need: a Bluetooth headset and a system. You can play the same storyline together from across the country. (I suggest Borderlands).

Art Projects: Time to take Pictionary to a new level. Buy a bunch of paint and get messy with it. The piece doesn’t need to look like a masterpiece, just a fun little competition.

Uber Eats: Since we can’t go on normal dates anymore, order take out or make your own food and sit down together for dinner. Company always brings delight.

Mood Playlist: Pull up your Spotify app and listen to music. While you love birds go at it, create a playlist you can both enjoy after lockdown.

Cons?

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Zoom dating means no touching or intimate contact. When in love, you strive and live for the physical relationship. “Physical connection is essential for a relationship to work out. It’s in human nature because love and physical touch release tons of dopamine and without this it’s like a drug withdrawal,” Riverview High School senior Amanda Nyberg said. Even though you don’t touch, you can still see and hear. Now you will connect personally through a mindful conversation, like back in the old days.

Successful Zoom Relationships

“It’s what you make out of it. Right now quarantine has separated my girlfriend and I, but while it’s been tough, it’s definitely doable!” – Chris Fettes, a freshman at the University of Florida

“Currently in a relationship of eight months and we’ve been long-distance for five months. It’s hard! But you have to be creative and make it work.” – Kathryn Andes, a sophomore at Seton Hall University

“The most valuable key leading to a successful relationship with another is the quality of the relationship that you have with yourself. It is my belief that the best relationships are the ones that each person understands that the other person is whole and not broken. Each person is committed to their own personal growth (body, mind, spirit) and is equally committed to supporting their partner’s own individual growth. The great bond of the relationship is one of loving, kindness and generosity. A commitment to first self and then each other. If you don’t unconditionally love yourself, you can’t love anyone else.  ” – Mark Dockendroff, dating coach

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