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Being in a long distance relationship (LDR) is one of the hardest challenges a couple can go through.
While they say that absence does make the heart go fonder, there is also the very real risk of that distance making the heart go yonder.
The good news is, it’s not an impossible situation to deal with. Many couples have been in a long-distance set-up and survived. In this article, we’ll give you some things to do in long distance relationships to make it work.
What Is a Long-Distance Relationship?
A long distance relationship is a set-up wherein a couple is separated by significant geographical distance, making physical contact and interaction rare and challenging. Long distance relationships can mean cross-country, or even international. It is also possible to have a long distance relationship even when both people are in the same state, but on different ends of it.
In any type of relationship, having good and open communication is always going to be important. It’s integral to establishing a strong foundation to the couple’s dynamic, and it also allows them to get to know each other enough to reach an ideal level of intimacy.
The challenge for couples in this setup is to find creative means and ways to stay in touch with each other despite the distance. Fortunately, nowadays, the internet makes it a lot easier and possible to do so. As long as there is reliable internet connection, sending messages, engaging in phone calls or even having video chats with each other is all just a click of a button away.
Now that the tools and mediums are very well within reach, it is up to the couples to make good use of them, not only to maintain the relationship, but also to make sure it grows while they are apart.
And then, hopefully, before they know it, they’ll be seeing each other sooner rather than later.
But until then, it will be up to them to make time for each other… even if it may not be convenient all the time. Especially when couples are in different time zones, they will have to figure out a system for spending time with each other regularly, in order to keep a healthy balance in their relationship.
In case you are in a long distance relationship, or should you ever find yourself getting into one, here are some helpful tips for you to consider about what to do to keep that flame burning between you two lovebirds.
Commit and Put in the Work
1. Establish ground rules, use labels.
If you’re serious about making it work, it helps to first clearly define what it is you have with each other. Having a definitive label helps to clarify the role you play in each other’s lives.
2. Reasonably manage expectations.
The labels and ground rules you set in the first tip above allows you to better manage expectations with each other. Even though you may not be physically together, it’s still important to realize that you do have obligations to fulfill given the relationship.
3. Set a schedule for date night, keep it sacred.
Especially if your schedules are polar opposites, or are really difficult to clear, having a set schedule for date night can help establish that much needed routine… which is crucial in providing a semblance of stability for the relationship. Block it on your calendar and don’t miss it as much as possible. It’s also a great way to reassure your partner that you can and will prioritize them too.
4. Leave room for surprises.
Sudden video calls, random text messages, or surprise reservations further ignite the flame in the relationship. Long distance definitely does not have to be boring, so don’t hesitate to put a little fun to it once in a while.
5. Create a strategy for conflict resolution.
Not being able to talk in person about certain issues may make it more difficult to resolve. This is where your communication skills will come into play. If you’re the type of person who would rather step back for a moment, so as to not escalate the situation before going back into it for resolution… it’s a good idea to let your partner know about this preference so that they are not left to wonder why you are ignoring or stonewalling them. Not having an insight as to why you react the way you do in certain situations could aggravate the conflict further.
Reassure and Secure
6. Be honest and transparent about your whereabouts.
Sure, it’s good that you’re able to keep your independence in a long distance relationship. But in the interest of promoting security and reassurance with your partner, it would be considerate of you to let them know your plans or whereabouts, so that they don’t worry as well.
7. Keep each other updated about your daily life or work.
You know how sometimes it feels good just to have someone ask how your day went? You can still do that even when you’re apart. In fact, it’s going to help you further cement that bond, because even the mundane parts of your day can actually give insight as to whom you are as an individual.
8. Consult them for important life decisions.
You don’t need to rely on them to make the decision for you, but this exercise is just as important to them because they would definitely want to feel like they’re a part of your life. Whether or not the issue that needs to be decided will directly impact them, the fact that you are opening up to them can already do a lot in reassuring them about where they stand in your life.
9. Make short-term and long-term plans.
These plans don’t necessarily have to be serious life plans with each other. It could be as trivial as visiting a destination together, or attending a family event in person. The point is that it gives both of you something to look forward to as a couple. It also allows you to find out more about their quirks and preferences.
10. Plan for your face-to-face meeting.
Again, nothing has to be set in stone… but when the most opportune time arrives, at least you two will be ready. This is also a good barometer to see if you are on the same page as to how you want your relationship to go.
Close the Gap
11. Have a keepsake of each other.
This is to serve as a physical reminder of them, to at least ease the longing. It could be a shirt or pillow with their scent, their favorite cologne, pair of slippers or whatever it is that belongs to or represents them. Something they don’t mind you keeping for yourself as a souvenir.
12. Send gifts via local delivery service.
It doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture, but sending gifts locally once in a while can help make it feel like your partner is nearby. It could be as elaborate as a bouquet of fresh flowers, or as simple as a box of their favorite pastries from their favorite local shop.
13. Leave random video messages throughout the day.
Texting or chatting is convenient… but occasionally dropping random video messages is better, because it feels like a surprise visit! Your partner can easily see you as well while you talk, even if it is just a recorded message.
14. Pillow talk before bed.
You’ve seen this in movies. Romantic interests have so much fun talking over the phone that they end up talking till the wee hours in the morning. That, or they fall asleep “together,” still on the call. It’s no substitute for the real thing, but it’s a viable alternative in the meantime, given the difficult circumstances of LDR.
15. Wear a couple item (shirt, necklace, bracelet, or ring).
You can customize these items as well to represent your togetherness. It can be as discreet or as loud as you want, as long as both of you can wear it.
16. Explore intimacy from a distance.
Physical intimacy is such a crucial part of a healthy relationship. You need to be able to articulate to your partner what is your comfort level so you can share moments even when apart.
Do Activities Together
17. Eat meals together.
Whether it’s take-out night or a sit-down fancy dinner, being able to dine together is one of the best ways to spend time as a couple. All you need to do is connect through a video call and then you can enjoy each other’s company over a good meal.
18. Watch a movie or binge-watch a series.
De-stress together by watching your favorite shows together. There are apps for tele parties, which allow several participants to connect to a single platform so they can view it at the same time.
19. Have a full day off at the same time.
If you just can’t seem to find the right time to enjoy together, then make it. Remember, you have to put in the work. Spending a full day off just with each other is a great opportunity to focus on yourselves.
20. Enjoy a wine night.
You don’t need a special occasion to pop a good bottle of wine open. You can enjoy this moment together as a night cap.
21. Go on a virtual museum or zoo tour.
Museums and zoos are great for dates. Good thing you can now go on virtual tours, so you can visit together online.
22. Make an appearance at each other’s important social gatherings.
Making your partner feel that they are included in your life is important. Meeting each other’s family and group of friends is certainly an indication of the status of your relationship. That’s why presenting them to your family and friends, even though just a video call, matters a lot.
23. Do chores together.
It’s not the most exciting thing in the world, for sure, but it can be fun doing mundane, everyday things together… if only to make the distance feel smaller.
24. Watch online concerts together.
With virtual events being much more common now, it’s easier to watch your favorites and discover new artists together.
25. Play video games together.
There are plenty of casual games that you can play with your partner if you’re not into the more serious genres, like FPS or RPG. Your partner will at least appreciate you making the effort to do an activity together, especially if gaming is one of their hobbies.
For more ideas, check out this post on long distance activities to keep the spark alive.
Final Thoughts on Long Distance Relationship Activities
Ultimately, sustaining a long distance relationship depends a lot on how much work you are willing to put in.
Establishing a good foundation with trust and transparency, while keeping an open mind and having patience for the situation at hand, will help you achieve longevity.
Creativity helps keep the spark alive, which is what will help close the geographical distance between you two. If you feel like you’re running out of ideas, check out these best apps for couples to make your relationship stronger.
Remember, as long as you keep your communication lines open and remain on the same page, you can enjoy your relationship with each other… no matter the distance. And it will be even better once you get together for good!
If you have some interesting LDR activity ideas to share that weren’t mentioned here, be sure to add them in the comments section!