Love in lockdown: Tech for long distance relationships

Love in lockdown: Tech for long distance relationships
Staying connected is important – whether it's a romantic or platonic relationship


In the time of quarantine and lockdowns, when social meters are overflowing with no quick and clear way to unload, tech is a great way to connect – take it from someone who’s been in a long distance relationship for the last three years. I mean, it’s not like we have any other choice at the moment.

So, for you at home alone, quarantined, and looking for ways to literally make connections, here are some of the best tech and tech tips that has helped me connect with my significant other, 7,299 miles away.

ALL ALONE, TOGETHER 

Whether it be a casual catch up, or a full blown online drinking session, the most basic form of socialization includes just hanging out and talking.

Here are my top picks for doing just that: 

Google Duo 

{source}

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Full HD video calls with <a href=”https://twitter.com/jvtechtea?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@jvtechtea</a> on the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/GalaxyZFlip?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#GalaxyZFlip</a>  Also, no need for phone stands <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/LDRproblems?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#LDRproblems</a> <a href=”https://t.co/pYCHjw98dA”>pic.twitter.com/pYCHjw98dA</a></p>&mdash; Isa does, but she cannot even RN (@sisasaid) <a href=”https://twitter.com/sisasaid/status/1236890663695740929?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>March 9, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src=”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>

{/source}

Available on both Android and iOs, this app is a step up from the typical messaging app. On Duo, you are either video calling or sending quick video or voice messages – more personal than sending a text message online, and it makes you feel closer to people because you’re actually conversing with. Sure, you can also send “notes” over, but they translate to images that show your text, and even scribbled notes, which expire in 24 hours – think leaving someone virtual “post-its.” Aside from all these, there are built in filter and AR effects, plus a cute “Send a heart” option. And yes, there are group chat options on here, too.

Microsoft Zoom

This famous office tool has become many-a-quarantined-friends tool of choice. Available on Android, iOs and desktop, Zoom is a great free program to have video calls and social events on – I’d know because I’ve done virtual drinking sessions with friends on here.

Aside from the easy interface, the program allows for up to 100 people in a meeting and it also has cool virtual backgrounds that you can customize to your liking. Yep, you can be anywhere you want as you hang with friends online.

Amazon Echo

Amazon isn’t officially available in the Philippines but for those with active Amazon accounts, its Drop In feature is a fun one. Basically, when you link another person’s account with yours and allow the feature, you’re able to literally “drop in” on the other person any time. It activates an automatic video call, whether it be on the Amazon Alexa phone app (available on iOS and Android) or an Amazon enabled device with a camera.

Think of it as being able to say hi anytime as if the other person were right there.

Alone but together. Photo courtesy of Isa Rodriguez

GROUP ACTIVITIES APART 

Sometimes, you just need to do stuff with someone. The most low-maintenance type of bonding is just having someone there – even virtually.

Netflix Party

This Google Chrome extension allows you to watch the same Netflix shows at the same time, even when you’re miles apart. It also opens up a chatroom so that you don’t only watch together, you can react to the show together, too. Creating shared experiences with your favorite shows through modern day tech is something I am so here for.

Steam Remote Play Together

Your favorite video games played together, except you guys aren’t actually together. The Steam feature allows for four players to get in a game remotely and play as if you guys are side by side.

Words with Friends 2

Having company in this time of isolation can come in different forms. Not all types of online interactions entail your undivided attention. Take multi-player games like Words with Friends 2 – it’s a fun brain twisting game you can do with friends that allow you to chat, connect, and bond over a virtual board game.

Unlike Netflix Party or Steam games, it doesn’t require 100% concentration and the back and forth between players take time.

TOUCH ME NOT

When these last two options don’t cut it, you can take the LDR activities a notch up with actual devices.

Bond Touch bracelets

Couple bracelets that allow you to “touch” the other person, no matter how near or far apart you are. Basically couple bracelets that send over each “touch” to the other person at any time. Each vibration mimics and symbolizes that “touch” so now you’ll have a direct way to let your significant other know you’re thinking of them with literal virtual hand holding, er, touching.

Digital Touch on the Apple watch 

If you have an Apple Watch, you can actually send your heartbeat to lovers, family, friends – well, anyone on your contact list with an Apple Watch or an iOS device, actually. What better way to say you care and you miss them than your actual heart beating, amirite?

HB ring

A combination of the last two things I mentioned, HB rings are couple rings equipped with sensors that will and can send over your heart beat to the other ring any time. Basically, tapping one ring will prompt the other ring to show you your partner’s real-time heartbeat. – Rappler.com