Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, there have been a whole bunch of rules floating around about whether you can see your partner, with some people even emergency moving in together to avoid being separated during lockdown. But if you're not one of those couples and are trying to make a socially distanced relationship work, or you're delving into the world of online dating, trying to keep the spark when you can't see each other or touch might feel like an impossible task.
Luckily, there are some people who are experts on the topic - and that's the cast of Love Is Blind, who spent weeks bonding without ever seeing each other before deciding whether to get married. So, if they can't give 10/10 advice on how to build intimacy when you can't touch, then no one can. Here's what Lauren, Cameron, Giannina, Damian and Jessica have to say.
How to build a connection when you can't touch
Forming a deeper connection with somebody means being honest with them, always - but that's even more important if you're getting to know each other through conversation alone. "To truly connect with someone, you have to be transparent about how you feel about them, what your expectations are for them, and also who you are as a person," say Lauren and Cameron, while Damian says it's important to show your weaknesses as well as your strengths.
But don't be scared about opening up! If you've not met the person before, then "embrace the unique opportunity to get to know someone during quarantine," suggests Jessica. Because, realistically, you'll never chat to someone this long without meeting ever again.
Listen to each other and ask questions
As well as being vulnerable yourself, it's important to truly listen to the other person when they open up to you, too, say the cast. "It's amazing how much intimacy can be built when you're fully engaged in what your partner is saying," say Lauren and Cameron. And if you want to encourage your partner to open up, they suggest asking questions like, "When was the last time that you cried?" or "what do you want to accomplish in the next five years?" so you can better understand them.
Damian suggests asking practical things, like what their family life is like and whether they want kids. Meanwhile, Jessica recommends faith, beliefs and visions for the future as good topics to bring up. However, don't forget to keep it light sometimes, too, she says, even if it's just exchanging your favourite breeds of dog (very important).
Talk about sex and dating
Just because you can't actually have sex or be intimate with your partner doesn't mean you can't still talk about sexy things. Lauren and Cameron suggest starting with milder questions like, "What's your idea of a perfect date?" and work up to more intimate qus like, "What's one of your biggest sexual fantasies?" Plus, you're still able to send each other sexts, nudes or maybe even try video sex, if you want to.
Talking isn't the only way to form a connection without touching. Thankfully, lots of shops and online stores are still open, so Lauren and Cameron suggest sending the odd gift, whether it's flowers or food, or even something including some words of affirmation, if that's their love language.
And don't be afraid to experiment with other love languages, if touch is a big one for you, says Jessica. "It's important to get creative. Like, I sent a pillowcase with my perfume scent on it and gifts which had significant meaning between us," she explains. Plus, Giannina says that sending a surprise can go a long way.
Make use of technology
Unlike the Love Is Blind guys, you and the person you're interested in probably aren't confined to chatting in an empty room. There are loads of virtual activities you can do, whether it's sending pictures or videos, reading a book or watching a TV show at the same time together, or playing games, suggests Jessica ("Words with Friends is my fave!). You can even order a takeout of the same food and eat over video chat, says Damian, which could be the next best thing to an actual meal out.
Meanwhile, Giannina suggests getting a waterproof phone case and taking a virtual shower together, which honestly might be genius.
Plan for the future
One thing to keep you going while you can't see each other or be intimate is planning for the future, like working out a dream holiday to go on together, says Damian (probs what we're all doing right now). Or like Lauren and Cameron, "just constantly remind yourselves that seeing each other in person will be worth the wait."
Can not being able to touch make your bond stronger?
It might seem tough not being able to touch your partner, but there could actually be some perks to the situation. Giannina thinks it meant her and Damian could form an intellectual and emotional connection on completely new level. Plus, "distance really does make the heart grow fonder," she says. And according to Lauren and Cameron, "forming a bond without seeing the other person only enhanced our physical desire for each other." So rest assured that the post-lockdown sex will probs be amaze.
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