Love in the Air: Spring Date Ideas You Have to Try Out

This drawing depicts two people on a spring picnic date. They are shown alone, on top of the world, to emphasize their safe choice of gathering away from others.

Spring is a season of reawakening. Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and everything is coming to life. It’s a great time to build a new romance or figure out ways to keep a current relationship fun and exciting. We’ve collected a bunch of innovative date ideas as well as some relationship advice to help you keep the romance alive this season in a COVID-19-safe way.

 

Spring Date Ideas and Healthy Relationship Tips

It’s time to get out of your blankets and start organizing some dates, because dating in spring can be a really romantic experience.  

Max Roger, a third-year kinesiology student at OSU, said he and his girlfriend were used to sitting for lunch on campus in the spring to enjoy the blossoming trees. 

When COVID-19 precautions were introduced, Roger and his girlfriend moved their romantic lunch date inside to their house to be mindful of the community’s safety.

Kaitlyn Saulman, a doctoral intern at Counseling and Psychological Services at Oregon State University, shared some creative date ideas for partners to explore.

“For partners who reside together or are in each other’s ‘COVID bubble’, they may engage in board games, try TikTok trends, order take-out to go or some take short day trips to visit outdoor locations in Oregon,” Saulman said.

Now that spring is here, Saulman also has a few suggestions for partners to try outside in a safe manner.

“As the weather continues to warm and there is less rain, some partners enjoy outdoor socially distant picnics, hikes, foraging and scenic car drives while listening to music,” Saulman said. “COVID-19 safety guidelines and recommendations may feel initially limiting to date ideas, but with a little creativity and inspiration from the hobbies you enjoy, partners are still creating meaningful dates.” 

According to Saulman, secure and healthy relationships look different for each individual, so it’s important to define what secure and healthy mean to you.

To figure this out, Saulman outlined some topics to explore with your partner. These include sexual boundaries, such as determining if it’s an open or closed relationship and going through consented activities; communication, whether that’s talking everyday, texting once a day or figuring out when to have difficult conversations; and how much time is spent together, like having dates once a week or all throughout the week.

“In order to maintain and support our mental well-being in a partnership or relationship, I would encourage an individual to reflect on their core values, needs and boundaries,” Saulman said. “This reflection helps individuals understand what they are looking to receive from and contribute to a relationship. With this insight, individuals can then use respectful and assertive communication to discuss with their potential partner, if the relationship will support both of their needs and values.” 

Roger and his girlfriend have also figured out how best to communicate for their relationship’s help.

“Often, we fight, but then we realize how silly we were and we never talk about it ever again,” Roger said. “But after a heated argument, we both try to make things right in order to secure our mature and respectful relationship.” 

 

What Safe Dating Means

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that domestic violence surged during COVID-19 in 2020. Approximately 43 million women and 38 million men have faced an intimate partner’s psychological violence in their lifetime. So how can people date safely?

Saulman said a safe date involves ongoing consent and communication, discussion and a respectful understanding of each person’s boundaries.

“During safe dating, consent and boundaries apply to many aspects of each person’s needs, such as emotion[al], psychological, sexual, physical, time, etc.,” Saulman said in an email. “Ongoing conversations regarding these are also important to support consent in the partnership.”

Saulman also advised students to keep CDC and OSU COVID-19 safety guidelines in mind when coming up with dating ideas, as community members are still receiving vaccinations.

“With these [guidelines] in mind, individuals have come up with creative virtual date ideas such as cooking and eating meals together over video calls, screen sharing movies together, free virtual painting classes and interacting through online gaming,” Saulman said.

 

Balancing Relationships with Other Commitments

Saulman suggests students use similar guidelines that they use with friends and extracurricular activities to help organize their dating plans.

“For example, some students prefer completing assignments during weekday nights so that their weekends can be free for social activities,” Saulman said. “This can be used to plan dates for during the weekend to be able to maintain academic responsibilities. It is common when individuals begin dating to be flexible with their time boundaries – i.e., going out on a weekday night – and it is encouraged to monitor if changes in routine impact academic performance.” 

However, Saulman noted that if dates begin interfering with academic responsibilities, it can be beneficial to talk with your partner to explore what changes can be made to support the relationship along with academic priorities. 

“Having a partner who understands and respects your prioritization of academics can also help and sometimes partners will study together to keep each other accountable,” Saulman said. “Some also find it beneficial and healthy for their relationship when they balance activities that include their partner with activities that do not.” 

Roger said he and his girlfriend love each other so much that they often share every problem in their personal lives.

“My girlfriend helps me with my schoolwork on occasion, and I sometimes assist her as well,” Roger said. “When we really need help in class, we help each other out. My romantic life, I believe, has no negative impact on my academic performance.”

 

The Benefits of Online Dating

Meeting new people during the pandemic is difficult with social distancing measures and masks, but Saulman thinks online dating or dating apps can be beneficial when navigating the safety precautions of COVID-19.

“When creating online or app profiles, be mindful of the content you post in regard to photos, bios, listing other social media accounts, etc,” Saulman said. “Try not to include media or information that would identify personal information about you, such as full name, physical location or address, places you frequent, etc. If someone asks for your number, you have the right to decide if you feel comfortable sharing your number or you can also use another app that allows you to message the person without displaying your number.”

Saulman also encourages students to read what protections the online platform or app offers, such as how to unmatch with people, report someone’s behavior or block profiles. 

“Lastly, if you decide to meet someone from online or an app in person – following COVID-19 guidelines – it is encouraged to meet in a public place and tell someone reliable from your social support [network] the details of where you will be, for approximately how long and when you will check in with them,” Saulman said. “It is also common to have a friend nearby the area during the first in-person date.”