Every week I receive at least one (and usually more) emails from military spouses and significant others who are new to and nervous about long distance relationships… or are exhausted from them.
If you have ever been in an LDR (and I’m guessing you have), you know those two emotions very well.
Yes, LDRs are tough in some ways. But the beautiful thing is they are lovely in others.
My goal with this list is to give you ways to tackle the tough and make everything a whole lot lovelier.
1. Get textual
While not everyone in a long distance relationship has access to text messages, for those that do, texting is the perfect way to stay connected through time zones and difficult schedules. We’re all used to sending texts every day, so that’s not hard. But often those texts surround the same kinds of themes– daily schedules and activities, how much we miss the other person, and saying good morning or good night. Expand your textiness with these romantic, pre-written texts to get you started.
2. Open when…
Call them old fashioned (or whatever you want), but letters are a surprisingly intimate and exciting way to keep the romance in your relationship fresh. They’re also a beautiful momento to have and hold onto. When John was in Afghanistan, I wrote him a letter every day for the entire deployment (almost a year!). Even though that was nearly six years ago now, he often brings it up as a meaningful way that we stayed connected. (And don’t worry– he wrote back, too! ;-) ) If you’re not sure how to get started, check out these Open When Letter topics. They’re sure to spark some inspiration for you!
3. Achieve relationship appiness
There are tons of apps to help couples in long distance relationships stay close and connected… and many of them are free! Learn more about those apps here. (And just remember, if you’re in a military relationship, you’ve got to follow OPSEC and PERSEC to keep yourself and your significant other safe– no matter how you’re sharing information online.)
John and I spent two years exclusively long distance. It wasn’t easy, but one of the things we found that did make it happier was being intentional about celebrating things. It seemed a little goofy at first, but celebrations are fun, and celebrating the things that make you a couple is just lovely. You don’t have to buy things to celebrate; you just have to remember. Here are a few ways you can creatively celebrate anniversaries (of anything!) in an LDR.
If you both are bookworms, sharing booklists are a perfect way to grow closer when you’re not able to see each other. When John and I were first dating, we swapped lists of our top five books. You can also have a mini book club together where you read the same book at the same time. Here are 19 books to get you started.
6. Ditch boring conversations
Any relationship can get into a rut, but a main complaint I hear from readers in LDRs is how quickly conversation stagnates and becomes boring. If that’s your relationship, don’t panic! Try questions or sentence starters to dive into conversation that isn’t about what you ate for lunch (although personally, I find all conversations about food compelling). These 99 questions will get you thinking about different (sometimes serious and sometimes goofy) things and might have you learning something new about your partner.
7. Surprise them
Sometimes it just feels good to break out of the expected. You know I’m all about care packages being a fun way to make someone feel loved. But if you’re not crafty (and that’s okay if you aren’t) or you don’t have time (because life happens even when your loved one isn’t around), you can send these gifts online.
8. Say it differently
“I love you” doesn’t have to be spoken. And if it is, it doesn’t have to be said with those words. Here are 26 ways to say I love you in an LDR, often without saying it at all.
9. Kill it on video
It’s crazy that a few years ago being able to video chat at any time and in virtually any place was just a dream. Then it was a novelty. Now it’s a daily reality that we have suddenly taken for granted. (Oh, how quickly we forget what it was breathe a little life back into those video seshes with these cute ideaslike!) If you have video chatting capabilities with your LDR partner, . (And no, none of them have to do with anything that wouldn’t pass PERSEC.)