You’ve heard it all before – absence makes the heart grow fonder.
But sometimes, if you’re on the unlucky side of the spectrum, absence makes the heart shrivel up, turn away, get a makeover, and screw someone else.
Making that distance work (and really work, to the point where you’re not just existing but actually engaging with one another and sharing your lives) takes time, dedication, effort, and patience. And a lot more than just a couple of Skype calls.
Here are a couple of ways to keep the spark alive in your LDR whether you’re a few hours’ drive or a whole plane ride away.
1. Have a Night in With Dinner and a Movie
Who doesn’t love staying in, ordering some takeout, and cuddling up to watch a good movie? Well, thanks to the lovely invention of JustEat and LetsGaze.com, you can do just that. Simply pick your partner a surprise meal on the app (or you can both order the same thing), have it delivered to their house, and log on to LetsGaze. The site allows you watch movies or YouTube videos in tandem with one another (you can even pause and rewind) while video chatting and instant messaging. Curl up in some blankets and let that lazy night begin.
2. Read a Book
Hopefully you and your partner have similar interests in the literary department (and if not, I’m wholeheartedly sorry to hear that). Choose a book you both want to read or one you both already love and take turns reading a little to each other each night before bed via Skype. It might feel a little weird at first, but once you get past the initial page, it’s actually a really calming way to fall asleep and makes that special someone part of your nightly routine even when they can’t be there.
3. Do an Art Project
If you’re a little on the artsy side, get a small project to do together (making a bird house, painting, etc.). One person can do a little, then mail it to the next person so that they can add their touches to it.
4. Make Playlists
File-sharing is a fantastic thing. Create a Dropbox folder that you can both add to, and within that you could even make more specific folders (doing work, working out, happy songs, I Miss You songs, and anything else your heart desires). As you both find new music, you can add them to the folders and peruse them at your leisure.
Constantly texting your partner updates of your day can get a old pretty quickly. Also, it doesn’t allow you time to process how you really felt when you went to that event or saw that cool thing or met that cool person. Try journalling a bit of day every once in a while and then mail the journal to your partner so they can read what you’ve been up to and how you’ve been feeling.
6. Explore Google Maps
If you’re doing the long distance thing, you probably don’t have money to shell out for a fancy trip to Paris or an evening in Brazil. Instead, spend a night exploring the same places on Google Maps and take a walk together, looking at all the architecture and funny blurred out faces. You can also play GeoGuessr, which situates you at a random place in Street View and challenges you to figure out where you are before your opponent does.
7. Learn From Each Other
If you’re in school, study together. Teach each other something. Read each other cool facts you learned, or watch interesting thought-provoking documentaries together. You could even learn a language together with Duolingo, which is totally free.
Long-distance relationships might require more time and effort than those who are fortunate enough to live in the same place as their SO, but they’re also a great opportunity to really focus on your relationship with one another. If you want to continue to include each other in your every day lives, you have to be more deliberate about it and get creative with how you spend your time.
So hang in there, little romantics. You’ll see your sweetie IRL soon enough.