I received compensation while working with Collectively and HP for this post. I only recommend products and services that I believe are beneficial to my readers. All opinions, ideas, goofy comments, and observations are mine.
When John and I were dating and engaged, our computers were the secondary mode of communication for us (eclipsed only by our poor, beleaguered phones). The last big purchase John made before he deployed was a better, faster computer (an HP, actually), so that he could stay in touch. It was that important to us. Fast-forward a few years and we (finally!) live in the same apartment and no longer videochat to say hello.
But now, more than ever, even more couples are logging in to spend time with each other. So, when HP contacted me to work with them, I knew exactly what I was going to write about. In just a few short years, technology has changed so much– there are so many more possibilities than John and I had, even just 3 years ago. (Don’t mind me while I put my false teeth in…) Take the HP Pavillion x360. It’s a 2-in-1 and has four modes: laptop, tablet, tent, and stand. It’s flexibility makes it easy to use the device in many situations and for many purposes.
Technology is how most military spouses and significant others keep in contact with their loved ones, and it’s also how most long distance relationships keep in touch, too. Here are a few creative and pertinent ways to nurture your long distance relationship:
Go old school.
I love writing letters. In fact, that’s how John and I picked up our romance and fell in love. I wrote him a letter when he was in bootcamp and then when he deployed, I wrote him a letter every day he was gone. There’s nothing quite like a letter in your mailbox– but sometimes it’s not possible to send a letter (I’m looking at you, spouses and significant others of submariners!) or it takes too long. (Once, one of my letters got to Afghanistan by way of Cuba. Yeah, I don’t know how that happened either.) Emails are wonderful and so fast… but there’s something special about being able to see the other person’s handwriting, not just uniform letters on a white screen.
So send a digital love letter instead.
It’s easy to do with a tablet. (And the HP Pavillion x360 transforms into a tablet in a second.) Use use the Inking function on Microsoft Word (it’s under “Review”) or download other programs like Xodo or Drawboard and write a letter. Doodle. Draw little hearts to dot every I. Enjoy writing with flourishes. Then, attach your letter to an email and send it off.
Don’t have a tablet? Write a real, hard copy and scan and attach to an email.
Live your life.
It is so easy to feel the need to be connected to every device you own every, single moment of every single day. (I was so guilty of this while John was deployed!) Living life this way may feel good at the beginning of the separation, but it’s not sustainable. Studies show that people with increased screen time end up feeling more depressed. And being constantly connected doesn’t mean that you won’t miss something. Five months into deployment, John called me for the first time and I had my phone right on my desk… with the ringer turned off.
So take time away from your screens and devices. Have fun with friends, go for a run, enjoy reading. When you live life this way, you’re not only taking care of yourself, you’re also taking care of your relationship by being the best, happiest version of yourself. (And think of all the things you’ll have to talk about and share with your loved one!)
With so many devices and notifications, it can be really, really easy to get distracted when you’ve got screen time with your loved one (especially when the video lags and it doesn’t feel like you’re having a conversation). Make a concerted effort to spend one-on-one time the way it was meant to be spent: one-on-one. Close any programs and any windows that aren’t your videochat program of choice.
Use those tools!
There are so many (free!) tools online that can help you maintain your relationship and keep in touch… and I’m not just talking about Facebook and email. When John and I were separated, we used Dropbox as our storage place for all things having to do with our wedding. From guest lists to our honeymoon, we saved everything to Dropbox so both of us could always see up-to-date documents and collaborate together. Google Docs– especially the calendar– is another great suite of free tools. Use the calendar to keep each other’s schedules handy and updated. And don’t forget to check out apps– there many out there that are helpful for long distance relationships.
Bend the rules.
HP has teamed up with Meghan Trainor’s That Bass Tour over the next few months to highlight what can happen when you bend the rules. (Hint: things get way more fun!) Follow along and see what HP and Meghan are up to.
photo credit: PH2 Narina Larry via Commons.Wikimedia.org modified by Jo, My Gosh!