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Love at a Distance

Everyone knows it takes a lot of solid effort on both ends to make a relationship work.  But when it comes to long-distance relationships, it takes at least twice the effort.  Top that with the stress of classes, jobs and clubs, and the relationship can get even harder.  And then, the calendar gods add insult to injury by placing Valentine’s Day on a Monday, right at the beginning of the school week.  

Valentine’s Day has gotten a bad reputation for being a commercial holiday.  It’s true that commercialism is a large part of the day, but it also gives couples a chance to reflect on their love for each other, and that doesn’t always have to mean a stuffed bear and box of Whitman’s chocolates or a fancy dinner at The Melting Pot.  With long-distance relationships, Valentine’s Day is a special opportunity to break away from the stress of being apart, focus on one another and make a memory together to hold onto until the next visit.

Last year, Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday, making it easy for long-distance couples in college to at least make an attempt to see each other without sacrificing school.  Although that’s not the case this year, there are still plenty of ways a long-distance couple can have a cool and exciting Valentine’s Day.

If possible, try to visit your significant other the weekend before that Monday.  Instead of just celebrating on the day, make it a weekend holiday together.  Go out to dinner together one night (the restaurants won’t have jacked up their prices yet for Valentine’s Day, or be offering “couple’s deals” that really aren’t deals at all) and grab drinks or coffee after.  Stop by a Redbox on the way home and pick up a movie that you both meant to see in theaters but never did. 

The next day, sleep in and enjoy each other’s company by just chilling out together.  Don’t put any kind of time pressures on the weekend.  Grab brunch at an IHOP or Denny’s and share a stack of pancakes.  Catch a matinee together, even if nothing good is playing.  You won’t be spending as much money as a regular movie, and the two of you can laugh about the bad parts if it ends up sucking.

Afterwards, do something fun and carefree together, something that will guarantee a lot of laughs, like bowling.  Bet that whoever loses buys the chili cheese fries from the concession stand.

When it comes to actual Valentine’s Day, classes will probably consume most of the day.  But after class, clear your schedule.  And if you don’t already have a webcam, buy one now. 
Decide together what restaurant you would both choose to go to if you were together.  Once you agree, think about what each would get if you actually went.  Then, search your dish on allrecipes.com. 

Print out the list of ingredients, and make a quick trip to the grocery store.  As you’re each preparing your meal, bring your laptop and webcam out into the kitchen. Making the meal together will strengthen your relationship, since you’ll be working as a team to prepare an excellent Valentine’s Day dinner.

Eat your meal together, in front of your webcams.  Light candles to give it more of a restaurant feel, and dress up just like you would on a date.  Although you can’t physically be together for Valentine’s Day, you can still make it a special occasion.  Hey, flowers and chocolates are nice, but for long-distance relationships, nothing is sweeter than spending time with your other half, even if it’s over Skype.

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