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How to Incorporate Physical Touch Into Your Long-Distance Relationship

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This is not a sponsored post, but it is from my friends at Tangible. They’re a group of Stanford grads who are trying to make long-distance relationships more… well, tangible! I knew you’d want to hear what they have to say! 

The Dominant Love Language 

Let’s embrace it – physical touch is the dominant love language for many of us, and it’s the cozy snuggles and hugs that we miss most when our partners are on deployment. 

The quick kiss goodbye when they leave the house, the hand squeeze when you need reassurance, and the occasional back massage may have felt like small parts of your daily ritual when you and your partner were together in person, but science says that “social touch” is at the core of what makes us human.

Studies show that touch offers both emotional and physiological benefits by decreasing cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and increasing oxytocin (the bonding hormone).

This is what makes long-distance so tough. 

Navigating Long Distance During Deployment 

While video calls, voice calls, and texts can help maintain feelings of connectedness and stability over distance, it can be difficult for even the most experienced and emotionally connected couples to feel like they’re truly there for each other.

Keeping the romance alive despite distance and parenting via video call is tough. However, both are essential to keeping your deployed spouse linked into your family.

When we’re apart, we lose the ability to share all the small, silent physical interactions that serve as signals of mutual trust, warmth, and intimacy – leading to challenges in communicating and interpreting one another’s emotional states.

But there is hope!

A study of couples in long-distance relationships found evidence to suggest that devices that allow long-distance couples to share touch (in the case of this study, paired bracelets that transmit simulated “squeezes” between partners) can strengthen an established romantic relationship in several ways:

  • Relationship salience, which indicates “how prominent a relationship is in a person’s mind,” was found to be significantly higher in couples that used these social touch devices. 
  • These couples found that they were thinking of one another more often, likely because they could exchange “thinking of you” sensations at any time throughout the day. 

Some of us aren’t in love with the idea of wearing a buzzing bracelet all day, but there are more fulfilling solutions available for military families.

Sending A Hug Across The World 

Tangible is a magical pillow that lets you share warm, embracing hugs over any distance. The pillow wraps around you like a real-life hug, and has the comforting gravity of a weighted blanket. When your partner squeezes their pillow, Tangible records the length and strength of their squeezes, and sends unique hugs to your pillow, providing new ways to feel cozy and physically interact with your partner like you’re sitting on the same couch, even when you’re half a world away. 

The Bluetooth-enabled neck pillows also pair with an app to let you enjoy “Teleportation Calls”, which allows your partner to send hug-like squeezes & delightful sensations to your pillow from an app, making Tangible the perfect solution for incorporating physical touch during a period of deployment. 

When not in use, Tangible instantly folds into a stylish knot pillow that makes for perfect decor on your couch or bed. Plus, the pillow contains a heating pad for those long, uncomfortable international flights. 

Products like Tangible are a promising step towards an exciting future of technology that goes beyond just helping us feel connected – solutions that actually allow us to feel present, taking the “distance” out of long-distance.

Even if you’re not currently distance-separated (but are frequently on-the-go or have busy lifestyles), it’s worth starting a conversation with your partner about physical touch needs in your relationship, and discovering some of the amazing tech that’s out there. 

To learn more about Tangible and experience the magic of a Tangible hug, visit the Tangible Kickstarter page to place your order just in time for the holidays.   


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