My mom has called me “The Queen of Long-Distance Relationships” – and, OK, yeah, I’ve been in, um, a lot of them.
And so, for anyone who is journeying into their first long distance relationship and is at a loss for how to make it work, here are seven ideas that have really helped me.
1. Video Chat
Whether this is through FaceTime, Skype, Google+ Hangouts, or something else, having the opportunity to see one another face-to-face in real time helps build a connection that voice and text don’t.
Try doing it every morning or every night before bed, depending on time zones. Use it to make it feel like you’re together: “Look at this park that I’m in!” or “Should I buy this or this at the grocery store?”
Or just stare at one another longingly until the battery dies. Whatever makes you happy.
2. Go On Virtual Dates
My first date with my current partner was on Skype.
And while I was just expecting he’d show up on Skype to talk, he actually planned a whole thing out. We ordered food so we could eat “together.” He dressed up. He lit candles. He put on a record. He showed me the sunset.
And on subsequent dates, we’ve always had a plan in mind — board games or discussion topics or whatever.
The key? Reserve these times as different from when you video chat otherwise.
3. Have Sex
Listen. Between texting, talking, and video chatting, there are a million ways to have virtual sex with your partner.
So if sex is something that you two are into (of course, not everyone is!), then get creative and make it happen.
Dirty talk takes practice, but practice makes perfect. And watching your partner orgasm over video is almost as satisfying as it is in real life. I promise.
4. Send Mail
You know the feeling you get when you check your mailbox and amazingly, there’s something real in there? Like a postcard from a friend or a note from a pen pal?
You and your partner can send each other cute things! This can be as simple as a card with a little note inside, or it can be a little bit more involved.
Sending mail is an awesome way to remind someone that you care about them — and it’s a nice way to feel closer when your partner is far away.
5. Always Have a Date in Mind
One thing that always helps me get through the time away from a long-distance partner is knowing when we’re going to see one another again.
So after a visit, I usually try to plan another visit within the next week. That way, we both know when we’ll see one another again, and one of us can start planning all of the fun things we’re going to do together.
It’s a little bit easier to live without them day-to-day when you know how many days it is until the next time you see one another.
6. Plan for an End Date
If you’re in a position where you’re interested, perhaps, in eventually moving in together or moving to the same city, remind yourself that there is a light at the end of the long-distance tunnel.
Even if you don’t have a plan set in stone, you can talk with your partner about little things that remind you both that eventually, you’ll be together. For example, you can discuss what your dream apartment would be like and what kinds of little things you would do for one another if you lived together.
You may not be in the “What color towels do we want?” phase, but you can still make little plans.
7. Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk
That is, communicate frequently about what your needs are and how to make sure that they’re met.
Check in about how often you want to see one another and for how long. Talk about how the sex is going and how it could be better or what you want to try. Make sure that you both have a clear understanding of how much “PDA” you want to have on social media.
Be open when you feel like you’re not chatting as much as you’d like to, or be open when you know that you’re going to have a busy week and won’t be able to talk as much.
Take care of one another. Be there for one another. Put forth the effort.
Long-distance relationships sure can be frustrating. But they can also be really worthwhile.
Like most things, you get out what you put in. So get creative and put your heart into it and watch it bloom.