The world of romance and dating is confusing enough without a pandemic going on, and it may feel as though the social distancing measures, lockdowns and lack of social (or romantic) contact are causing you to feel lonely. Even though the idea of dating and relationships may not be a priority compared to everything else going on, it definitely doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible to keep your love interest alive.

If you started dating someone before the pandemic and/or lockdown happened, your relationship dynamic will undoubtedly, and inevitably, change. You may no longer be able to see each other for a period of time – or at least longer than you are used to, you may both have additional responsibilities or pressures due to the Coronavirus situation, or you may face various emotional tolls due to the many changes such as distancing and sheltering. Regardless, your relationship may never be quite the same – but this doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

These rules do not have to mean your relationship is over. You can use this time to get to know each other better from a distance, perhaps finding new common interests that you can discuss, or a hobby you can do to spend quality time together virtually. Use the wondrous technologies that are available to you to stay in touch – and perhaps even plan some regular virtual dates (such as a romantic meal, or a movie night) to help you stay connected. Many people across the globe have happy, healthy relationships long-distance for many years, so a few weeks or months is most definitely manageable.

You may also find that you grow closer to your partner; supporting each other through these newfound pressures and problems that you may be facing can facilitate better communication, and a sense of togetherness. Keep in mind that although you may not feel the effects of the pandemic, your significant other may not be finding it so easy. Try and be supportive, listen to their worries, and offer constructive advice where you can.

If you aren’t currently dating anyone, perhaps ponder whether now is the best time to meet someone new? Don’t disregard the social distancing rules, and perhaps have a breather from dating apps – you’ll have plenty of time after all of this has finished, and a new relationship may only add more anxiety, pressure or exertion – especially if you have other things going on.

Try and see the bigger picture – it may feel as though this is the end of the world, that life is being unfair to you, or that your parents are unreasonable by refusing to chaperone you to dates because of their Covid fears. The health of you, your family and your boyfriend or girlfriend has to be prioritised right now, but long-term you will have plenty of time to have new experiences and enjoy yourself.