IU relationship researchers call this Valentine’s Day crucial for people to celebrate during the pandemic

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INDIANAPOLIS — Relationship experts believe this Valentine’s Day is crucial for people to get out and tell someone they care about them. Studies over the past year are showing it too.

“We found that in relationships, overall, the majority of people are weathering the storm,” explained Justin Garcia, executive director at Indiana University’s Kinsley Institute where they study relationships. “The majority are turning toward their partner as a source of support.”

While their research shows the pandemic may be bringing couples closer together, their studies also have shown a decrease in intimacy over the past year.

Garcia sees Valentine’s day as a time to connect with other people, despite COVID times being marked by loneliness and solitude. Even if you are single, the institute urges you to reach out to family or friends.

“Humans want to be a part of something,” detailed Garcia. “This year in the pandemic year, it’s a time for singles to do something fun with their friends. Host a Zoom cocktail hour.”

Garcia suggest couples get creative, even if they are down on their finances, or afraid to go out during the pandemic.

“Maybe instead of going to a fancy restaurant, you make your dining room a fancy restaurant,” added Garcia. “You don’t have to spend a lot of money to show a partner that you’re thinking about them.”

Nonetheless, there is always the stalwarts of V-Day which are chocolates and flowers. While Garcia says there is no physiological proof that chocolate will help you fall in love, he says it can set the mood.

Suzanne Litteral has been making chocolates at her shop, Litteraly Divine Chocolates in Fountain Square. She says men typically lead the pack when it comes to last minute chocolate purchases as gifts. She can see a lot of the similarities between chocolate and relationships, as both are delicate and complex.

“It takes a lot to get to work with chocolate, to know it, to learn how it works,” said Litteral. “Not a lot of people go into it. There’s a lot of details.”

If you are single, and looking to meet people safely during the pandemic, the Kinsey Institute also suggests video dating. The institute’s studies have shown that 70% of singles say they have tried video dating and like it.

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