I think the worst thing about being in a long-distance relationship is not knowing the next time I’m going to see my girlfriend. It’s hard, and it’s sad, and sometimes just facetime-ing doesn’t quite hit the way I need it to. It’s too basic! Just like in-person dates, you need to try different things to keep your time together exciting and keep your attention invested. Here’s a list of different ideas, some of which I can say by personal experience, are GREAT.
You don’t just have to do these with a significant other, either! You can absolutely have fun platonic date nights with friends. These are all super versatile for all your date-night needs!
Just like planning in-person time, it’s important to communicate and schedule time to spend time together, perhaps even more so when there’s distance between you. Just texting and snapchatting back and forth can get monotonous and boring, and you shouldn’t feel bored in a relationship with a person who makes you happy.
For this list, it is heavily advised that you schedule times to be with your significant other. If that’s not feasible for you, don’t worry, there’s another list under this one with more ideas for you!
Cook together over video chat.
Decide on a recipe together and schedule a time to call, and then cook together! If you’re anything like me, cooking with other people in the kitchen can make you *shivers*, you know? The kitchen is my little sanctuary, my safe place, but I’ve discovered that just calling the other person doesn’t make me feel crowded. This is a great way to do something together while still maintaining your own space, and you get to try something new together. Choose recipes that neither of you have attempted before for an additional adventure!
Also includes a built in dinner date (you’re welcome).
Listen to music together on Spotify.
This one’s a little finicky--you both have to have a Spotify account. Decide who’s going to control the music for the day (or you can work together to create a playlist of your favorite songs/songs that make you think of the other person), and have that person start a group session. Click the “invite friends” option, invite your significant other, and you guys can listen to the same songs at the same time! Albums, podcasts, ASMR playlists, you’ll hear exactly what the other person hears. This is a great way to feel connected to the other person while being able to go about your day, whether you’re doing a 10-step skin routine or finishing up a reading for class.
**No Spotify account? No problem. Just put a playlist together and send it over to them, so they can hear the songs that make you think of them.
Send each other care packages.
There was a TikTok trend for a while (was it a trend? What qualifies as an official TikTok trend?) where couples would go into a store like Target (wear your mask!) and get things for their significant other based on a list--favorite snack, favorite candy, favorite drink (though that might not be possible to mail), something that’s their favorite color, something you see that you think they might like. You can give each other a price limit or just give them free reign, whichever you rather based on your preference! Write them a little note and seal it all up (make sure to wrap anything that has a chance of breaking), and send it off. Boom, care package of some of their favorite things!
I would recommend scheduling to send your packages out on the same day. For a little something extra, wait until you can call each other and open your packages together! You get to see their reactions to what you got them, you can catch up and eat your snacks, and you get to have some scheduled time together. A win-win-win situation!
Play question games.
It’s never, ever too late to learn something new about someone you love. Some of these questions could lead into conversations you’ve never had before, from your worst fears to your top three favorite ice cream toppings. Learning new things about a person comes with a certain level of excitement, especially if you don’t get to see your significant other too often, meaning the excitement level can potentially be so low it’s non-existent.
Maybe you’ll learn about something that you can include in their care package! Bonus points!
Go out together.
This one takes a little bit of courage the first time. Go to a restaurant together! If you both have the same restaurant near you go at the same time and then call the other person, and it’ll be like you’re out to dinner together! You might feel kind of weird about it the first time or two, but eventually it’ll become just another thing you can do with your significant other. This pattern mimics a “traditional” date the most out of all the others in this list, and it’s certainly not for everyone, but know that anything is an option if you think you can make it work--including going out together. Go wherever you want! Burger joint? Local coffee shop? The bubble tea place around the corner? Considering the whole “wear a mask” thing right now, this one might be a little harder, but if you’re willing to put in the work for it then I think it’s a great idea!
Conflicting schedules? Busy days? No problem! Here’s a few bonus ideas of things you can do for your significant other that doesn’t depend on a phone call.
Buy them dinner.
Maybe they had a not-so-great day. Maybe they just got home, and it’s late, and they’re super tired, and have yet to eat dinner. Maybe they were running late this morning, and didn’t have time to grab lunch. They talk about picking something up or having it delivered. Offer to pay for them! Ask what they want on Postmates or UberEats (or any other delivery app the kids are using these days) and put in their address instead of yours, or if they’re picking it up themselves/have already ordered, Venmo them! It’s a simple way of reminding them that you still care, and take-out can be cheap and easy for you, but to them it could still mean the world. It’s a small thing that could go a long way and really brighten their mood.
Besides, this way, you can keep up with any kind of “You paid last time, let me pay this time” agreements you follow.
Call me old-fashioned, but is there anything better than a classic old love letter? Something written just for them in your handwriting, so they can hold what you’ve held, so they can see parts of your personality in the way you dot your i’s and cross your t’s that’s not in the basic font that, sometimes, after a long day of typing reports and reading books for class, reminds you of a research paper.
It doesn’t even have to be a “love letter,” in the traditional sense. Complain about your professors! Talk about your newest song obsession!
Besides, you can slip little things inside the envelope as an extra surprise. Origami flowers. A hand-written recipe you tried out last night. A doodle that you did during class that you ripped out of your notebook. Everybody loves a nice little bonus! Besides, the mail system doesn’t have an official delivery timeline, so when they get it it’ll be a fun surprise for them. This one is along the lines of a full care package, but much smaller and cheaper.
Send pictures throughout the day.
There’s no better feeling than knowing someone is thinking about you. See something that’s your significant other’s favorite color on your way to work? See a cute dog on your way to class? Send them a picture! It lets them know that they’re on your mind, despite the distance. Besides, who doesn’t love spontaneous dog pictures?
Binge TV shows/watch movies together.
This one is pretty easy. Decide on a show together (or, if your significant other mentions watching a show, tell them you want to watch with them! Be proactive!) and watch it, but you can either call or text each other your reactions. My girlfriend got me into Game of Thrones over quarantine and I binged the. Whole. Thing. Half the time she would log on and watch it from her place, and we’d text back and forth as things happened (granted, she’d already seen it, so most of the texts were me reacting and freaking out and her laughing at me, but you get the idea). It was fun, and knowing we were doing the same thing even if we weren’t really together was fun and made me feel really connected to her.
Long-distance relationships can suck, especially during this long quarantine period, but they don’t have to! Trying new things together keeps you out of a routine and keeps things fun and exciting. Being active together, even over a simple phone call, helps to keep you from getting bored and stops conversations with your significant other from becoming a chore. Have some fun with them! Putting in the effort to make things work is fairly easy, and it’ll definitely pay off in the long run.