If your immediate response to this blog’s title was,”THERE IS JUST NO WAY LONG DISTANCE IS EVEN REMOTELY FUN,” I don’t blame you.
Long distance relationships require a tremendous amount of effort and intentionality while limiting many of the “fun” aspects of the relationship. As someone who is currently in a long distance relationship (let’s call it LD for short), I can attest that one of the hardest parts is discontinuing many of the little things that hold couples together. When my boyfriend Mark has a rough day, I can’t drop by with a bag of sunflower seeds and a 7-11 cherry & Mountain Dew slurpee like I used to. I can’t hold his hand in the car. I can’t steal his french fries during dinner.
Can’t, can’t, can’t.
But I can have a good attitude. I’m no DJ Khaled, but I can tell you that a major key to success in LD is making a creative effort to adapt the relationship to distance. It’s about finding little ways to keep romance, friendship, and fun present in the relationship, and that’s exactly what I’m going to teach you. So, without further ado, I present to you, 5 tips to make long distance [almost] fun:
1. Snail Mail: Guys, one of the best parts of LD is that the mail person brings you more than just bills. There’s something so personal about seeing your name written in your boyfriend/girlfriend’s handwriting, and knowing that (s)he took the time to write you. I love receiving letters from Mark, because I can hear his voice in my head as I read them, and they mean more to me than the emails and text messages that turn to for the majority of our communication.
Letters are also a great way to reflect on your relationship. Mark has a “letter wall” in his apartment, where he displays every note I’ve ever given him. These letters have preserved special moments in our relationship in ink. The letters are hung in chronological order, so you can see our story unfolding across his walls—letters saying “thank you for being a good friend,” “thank you for a fun first date,” “congratulations on graduating,” “good luck on your first day at your adult job,” etc. These letters allow us to reminisce on the past, and they make us imagine the future letters we’ll get to add to the wall.
2. Netflix ‘n
chill Skype: Watching TV shows and movies together is a great way for couples to share something when they can’t share a city. Mark and I like to log onto Skype/FaceTime/Google Hangout, and play Kevin Hart comedy shows on Netflix. We start the shows at the same time and minimize Skype to a small box in the corner of our screen so that we can see each other’s reactions to the show. It’s the closest we can get to a movie date, and it gives us a giant cavalry of lines to quote as inside jokes.
3. “Candlelit” Skype dates: Nothing screams romance like a candlelit date! Mark and I like to set aside time for “dates.” During these “dates,” I set a candle next to my laptop for some contrived romance, and we stay away from conversation topics pertaining to the stresses of work/school and talk about the things we’re grateful for as a couple. We daydream about the things we look forward to, like all the new songs we’ll get to blast in the car together during our next road trip (*cough* *cough* “Closer,” *cough* *cough*).
4. Steal a sweatshirt: I like to kidnap Mark’s sweatshirts and spray them with a little of his cologne before I bring them back to Michigan with me. Slipping into one of his giant hoodies is the closest I can get to one of his hugs, and it’s the best cure to that feeling of homesickness that long-distance tends to induce.
5. Capture the moments you miss most: When Mark and I do see each other, we like to take lots of videos capturing the little moments that we miss most during distance. I have videos reminding me of the way he carries me over the puddles in the parking lot after it rains, the way he fumbles with his tie before work, and the way his face lights up whenever Miguel Cabrera hits a home run. We like to edit these clips into short videos that capture the general personality of our relationship, reminding us why we love being a couple, even when long distance is particularly challenging.
The list could go on, but the message is the same: long distance is challenging, but effort and creativity go a long way. While you may not be able to control the distance between you and your significant other, you can control the way you manage the distance—and while there might be miles between you, they don’t have to keep you apart.