Long Distance Love: What to do when summer sparks stop flying

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It starts slowly—texts become less frequent or maybe he forgets to call and say goodnight.  Your phone, which you previously considered an extra limb, is sitting ignored in the passenger’s seat while you hit the beach with your BFFs.  As July rounds the corner, and you nervously refresh your Facebook page wondering “Why hasn’t he written on my wall?” you realize you’ve found yourself in the opposite of the steamy summer romance you’ve always dreamed about. You are in a long distance relationship, and it’s fizzling out faster than the leftover soda from Memorial Day.
Don’t panic, and back away from your Facebook. It’s time to stop refreshing his page and waiting for September.  If your long distance relationship needs reigniting—whether it’s with last year’s hook-up or your long-term boyfriend who’s away for the summer—all it takes is a little effort. Here are four fun ways to light the Fourth of July sparkler in your man’s heart.

E-mails Are Nice but Letters Are Better
Just like Big won Carrie’s heart by e-mailing volumes of love letters at the end of Sex and the City, you can win over your man. There’s a reason Carrie fell head over heels, even after she was ditched at her wedding—love letters are undeniably romantic, but we don’t live in a perfect world.  We live in a world where our inboxes are littered with ads for male enhancement and sexy housewives looking for some fun.  Are you comfortable with your declaration of love mingling with the three e-mails from that Saudi Arabian Prince? If you’re looking to leave a big impression (no pun intended), don’t settle for an impersonal e-mail. Pull out the stationery you saved from last birthday’s thank you cards, and get to it.
“In this age of tweets and texts, it is nice to have some tangible form of showing that you care,” says Her Campus writer Jessica Stringer. “I think it would be sweet to send each other postcards when you are away from each other. If you are away in Florida for two weeks, send him a postcard of Mickey Mouse. In the Big Apple? Find a postcard of Central Park.”
For those of us spending the summer abroad, a postcard is a cute way to let your boy toy know what he’s missing. For the rest of us who are at home, try this: write a letter listing twenty reasons why you miss him.  It’s cheesy enough to make his heart melt like a popsicle.

Skype is a Savior
Seeing is believing, and when your man sees you through his webcam, he won’t believe how much he misses you. In order to keep your relationship fresh, arrange a weekly date on Skype, but treat it like any other date.  Do your hair and makeup and wear your cutest dress.  You can even watch your favorite reality show together and instant message about the juiciest parts.
“I'm studying abroad in London and my boyfriend is in France. We video chat almost every night,” says Her Campus writer Rachel Dozier. “It's hard at first, but eventually you get into a routine. We're also very fortunate to have the technology we do, just think about it a hundred years ago, I'd be lucky to get a letter!”
For extra points, video chat in your sexiest bikini.  Yes, it’s a little silly, but it will leave him counting the days until the fall semester starts.

I miss you written on a lime green post-it note hanging from a clothesline

The Mix Tape
Throughout my dating career, I’ve mostly been attracted to musicians.  There’s an allure to saying “I’m with the band,” but this is a problem, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Every summer that cute, sensitive guy, who wrote myriads of songs about our love, packed up his rickety van and hit the road. I’m not talking about moving, internships, or planning a day trip to your parents’ house; I’m talking about tour—a different city every night. Your man will most likely be sleeping on a floor or in a car with no internet access, cell phone service, or connection to the free world.  It totally stinks.
To keep in touch with my boyfriend while he was on tour, I needed to be a little creative. I couldn’t rely on a daily phone call, e-mails, or even letters because he wasn’t staying in one place. Since most of his time was spent in a car—probably bored with a CD player, I made him a mix of our favorite songs.  The last song was a song I wrote about how much I would miss him.  He called me later that week to say it was the only thing that got him through missing home so badly—disgustingly cute, I know.
Just because your boyfriend isn’t a road warrior and is spending most of his time at a boring summer job, it doesn’t mean a mix tape is any less successful at turning him to mush.  Make sure to mix classics with silly songs to keep it flirty and fun—think “Eight Days a Week” by the Beatles.   After you make the mix, decorate the disk and case.  Utilize cute stickers, glitter, and lots of hearts. Then, write him a short note about how all those songs make you think of him. For an extra ounce of cliché (but a good cliché), spray the letter with perfume. It will help him remember what it was like to be next to you.

Small Surprises Make Him Miss You
My sister is the queen of long distance relationships.  Since she was old enough to date, she’s never dated someone who’s lived near-by.  One month during a surprise visit, I noticed her dorm room was looking more cluttered that usual. Normally an impossibly organized honors student, she must have somehow let the stress of an Ivy League school take hold of her.  I proclaimed in a way that any concerned sister would, “What is all of this crap? Mom is going to kill you when she sees this.” She coyly giggled and revealed that her long distance boyfriend sent her gifts when he was away—a cozy blanket, some trinkets, and a teddy bear large enough to crush a baby.  Immediately, I knew this: I like this guy, and where can I get one?
As college students, money is always tight. We don’t have the means to send our boyfriends expensive gifts or plane tickets to visit us, but small surprises still do the trick.  On your next visit, hide some love notes in the pockets of your boyfriend’s favorite sweatshirt or book.  He’s bound to find them later, and when he does, he will be thrilled.  Bake him his favorite cookies, and send them express; a happy stomach leads to a happy boyfriend.
Just because your crush is away for the summer doesn’t mean a phone call is the only way to connect.  Get creative. Make him gifts and mix tapes, send him letters, and meet each other online for a quick date.  Remember, anything from the heart is sure to make your summer love spark even more. When September comes around, he’ll be running to your dorm to tell you how happy he is that you’re back.

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About The Author

Mariel Loveland is in love with writing. She recently graduated from SUNY Purchase College wtih a major in Creative Writing and a minor in Studio Composition. There she was the editor-in-chief of The Independent, her campus's only print news source. Currently, she runs a blog entitled "Writing the Ship" (http://www.writing-the-ship.bl...) where she documents her life as a recent graduate. When she is not writing words, she can be found writing songs for her punk band and playing guitar loudly in the basements of seedy (and sometimes not-so-seedy) NYC clubs. In the past, Mariel has interned for Lucky Magazine in the Online Editorial Department and Columbia Records as part of their A&R and Digital Research team as well as contributing to other on-campus publications. In her spare time, she dabbles in graphic design, fiction writing, and window shopping on the internet. Currently, she works at Babble.com where she handles all their social media.