It’s a blessing and a curse. We’re always connected… to work, to that frenemy from high school, to the stressful news. But then again, we’re always connected. And when you’re in a long distance relationship–whether that’s a military one or not–that can be a pretty great thing.
John and I spent our entire dating and engaged life in a long distance relationship. In fact, now, it seems crazy that we decided we wanted to get married after spending some weekends and a few fleeting week nights (when we could manage them) together. But then again, we spent so much time talking through email, instant messages, texts, and phone calls, that it doesn’t seem crazy, either.
Thanks to the internet, there are so many communication tools and so many resources at your disposal when it comes to LDRs. Here are eightof them:
1. Open When Letters
If you’re going to be going long lengths of time without seeing each other, Open When Letters are a lovely way to offer a bit of encouragement and support to your partner. And they’re super easy to make, especially since I have more than 150 topics available for you to write about! Get 102 Open When topics here, and another 55 here.
2. Get acquainted with apps
We do so much with our phones and with apps, so it should be absolutely no surprise that there is literally an app for long distance relationships. In fact, there are quite a few apps for LDRs. From kissing with your thumbs (no seriously, you’ll just have to read about it!) to ways to countdown together to sweet selfie GIFs, these apps make sure that you’re using technology to stay in touch and not pull apart.
3. Get creative on camera
When John was in Afghanistan, I didn’t realize how much I missed seeing all of him and not just his head and shoulders, until he stood up one day to grab something to show me. Often, video calls can become static and rote. We say the same things, in the same place, and days bleed into weeks that bleed into months… Every so often, change it up by using one of these strategies for your video calls.
4. Become a budget bawse
Long distance relationships can be expensive, especially if you’re able to travel to see each other. Use these freebies and cheap resources–like free books, fun games, and websites– to save money while you’re apart so that when you’re together you can splurge.
5. Surprise ’em with a gift
You don’t need a reason (or a big budget) to switch things up and surprise your LDR honey with a gift. Especially if you’re not a huge gift-giver (not everyone is and that is totally okay), changing what you normally do can be surprising and exciting for your partner. These gifts are perfect tokens for someone in a long distance relationship.
6. Start a book club
…of two. One of the tough parts of being in an LDR is the lack of shared experiences you get to have with your significant other. Those bonding moments and those memories can be few and far between, especially during a deployment or a very long separation. Thinking strategically about how to give each other those shared experiences can really help your relationship grow while you’re apart. One of those ways is by reading the same thing and discussing it. If reading’s not your thing, you could always go see a movie and then call each other afterward, decide on a podcast to listen to on a particular night and then talk about it, or choose an album to listen to and then reflect on together. There are a variety of ways to do it. If you like reading and you think a book club would work for your relationship, here are 19 books that are perfect for this situation.
7. Be intentional with texts
Texting makes communication super easy… and sometimes we get lazy because of that. Put a little bit of intentionality back into your texts with a few heartfelt messages every so often. Need a little help? Here are 50 pre-written texts to get you started.
8. Celebrate everything
It’s easy to only want to celebrate anniversaries and milestones when you’re together. But that could mean waiting weeks or months… or in some cases, more than a year (or longer!). There are ways to mark special days in your relationship, even when you’re apart, even when it’s a little tough. And remember, you can always re-celebrate those important moments when you’re together again. It doesn’t hurt to have more celebrations in your life!