Keep your loved ones close even when they're far away
Keeping connected to loved ones can be hard if they are far away. Whether you’ve found yourself distanced from relatives due to the current global pandemic, have a spouse whose job requires them to be away, or if you’re already in an established long-distance relationship, it’s normal to feel isolated and desperately wanting to close the gap.
Long-distance relationships are tough – but they are not impossible. The first thing you should realize is that being physically apart doesn’t signal the demise of your relationship or friendship with your significant other.
The trick to long-distance relationships is to make the most of what you’ve got. Luckily, we are in a time of increased global interconnectedness and there are many creative ways to maintain a relationship no matter if you’re cities, states, or even countries apart.
1. Stay connected via phone
One of the best ways is by picking up the phone and calling them, or sending a text message. They don’t have to be long, just regular enough to feel like a ‘check in’.
2. Social media and emails
Jumping on your loved one’s social media page or sending a quick email are also great ways to feel closer together. Feeling like you’re up to date with the person’s life and what’s happening with them will help increase how connected to them you feel.
3. Get video chatting
By now, you’ve most likely realized that a phone call can sometimes be a poorer substitute for seeing your loved one’s face! This is where technology really is a blessing, giving those of us separated a chance to see our partners via virtual video chat.
Whether it’s via your phone’s in-built video call option or apps like Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype or Zoom, being able to actually see each other is sometimes enough to ease all pain of being physically apart.
When you’re video chatting, why not act as if your loved one is physically there with you? Have a ‘virtual date’ and cook dinner for them and then eat the same meal together while you’re chatting, go for a ‘walk’ together in the park, do a workout together, or fall asleep together with the video on. There are many ways you can still maintain the sense of having a normal life together while being on completely opposite sides of the world.
4. Send a care package
Along with handwritten letters, postcards, and greeting cards, another amazing way to stay connected and show your loved one that you’re thinking of them is by sending a care package!
Fill a box with their favorite treats, toys, books, CDs, clothes, or other small gifts and mail it to them. There are also services over the Internet that send gift baskets or flowers or hampers for you – allowing you to choose your items, price range, and delivery address at the click of a button.
Care packages make for a great surprise, especially for a homesick relative overseas!
5. Start a project together
Whether it’s taking up oil painting or building model trains, you and your distant loved one can choose a new hobby to do together even when far apart.
Regularly talk about your hobby, share your progress, and then mail or send a photo of the finished masterpiece to each other! You may also want to enroll in an online class together and master a new language. That way you can help each other study and impress each other with the new words you’ve learned!
This is a great way to engage in an activity together and to be able to hold each other accountable. It also puts you in a position to encourage each other to set new goals and work towards them, bringing your relationship closer.
6. Gaming with friends
There are thousands of online games available that allow you to play virtually together in real-time. Whether it’s Playstation Online, Facebook Games, or multiplayer computer games, set a time to get online and challenge your other half to a virtual battle!
You can make a challenge out of it by making whoever wins first or whoever collects the more points/prizes/trophies etc. gets a reward – which could be anything from a surprise delivery or extra phone time!
Gaming with friends and family during isolation, in particular, was just one of many creative ways people found to be closer together even when physically apart.
7. Go on a virtual holiday
So many of us are craving the wanderlust of an overseas holiday. While we can’t make that happen now, we can always go on a virtual holiday!
There are a couple of ways you can do this
Pick a destination you both want to go to and then set up a video call date. When it’s time to go on your vacation, you can both log in to Google Maps and enter the city you’re traveling to. From there, explore Street View and go on a virtual safari! You can also use an app like Ascape, which holds hundreds of virtual video and photo tours. YouTube also hosts virtual tours including theme park rides you can go on from the comfort of your own couch!
Gather photos, postcards, clippings, etc. of your dream holiday destination and make a scrapbook. Include your travel itinerary and activities you wish to participate in. From there, mail the scrapbook to your loved one and talk about your trip!
8. Quiz each other
There are so many free quizzes available online that are so much fun to do over long-distance.
Print out and mail popular quizzes to your loved ones and have them fill it out and return it to you – then call each other and discuss your results! Or, have a list of quizzes or question prompts ready for when you next have a phone call. You can ask anything from, “If you could choose a celebrity to have dinner with, who would it be?” to “Would you rather..?” questions. This can lead to more deep discussion and plenty of laughter!
For those in relationships, try taking online compatibility tests together and find out each other’s Love Language.
9. Write open-when letters
Show how much you really miss them by getting creative with some Open When.. letters!
Grab some envelopes and on each of them write, ‘Open When.. you miss me’ or ‘Open when.. we’ve had a fight.’ Next, write a heartfelt note to accompany the envelope and include some things that will cheer them up such as photos of you or of the two of you together, cut-outs of their favorite car/animal/food, glitter, lipstick kisses – anything you can think of!
10. Inspire each other
Sometimes distance can make everything seem glum, and there are times where it almost feels impossible to go another day without seeing the one you care about.
Keep your positivity alive and renew each other’s confidence by sending daily quotes via text or messenger or email or letter.
Include inspirational quotes such as:
“Always together, never apart. Maybe in distance, but never in heart.”
Source a daily devotion book and read each day’s motivational quote to each other, or look up articles and success stories of others in long-distance relationships to keep you focused and optimistic during those tough days.
11. Make a playlist
Music does wonders when it comes to expressing your heartfelt feelings and emotions.
Tap into the power of music and create a playlist that you can share with your loved one on a platform like Spotify.
Include all the songs that remind you of them as well as your favorite songs or artists. If you know your loved ones’ favorite artist or genre, you can even look up new songs on YouTube and share your discovery with them.
You might also want to help put a playlist together, and have each of you choose 6 songs for a unique mix that symbolizes your relationship!
12. Hold a surprise party
Whether it’s their birthday, graduation, or just because, throw a virtual party and celebrate together!
Apps like Houseparty or Zoom can host multiple people on the video chat and can allow you to participate in fun party games and challenges together.
Set a date, and make it a real party by having a cake and party hats. Make yummy cocktails, sing karaoke, dance together, and have fun! Go further by decorating the room with balloons and streamers, and investing in a mini disco ball or party lights.
Your friend or partner will love the fact that you went to all that effort to make them smile!
13. Plan your next meeting
While many of us are still uncertain about when we can travel again to see our loved ones, it doesn’t stop us from planning that long-awaited day!
Get together with your loved one over the phone or video chat, and make a list of all the things you want to do when you finally get to see each other. Describe in detail your ideal date or meeting, collect information on destinations you wish to explore together, look up fun activities you can do together, and get excited for what’s to come!
Having something to look forward to helps ease feelings of sadness, especially when each day seems to drag on and you feel like you’ll never see your loved one again.
It’s important to stay connected where possible
Know that being physically apart doesn’t have to get in the way of a meaningful, loving, and healthy connection.
In long-distance relationships, you are forced to try a little harder when it comes to communication and finding creative ways to stay connected.
There is a fear among many of us that ‘out of sight, out of mind’ might lead to our loved ones forgetting about us. But the saying, ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder’ is far more accurate! By utilizing the above activities and having daily check-ins, you will find that your relationship will actually come out even stronger after your physical separation.