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STATEWIDE — Romance is still in the air this Valentine’s Day, even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic.

In the long run, the pandemic has the potential to have a positive impact on relationships, said Dr. Amanda Miller with the sociology department at the University of Indianapolis.

“Sometimes things like this make loved ones want to be closer to one another, and remind us of how special the person we’ve found is.”

She said couples are getting a lot of practice in communicating and expressing themselves, while also being more equal than ever in a relationship. Miller said they’re splitting up responsibilities at home like taking care of the kids or chores around the house.

But what about people trying to date?

Is it dinner over a Zoom call? A movie night six-feet apart? Do you hug or kiss at the end, or do you elbow bump?

“The socially distanced date is definitely a new phenomenon for us,” Miller laughed. “But if we think back to what our grandparents used to do whenever they were apart, love letters are wonderful and kind of an old throwback way to get to know one another.”

If you’re dating she also suggested setting clear expectations of what your level of comfort is when it comes to interacting during the pandemic.

And, if you’ve found someone in time for Valentine’s Day:

“Think about expanding the definition of love, well beyond just the couple, or the family,” she said. “Think about, ‘is there something that we can do to help support others who are in need right now?'”

Miller said you can simply get take out from a local restaurant for your date, or send a care package to someone you know in a nursing home.