If distance makes the heart grow fonder, it’s around-the-clock time together that makes the mind grow… a little exasperated. Quarantine, and the unobstructed hours of working, living, sleeping and breathing in the same room can take a toll on even the healthiest of relationships. Maybe you’ve been with your partner for 20 years, or maybe you just gave them a drawer at your place. Either way, the struggle to find creative ways to create romance is all too real—but we have just the remedy. Browse our best ideas for changing up your routine and creating a “night out”, in! It’s officially a date.
1. Go on a scavenger hunt
Keep it confined to the home or make it a walk around town: creating a scavenger hunt will give you and your partner a reason to get up and active. Have it be a surprise to make the date extra-exciting. To set up, write a series of six or more clues, leading your partner to different nearby places— under their pillow at home, or to their favorite bench in the park. Each clue should lead to the place where the next clue is hidden, so make sure you hide them in order as you set up. In the hour before you plan to take them on the hunt, go hide the clues and with each, a little gift. We love: hiding a rose at each stop so your partner collects a full bouquet by the end of the hunt, or little inside-joke gifts that’ll have you both laughing as you explore.
2. Live stream a concert together
Just because your can’t get out to your local music venue doesn’t mean you can't rock out in each others’ company! In response to cancelled tours and festivals, more and more artists are hosting mini concerts and live-streamed conversations with fans straight from their living rooms. And while nothing beats the energy of an in-person concert, these sessions are offering fans close-up, intimate moments shared with an entire network of fans all tuning in together. Catch artists like St. Vincent casually chatting with fans on her Instagram Live, or H.E.R.’s weekly “Girls with Guitars” Instagram series, where she jams and talks music with surprise guests like Sheryl Crow, Willow Smith, and Melissa Etheridge. Browse NPR’s daily list of virtual concerts to decide on your show, then put on your edgiest concert attire and grab some G&Ts to really embrace the scene.
3. Set up a photoshoot
Lack of haircuts aside, you two should have everything you need for a photography date right at home. Yes, you’ll have some new content for your social feed, but the best part about this date is that it gives you a way to appreciate and ogle your partner through a new lens—literally! Create a set filled with props and places to pose—perhaps with a chair and string lights under your backyard tree, or a boudoir-style setup in the bedroom. Get goofy with it and dress and prop for a theme, like western outlaw or creepy carnival, if you’re more the theatrical type.
4. Read to each other
If your partner loves to be coddled, reading out loud may be the perfect way to feel close. Cuddle up on the couch and bring out your favorite childhood classic for a nostalgic read-aloud, or pick something steamier for a night of adult fun.
5. Give them a virtual tour of a museum
Take this a step above browsing through a museums’ 360-degree views of rooms and do a little research ahead of time. If your partner is an art guru, learn up on a painter or sculptor you think they’ll love, then give them a tour of their work while adding in your own researched fun facts and background info. Did you know Van Gough painted Starry Night while living in an asylum? Your partner probably didn't either. Take them on a tour of the Van Gough Museum in Amsterdam and blow their mind with more bizarre trivia. If they’re more an animal than an art person, zoos and aquariums like the San Diego Zoo and Monterey Bay Aquarium have live cams streaming pandas, tigers, sharks, and other adorable critters.
6. Put together a custom puzzle
Ask your partner to join you for a game night—but instead of whipping out Monopoly or Scrabble, try tackling a custom-printed puzzle. Shutterfly lets you pick your puzzle size and number of pieces, then prints the photo(s) of your choosing onto perfectly-glossy puzzle pieces. The box arrives with a print of your reference photo on the lid, but take the picture off before showing your partner for an even more surprising and tricky game. Choose a photo to print that’ll get a laugh once the puzzle's done: a close-up of your cat’s face, or an awkward family photo.
7. Stage a restaurant dinner
Support local business and get a little fancy with a dinner-date, homestyle. Order in calamari from that Italian spot you’ve been dying to try, or get takeout from your first-date sushi bar, then decorate to match. Rather than eat in the dining room or the kitchen like typical, set up a small table in the living room or another cozy space at home so this night feels special. Hang lights, set up candles, turn on the mood music, and lay out a menu for full effect. (You can create and print your own at Canva or go hand-drawn for something less formal.) If you have kids that want to get involved, give them roles as waiters or musicians and make an agreement to stick to the fantasy all the way through dinner.
8. Give back together
Sometimes, the best way to bond is to take the attention off each other and help someone in need. Make a plan to donate meals to your local hospital’s healthcare workers, put together lunch bags and deliver them to homeless shelters, or sew masks for the elderly. You'll feel accomplished, and connected to both your community and each other.