A good friend of mine dated her boyfriend for three years long-distance, although luckily they were just a train ride away (it panned out since they’re married now). During their time apart, they instituted what I considered a genius rule—they could never go more than three weeks without seeing each other—but since that’s not possible for all couples, there are fun long-distance relationship ideas you can try. Yes, it’s still important that you physically spend time together, but with the right amount of creativity and effort, you can keep the spark alive even though you’re miles apart.
Most people automatically think that technology is going to come in handy in an LDR (it is), but don’t let FaceTime and Skype hold you back from romantic gestures to stay in touch. Because come on, charming things like snail mail or an old-fashioned surprise visit say I love you more than a text ever will. Below find the 50 romantic long-distance relationship ideas that will keep you close to your S.O. no matter how far apart you are.
Have a TV night together
Pick a TV show to binge-watch at the same time (or catch one when it premieres every week). Talk on the phone or FaceTime while you watch (we all know the couple who Netflixes together stays together).
Send snail mail
We’re not saying you should become all-out pen-pals, but handwritten notes are the best way to brighten anyone’s day. You can pick up funny greeting cards or even sketch cute doodles. And if your partner likes it, maybe you’ll get some notes in return.
Snap some pics
You already know we’re going to warn you about sending naughty photos—be careful—so something suggestive without showing too much skin is probably your best bet. Or, keep it G-rated by just sending your S.O. photos of things you’re doing (an innovative meal at a new restaurant, a snap of you and your friends on wine night).
It makes it feel so much more special if your partner is getting a photo straight from the source than just from your Insta feed.
Start a countdown for your reunion
There isn’t anything much sweeter than having a constant reminder of when you’ll finally be back together. Download a countdown app for free, and you can customize everything about it, including having the countdown on your home screen.
Get competitive with online games
Just because you’re not in the same room doesn’t mean you can’t try to beat each other at a game. Websites like Pogo and Yahoo offer multiplayer options for free so you can connect through a little competition.
Have a book club
It can be challenging living in two different places for many reasons, one being that you have to do a lot of explaining about what’s going on (the subway was so slow today, this friend is going through a breakup, etc.). Whether you’re into nonfiction or the latest mystery thriller, you’ll always have something in common to talk about when you’re reading the same book.
Take a virtual excursion
You may not have the money to book an in-person vacation, so pick a fun destination on your bucket list to explore virtually as a pair. Qantas launched a cool virtual reality app to explore Australia, so take a peek if you’ve always wanted to take a trip Down Under.
Send your S.O. a round of drinks
Know where your partner is meeting their friends for drinks tonight? Surprise them with a round of drinks at the bar, and it will be like you’re there in spirit (plus you’ll earn some bonus points with the crew).
Surprise them with a visit
The fewer people you tell in advance, the less of a chance the secret will get leaked. Of course, planned trips are amazing, but a surprise is even better (especially when your partner is having a rough week or has something big to celebrate).
Who says you can’t cook together? It can be hard for your partner to imagine the dish you whipped up without tasting it. So pick one meal a month that you’ll both make, and then take the time to discuss any possible improvements and wine pairings you’d try.
Send each other curated playlists
Mixtapes worked to woo in high school, and a custom Pandora station or Spotify playlist can do the same thing today. Curate a selection of your partner’s faves, some that remind you of your relationship, and a few new tracks you want them to listen to.
Create a joint Pinterest account
Once you’ve made your joint Pinterest account, add different boards with things like “fun date ideas,” “vacation bucket lists” and the like. If you download the Pinterest app, you can stay in touch on the go.
Send them on a scavenger hunt
Yes, you will need the help of a willing friend in their area, but how cute is putting your partner to work on a scavenger hunt? Make them take pictures and send them to you as proof so you can join in the fun. PS: Don’t forget to think of a prize for the finish.
Part of being in a healthy long-distance relationship (or any relationship, for that matter) is taking care of yourself just as much as you take care of your S.O. Make the most of your time apart by doing the things that you love to do, whether that's spending time with family and friends, picking up an old hobby, or getting into a new fitness routine.
Send a care package just because
Send your partner a special something in the mail for no particular reason other than to let them know how much you care. Pack up a box of their favorite things or items that remind you of them and ship it off to them.
The signature scent of your significant other can be a major comfort, so why not send each other your favorite perfumes and colognes? This way, you can catch a whiff of each other's scent anytime you miss one another.
Create a digital shared photo album
Thanks to smartphones, you can easily share photos with your long-distance love with the tap of a button. Create a shared album on your phone and drop in photos for the other to see.
Go all out for special occasions
If you're forced to spend birthdays or other holidays apart, be sure to make them as special as possible even when you're not technically together. Mark important dates on your calendar so you never miss a big day.
Keep a joint journal
Buy a journal and take turns writing down your thoughts, observations, and feelings then send it back and forth to each other. It's an incredibly romantic and intimate gesture that will make you and your S.O. feel closer than ever.
Call each other
Even if you have a quick question or story to share, call instead of text as much as you can. Just hearing each other's voices will help to shrink the physical distance between you.
Spend time on the phone making solid plans for when you'll see each other next and what your life will look like when you finally live in the same city again. It always feels good to have something to look forward to, especially when you're in a long-distance relationship.
Write your love story
Whether handwritten or via Google Docs, you and your S.O. can co-write the story of your love together for a sweet project that you can share. Include details about how you first met, how you felt in the early days, and memories you've shared along the way.
Sending flowers is a simple gesture that goes a long way. Order a bouquet from a local flower shop or use an online florist like Bouqs to have a beautiful surprise delivered to their home or office.
Plan a virtual date night
Thanks to Skype and FaceTime, you can make a date night happen no matter where you are. Pick a time and date, then cook dinner and open up a bottle of wine simultaneously. The hardest part will be saying goodbye when it's time to call it a night.
Play 20 questions
It may feel juvenile but a flirty game of 20 questions is a great way to connect with a loved one you haven't been able to see lately. Make it light and fun or deep and serious.
Create to-do lists for each other
Similar to a scavenger hunt (but perhaps less extreme), writing simple to-do lists for each other is a thoughtful way for you and your partner to feel connected. Think up fun activities specific to their location or even write out small ideas that you know they'll love. Tell them to go out for ice cream, call their parents, or visit a museum in their town, for instance.
Record voice memos
Take the time to record sweet messages on your phone to send to your love every once in a while. They can be as simple as saying, "I love you," or as complex as reading a poem. Either way, your S.O. will appreciate being able to hear your voice whenever they need it and vice versa.
Treat them to take-out
Download a couples app
It's 2019 and apps specifically designed to keep couples' relationships strong exist. While it might seem unnecessary, a tool like this Couple app provides helpful ideas and resources for you and your S.O. Use it for everything from games to planning your future together.
Get matching jewelry
Matching bracelets, rings, or necklaces will remind you and your partner of each other every time you notice them. Take it one step further and have the pieces engraved with initials or a meaningful date.
Send goofy e-cards
Offer a silly reminder of your love by emailing your S.O. a funny e-card. It's a small way to bring a smile to their face.
Bring the karaoke bar to you with a little help from the web. Search for online karaoke sites and then use a webcam or your smartphone to listen to each other make fools of yourselves or even sing a duet together. It's an unexpected way to share a night with one another even when you're apart.
Bake homemade cookies (or any treat that your partner loves) and send them off in the mail. The only thing better than homemade baked goods is homemade baked goods from someone you love.
Write out your feelings
Even long-distance couples have disagreements. If you and your S.O. are arguing but you can't talk in person, try writing out your feelings so that you're composed when you're able to talk things through on the phone.
Create a personalized ring tone
Download a personal ring tone for your partner so you know exactly when they're calling. It could be their favorite song or a tune that holds special meaning for both of you.
Take a funny online quiz together
A quick Google search will reveal a myriad of couples and long-distance relationship quizzes meant to determine your compatibility. Of course, most aren't very scientific or even accurate, but they're a kitschy activity you can do together even when you're physically apart.
"Go" to a concert together
Pick a band you both love and find a way to watch a live show online. Most artists stream their performances to sites like YouTube so you can your S.O. can watch together while video chatting. Close your eyes and pretend you're both there together.
Spend time with each other's friends and family
If you live near your partner's friends and family, make time to see them even if your S.O. can't be there. They'll love knowing you spent time with their favorite people.
Challenge yourself to put your feelings into words and write a poem for your long-distance love. When you've finished it, send it in the mail or read it aloud on a Skype or FaceTime call.
Learn something together
Whether it's a new instrument or a foreign language, you and your partner can both commit to taking classes in person or online. After each lesson, talk on the phone or video chat about what you learned and practice your new skills together.
Make a photo album
Yes, digital shared albums are easy and instant, but an old-fashioned photo album is a thoughtful way to show you care and to reminisce on memories of times spent together.
You can use your time apart as motivation to meet the goals you have for yourself. For instance, you could vow to give up alcohol in the name of health until you're reunited with your love or try to challenge both of you to work out three times a week until you see each other next. Whatever you're working towards, find a way to get there together.
Keep track of their time zone
Use a dual time zone watch or even an app on your phone to make sure you always know what time it is where your S.O. is if you don't live in the same time zone.
Try one of your partner's favorite activities
Whether they love to cook, play basketball, or paint, spend an afternoon giving one of their favorite activities a try. You'll feel closer to them even if their hobby isn't exactly your passion.
Book a trip
Who says you have to have your reunion where one of you lives? Instead, book a trip and plan to meet in a new place. Pick a local town or far off country that neither of you has been before, book plane tickets and a hotel, and enjoy a much-deserved vacation for just the two of you.
Send small notes of appreciation
You can do this via text or handwritten letters. Either way, telling your partner specific reasons why you appreciate them, even when they're far away, is a romantic gesture.
It's okay to admit to each other that you're struggling with the distance between you. Long-distance relationships are no walk in the park, so it's important to connect and be truthful about how you're feeling, even when it's negative. Sharing these difficult emotions will only benefit both of you in the long run and chances are you're both feeling the same way.
Share your daily successes
When you're able to talk on the phone or video chat, be sure to share the highlights of your day with your S.O. They'll be happy to hear about the best parts of your day, whether you nailed a presentation at work or saw an old friend. Share just as you would if you were together in person.
Make the most of time together
When you're finally reunited, make the most of your time together. Bond with a cooking class or salsa dancing lesson. Put yourself out there and make memories that you'll cherish when you're apart again.
Support each other
Long-distance relationships are hard and no amount of technology and care packages can make up for actual time spent together. That's why it's so important to remain supportive and reassure one another when you're dealing with an inevitably difficult time. Keep the lines of communication open and know that a healthy, honest relationship can make it through just about anything.