Tips from a Long-Distance Relationship Survivor

By: Stefnie Howley

COVID-19 has caused havoc in every aspect of life, and relationships are no exception. While some couples are getting used to being with their partner 24/7 (buh-bye privacy!), others are adjusting to the exact opposite.

As a Certified Dating Expert at Match, I can provide lots of advice on dealing with separation from a significant other. But my best tips come from firsthand experience.

When I first met my husband, he was in the Navy and I was working for a company that had me traveling a minimum of 16 days every month. For the first two years, we spent more time apart than together. Here’s what I learned:

1. Communication is key. It may sound cliché, but communication is now more important than ever. Lucky for you, there are also more ways to communicate than ever. In addition to the good ole-fashioned call, email and text, you can send videos and photos, or just hop on FaceTime or Skype.

Another important note: Don’t jump to conclusions if the person doesn’t respond right away, or in the way you were expecting. This is where knowing your partner’s communication style can also help. Some have no trouble spilling their heart via text, while others need to be face-to-face to feel comfortable.

2. Set expectations. Speaking of communication, it’s important to be clear on your expectations for it. Maybe you establish that one of you always calls or texts before bed, or first thing in the morning. Or maybe you establish a system where if you call two times in a row, it’s an emergency. Whatever it is, don’t make it a guessing game.

3. Know each other’s love language. Heard of the 5 Love Languages? If not, this would be a fun quiz for you and your partner to do together. Knowing whether someone craves words of affirmation, gifts or acts of service is an easy way to ensure you’re showing the love they’re looking for from far away.  

4. Get creative. Despite your current distance, there are still plenty of ways to feel connected. And we’re not just talking about hopping on FaceTime. Buy the same puzzle and have a race to see who can finish first. Try a new recipe and have a cook-off in your respective kitchens. Exchange playlists to keep each other company. You can even go old school by sending a handwritten card or letter. Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone a bit.

Need more tips, or have a specific question about #DatingWhileDistancing? Ask one of our certified Dating Experts, and see what other advice they’re sharing with fellow singles today.

Upgrade Your Virtual Dates

By: Katie Wilson

Struggling to find conversation starters now that, “what are you up to this weekend?” is a no-go? We don’t blame you. Dating while distancing is going to require you to rethink your go-to lines and your upcoming date plans. But fear not!

We’ve spent the last week talking to singles to get the inside scoop on what’s working and what’s not. The key to virtual dating is keeping momentum going and getting creative. See below for a list of conversation tips and virtual date ideas that will set you apart from the rest.

Conversation Tips:

  • Keep it positive. We know it’s tempting given the state of the world right now, but no need to dwell on heavy or negative topics right out the gate.
  • Stay away from politics. Everyone is feeling especially politically charged right now, and while politics are important, we recommend broaching it after you’ve established a connection.
  • Come up with fresh conversation starters in advance. Everyone will naturally have less to talk about due to staying in, so take initiative and come prepared with some fresh conversation topics. Favorite thing about staying in, best new show on Netflix, new favorite recipe…it’s all fair game!  

Virtual Dating Ideas:

  • Download an interactive game and play together. Winner buys dinner on your next IRL date?
  • Share your favorite things. Grab a few of your favorite items from around your house and share why you love them so much. (Pssst…this might be the time to leave your favorite stuffed animal from childhood in the box.)
  • Paint and wine night. Agree on a subject to paint, crack open a bottle of wine and get to work. Prepare for spilled paint and lots of laughs.
  • Introduce one another to your respective pets. Because who doesn’t want to show off their favorite furry friend?
  • Compare travel bucket lists. Bonus points if you trade photos of some of the places on your list.
  • Share a tour of your home. If you feel comfortable, this is the perfect time to show off that space you’ve been cleaning and organizing while stuck inside.  
  • Go on a virtual tour of a zoo together. No seriously, these exist!
  • Take a virtual yoga class together. Yes, these exist too. And those who sweat together, stay together, right?

Got a specific question about #DatingWhileDistancing? Ask one of our certified Dating Experts, and see what other advice they’re sharing with fellow singles today.

10 Tips for Mastering Video Dates

By: Bela Gandhi, Dating Expert & Smart Dating Academy Founder

The scare of COVID-19 has taken over the planet and quickly changed our everyday routines. Unfortunately, dating isn’t an exception. While it’s evident that going out for dinner and a movie is currently out of the question, there’s a bright side. You can now date more, date better and cheaper than ever!

Here are 10 simple steps: 

1) Embrace a virtual date: Forget about the in-person first dates! Skyping, FaceTime, Zoom and video platforms have quickly become the “new normal.”

2) Choose the right backdrop: Pile of dirty clothes? Make sure those are out of the frame. Just like the ambiance of a restaurant can set the tone of a date, so can where you sit in your house. Choose a space that’s clean, well-decorated and, most importantly, well-lit.

3) Dress accordingly: Get ready just like you would for an actual date. Ladies, get out of the yoga clothes and put your berry lip on. Guys, grab a comb and clean shirt. Yup, I said it.

4) Don’t forget to do a video and sound check: This is a great way to avoid any technical difficulties during the actual date. It also allows you to see what you’ll look like in the camera and test out your facial expressions. (No RBF!) 

5) Get something to sip on: Make your favorite drink – whether it’s a cocktail, mocktail or tea – so it feels like a real date. It will also give you something to do with your hands if you feel nervous.

6) Prepare a few questions: Having great questions to ask in your back pocket is always a good idea, whether you’re meeting online or in person. 

7) Stay positive: It might be tempting to discuss the gloom and doom that’s going on around us, but don’t let this dominate the conversation. You want the other person to walk away feeling happy and excited, not like they just watched a depressing news segment. 

8) Timing is everything: Remember that a successful FaceTime can be as little as 20-30 minutes. So don’t feel you have to stay on the phone all night in order to call it a success.

9) Schedule another virtual date: If all goes well, don’t be afraid to tell them you’d like to “meet” again. You can stick to another easy FaceTime, or plan an activity, like cooking via Skype. 

10) Plan for the future: You’re not going to be stuck at home forever. Keep each other excited by discussing what activities or restaurants you’d like to enjoy together when you can finally meet in person.

Use this extra time at home to your advantage – put yourself out there and open your mind the possibility of making a real connection. I think that’s something we all need right now. If you have additional questions, visit Dating While Distancing or call our free hotline at 1-888-302-6224.  If you’d like to work with Bela at Smart Dating Academy, and/or download their FREE guide called “7 Clues You’re Dating a Narcissist” go to www.smartdatingacademy.com.  This will ensure you fix your picker while you date!  Or follow them on IG @smartdatingacademy. 

Dating While Distancing

Rachel DeAlto, Chief Dating Expert

The world has changed seemingly overnight and with social distancing and isolation being the new normal, singles have been posing the question – do I still try and date?

Yes! 100%. We humans have a biological desire and need for companionship. Even a global pandemic doesn’t stop that. The trick is to look at dating differently. We are kicking off a new blog series, Dating While Distancing, to support singles during this time. We will talk to success couples who made long distance work and dating experts talking to daters every day about their struggles sharing tips and tricks to make virtual dating fun and effective. Just as students are now being required to look at learning in a new way, singles need to rethink how they date.

How do we do that? I have some ideas.

  1. Be more mindful with your profile. We talk about your profile a lot, but I know most daters just want to get rolling and end up not really paying much attention to what they write. Heck, half the time people barely write anything at all. Turns out, when you can’t really go anywhere, you have plenty of time go through your profile! Get intentional about who you are looking for and what you offer. Take some new pics outdoors (and 6ft away from anyone else). Review your profile from the perspective of your ideal partner – does anything strike you as off putting?
  2. Bringing courtship back. If people can fall in love blindly in a pod, you can connect with someone through screens until you can meet in person. I’ve always been a proponent of getting offline as soon as everyone feels comfortable, but that just isn’t feasible right now – so we pivot! Create coffee dates and happy hours over Facetime or Zoom. Talk on the phone. Send funny memes. Ask questions to really get to know each other. While the physical is important, real relationships are built on a foundation of emotional intimacy, and that has not been cancelled!
  3. Get creative with conversations. One of the benefits of being behind a screen is that some conversations are actually less awkward! One of my favorite list of questions are the well-known “36 Questions to Fall in Love.” You don’t have to go through the entire list with every potential suitor (uh, that’s a LOT of love), but pick and choose some as a conversation starter (or propeller). They range from fun to deep, but all are great for getting to know someone.
  4. Don’t overdo the convos though. In “normal” life we have a lot going on! You have work to go to, the gym, events, etc. Now? Not so much. That does not mean it’s a good idea to spend every waking moment talking to your new paramour. You can still get out of conversations by having to go do something, ie. Walk the dog, feed a kid, call your boss, workout. Limit initial video dates to 45 minutes to an hour. Don’t text nonstop all day. Leave some room for mystery.
  5. Get ready for video. These are still first dates! Even if they are virtual. Put yourself together (at least from the waist up) as if you are going on an in person first date. Find somewhere in your space with a clean background (no one needs to see you haven’t been keeping up with your laundry) and good lighting. Position the camera at least 2 feet away if you can (you can always prop your phone on something and find a flattering angle before you start.

We at Match are here for you as we all learn to navigate a new path. Have questions? Let us know!

Spring Spike: How to Rejoin the Dating Scene this Season

Whether you’re back on the market after a breakup or are just getting serious about dating following a busy winter, a new season provides the perfect time to get your dating life off to a fresh start. And what better time than now? With the snow and ice beginning to melt away, spring inspires singles to embrace the sunshine and warm up to new possibilities.

We caught up with Rachel DeAlto – celebrated relationship expert and media personality – on her top tips for rejoining the dating scene.

  • Learn from the past: While we’re often encouraged to just “forgive and forget,” the past can actually help us prepare for the future. People have preferences for certain traits and characteristics, and you should be cognizant of what did and did not work in previous relationships. This helps you make informed decisions about which traits to look out for and which to avoid.
  • Set your intentions: Before racing off to your first date, figure out the type of romance you’re looking for. Maybe it’s a committed relationship with a long-term plan; maybe it’s just a plus one to attend all those upcoming weddings with. While it’s great to be open-minded, it’s important to have at least some clear goals for what you’re looking for and why. These can not only keep you motivated and moving through the inevitable highs and lows of dating, but also ensure you don’t settle.
  • The art of multi-dating: You read that right. Go on a maximum of two to three dates with different people per week. While it might be tempting to turn every day into date night, dating shouldn’t become your fulltime job. You still need time for yourself.
  • Scheduling the next date: Give it at least a couple of days between two dates with one person. There can be a rush to love where you want to see each other as much as possible, but keep in mind that the hottest fires burn out the fastest. Let it breathe.

According to DeAlto, there’s no green light that goes on when you’re ready to date. So, pay attention to your mindset and be true to what you want as you get back out there.