Sex & Relationships

What Lockdown 2.0 Means For Dating

The rules around support bubbles, social distancing, and the rest.

Pekic/Getty

On Oct. 31 Boris Johnson announced that England would be entering another national lockdown. This means that you may be going back to Zoom quizzes and socially distanced walks around the park. How very April 2020 of you. You may have seen more people over the last couple of months but the new rulings mean you’ll have to cut contact back down to your household or social bubble. This could add some serious complications to new dating situations. So, can you date during the second lockdown? If you’re not prepared to move in with your new crush then it’s time to get creative with how you can maintain that new spark

Thinking up creative date ideas can be hard. Under the new lockdown restrictions your hands are pretty much tied. From Nov. 5 the government has said people should stay at home except for specific purposes. You can meet one person from another household in an outdoor public space such as the park, beach, countryside, or public gardens but you can’t meet in a private garden. You can also form a support bubble with someone who lives alone. If this applies to you or the person you're dating, it could be a great way to keep things going.

“Embrace the idea of being in a support bubble. You’ve got to define where you’re at with each other in your relationship and you should be able to continue seeing each other to some degree,” says psychologist Emma Kenny, “this comes down to getting creative with how you date.”

If you’ve only just started dating someone the thought of making them your support bubble could seem a bit daunting. However, Kenny highlights that while it might seem chaotic right now you may also see quicker growth in your relationship. “Life and time mean more and that’s so important in a relationship so I wouldn’t underestimate how chaos can lead to creativity,” says Kenny, “some people have moved in together, take a risk.”

Cavan Images/Getty

However, relationship expert Emma Davey says there are some pitfalls to look out for if you choose to make your crush your support bubble. “You’ve got to watch how quick you move. You could become dependent on your crush within the month and when things go back to normal and life kicks back in you may notice codependent tendencies. I’d recommend taking it slower. Go for socially distanced outings together,” says Davey.

If you don’t feel ready to make your crush your support bubble then consider the date you’d normally do together but via video call. Get the ingredients to make the same meal and eat it together with a glass of wine. Put Hamilton on and watch it together over Zoom.

While there’s certain things you can do in different houses not being about to meet in a private space like your home puts a pause on the sexual side of your relationship. Sex logistics have been high on people’s mind during the pandemic and the government have said that overnight stays at other houses aren’t allowed. But foreplay can start outside the bedroom.

“Make sure you have full trust in your partner before having video or phone sex but you can talk about fantasies, plan to be together, and rest assured that you can have a deepening of connection even if you’re talking via video,” says Kenny, “it’s about utilising the technology you have.”

Westend61/Getty

Building up the confidence to approach intimacy with a partner when you’re dating online can be tough but Davey highlights that communication and trust is key. She explains that you can build a fantasy of being together by sending pictures and messages and then when you’re together there’s a level of excitement and anticipation.

Meeting someone you’re really into can be so rare and keeping a spark alive for a month without seeing each other face to face is scary. However, just because Netflix and chill is off the table until December doesn’t mean that you have to put everything on hold. You just need to ensure that there’s boundaries, trust, and respect in place before you start building anticipation for the next time you see each other.