Building valuable, healthy relationships are central to living a positive and productive life. Bumble has helped change the way we interact, breaking down old-fashioned power dynamics and encouraging women to make the first move. Over the next month, we’re celebrating love. We’ve partnered with Bumble to highlight interesting ways to start a conversation, how to find love in the digital age, how to cultivate intimacy as we emerge from isolation and more. Alongside our helpful and inspiring content, we’ll also share stories of ‘the one that got away’ — because sometimes it’s the love before that leads you to The One.
Creating intimacy via a smartphone isn’t something you intuitively know how to do. And while we’ve all spent the last few months at home — giving you ample time online — it doesn’t make it any easier.
While the physical closeness might be lacking through the use of a dating app like Bumble, intimacy doesn’t just involve touch. According to Lysn psychologist, Nancy Sokarno, there are four types of intimacy and the majority of those don’t involve touching.
“Emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical are the types of intimacy needed to develop and foster a sense of connection in any type of relationship,” Sokarno told TheLatch—. “So three of those are all based on communication and don’t require physical touching.”
Building emotional intimacy virtually first gives you the chance to get to know someone on a deeper level before you meet in person. To foster this intimacy, Sokarno recommends “things like being genuinely interested in someone else’s feelings, affirming their thoughts and showing you care are ways that you can connect with another person without touching”.
“Then for the mental side of things, having meaningful and deep conversations are a way to connect. Also sharing the same values and interests in another person show a sense of connection. Then there’s spiritual intimacy which focuses on having respect for each other’s beliefs, having a shared purpose and nurturing each other’s inner peace.”
So, if you’ve matched with someone on Bumble that you’re keen on and you want to create an intimate connection, heed this advice…
☆ Get to know each other
It seems like an obvious point, yes, but creating intimacy in relationships — even with friendships — starts by getting to know one another. Remember that there’s no rush with this step and you don’t have to dive in with questions about their childhood right away.
Start off slow with questions about their hobbies, what they do for work and how they spend their weekends. Intimacy happens when you find shared interests and click on topics that are important to you both.
☆ Flirting is the way forward
If you haven’t been able to meet in person just yet, injecting some flirty banter into your conversations will help with intimacy. Physical cues are lost virtually, so you have to be a little more verbal.
Try writing something you like about your Bumble match and pay them compliments, much like you would if you met them in person for the first time and remarked that they looked nice.
☆ Utilise the video and voice call feature
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Bumble introduced voice and video call capabilities, so you can video call with your match without having to give our your mobile number. Even if they seem like a great person, this provides you with a little security before you take the next step.
Using these features will increase intimacy greatly, as you can read their body language via video and tone via phone calls.
☆ Plan creative virtual dates
If iso has taught us anything, it’s that we can get pretty creative via video. If you’re still unable to head outside (should you be high risk etc.) plan a few dates with your match conducted on video. Enjoying a virtual happy hour is a good place to start (and an easy way to find out their drink order).
To spice it up even more, you could also suggest playing a round of Truth or Dare or get competitive with trivia. Another fun way to connect could be through watching TV series together or starting a movie club where you can discuss your thoughts and feelings post-movie viewing.
As we come out of lockdown, your social skills might be a little rusty and that’s OK. Take some comfort from knowing that the whole world is literally in the same position! COVID-19 means that being physical with people also increases the risk of infection and social distancing is the name of the game for the foreseeable future, with health officials advising to stay 1.5 metres away from each other.
So, navigating intimacy in person — once you’ve graduated to IRL dates — will also take some getting used to. Going in for a kiss or hug won’t be possible, which makes creating physical intimacy just as difficult. Should you feel like you’re ready for a cuddle from your Bumble match, you’ll have to ask for consent — which is a healthy habit to be in any way!
Thanks to the easing restrictions in most states and territories around Australia, you’re now able to head out for dinner or meet at a bar for a more traditional date, which is a great first step to physical intimacy. After so many chats conducted virtually, merely sitting across from each other will feel exciting.
Otherwise, if you were digging the back to basics style of iso, consider grabbing a takeaway coffee and simply head out for a walk together.
Expressing how you feel and talking through any worries you may have is the easiest way to let your date know how you’re feeling. Grabbing their hand to hold might not be an option, but telling them that you’d like to hold their hand is. We’re all slowly readjusting to life and navigating a new post-coronavirus normal, so take it easy on yourself.