A list of fun and useful ways to keep any long-distance relationship fresh, loving, and rock-solid.
When I mention my fiancé, or I tell someone that I recently got engaged, I get nothing but happy and excited reactions. That is until they find out how far away my fiancé lives. He and I are about six hours apart, we’re both in college, and he’s the only one with a car. The most we can see each other is every two or three weeks, and it’s usually only for about four days at a time. Since the beginning, I could tell that some people thought we were too young to understand and too naïve to make it work. Even after he proposed, I can still tell that some people are just waiting for it to fall apart. We’ve been going strong for over a year now, and it hasn’t been easy. We still have over another year until we’ll live within an hour of each other. In an attempt to assist those in long-distance relationships, and to silence the cynical downers, I’ve compiled a list of things that have helped us keep things romantic, exciting, and stable.
Take Advantage of Technology
When you decide to commit to being in a long-distance relationship, the first thing each of you should do is invest in a webcam. Some computers have them built in; if yours doesn’t, pick up a cheap one at a garage sale, flea market, or local electronics store. They can be expensive, but some of the most basic ones shouldn’t cost more than about fifty dollars.
The Way To A Man’s Heart is Through His Stomach
Cooking breakfast or dinner together is the best way to start or end the day, especially with a brand-new recipe. It allows you to try something new, and spend quality time together. Cooking breakfast or dinner for each other is a classic romantic gesture that is underrated these days. Food is a great way to bond with anyone, and putting in that kind of effort to do something for your partner is something they’ll find very special.
Just the Two of Us
Make sure you have alone time. You spend very little time together as it is, so make every second count. Make time to just sit on the couch and cuddle while watching TV or a movie, go for walks together, sit and do homework together, go see a movie that just came out, etc. The little things that most people take for granted can be some of the most precious moments that you spend together.
The More, the Merrier!
Have relationships with friends and family that your partner is especially close to, i.e. their parents, siblings, and friends that they hang out with a lot. Chances are when the two of you are together, you’ll be around some of these people, as well. Talking to them occasionally will help you feel even closer to your partner, and in a serious relationship, building solid relationships with your partner’s loved ones is extremely important.
I Made It Just For You
Give each other gifts just because you feel like it. For occasions when gifts are expected, give them something homemade or something with a special meaning that only the two of you understand, especially for anniversaries or holidays that are significant for the two of you. Homemade gifts are often less expensive and always receive the best reactions.
And the Winner Is…
Play games. When you’re together, play cards or a board game, or ask each other random trivia questions. When on a webcam, ask each other random questions about each other’s beliefs, opinions, tastes, etc. Doing this can allow the two of you to get to know little fun tidbits about each other, and it can also spark up some interesting conversations. Raise the stakes if you’re feeling adventurous and bet on something, i.e. the loser has to cook a meal for the winner.
Blast From the Past
When visiting your hometown, give an exclusive tour. Take them to your favorite restaurant or ice cream shop, tourist destinations, or unique features in the area, even on a tour of your old middle or high school. Share pictures, home movies, and stories from your childhood. Giving your partner a look into your past and how you grew up is a wonderful insight into how you became the person you are today: the person that they love so much.
Guess What I Did Today?
When you’re apart, there are going to be a lot of little moments when you wish your significant other were there with you. Times like when you go out and do something fun when you get a piece of good news or a good grade when you get dressed up for a special occasion, etc. Share these moments, even if it’s just by sending a text or a picture.
Always On My Mind
Keep pictures of your partner and the two of you together in places where you’ll see them every day. Carry a keychain, wear a piece of jewelry, or wear something of theirs that they gave to you or something they bought for you. Have something of theirs that you can keep close to you when you miss them a lot, like a hoodie, a warm hat, or a stuffed animal. These are great ways to feel like your partner is with you all the time.
A Little Chit, A Little Chat
Make time, at least a solid hour or two, every single day to devote to talking to each other, either on the phone or on a webcam. I’ve found that this is most convenient at night before each of you is going to sleep. You’re both free, and relaxed, and you can talk about your entire day with each other. It’s also very comforting to hear your partner’s voice right before you lay down to sleep.
‘Til We Meet Again
The goodbyes are especially hard. They’ll never get easier, and there will probably be tears. Having a planned date of when you’ll see each other next can make it less difficult; you can start a countdown together to when you’ll be seeing each other again. Don’t focus on the time you’re not together; instead, focus on the time you are together.
Long distance is not for everybody, and love isn’t enough to make it work. It’s going to be hard, really hard. Make sure you truly are in love with the person, and that you can see a future with them. There’s no sense in getting into something this complicated if both of you aren’t willing to put a lot of effort into it and work hard at it.
If you’re unsure of what you’re doing, talk to your partner (or potential partner, depending on what stage the relationship is at). If either one of you isn’t sure about your feelings or whether you can handle the distance, or isn’t willing to put in the effort, it’s probably better that you stay just friends. But if you do decide that you want to give it a shot, it can be one of the most rewarding, fulfilling experiences of your life, especially when you’ve found that special person.
Any relationship takes work, and long-distance relationships take a little bit more work than others. However, with a little help, a lot of patience, and plenty of trust and effort, it can be completely worth it. Who knows? You may just end up finding the person you’re meant to spend the rest of your life with.
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