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Happy African-American Man is Walking in the Public Park with His Lovely Wife During Time of Virus.

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As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, many people are seeking some kind of return to normalcy. And there’s isn’t anything more normal than looking for love. Even though it may seem different from past years, it’s still possible to find that special someone and make Valentine’s Day plans you can look forward to. In fact, for some people, this might be the best Valentine’s Day yet. According to Alexis Ferraro Luerssen, VP of Marketing and Communications for Match Affinity, “2020 was a year of self-discovery for a lot of people.”

While the coronavirus pandemic has upended many of the ways singles typically meet, some things haven’t changed. According to Aaron Jordan Jr, TV host and relationship coach, it’s vital to ensure you’re ready for a relationship. “If you are not prepared mentally, emotionally, and your energy is not aligned, it would be challenging to attract love even outside of COVID,” he says. But there are some pandemic specific tips from experts we can count on.

“Finding lasting love during a pandemic hinges on two key factors,” says Jimi Tele, expert, and CEO of the revolutionary, text-free dating app, Chekmate. “Building a genuine and authentic connection and fostering it with high-quality digital dates.”

If you’re not finding connections with people you know in real life through your usual networks and dating apps, consider using a niche app, advises Luerssen. And take some of the pressure off by dialing down the romance, at least at first. “When looking for that perfect person to settle down with, it might be helpful to think about them as your future BFF rather than ‘the one,’” Luerssen says.

And it’s important to realize that there’s still a pandemic going on and to use that reality as something you can connect with someone about. Vanessa Ringel, the founder of GRAVITĀS, a neuro-coaching company that helps women to manifest love, offers a gentle reminder to be authentic with a prospective date.

“If you’re going through a hard time, it’s ok; you can still date and show up as you are,” she says. “Chances are your date is going through challenges too, as this has been a difficult year for most people. Embrace that vulnerability, as that is what creates a deep connection.”

Whether you’ve just met someone wonderful or you’re celebrating the latest of many wonderful Valentine’s Days this year, COVID-19 puts its own spin on things. While encouraging couples to follow local COVID guidelines, Luerssen says, “As a couple, knowing and respecting each other’s boundaries is the foundation of a strong and caring relationship.”

There are still plenty of great date options. Jordan encourages getting back to basics while being creative and says, “During this time of the pandemic, it has shown us that the simple things matter; preparing an exclusive staycation candlelight dinner for two at home or in the suite of a nice hotel,” Tele says. “Outdoor dates can be some of the most romantic, ranging from ice skating to dinner on a heated patio at your favorite restaurant.” Even couples who can’t be together in person on Valentine’s Day can still share a meaningful experience. “When it comes to virtual dates, get creative, try a digital sip and paint, or cook a new recipe together over FaceTime.”

No matter how you spend Valentine’s Day, it’s crucial to take the opportunity to practice self-care. Ringel says, “Remember, the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself, as that sets the tone for every relationship you have.” Valentine’s Day may come only once a year, but good relationship advice is timeless.

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