For the single introverts among us, lockdown might seem like the perfect opportunity to re-charge our social batteries and have some much needed alone-time. But no, thanks to the wonders of technology and just how damn adaptable human beings are, virtual dating has totally become a thing.
For better or for worse, people are dating just as much as ever – albeit through a screen. So if you’re using dating apps during lockdown, arranging video dates and looking for virtual date ideas, here’s a handy guide on how to stay safe and how to ace virtual dating.
Make a damn effort
Act as if the date was in person and get ready accordingly. Shower if you haven’t already that day — it’ll make you feel a lot better — and put on your favorite outfit. Even if it’s not seasonally appropriate, who cares? Wear the sundress pushed all the way back in your closet. Put on makeup if that’s your thing, and do your hair.
It makes all the difference not only in how you present yourself but by how you perceive yourself. You’ll feel better on the date, more like your “usual” self.
Figure out your camera setup beforehand
Pro-tip: Do all this the day before, or at least an hour before, the date starts. That way you’re not scrambling and worrying about your angles. Decide if you’re going to use your phone or computer. Put it at eye-level, if possible. If you’re using a laptop, you can place it on a stack of books, but you can also DIY it by leaning your phone against your laptop screen (which can have its own book stack setup) or anything else you can find.
And…lighting…lighting….lighting! Set yourself up with some good, flattering lighting before you start the call. Find a place that’s the most flattering in your house. Be sure you’re not backlit by a window which can wash out your face.
Simulate real date ideas
Although you obviously can’t “grab a drink” together, you can simulate that. Text before the date and decide if you’ll be drinking wine, coffee, or eating dinner “together.” You can even do a twist on “Netflix and chill,” simultaneously using Netflix’s “party” function; if you go that route, choose something campy or that you’ve both seen before so you can chat easily during it.
Trust your instincts
“A nip slip may not be appropriate for a date with a new person,” Moraya DeGeare, a licensed marriage and family therapist, joked to Refinery 29. “It’s modern times, so I think there will be the temptation for people to be really bold and ask about FaceTime sex. People are horny and trapped in their houses. On one hand, that’s okay, but on the other, you’re risking someone taking screenshots,” she cautions. “Listen to your intuition and don’t do something you don’t feel comfortable with.”
She adds that you shouldn’t take the call from bed, because “you’re immediately sending all these other signals unintentionally.” Generally, she says you should conduct the date as you would in person.
Expect awkwardness to happen, because it will happen
Awkwardness isn’t necessarily a bad thing and, when dating is involved, it’s inevitable. First dates in real life have their own clumsy moments, so don’t beat yourself up if your camera freezes for a moment, or if you talk over the other person. It’s going to happen! Just laugh about it and move on.
Stay safe and comfortable
Although it may seem like common sense, being cooped up inside for so long has left many of us lacking some of the most basic people skills. Remember to not give out any of your personal details – think home address and bank details – and watch out for any suspicious links that might come through in the chat.
Before the date, it’s also a good idea to do some recon on your date’s social media to make sure they are who they say they are. Also, don’t show your face on camera if they’re not showing theirs, that’s a serious red flag.
And lastly, know that you can end the date whenever you want to. You don’t owe anybody anything and it’s totally fine if you’re feeling uncomfortable or in danger to just end the call. But remember, basic dating etiquete also still remains so don’t just close your computer screen without saying goodbye because you’re just not feeling the vibe.
When it comes to love and the lengths we’re willing to go to pursue it, is it possible that Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” defines the terms? In short, is there really a mountain too high to climb, a country too far to move to?
Recently, we came across a thread on Reddit that essentially defined the answer to this.
A user on Reddit asked women if it was worth moving to another country for love.
And the answers were pretty eyeopening.
Check them out below!
“He dumped me and I found myself alone in a foreign country. My nearest family was hours away, and my entire friend circle was through him. I was completely on my own, no family, no friends, nowhere to live.” –NotaFrenchMaid
“Hope you’re ok now. I moved round the world for a man and luckily it turned out well but I did worry about something like this happening. That was a crappy thing to do to you.” –57thofhername
“TBH that sounds fun. I mean probably not fun for the first couple of days or weeks but once you got the basic living situation figured out, it is a new exciting adventure.” –Internet-Troll
“I’m still here after almost 17 years, we’re still married, have two kids, I have dual citizenship and a career I love.” –
“I met him because he was my waiter (typically sad) but felt like I had met him before. We stayed in contact after my holiday and I went back to Spain to see him again, he came to England not long after that,he proposed I accepted and before I know it I’m moving to Spain. Very difficult after that but well worth it, he’s my my best friend and my soul mate have moved back to my home town and he is more popular than me here LOL.”- Jellytots977
“Moved from the US to Germany. Married almost 6 years, have a beautiful 2 year old, and I job I like (some days love). Better water and food standards, more affordable healthcare, better work/life balance, etc.
It’s not all roses. I do miss my family immensely and I’m always a little bit of a fish out of water. I’ll probably never totally fit in since I was born and raised in a different culture/language.”- khelwen
“Curious: Do you live in a Kleinstadt, Grosstadt, Dorf? How accepting are locals of you being American?”- PickOrChoose
“He turned out to be a lying asshole. I ended up back in my home country with no recent work history to be able to get a job, no friends as they’d all moved on, I lost half my possessions, and a few years older my chance to have children was greatly reduced following the whole thing.”- JayKayVay
“Fell in love with a bartender while on holiday. We dated long distance, exchanged letters, made plans to marry…it lasted 3 weeks after I actually arrived. No regrets though, it makes for a great story and the romance was incredible at the beginning. Life is too short for “what ifs” imo!”-brijaytee
“Absolutely awful. Worst mistake I ever made. Ignored a shitload of red flags, uprooted my life, ended up miserable and isolated for five years until I finally got the courage to divorce him and move home. Had to start my life all over again at 30something (which is for the best, but still – wish I could have learned the things I know now without going through the traumatic experience).”-
“Iwish I could have learned the things I know now without going through the traumatic experience. That would be the secret to life.”- whuttheeperson
“This is about how it ended up for my sister – she ended up incredibly isolated, financially/emotionally abused, and had to beg family (aka me) for a flight home while waiting for her divorce to be finalized.
She learned little to nothing from the experience, moved back to the same country to move in with a significantly younger guy (he was 17 when they started an emotional affair online, 18 when she moved there to live with him and his parents) and is currently making her way through a series of other, equally young guys while going to college and living in a studio apartment.
No one has her address, just what country she’s in, and she only contacts us to ask for money.”-
“Turned out pretty perfect. I moved to be with him for almost 7 years. Had our first child there, then when I was pregnant with #2 moved back to my country and had one last kid. Coming up on our 10 year visa marriage in June and 5.5 years since we had the wedding we wanted. We are blissfully happy. He eventually wants us to move back to the US. I think we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”-
“Absolutely terrible, I ignored the red flags (lies, emotional abuse and probably cheating) cause I was so in love and got pregnant too quickly (surprise!). I moved from a great independent life in France to go to the US where I was locked in the house without a car (no money) and no possibility to get a job (I had access only to minimum wage jobs cause I didn’t had money for my diploma equivalence and had to pay daycare if I wanted to work cause he couldn’t give me any schedule) he would regularly say I was lazy and since I didn’t had any money to pay the bills or rent I wasn’t allowed to have any opinions different than his. I was here to be his french maid.
I love my son more than anything in the world but if I was on my own I would have totally ditch that jerk earlier, emotional abuse turned quickly physical and of course listening to him all of it is my fault, he is the poor victim of my crazyness. I’m slowly getting back on my feet with the help of my family but I will be forever linked to him since he is the father of my child. Luckily he agreed on a divorce but between 2 countries and with a child (and no money still) I don’t know how we’re gonna make it.
I was dreaming of a love story without frontiers and bilingual children, I guess my only kid is bilingual but I really feel bad for putting him in that situation, and love stories are only in Disney movies. At least I learned a metric crap tonne from my huge mistakes!” –lulamee
“Moved from Australia to America to marry my American husband. We’ve been married about 3.5 years now and we have a baby girl!
I miss Australia heaps. But my husband and baby are worth it.”-
“Not my own story per se, but my mother moved countries for love and I consequently had to move with her. She divorced my dad in the end and wanted to go back to our home country but I had started school and made friends here already. We both ended up staying and honestly regardless of how hard things have been, it made our relationship stronger and changed our lives for the better.”- alealexzya
“I left him after 8 months and stayed for another two years. Was a very educational experience but I’m glad we broke up when we did.”-babypig67
“He dumped me in the middle of rural Qld literally just after we’d moved away from all my friends and a job I loved. You don’t realise how resilient you are until you have no one to rely on, no money and no way home on the opposite side of the world to your family. His mom bought him a ticket home, I got my head down and worked my way home, actually ended up making new friends along the way. He did me a favour. 0/10 for the love, 10/10 would visit those countries again.”-whirler_girl
“I moved from Canada to the US almost 5 years ago. I’ve never regretted it but the health insurance thing is way worse/more confusing than I was prepared for. We definitely plan on retiring in Canada for the health insurance.
Edit: I should note that I never once said “for the FREE health insurance”. Health care in the US is bad for reasons other than expense.” – hatredcrayon
“I moved to Canada from the US for the love… of health insurance, does this count?”-star9ho
“Turned out okay. We’re still married and trying to figure this adult thing out. Visa application is coming up soon so we’re both really stressed. Could be better but I don’t see how it could get worse.”- djtrgirluk
“Not me, but I studied abroad in England, at a campus that held a small group from two different universities in America. When I went, there were 20ish of us from the one campus, and one from the other, a girl who became my best friend while we were there. Now, her express purpose in studying abroad was to hook up with foreign hot guys, and she committed to this with aplomb. Every country we visited, she found the hottest guy and added a notch to her bedpost. Then, when were were nearing the end of the semester, a new guy moved to our village. When I say village, I mean that the college campus was situated at the edge of a congregation of thatched-roof houses that had been there since the Norman conquest. The nearest town was 2 miles away and also a very small town. We met this guy when he was newly arrived back at the village at the local pub. He told us that he was engaged and that his fiancee was in South Africa and flying back to England the following week… I expressed my concern, because sleeping around is one thing, cheating is another, but she didn’t seem to care. It caused a bit of a falling out, but since it was the end of our semester and we lived in different states back home, the idea of losing each others’ friendship didn’t seem like as big of a deal as it might have. We did eventually reconcile and I have seen her a number of times in the years since. BUT the thing is that I was totally wrong. The dude dumped his fiancee as soon as she arrived, and made things official with my friend. She ended up staying in England, never flew back with the rest of us, and has been living in that tiny village the last 13 years. They celebrated their ten year wedding anniversary, according to Facebook, a few weeks ago. I didn’t go to the wedding, despite the fact that she joked while we were arguing that night 13 years ago that I would be her maid of honor when ‘[he]’ turned out to be the One.”-MelissaOfTroy
“Great! We have been together for 8 years, lived in three different countries, married for 2 years, and just had our first kid a month ago.”-Monztur
“I moved temporarily, not permanently. Found him “browsing” Tinder ‘just for fun’ in the second month. Salvaged the rest of my time there but was pretty happy to GTFO.”- seracserac
“Yep still good. We work together to build the life we want. It’s a success mainly because we don’t have kids.”- modmodmot
“Eventually I realized I wasn’t actually in love, and actually was definitely a lesbian, and I broke up with him and moved back to my home country. I did meet a lot of good people and master another language and really get to know a very wonderful city and country in the process though, so I don’t really regret it.” – sillysandhouse
“It is great. We have been living together for 4 years and planning to spend the rest of our lives together. I don’t regret moving for him.”- Tynulinka
“Three years here. So far so good. Even in the event the relationship comes to an end, I plan to stay. Much better options here than home country.”-JgJay21
“His true colours showed. He was possessive, abusive and controlling. I ended up having to plan an elaborate escape back home.”- Reddit user
“He had an affair in the first month and knocked her up. So not too good.”-lydiakks
“Not me, but my friend and then-roommate. She moved from NYC to Mexico to be with her former high school boyfriend with whom she had reconnected (he went to school in the US, where his father lives still, but was originally from Mexico and the rest of his family lived there).
Turns out the family was involved in drug cartels. He was totally nuts. Threatened her with a gun when they got into a fight. Needless to say she hopped on a plane back to the US ASAP (luckily she had the resources to do so and his sister was sympathetic to her plight). Crazy times.”- anarttoeverything
“It turned out very badly. The lowest time of my life. I went on antidepressants to prevent suicide. Finally got out of that shitshow, came back to the States and started over from nothing. Romance blows goats.” –inertiaqueen
“We are now on our fifth year together. He first moved to my country for half a year, but It was very hard to find him a job there. So he went back, bought a house in his home country, and I moved to him. It has been ups and downs for both of us, a very steep learning curve for sure. It was so worth it!
If I could go back I would tell myself to plan better. Figure out all the practical things before leaving a system I understand and know. Double check rights, taxes and regulations etc. Learn more of the language before going as well. everyone speaks english, sure, but it is exhausting beeing out of the loop when trying to adjust to a place your parther is fully at home…and you know only him/her.
Even with those (and other) hurdles, it has so far worked out. But only because we both put in the effort to make it so, growing together and not apart.”-SaltyDelirium
“great. though…he’s from my home country. he was abroad doing his phD. we’ve been married 11 years now and are on our 4th country (which is back home and we’re here to stay). i wouldn’t have traded that craziness for anything, but being an ex-pat is really tough.”-paddletothesea
“It’s amazing tbh. I thought I came to live in a different continent because I followed a guy. But after several years and the relationship went awry, I am still living in the same continent because ostensibly I enjoy living my freedom here. Currently starting to think that I came here because this continent wants me to be here, lol love how my confirmation bias works out well.”- vivisectioned
“My mom did, Israel to the US. She hated every second of it – had seasonal affective disorder, general depression, developed arthritis from the cold, and IBS from being constantly stressed and depressed. She and my dad got divorced and she moved back to Israel, and all of her ailments – mental and physical- have completely disappeared.”-victoriyas
“I had my eyes wide open and a flashlight on, searching for any red flags. Couldn’t find any, took a leap of faith and 3y later, we’re married and I’m pregnant and crazy in love. Best man I ever met in my whole life.”- N-amPleaca
“Tell us more! Did you vet him before or after you have moved? How long did it take for you to realize he didn’t have any red flags, and it’s time to take that leap of faith?
“I mean that relationship endly let’s just say badly. By then I had started my degree and had job I loved so I stayed regardless and worked my ass off to make ends meet.
I am still here, finished my degree, still in the job, in a relationship with an amazing man, have been for over 2 years. We have a home together and dog!”- maybe-mel
“Been here over 20 years now. Love my new country, and still going strong with SO. Looking back it feels like a crazy risk to take, but best adventure I ever did.”- Shellgi
“Married 6 years. 3 kids. Definitely more challenging than if we were from the same place but absolutely doable. He was lonely for a while and I’m an introvert so we both had to change a little bit here and there. Different cultures are also tricky to deal with but if both of you wants to and can be honest with each other, it can be a really great opportunity for growth.”-lady888
“Took several years but everything worked out.”-creepmouse
“I moved to the US from Canada to marry my wife. We met online and became fast friends, eventually realizing we had feelings for each other. I moved here 3 years ago and we just had our first baby so I’d say things are going pretty well!”-tassieke
“It’s a nightmare. I moved from Europe to the US, I had been here before for 3 years, I moved jobs within my company, but I hate the work culture. For the first 6 months I tried to fit in and for the last 6 months I’ve been drafting CV after CV and done some interviews. Meanwhile my husband agreed to a job where he is gone for most of the day and weekends, when he is home he sleeps a lot and does not his fair share of household chores. Besides one year as a struggling teenager, this has been the worst year of my life. I feel depressed and cry a lot. I used to cry maybe once or twice a year. I don’t even know who I am anymore. Might be going back to my home country.”- Individualchaotin
“He wasn’t the original reason I came but he’s why I came back and stayed. We’ll be married five years in November.”-ITS_A_GUNDAAAM
“I moved from the Netherlands to France, so the distance I closed wasn’t as great as the distances from some of the ladies here, but it was an extreme culture shock nonetheless. Learning French is hard and my SO tries his best to help with everything, but doesn’t really know how to tackle the situation. I’m okay and everything is relatively okay, but I really wished I could’ve prepared myself better before comming.”-caprinatural
“For me, it worked out great – we’ve been together for 7 years! I met my boyfriend in Taiwan while we were both exchange students. I’m American, he’s German, and we had to go back to our respective countries at the end of the year and do long distance for a while before I decided to move to Germany.
It was important, though, that I didn’t move ONLY for love – there were other reasons that moving appealed to me. I enjoy being abroad, wasn’t happy at the university I was attending, and wanted a degree from the university system in Germany because I liked it better than the American one. I also came here as an exchange student for a year before ultimately deciding to move. If I had hated it here or had no prospects, I may still have been dumb enough to move for love (I was 20), but I doubt it would have worked out so well.”-thewhitewallisblue
“I’m from the US, moved to Colombia to be with my long-distance-relationship boyfriend of a year and a half whom I’d met online back when the online dating thing was still considered risky, lol.
I’ve lived here 10 years, married 5 of them, and we have 2 kids. It was definitely a bit of a culture shock and took some time to adjust and learn the language and find a new career path (self employed).
Sometimes it’s been hard. I miss the little things like my local potato chips and iced tea. My home town annual fair. Christmas and Thanksgiving with my family. Pregnancy and birth without my mom.
All in all, I love my life and if I could do it over again I wouldn’t change a thing.
Of course YMMV. My advice, especially if it’s a LDR or new relationship, would be to make sure you always have enough money in the bank to buy a one way ticket home, someone who can pick you up at the airport, and someone you can stay with should things go to shit and you want or need to leave.
ETA I think the weirdest thing about it is my mind for some reason expected time to have just stops while I was gone so it really smacked me in the face when I realized it hadn’t. I didn’t visit the US for the first seven years (no money) so after 7 years seeing my parents for the first time and realizing how much they had aged ( hair had turned snow white, faces considerably saggy, mom now has a walker ) was…. Definitely hard. I had a niece and nephew that had been preteen/teen when I left and suddenly they’re all grown up and one in the army and the other all formal and shaking my hand like a businessmen. Another nephew who was 3 when I left and used to babysit didn’t even remember me when I came back. I had another niece and nephew that I’d never even met as they were born after I had left.”- My_Frozen_Heart
“Perfect! My husband is my everything! The only thing I would change if I had to do it all over is marry him sooner. And skip the long distance part.” – LovedbyHim
“We both did it at one point or another. We met at university in America while he was there for just a year. He decided to transfer to that university completely to be with me. Once we both graduated we decided to move to his home country (England). I had always wanted to live in another country, my job was ending, he had just graduated, it was time for a change.
We get married 3 weeks from Saturday & have moved in to our own house here! His friends & family have been incredibly supportive, especially since I can’t work until after the wedding. We’re going on 5 years together, about half has been long distance for one reason or another, but my life is so much better with him in it!”- pearsmir13
“Met my boyfriend in Europe, we fell absolutely in love- I lived in LA at the time. I extended my plans and spent a month travelling with him, we were together 24/7. I got home and immediately planned to move to London where he lives because my job allows me to.
Next thing you know I’ve taken the giant leap, against what my family and friends were advising, they weren’t really discouraging but definitely not encouraging either..
And we moved right in together, unintentionally at first, but things were just working out so well.. we’ve never had a fight or an we couldn’t get through together.
We’ve been together nearly 4 years now and frankly, it was the best and most courageous decision I’ve ever made.” –thoughtpixie
“Not me, I’m just here for the karma. My brother married someone from out of country and it’s been great for them. The lived in opposite sides of NA, one from California and the other in the french Canadian east side. 5 years and they’re still together; I usually just buy them food or something.”-kaqn
“Bad, turned out being together just made things worse. I initiated the final break up after 6 months of being in the country. But, after all the mess of moving on and such, I found someone who is a much much better match for me. This relationship is my healthiest one. So I guess, it ended up well too. Things fell into place.”-throwawaylikemylifee
“My sister moved to Wales for love. They are still together 19 years later, but they are struggling financially and the whole Brexit debacle is taking a toll.” –ApocaLiz
“Well, since I’ve moved on completely from the relationship part, it doesn’t feel that bad anymore. i got to live in another country, i met some amazing people, experienced things that make me feel incredibly lucky. When it ended, the grief was immeasurable. But now all I have are some of the greatest memories of my life. Would I do it again? In a fucking heartbeat.”- torithebutcher
“Ended up in divorce. I stayed in the new country, he decided he wanted a new country experience too and moved somewhere else. I love it here now…” –crissyhatescold
“It’s a wretched idea. I know of very few marriages where this worked out, and even the happy ones have difficulties that you wouldn’t find, just due to the cultural/language differences.”- Magnolia_Mystery
“Absolutely wonderful! We met while he was in my country on vacation and quickly fell for each other. He went back, we spoke nonstop on the phone for a month before he surprised me with a plane ticket to come see him. Its been 6 months since I’ve officially moved. Now I’m learning a second language and meeting so many new people – his friends and family are incredible and so much fun. I’ve gone back to the homeland for a visit once to touch base with family and friends which really helped. Next time we are flying back together so he can officially meet the fam. We actually got engaged recently and I couldn’t be happier!”-BTLstargalactibeets