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Meeting people online just keeps getting easier. Forget online dating; social media, gaming, and fandom groups mean that the internet makes it a snap to meet and bond with people thousands of miles away. Some of these friendships, though, turn into something more. And while romance is a wonderful thing, long-distance relationships are tough. The distance can put a strain on any coupling, no matter how solid.
The good news is that technology has ways of stepping in and helping couples feel closer. One of the best ways to bond via tech? Virtual reality.
We might be a far cry from the Star Trek: The Next Generation holodeck, but Virtual Reality in gaming brings you closer to immersion. That said, video games have long been a source of long-distance relationship bonding material. Some games take it far enough to give players the ability to get married in games, like Final Fantasy XIV. After all, it’s entertaining and gives couples a chance to work together, to cooperate, and to communicate. Sharing a common goal can be both satisfying and teach couples a lot about how they each respond to things like stress, frustration, and joy.
Virtual Reality can add an extra element to that formula; one that allows couples, if not to stand in the same room, to stand in a room with each other’s avatars. It’s the closest thing to touching you can get when you’re thousands of miles away.
Plenty of platforms exist for gamers to explore virtual worlds. Much like how PR firms use Virtual Reality to allow customers to tour properties, explore products, or attend entertainment events, social Virtual Reality spaces gives long distance couples the ability to have a shared space to go on dates, or have adventures. For those who like their dates to be filled with less social networking and more gaming, there are many games that offer Virtual Reality co-op.
It’s a classic date night activity: go to a movie. It gives you a chance to laugh together or watch something romantic to set the mood. You can grab your popcorn, snuggle into those chairs and whisper to each other like co-conspirators. Long-distance couples might not be able to hold hands, but they can sit in big theaters and watch a good date night movie together through the magic of Virtual Reality. All it takes is some microwave popcorn and good timing with the start button.
Many movie platforms like Netflix and YouTube offer VR apps for Oculus Rift, Google Daydream, and other headsets. Some even allow you to choose whether your theater looks like a cozy living room or an actual movie theater. You won’t be able to accidentally bump hands over the bucket of popcorn, but the good news is you can talk to each other without getting an angry “Shhh!” from other moviegoers.
More of a live music kind of couple? VR goes there too. There are tons of ways to hang out over VR in theatrical venues, from seeing your favorite band live to sporting events. And if you’re looking for something even more out of this world to woo your date, you can even stand on another planet.
Technology has improved our relationships right along with the rest of our lives. It’s come close to solving one of the hardest challenges of relationships — the painful space between couples in long-distance relationships.