Long-distance with your partner sucks. Being limited to digital communication can change the dynamic of the relationship and make both parties feel cuddle-deprived. My (Doe) girlfriend and I live across the country from each other, so inevitably, we have spent multiple periods doing long-distance throughout our relationship. Through trial and error, we have figured out some ways to feel the most connected while we are the most apart. Here is what has helped us:
1. Keeping it Consistent
Even when we were far apart and living completely separate lives, we knew it was important to stay connected. That meant putting in the work to really know about my girlfriend’s world–her daily frustrations, worries, and excitements. One of the things we value about our relationship is emotional intimacy, so we wanted that to remain intact. But we also didn’t want every conversation to be a huge life update. We made it part of our communication routine to check in with each other about the little things in our days that affected us.
2. Date Nights
A sense of newness and freshness in a long-distance relationship can be difficult to come by, especially when you’re confined to phone calls. Having a date night scheduled can be a way to break stagnation and spice things up. Some fun virtual date night ideas include: watching a movie or TV series together, playing a drinking game, eating lunch together, doing art, or even having a PowerPoint night. If you’re willing to get creative, the options are endless.
3. Scheduling Time
Being in a new environment away from my partner filled my schedule with different priorities. This is good and healthy, as it allowed me to take the time to focus on myself, my friendships, and my work. Even though she was not physically present, it was important for the health of our relationship to keep her on my list of priorities by having an allotted time for communication. Depending on what feels fulfilling and works for you and your partner, this could be calling every night or calling once a week or month.
4. Having Something to Look Forward to
The last time we went long-distance, we planned to break our three months apart with a visit in the middle. Having something to look forward to— whether that be a FaceTime date night at the end of the week or a plan for the next time you see them in person—keeps the relationship driven by excitement and desire. It can alleviate the negativity and sadness that is a natural response to being away from your favorite person.
5. Variety of Communication
Methods of communication that my partner and I utilized were sending videos and movies to watch, presents and letters in the mail, voice memos, pictures from our lives, and personalized playlists. Doing these things helped bridge the gap between us. Sharing movies and music, for example, gave us a common thread that intertwined both of our lives. When she sent me a show to watch, even though I didn’t watch it with her, it felt like a form of bonding and quality time because I was sharing a pleasurable experience with her.
I know long distance sucks, but these tips and tricks have been super helpful for me. The most important things are to find ways of staying connected that work for you and your partner, supporting one another, and trying not to get discouraged.
Best of luck, long-distancers,
Dill & Doe