Being knee-deep into yet another lockdown in England, I haven’t seen my significant other since new year. I’m not complaining – I know some people have gone a lot longer. But it’s tough and tedious and all the other un-typeable descriptors people are using right now.
In a perfect world, we’d just move in together, but there are already long-terms plans for that and saving to buy a house means we both live with parents – who we’re keen to protect – so seeing each other isn’t on the cards right now, whichever way you slice it.
With the best will in the world, after a year of being separated on and off – it’s hard. Everyone’s struggling and you quickly run out of words with which to answer the question, ‘how was your day?’ It’s upsetting to not have much to say to someone you love. And if you’re anything like us you might feel pretty unmotivated to be romantic right now.
Since most advice appears to be tailored for couples who are stuck together in lockdown, here’s 4 Valentine’s Day ideas for people who are separated in lockdown and maybe don’t see the point of Valentine’s Day when you’re not together – with increasing levels of how much you can be bothered.
1. Nothing – Not a damn thing.
First of all, you’re under no obligation to do anything. I always find special occasions overwhelming because I never feel as though I’m doing enough, having enough fun or making the most out of it. Wherever you look someone will be doing Valentine’s better than you anyway – so here’s my unequivocal permission to forget it all and do nothing if you want to.
If there’s no appetite to be romantic, don’t force it. It’s fine, you’re not a bad person, it’s just hard, and that’s okay. Be kind to yourself – give them a nice text – and try to move slowly through the day doing things that make you happy. Watch TV, go for a walk, eat something great, indulge yourself, whatever. I’d like to think my boyfriend and I will have the energy to do a bit more than this – but if all else fails, having a half-decent day to ourselves (separately) is great too.
If you’re thinking ‘thanks, that’s lovely, but I think I feel up for a bit more, then read on…
2. Send something easy but thoughtful
I mean, deliveries haven’t been cancelled. You don’t just have to send a present though, you can get more bang for your fun buck by opening it on a video call, doing an unboxing like an youtuber, whatever you fancy.
- Personalised card – BORING – okay no hear me out. There are some adorable lockdown-themed cards (what a phrase!) on Moonpig. Cheer yourself up by putting photos together from better times.
- Write a letter or a postcard – Handwritten letters will 100% be something you’ll treasure from this bizarre time in years to come. Side note – does anywhere sell postcards with pictures of your bathroom, your kitchen etc rather than travel destinations? They should!
- Space out presents – We don’t tend to be big on present-buying but if you like to do this, maybe stretch deliveries out over a few days so your person gets a little boost over a longer period rather than opening them in one day. You can text hints throughout the day to build the suspense…
- Send a takeaway – Order eachothers’ food so it’s a surprise when you both get it. Who knows, maybe today will be the day you get chips AND onion rings when usually you’d never let yourself get both. Maybe you never order stuffed crust because it’s a rip-off but secretly long for it. What a time to be alive.
- A food shop – Order a supermarket delivery for your person with the fancy biscuits or booze or top shelf cheese. The world is your oyster.
If you’re thinking, okay Lauren, but what can I actually do WITH my partner – read on.
3. Do virtual activities where talking is optional
No-one can say you didn’t do anything for Valentine’s Day.
- Gaming – Playstation share play, Scrabble Go, you don’t need me to tell you what online games exist. We really like stretching Scrabble Go games over a few days (I’m not usually this dull I swear!) because it’s quite sweet being halfway through my working day and looking down at my phone to see that he’s played ‘relax’ for 12 points. Like popping up to say ‘hi’ when you’re out of stuff to say.
- Watch TV together – There are of course apps where you can do this but to be honest we just do a video call – agree on a thing, count down from three – and press play at the same time. If you’re romantic like us you can take it in turns to do the countdown. If you’re REALLY romantic watch a romcom – Richard Curtis’ top 52 romcoms for Valentine’s in lockdown is all the inspiration you need: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2021/feb/12/52-perfect-romcoms-for-valentines-day
Feeling up for a bit more? Read on.
4. Do virtual activities where you spend easy time together
For when you actually want to love on them but can’t be bothered putting a bra on.
- Reading together – Novels, poems, articles about love, recipes you’re going to cook together one day, menus of places you’re going to eat at when you next can, go mad. We sometimes read the illustrated Harry Potter books together and it’s dead sweet. He pretends that he doesn’t hate doing it and I pretend not to know so it works pretty well.
- Cook together – Great but some advice; decide on a recipe in advance and don’t go for a difficult one – it’s about bonding with each other not impressing your dog. We made toad in the hole for the first time and despite a slight hiccup when he had a meltdown over the best way to ‘make a well in the flour,’ (I don’t get it either) it was actually really fun. 8/10, would attempt again.
- Virtual holiday – Often I’m not in the mood for making plans and it’s just about getting from one day to the next, but if you’re in the mood for it, plan a trip. Talk logistics if you like or just do a silly, ‘wouldn’t it be nice to be XYZ.’ There’s a Youtube channel called ‘The Luxury Travel Expert’ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYxsXxbjJO1YYa9yQ3lKC8w and we legitimately passed a whole evening looking at the amenities on 1st class flights and seeing which 5 star hotels we have pipe dreams of going to one day. It’s small, but it reminds you that there’s a someday soon. Just like we’ll get to be together. Someday soon.