Long-distance relationships can be tough even on the most mundane of days. But throw an anniversary into the mix–a day that society says should be special, exciting, and celebrated together–and suddenly, a tough day can easily turn tragic. Despite how difficult a long-distance anniversary may seem, there are some great ways to celebrate together when you’re not. A little planning, a bit of compromise, and a touch of creativity will shrink the miles.
If this is your first anniversary apart, be sure to practice some self care. Approach your day knowing it may be different than what you might expect, you may be a little sadder than planned, or you might not feel sad at all. If you can’t communicate with your SO that day, make plans with friends, schedule an extra shift at work, or get a massage to quell any undue loneliness that might sneak up.
Long-Distance Movie Date
If you’d like to head out to celebrate, check out both of your local movie listings to find a time that matches across the time zones. During the movie, eat your SO’s favorite concession. When the film ends, make a phone call or video chat to discuss your thoughts on the film and the trailers you saw before the show.
Dinner and a movie
If you’d rather stay in, find a time when you both can eat a meal in your respective time zones, then order in or prepare similar meals. (Be a little creative if needed. Remember, pancakes are great for breakfast and dinner!) Call or video chat during your meal to enjoy your food and each other’s company. You can even dress up to look good for bae if you’re video chatting.
After the meal, use a browser extension, like Wiff.me, Watch Togetherm or Kalisi, that allows you both to watch a video simultaneously. If you don’t like using extensions, the old “One, two, three… play!” will do the trick of synchronized viewing.
You and Me
This is a great option for couples who won’t have an audio/video connection on their anniversary. A month or two prior, each of you can buy a copy of “What I Love About You,” a fill-in journal with prompts that will help you express your thoughts and feelings for your SO. Take your time, complete the book, and mail the completed copy to your partner. Choose a time on your anniversary to read the book; if you can read them simultaneously across the distance, even better!
The Quiz Book for Couples
Grab a copy of The Quiz Book for Couples. While on a phone call or video chat, choose one of the book’s quizzes and answer the questions separately. Then, share and compare your responses. You’ll feel closer than ever before as you learn more about your partner. (If you don’t have time to purchase the book, you can always ask one of these 99 questions for long distance relationships.)
Write a Love Letter
Put aside any disdain for writing and forget your fear of feelings: nothing is more romantic than a handwritten love letter. In your letter, tell your partner why you love them, what makes you happy about being their SO, how you feel when you’re together, and what you hope to do the next time you’re in the same place. An old-school love letter is just the trick for feeling close to the one you love.
Write a Short Story and Illustrate It
If you can’t talk on your anniversary, try writing a short story that captures your perfect day together. Include lots of details and dialogue that will make your partner feel like you’re together. Go the extra mile and illustrate your book to give your partner a surprise.
There’s something deeply loving in the act of giving someone food. It’s like saying, “I want you to live, so here–have some of the thing you need to live: food! It is from me. I am giving you the thing that makes living possible!” Make and mail some sturdy foods or send some packaged favorites for your partner to enjoy on your anniversary. Keep some for yourself and eat along with them.
Open When Letters
Here’s another great one if you can’t communicate directly on your anniversary. Put in a little elbow grease for an anniversary gift that keeps on giving by creating and sending your SO some Open When letters. These letters include specially-crafted messages for your partner to open at a specific time. Create a stack of these to send and put the “Open When… we’re celebrating our anniversary in different places” letter on top.
Play a Game
Online gaming is a great way to be together when you’re apart. If you both have Internet access, check out some free gaming websites, like Yahoo Games, FlyorDie.com, or Pogo.com, and play a game together. You can even create an avatar on Second Life and to hang out.
Remember… an anniversary is just a day. There is nothing magical or supernatural about it. Nothing is forged in the stars that binds your love for each other to this specific day. Anniversaries are markers of your love for each other. Consider postponing your anniversary celebrations until you’re back in each other’s arms.