We’ve all heard the cliché ways to keep a long distance relationship healthy: call once a day, tell each other about your day and a (sarcastic) personal favorite: don’t go to sleep angry (this one’s dumb).
However, being in a long distance relationship myself, I’ll be the first to admit that even adhering to these clichéd rules, long distance is rough. It’s hard to learn to communicate without body language, like cuddling and kissing, and even harder to see happy couples walking down the street hand-in-hand while your boyfriend or girlfriend is hundreds of miles away.
This being said, there are ways to show you care – and nothing makes a long distance relationship work like showing you care even when you aren’t together. Chances are, he’ll reciprocate – and you’ll both be happier and closer.
Send the snail mail
If you’re in COM, like me, you’ve probably heard your professors say a million times that nothing speaks louder than a physical copy, whether you’re mailing your resume, and thank-you note, or a portfolio. The same goes for your relationship. Sure, you might text every day, but who doesn’t get excited about getting a piece of real mail? It doesn’t have to be elaborate – the last time I did this, I colored in a picture and wrote on the back how much I loved and missed him – I got to color and he got a day-brightener, so I’d call it a win-win.
Packages on packages
Don’t think care packages are only for parents. Just like getting mail goes a long way, getting a present in the mail that shows you’re thinking about her will make her ridiculously happy (just think about how excited you are when you get a package!). Again, it doesn’t need to be complicated – you’re a broke college student after all – but every now and then, when you’re on Newbury or in Quincy Market and see something you know would make her laugh, just bite the budget-bullet and grab it. Not only will she know you’re thinking of hee, she’ll know you care when you’re spending your food money on stupid books or silly t-shirts.
Learn his schedule
Okay, hear me out. I know this sounds a little like a creepy move, but think about how special he’ll feel when you can text him “So how was Finance?” when he gets out of class or “How’d the exam go?” Putting in the effort to remember his schedule shows you care about his daily life, even if you aren’t always a part of it.
Before we get carried away, no, I am NOT telling you to all-out sext (though hey, if you’re feeling adventurous go for it). But little reminders like “I wish you were here to keep me warm” while you’re falling asleep or “I’d love to kiss you right now” will keep the physical aspect of your relationship fresh and maintain a level of intimacy so you feel like a couple – not just best friends.
Don’t ignore him when you’re out
It’s true that no one likes a party-pooper who’s on her phone all night at a party, but there’s a way to balance talking to your boyfriend/girlfriend and hanging with your friends. On girls’ night, yes – it’s acceptable to turn off the phone – but at parties, your guy/gal is probably wondering what you’re wearing, how drunk you are or if you’re being hit on. And, while he trusts you, going off the grid for a few hours might not help his anxiety. Send him a few texts while you’re out – either while you’re grabbing another drink, waiting for your turn at the pong table or in the bathroom – so he knows you’re being safe and smart, and he’s always on your mind.
Tell him about things that seem inconsequential – and ask about his
With people you don’t always see, there are often parts of your day that are exciting or important in the moment but not a few hours later. Maybe that kid in your History class is really on your last nerve, or you had the best burrito from Chipotle that anyone will ever have from Chipotle. These moments may seem dumb, but they’re the kind of thing you should definitely tell your boyfriend or girlfriend about. When you’re on the phone, don’t stick to just weekend plans or homework – tell her about the burrito. Vent about that History nerd. These miniscule details are things she’d know if you were together. Long distance relationships end because of a lack of common ground, not because of the distance – so keep the common ground.
Convince him he needs Snapchat
A lot of guys embrace Snapchat, but it was definitely a challenge to get mine to get on the bandwagon. If you can convince him, however, do. (And if your girlfriend isn’t on the bandwagon, throw her on too). It’s silly, but sending a Snapchat to say good morning, to show him the amazing burrito, or just to say you miss him can make his day. It will make him feel like he’s right there with you when he can see your face on his phone.
This may sound like the biggest stretch of all, but those games you can play on your phone like What’s The Phrase and Scramble With Friends can be a great way to stay on your guy’s or girl’s mind. Maybe you can’t be talking at the moment, but when she sees you made a move in your game, you’re immediately brought back into her thoughts. This also inspires friendly and playful competition (and who doesn’t love a little competition?)
Go to bed angry
“What?! Don’t you know that’s the worst thing you could ever do?!”
I think this is a dumb rule to live by. Let’s say you get in a fight at 11 p.m. on a Tuesday. Are you really going to stay awake until 5 a.m. when you have class the next day to resolve it? Trying to resolve a fight quickly, long story short, will only mean the argument isn’t truly resolved. If someone wants the fight to end, he or she will just use the classic “Look, I’m wrong, you’re right. Okay?” This just means you’re both still angry and the issue at hand isn’t really resolved, setting it up to return in the future. Plus, staying up arguing may lead you to say things you don’t mean in the heat of the moment or out of exasperated exhaustion. I find it best to just go to sleep in these situations – you’ll wake up much calmer, and chances are you’ll both be more level headed and prepared to talk it out.
Have a little faith
Long distance is hard, and some days it doesn’t feel worth it. The number one, most important thing to do with a long distance relationship is to just have a little faith. On those off days, remind yourself of all the reasons you love him or her. Count down to the day you’ll be reunited. Look at pictures until you start to laugh. Keep your chin up, and remember that there’s a reason you agreed to stay together – and that reason is probably a good one.