Follow these tips for dating and relationships during social distancing:

Don’t feel pressured to date right now. Swiping on dating apps, texting, holding a conversation, and going on dates can be emotionally draining. Take your time for yourself and pursue people and relationships when you have the energy and motivation!

Be honest and direct about your expectations. There are many different types of relationships ranging from platonic friendships to monogamous relationships to polyamorous relationships. A simple way to bring this up would be to state your dating goals and follow up by asking, “what kind of relationship are you looking for?”

Sometimes, you may not know what kind of relationship(s) you want – and that’s okay, too! However, it’s still important to clearly communicate your uncertainty by saying something to the effect of, “I’m not sure what I want right now, but I would like to get to know you more.”

Acknowledge the unknown. During a time of social distancing, staying connected and meeting up may be more challenging. Accept that you may not know how to proceed and things may feel awkward at times – and that’s okay! Consider that you may have to hit pause on the relationship and won’t be able to take next steps, like meeting in person.

Plan your time together and apart. Be intentional about spending your time together in meaningful ways.

But don’t expect your partner(s) to be your sole support system and vice-versa. Your partner(s) can’t fulfill all your emotional needs and this can generate a lot of pressure in a relationship. Remember to seek out other avenues of support from friends and family members and reserve time alone for yourself.

Resolve conflict in a healthy way. It’s okay to get angry, annoyed, or frustrated with your relationships – this can include family and friends – everyone does at some point! Take a short break and deep breaths when you feel upset. Return to the conversation when you and the other person feel calm. Remember, everyone deserves a safe and healthy environment to express how they feel. If you’re having trouble expressing your thoughts, try writing them down.

Practice safer sexting and virtual sex if you are not social distancing together.* Start by asking your partner(s) how they feel about sexting and virtual sex, what they are comforable with, what their boundaries are, and how they feel about spontenaity. Remember, not everyone is comfortable with sexting and virtual sex – and that’s okay!

And of course, always make sure you have your partner’s(s’) consent before sending any photos or texts or engaging in any virtual sex. Try phrases like, “you’ve been on mind… is now a good time to try sexting?” or “I want to send you an intimate picture just for you… is that okay?”

Be prepared for your partner(s) to say no or be disinterested. It might feel disappointing or hurtful at first, but it’s better to ask and be rejected, than to cross a boundary. Being easy to say no to and respecting boundaries can strengthen a relationship. Let your partner know you accept their refusal and move on to another subject or activity. Try saying, “that’s okay, tell me about your day instead,” or “maybe another time, want to pick a movie to watch?”

*Taking, sending, or receiving sexual pictures of someone under the age of 18 is generally illegal, even if the participants consented. 

Looking to connect? Try these! 

  • Cook a new recipe together.* 
  • Draw a portrait of each other.* 
  • Challenge each other to handstand, push up, or any movement competition.*  
  • Share pictures from your childhood.*  
  • Play a board game or work on a puzzle together. 
  • Learn a new dance together. 
  • Ask each other the 36 Questions That Lead To Love.* 

*Can also be done virtually. 

Check out more FREE virtual wellness and prevention classes, clinics, and tools hosted by the University Health Center at BeWellUGA at Home, brought to you by the UHC Health Promotion Department.

Written by: Camilla Herndon, Healthy Relationship Coordinator, The Fontaine Center / UHC Health Promotion