Whether you live apart or it’s an extended trip (for business or pleasure), having a long distance relationship has its own set of obstacles. Luckily with technology, it’s easier than ever to stay connected even when you’re far apart.
Keep Up with Date Night
Just because you aren’t physically together doesn’t mean you should skip out on date night. There are plenty of ways you two can do this.
- Skype dinner date – set up a time for you two to both have a conversation over a meal, even if it’s your lunch and your partner’s dinner. Turn off all other distractions and have this time set aside for you and your partner.
- Movie Night – there are helpful apps and websites such as Gaze, where you and your partner connect via the website, and watch a movie at the same time as one another. Or, just agree on a movie you both have (whether a DVD or through Netflix) and press play at the same time.
Keep Up with Communication
You or your partner might need to travel to a different country where phone bills would just be outrageously high to keep texting and talking on the phone. Don’t worry there are plenty of apps to help with that – all you need is an internet connection.
- Couple/Skype/FaceBook Messenger – You can talk to each other (phone calls or text messages), send photos, and draw together. It’s easy to set aside ten minutes of your day to bond with your partner.
- Any “with friends” app! These apps are great ways to play games with your partner. Scrabble, chess, pictionary – they’re all now in app form. Playing games together keeps the playful and fun aspects of your bond alive.
- Create and keep up with common interests – whether that’s reading the same book, watching the same shows, or listening to similar bands. Find things that you both enjoy so you can talk about these interests and feel connected, even when you’re apart.
Keep the Intimacy Alive
Sometimes it might feel difficult to be intimate with distance between you.
- Plan out weekend visits – you get to physically be around each other, and it gives you both something to look forward to. During these visits, try to have an intimacy goal – whether that’s physical intimacy, getting to know your partner’s friends, seeing your partner’s favourite spots (fun spots, or where they go to unwind), or just spending the weekend doing your partner’s regular routine to get a deeper sense of who they are.
Getting to see each other is great, but there will be big gaps between these visits. In the meantime,you keep your intimacy alive by:
- Sending photos as often as you can – of yourself, of what you’re doing. These are little glimpses into your every day life to help your partner feel connected to you.
- Send care packages. Big or small, sending each other little bits of your life and a handwritten note will make you feel more connected. You could send a new recipe you’ve tried out and loved, a small bottle of essential oil you’ve been using to help destress, a bottle of your new favorite beer, or a little vial of sand from your favorite beach.
- Make time for your sexual routine – whether that includes using your phone, webcam, photos, whatever you are comfortable with. Make sure you are keeping up with communication on the topic. Don’t push your partner to doing something they are not comfortable with.
Keep Up with Yourself.
Yes, make time for your partner, but also use this as an opportunity to self-explore and be there for yourself. If this is a temporary trip – you may not get this opportunity again. Go sightseeing and take in everything you can about the place you are visiting. If you’ve moved to a new city without your partner (or you two have always lived apart) – make sure you get out and make friends. You don’t want your partner missing out on life because they are constantly just making time for you – just like when you are physically in the same city and have separate interests, keep that up when you are apart as well.
Don’t Let Other People’s Opinions of Your Relationship Get to You
Not everyone can do long distance – and plenty of people will tell you that they don’t see how it’s possible. That doesn’t mean it’s not possible for you.
On par with this, don’t suppress your emotions. At times, you will feel sad or frustrated about the distance. Don’t pretend those emotions aren’t there, recognize them and acknowledge them. Keep a journal for when these emotions hit, call up a supportive friend, go for a run, scream into your pillow – whatever it is you feel like will help you work through it. Sometimes your partner won’t be able to be available to comfort you, having something that reminds you of them (a t-shirt, keychain, socks, etc.) will help you feel comfort and connection during those times.
We’ve put together a list of apps to help you keep the intimacy alive and the relationship bond strong, check it out!
About Sarah O'Leary
Currently enrolled in the master's program for marriage and family therapy at USD, I am captivated most by the importance of relationships and emotions and their impact on our everyday lives. Both relationships and our emotions help shape who we are as a person. "Relationship" doesn't just mean partner, but rather connections of all kinds. This means everything from strangers, to friends, to partners, and most importantly, the relationship you have with yourself. Emotions are what underlies our thoughts and behaviors, they are the key to understanding ourselves.