L is for the way you look at me (on Zoom)

Nat King Cole… kinda.

Lockdown has kept me busy to say the least.

I’ve learned fun art projects to do at home, I’ve gotten creative with my workouts, I’ve taken much-needed breaks from my phone and laptop screens, and, by now, figured out my love language, but I’ve been struggling to answer the one question we’ve all been asking this year and last: how do you love during lockdown?

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Well, after spending nearly a year in lockdown away from my boyfriend, I’ve learned so much and I’m here to tell you, it is not only possible for your love to thrive through lockdown, but it can make your relationship so much stronger, too. I mean, if you can survive a pandemic together, you can survive anything, right?

So, whether you’re worried about starting a new relationship, or need advice to make your current one thrive, here are my tips on how to love during lockdown:

1. Communication is KEY

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OK, I’ll admit it. This one sounds obvious, but it’s even more important now that you’re unable to pick up on the same non-verbal cues as you would if you were together in person. Communicating virtually is different, to say the least, but being able to communicate candidly can make the world of a difference.

To communicate better, set aside time to actually talk. It doesn’t have to be a serious conversation, but taking the time to see how each other’s day went will help you feel more connected to them.

Remember, your partner can’t read your mind and you can’t read theirs. If you’re upset, tell them (resist the urge to ignore their texts). If you got a great grade on an assignment you’ve been stressed about, tell them. Trust me, they’ll appreciate it as much as you do.

And, if you need some extra resources to help you communicate better, check out the Dispute Resolution Clinic to resolve your conflicts in a constructive way or the Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre (SWAC) to chat through it with a counsellor.

2. Find Zoom-friendly date alternatives

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Homebodies can attest that staying home doesn’t have to be boring for either of you. There are so many fun date ideas to enjoy with your significant other. Find something you both enjoy and make it virtual. My boyfriend and I both love to read and spent most of our time pre-pandemic scouring Toronto for the best bookshops and best coffee shops in town. So, we made it virtual.

We recently splurged and bought a ton of books on Book Outlet for our very own book club. This might sound silly to some, but it’s something we both genuinely enjoy and look forward to at the end of the night.

If reading is not your thing, here are a few other Facetime-friendly date options:

Find a fun workout routine to do together

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For the active couple, doing a virtual workout together can be a great way to release endorphins and stay fit. Plus, we’ve got you covered for all your home workout needs.

Watch a movie or TV show on Scener

Boy and girl using Scener app to watch Bob's Burgers
Aspiring to have that Linda and Bob typa love.

Scener is my new fave lockdown discovery. By now, we all probably have a Teleparty extension on our Google Chrome, but trust me, you need to get Scener. Scener meshes movies and video chat together so you be face-to-face and watch the movie in sync. Definitely a game-changer for your next movie night.

Cook up a new recipe in the kitchen via Zoom

Gordon Ramsay – who?

Wallet-friendly and delicious – count me in! Skip the take-out and opt for a virtual cooking date with your S.O. There are tons of recipes online for your fave restaurant meals, and with food delivery services like Hello Fresh and Chefs Plate, it’s easier than ever to channel your inner Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen.

Laugh it up by playing some virtual games together

There’s nothing quite like letting your competitive side loose. So, get your adrenaline pumping and challenge your partner to a virtual game night! And the best part is, we’ve narrowed it down for you with our list of fun virtual games to play with friends!

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Now that you have all these cool date ideas, plan a weekly date night to test them out. Normally, Saturday nights would be considered date nights for us and there’s no reason that should change. Find your fave activities and enjoy them at least once a week. It’ll give you both something to look forward to.

3. Alone time is healthy

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Being alone can get, well, lonely. But having alone time is actually good for you. It’s easy to get carried away when staying home all the time – I get it. It may be tempting to spend every waking moment on Facetime with your partner, but space is key to a healthy and thriving relationship.

Not only will it help you feel more excited to see them and less nit-picky about small things that bug you, it’ll also give you an outlet for productivity and creativity.

So, try it. Spend some time alone, away from your partner, to do things you love – your relationship will thank you for it.

4. Plan for adventures post-pandemic

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This pandemic has seen some incredible innovations. With vaccines beginning to circulate, things are looking bright for us. This pandemic won’t last forever, so why not plan for once it’s over?

Surely, we’ve all dreamt of it. The day we wake up and go outside with our friends, partners, and family – mask and worry free. Well, now’s your chance to manifest your dreams.

Make a bucket list with your partner of all the things you want to do together once lockdown is lifted. Do you want to travel across the world? Visit your fave restaurants in the city? Maybe check out the music festival you’ve always dreamed of going to? The possibilities are endless.

Whatever it is, having an extravagant list planned out will make seeing your partner once again that much more exciting.

5. It’s the little things

Go by rule #32 of Zombieland‘s Tallahasse:

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Little things can be, just little things. Like, sending your S.O. their fave meal on UberEats when you know they’re too busy to cook dinner, or complimenting them on their fire work-from-home fit, or just taking the time to let them know how much you appreciate them.

It doesn’t have to break the bank, but little acts of kindness matter now, more than ever.

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Whatever love looks like to you, know these tough times will not last forever. I know it’s not easy, but I assure you love, both new and old, will beat all odds.

Need help mending your relationships? Check out the importance of maintaining healthy relationships in all aspects of your life.

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