Coronavirus doesn't have to cancel romance: 7 summer date ideas for couples in quarantine

Charles Trepany, USA TODAY

Let's be real: There are only so many movie nights on the couch before couples start getting bored.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, people have had to shelve adventurous date ideas, valuing safety over spontaneity. But according to dating experts, there are plenty of ways for couples to have a romantic summer that don't involve endless Netflix nights.

It is possible to keep romance alive during difficult times, says Ish Major, a psychiatrist, relationship expert and host of the TV series "Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars."

"We need connection," he says. "We need the certainty of knowing that we're going to have enough love in this world to be OK. We need to feel important and significant to a significant other. And for a lot of us, we like or need to be needed. While the times change, those needs never do."

Carmelia Ray, a celebrity matchmaker and star of the reality series "Mom vs Matchmaker," urges couples to make communication a priority.

"People have to become really creative in keeping the conversation going," Ray says. "This has been a great experience for a lot of people in reflecting on what's important and doing the work to really get clear on how they envision their partner."

Here are seven summer date ideas that couples can enjoy while following guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19:

Have a picnic by candlelight

With summer officially here, plenty of couples are looking for fun dates outside. One classic option is a candlelit picnic.

Erin Sprinkel, co-founder of Los Angeles-based event production company Sterling Social, recommends spreading your blanket in a backyard or at an open park or beach, with plenty of space away from strangers.

"Catch a summer sunset or make it an early morning sunrise with mimosas and breakfast," she adds.

If you and your boo are quarantining apart, "order food from their favorite restaurant and have it show up on their doorstep," she says. "And have some sort of virtual date together." 

Pose for a socially distanced portrait

Many people have spent quarantine indulging their artistic side. For those who've discovered a knack for painting or drawing, Major recommends creating a portrait of your significant other. This can be done outside while social distancing, too.

"Even if you don't have any artistic ability, you can go on YouTube right now and in an hour, somebody can teach you how to draw," he says.

Though sitting still may not seem like the most exciting date, Major says posing for your partner can strengthen your relationship.

"There's something really cool about just sitting still and being seen by your partner," Major says. "All of us want to be seen. We want to be heard. We want to be understood."

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For couples quarantining together, psychiatrist Ish Major recommends puzzle dates, which can be "extremely intimate and quiet."
For couples quarantining together, psychiatrist Ish Major recommends puzzle dates, which can be "extremely intimate and quiet."

Solve a puzzle

Another simple date with deep meaning, Major says, is a puzzle date.

"Order one of the biggest, most scary puzzles," he says. "You're going to sit down, and you're going to put your phones down, and you're going to work on this puzzle together."

According to Major, puzzle dates can be "extremely intimate and quiet."

"Something subconscious starts to happen as you're sitting there with each other, trying to figure out how the puzzle pieces fit together," he says. "You're also working on how you fit together in life and in this relationship."

Celebrity matchmaker Carmelia Ray recommends couples use their own wine and beer for a makeshift tasting date.
Celebrity matchmaker Carmelia Ray recommends couples use their own wine and beer for a makeshift tasting date.

Craft your own wine and beer tasting

Ray recommends couples use their own wine and beer for a makeshift tasting date.

Sprinkel notes that couples can order blind tasting kits from companies such as Argaux for an at-home tasting date.

Be a tourist in your own city

Though many are wary of traveling right now, there are still ways for couples to see the sights without boarding a plane or cruise ship.

Alessandra Conti, co-founder of the personal matchmaking service Matchmakers in the City, recommends couples explore their town together, "stopping at every little landmark and taking the time to Google it." 

"It's a super-easy thing that you can do, but it's also such a different thing, because most of the time, we take for granted our surroundings," Conti says. "So this is a really cool way to get to know your significant other and still have a fun time just walking around the city."

Go on a romantic scavenger hunt 

Another fun way for couples to get out of the house is to go on a romantic scavenger hunt.

Sprinkel recommends planting clues for your partner that lead to different locations important to your relationship.

"It's leading you to the place where you first met, maybe where you had your first date," she says. "It's a fun little activity that I think your partner would find very unexpected, but really fun."

Create your own drive-in theater

Drive-in theaters are a fun option for couples to catch a flick from the safety of their own vehicle. 

But if your town doesn't have a drive-in, Seri Kertzner, chief party officer at the New York-based event and styling company Little Miss Party Planner, says you and your partner can make your own by setting up a portable screen and projector in your driveway.

Plus, there's cuddling up in the car. "You could pop the trunk and you could actually make the trunk really cozy and cute with blankets and pillows," Kertzner says.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus and romance: 7 summer date ideas for couples in quarantine

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