It’s been a long hard year for a lot of us. The COVID-19 pandemic has meant we’ve all had to change the way we live, social lives included. So, with the nights drawing in and weather getting colder, the idea of snuggling up on the sofa (local lockdown allowing) might be a lot more appealing than battling the elements outside.
But if you haven’t got that special someone just yet, the thought of dating during COVID might be pretty daunting. So we’re here to bring you some top tips for dating right now, staying safe and making sure you’re prepared for all eventualities…
Dating during a pandemic
A recent LloydsPharmacy survey found that up to half of the people questioned who were dating were worried about catching COVID-19. Local restrictions also mean that you’re limited on what you can do with people who aren’t in your household. All this makes for a difficult time to meet new people.
So all things considered here’s some top tips for dating depending on what tier you’re in:
- Tier 1 – you can mix with up to 6 people inside and outside. So triple dates are a go! If you’re living somewhere in tier 1 you can pretty much date as usual. Just remember to socially distance and that bars and restaurants close at 10.
- Tier 2 – you can only mix households outside. So why not choose a pub garden or an outdoor activity like mini golf? You’ve still got to remember to socially distance and to be on your way home by 10pm.
- Tier 3 – no mixing households indoors or outdoors. So your best bet is a spot of virtual dating. You could try cooking along to the same recipe, a game or watching the same film. And the best bit is no curfew, so you can spend the whole night chatting.
- Lockdown – no mixing households indoors, but you can meet one member of another household outside. So romantic strolls with mulled wine are on! Don’t forget social distancing is still important.
Please note this tier system applies in England at the time of writing. Please check most up to date restrictions and guidance for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as they are likely to differ from country to country.
Winter date ideas
Romantic picnics in the park and day trips to the seaside might be out of the window in winter. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a date outside (socially distanced or not).
Here’s some of our ideas:
- Christmas markets
- Go and see your local Christmas lights
- Pretty pub garden for a glass of mulled wine
- Toasting s’mores on a bonfire in the garden
- A spot of practice at the driving range
- Catch a film a the outdoor cinema or theatre
- Take a wintry hike in the countryside
- Whizz around an ice rink
- Take a trip to the zoo
- Visit country houses and National Trust gardens
- Sledge down snowy hills (if you’re lucky enough to get some snow this winter)
With social distancing and reduced household mixing, COVID-19 might mean spending the night is out of the question. But for those of you in relationships it’s always good to be prepared for what might happen. And contraception is an important part of any date prep…
Thinking about contraception before it’s needed is a great way to avoid awkward conversations, stopping the fun and worries about you or your partner getting pregnant. You can access a variety of types of contraception through your GP surgery, sexual health clinic or get contraception online with us. We offer a large range of pills, as well as the Evra patch and NuvaRing, all of which can be requested through a simple online consultation.
Contraception isn’t just about avoiding a Christmas miracle of your own. It’s also about being protected from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Make sure to always stay protected, particularly with new partners. Using condoms is the only way to protect yourself from most STIs. Plus they’re 98% effective in protecting against pregnancy, so it’s win win.
Have a plan B
Accidents do happen, even in relationships, and sometimes we all need a back up plan. Luckily enough in the UK the morning after pill is accessible for most people. You can request the morning after pill online with us. Simply go through a short consultation and our clinicians will decide if the treatment is right for you. You can also buy it over the counter in most high street pharmacies, including LloydsPharmacy.
Emergency contraception is free through your GP surgery, sexual health clinics, Brook centres and walk-in clinics. Find out more about where to get the morning after pill.
It’s always good to make sure you get yourself checked. We advise getting tested for STIs at least every 6 months even if you’re in a relationship, or every time you have a new partner.
Lots of STIs are symptomless, so even if you think you’re okay it’s important to double check. Putting your mind at ease will make you more comfortable starting a sexual relationship with someone new.
Our discreet STI testing service gives you an answer within a matter of days. If approved, your test will be sent out with everything you need to collect your samples and send it back to the lab for analysis. You can also access free STI tests through sexual health clinics and online NHS services.
Christmas gifts for a new boyfriend, girlfriend, partner
So if after all that you’re happily snuggled up with someone this winter you might start to panic about what to get that special someone for Christmas. But don’t worry, LloydsPharmacy has a great range of gifts for him and her. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to spoil the ones you love!