Long distance relationships are the worst. Anyone who has been in a LDR or is currently in one can attest that it just plain sucks. I get it. I’ve been there, so I’m not even gonna try to candy-coat it. And of course, there will be the
haters people in your life who are skeptical and will shun the idea completely by claiming that your relationship will eventually fizzle out and lose its zest. Although thousands of couples all over the world make long distance relationships work, it’s not an ideal situation to be in. While it’s said that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and you can find out how strong your relationship really is when you spend time apart, it doesn’t really mean anything when all you want to do is see, squeeze, smell, and kiss Bae.
I know first-hand that the struggle is real when it comes to maintaining a long distance relationship. It feels like a lifetime ago, but when I was in my early twenties, I was in a LDR for three years with my now-husband after completing our stint with the Disney College Program. I was in Michigan while he was in New Jersey, so I can totally feel your pain if you find yourself in a LDR right now. Even as young, undergrad college students, we knew our relationship was the one worth fighting for, so we were determined to be a success story and prove the naysayers wrong. Of course, it required a lot of compromise, trust, communication, and a whole lot of work. Fun fact: this was back in the day well before video chatting or real-time messaging apps. Can you imagine being in a romantic relationship before the invention of smartphones? Probably not. I can’t help but to smile when I think about some of the sweet ways we made it work during our long distance days: from calling cards, strings of romantic emails and snail mail, mix CDs, plane tickets (paid by our parents because we were broke college students), we were able to survive the distance!
Long distance relationships aren’t all bad, though. As difficult as they are, they are absolutely doable if you tackle it together as a team and are both willing to go the distance (literally and figuratively). You can absolutely create the most beautiful love — no matter how many miles separate you. In this modern era, long distance isn’t the roadblock it once used to be, and thanks to all the technology, it is easier than ever to stay connected. Making the best of a situation that’s not ideal all comes down to one key factor: how well you prioritize it. It’s that simple. That’s the big secret. If you don’t make an effort, the relationship will inevitably crumble. As someone who came out the other side, I want to assure you that with the right person and the right tools, it’s amazingly rewarding and totally worth it.
Thankfully, when it comes to wooing a long distance lover, the options are endless with all that we have at our fingertips today. Although I can think of hundreds of creative ways to keep the romance and excitement alive, I’ve somehow managed to narrow my list down to ten. And don’t worry, these aren’t over-the-top gestures at all – just some sweet and simple ways to show how much you care.
So, without further ado, here are ten ways to keep that spark lit in your long distance relationship:
1. Download a Couples App Just for the Two of You
The Couple App is a good one because it’s specifically made to keep couples close while they’re miles apart. It even allows you to “thumb kiss,” where you match each other’s thumb on the screen and your phone vibrates! How cute is that?!
2. Send Pictures of your Daily Activities
Nowadays, you can send pictures instantly, so why not put that selfie and Snapchat obsession to good use? Snap cute or funny pictures of yourself throughout the day to make your SO (significant other) feel like they’re right there with you. Of course, you can always send some alluring photos of yourself (if that’s your thing). But just remember, the internet is forever, so only attempt this if you’re in a trusting and healthy relationship – just sayin’.
3. Video Chat… Often
Of course, it’s nice to text and chat on the phone, but being able look into each other’s eyes while having meaningful conversation is so much sweeter. Just try not to spend the whole time whispering sweet nothings and dwelling on the distance. Communication will be the oxygen of your relationship, so use these tech-y dates to flirt with each other and even get a little frisky once in a while (again, if that’s your thing). I know that video chatting doesn’t compare to seeing each other face-to-face IRL (in real life), but it’s a hell of a lot better than staring at your beau’s pictures while listening to his voice. (Been there, done that.) You can even make a ritual of having a video chat before lights out – there’s nothing more comforting than those late night phone calls that end with a virtual kiss before dozing off to dreamland.
4. Make a LDR Playlist Together
I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely the type of person to take the long way home just to listen to more music. Music taps into feelings that are hard to put into words, and the right song can either make you forget everything or remember everything. (Lemonade, anyone?) I can’t think of anything more personal than collecting songs that are meaningful to the both of you and that describe your relationship. And if you’re really tech savvy, turn one of those “special songs” into your ring tone. It doesn’t get more “Aww” than that!
5. Have Keepsakes of Each Other
Because you’re not physically around each other, it helps to have a collection of little mementos from your relationship such as photos, dried out flowers/rose petals, ticket stubs from the last movie/concert you attended together. What also helps is to swap your favorite t-shirts or hoodies that have been spritzed with your perfume or cologne. Anything small that brings back happy memories is sure to warm the heart.
6. Surprise Visits
This is the best kind of surprise you can ever give to your long distance lover! It shows them that you will pretty much do anything to make the relationship work. Enlist the help of some of their friends, family members, or co-workers, and make sure you know their schedule so you don’t catch them off guard with your surprise visit. I promise it’ll all be worth it when you ring that doorbell and see the shock on your sweetheart’s face. And don’t forget to take a ton of pictures of your visit so you can reflect on all the good times you have when you’re together. Try actually printing them out for a change.
7. Send Care Packages and Love Letters
Technology makes it incredibly easy to stay connected, but sometimes you gotta take a break from the heart emojis and kissy faces and go old-school romantic. Nothing quite beats the joy of receiving declarations of love in the form of a hand-written love note or a small unexpected gift from Bae in the mail. This is a pleasure we often forget about in today’s world, so anything you can do to surprise your better half is a bonus. #Winning Get creative and put together a bunch of small gifts and treats, and then enjoy explaining and discussing your selections as your darling opens their package. The next time, send the most lovey-dovey letter with as much mushiness as you can can stand to express on some good old-fashioned stationary. You don’t have to be Shakespeare to write a sweet love letter — just be you and write from the heart.
8. Fun Coupons
This quick, easy gift idea will absolutely give your significant other something to look forward to before your next visit! Print off some fun and romantic
favors things that they can redeem the next time you see each other. These are great to include in your care packages as well. Be as creative as you wish – your imagination is the only limit.
9. Have Virtual Date Nights
Who said you can’t have a movie date night or binge-watch your favorite TV show on Netflix because you’re not in the same place? Sure, you may not be able to actually snuggle on the couch and share a bowl of popcorn, but thanks to WiFi and a few handy options (hello, apps like Synaptop or Google Hangout), you can still enjoy this kind of classic date activity. So, grab a snack and watch a show while being perfectly in sync with each other. I know this may seem corny, but it’s all about that togetherness – this kind of stuff makes you feel like you can still do “couple-y” things.
10. Plan your Next Visit (or your ultimate getaway) Together
Have a tangible goal to meet up IRL and keep up with those plans to eventually live in the same zip code (otherwise, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel). I’d suggest investing in a countdown clock, which you can always find on Amazon. Always having something to look forward to will make the whole “missing you” thing just a tad bit easier. And when you finally reunite with your boo, that first embrace is going to be epic!
Long distance relationships are a test for all those who are strong and mature enough to handle one. The bottom line is, if you can make it while hundreds of miles apart, chances are you can make it anywhere and through anything. In the end, the best way to keep your LDR alive is to have fun and make that together-time count, whether it be IRL or over a virtual date night. Relationships are supposed to be enjoyable, and long distance ones are no exception.
If you’re in a long distance relationship, never stop believing and keep working at it. I wish you the best of luck – you the real MVP 🙌🏽
A former long-distance pro