- There's no need to skip date night if you're social distancing with a partner because of the coronavirus, as keeping the spark alive doesn't have to mean having to leave the house.
- Insider spoke to two relationship experts about at-home date ideas, and the best practices for maintaining a healthy partnership during the outbreak.
- The key is to regularly schedule in time for yourself, and give each other breaks from constantly being together.
- Make time and effort to have dates at home, like breakfast in bed, game tournaments, or a flirty scavenger hunt.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more details.
When couples in China came out of a month-long quarantine to combat the coronavirus, the Global Times reported the city of Xi'an had a spike in the number of divorce cases being filed.
Whatever the reason was for those cases, being stuck inside with a partner day-in, day-out, perhaps working from home opposite each other, could potentially put a dampener on the flames of romance.
With the tools for maintaining a healthy relationship being limited because of social distancing, one way to maintain the relationship spark is by creating your own date nights without even leaving the house.
Relationship expert and certified dating coach Sami Wunder told Insider: "The first thing is to understand the importance of taking time off and giving each other a break. When we write about how to keep the romance alive or how to keep date night alive, it's very easy to assume it's all about spending a lot of time together.
"But that's actually the killer of romance, and the killer of attraction."
Dr. Melissa Robinson-Brown also stressed the importance of not living in each other's pockets.
She told Insider: "Schedule some 'me' time for each person in the relationship. While being together is amazing, being in someone else's space 24/7 can start to wear on the nerves.
Robinson-Brown continued: "As you dive into this quarantine period, talk to your partner about your 'me' time needs, including frequency, duration, and mode of getting that time. Be honest and open about these needs and frame it around your needs versus trying to get away from your partner."
With 'me' time in mind, here are 10 dates you plan with your partner without leaving the house.
Make a meal out of breakfast.
Make the most out of your mornings by having breakfast for two pre-working from home.
Wunder said: "Breakfast is when you generally get up, rush, and get out of the house. But this could be a really romantic time in the morning together where you can surprise your partner with a breakfast in bed."
You're heading for trouble if you or your partner have strong views on bedsheet crumbs though.
Have a floor picnic, balcony picnic, bed picnic, or any kind of picnic.
Google search "date ideas" and a picnic suggestion pops up nine times out of ten. It might seem a little basic, but eating your favorite snacky foods on a blanket can be a novelty if you bring the right energy.
Wunder said: "More than what you do, it's about the energy in which you do it.
"Do you feel excited to spend time with your partner? Do you make it just about them without any distractions? Do you put your phone away or are you still half-stuck in home life wearing a T-shirt, drinking wine, looking at your phone while your partner sits in front of you and you barely listen to what they are saying? Attention, presence, undivided listening all of those elements bring a lot of intimacy to a relationship and romantic interaction."
If you have a garden and the weather for it, you're sorted, but the picnic date idea is transferable to balconies, living room floors, or the bed.
Challenge your partner to a cook-off with random pantry ingredients.
"The beauty of this time together is that it doesn't have to look fancy, it doesn't have to cost a lot of money, yet it can still be a great intimate and romantic time together," Wunder told Insider.
If you have a few random cupboard supplies to spare, blindly select your ingredients and assign a time limit on each other to make something edible. This game can be adapted to suit what you have in storage and/or cooking ability.
Points for effort and creativity can be awarded at judges' discretion — you just need to decide who the judge is.
Do you dare to begin a board game tournament?
Getting a board game tournament started could be a fun way to entertain yourselves, but if someone wants to take a break from all of the organized activities then it's wise to let them be.
Wunder said: "If you become the partner who expects your other half to only spend time with you and do nothing else because both of you are home, I think that's an unrealistic expectation and that's going to put strain upon the relationship.
"Have realistic expectations of this is going to look like, and that includes making time for space and freedom for yourself and for your partner."
Tick off your movie bucket list with marathon screenings at home.
We've all got that Netflix list a mile long with saved films we'll get to "one day." Well, that day is today. Spending more time at home means both of you can get around to watching the movies you always said you would. Take it in turns one evening to each pick a flick off your "bucket list" and make the night extra special with a few finishing touches.
"It has to be a little exaggerated and dramatic as it's going to be inside of our homes, a place we know so well and most often take for granted, so there has to be an element of dramaticism and exaggeration there," said Wunder.
She continued: "Switch off the lights, pop some popcorn, and everyone sits down — make it special, make it a ritualistic thing, not just something you do randomly. Have intention and purpose."
Bring the spa to you with a face pack and a soothing playlist.
It's now easier than ever to recreate a relaxing spa experience in your home. A scented candle, face packs, a little massage oil, plus some tinkly pipe music from your preferred streaming service, and you're away.
"Communicate openly and be open to communication. This is an unprecedented time in our lifetimes and it will create a series of emotions," said Dr. Robinson-Brown.
She continued: "Partners will have different needs and given that you will likely be quarantined together, being able to talk about emotions, needs, and logistics is key to getting through this period."
Taking time to relax will aid those lines of communication so you can best navigate the current climate in ways that suit you both.
Break up the day with a sexy scavenger hunt.
The internet is littered with adult-themed scavenger hunt ideas, but at its core, the lightheartedness of the game can distract from the monotony of being cooped up at home.
Dr. Robinson-Brown added: "Have fun! Yes, you likely need to get work done and fulfill responsibilities. But that doesn't mean you can't have fun doing it.
"Plan a little mid-afternoon rendezvous where you get to enjoy each other physically before the wear and tear of a workday has you in bed by 9 p.m. Be silly together, play music, dream, and plan your fall getaway, or even arm wrestle for the best seat at the dining room table. Whatever it is, enjoy yourselves and let loose."
Virtually tour museums, attractions, and world wonders you always said you'd visit one day.
Although many museums, art centers, theatres, and attractions are closed during the coronavirus outbreak, some places have free virtual tours to explore from the comfort of your sofa.
Digitally walk through Main Street in Disney World, use Google Arts & Culture's Street View feature to virtually view the Guggenheim Museum, or watch an aquarium's live feed of fascinating marine life.
If you and your partner have ever talked about a trip to Paris with the aim of looking out from the top of the Eiffel Tower then you can do that too, and save yourself the flight.
Have a dress-fancy drinks party in your kitchen.
The temptation to opt for some form of comfy loungewear at home all day every day is tough to ignore since the outside world likely won't be seeing you for a while.
But follow the hallowed advice of Beyoncé by pulling out that "freakum dress" from the back of your closet (or a nice shirt works too) to remind your partner how good you scrub up. Honor the occasion with a semi-formal drinks party for you both, where you can make creative cocktails with whatever you've got at home.
Wunder said to Insider: "It's important in these scenarios you break the routine, so you don't want to be doing these things in your pajamas or t-shirt. You actually want to dress up for it, spray some perfume, smell good, and look nice — even though it's at home."
Sing your hearts out to karaoke songs.
If either you or your partner are great at singing, then joking around on microphones is not going to be much fun for the other person. But if you're both relatively bad to average in holding a tune while having bags of enthusiasm, singing karaoke songs into hairbrushes or the TV remote is a silly activity which could leave you both crying with laughter.
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