15 Creative Ideas for Keeping the Romance Alive in Your Long Distance Relationship
It’s not a secret that long distance relationships take a lot of work. Your family and friends may be wary about your long distance love, and wonder how long your relationship will actually last.
But while long distance relationships do provide a unique set of challenges, they also make you appreciate the little things in a relationship even more.
Here are fifteen creative ways to keep the romance alive in your long distance relationship.
1. Listen and respond to emotional bids
If you want your relationship to thrive despite the miles between the two of you, you need to keep your eyes and ears open to your partner’s emotional bids.
What’s an emotional bid? Dr. John Gottman describes an emotional bid as an invitation from your partner for connection. This could be verbal (“You wouldn’t believe the day I had!”) or nonverbal (touching someone on the shoulder).
In his research, Dr. Gottman observed that happy couples turn towards their partners approximately twenty times more than couples in distress during everyday, non-conflict discussions.
Turning towards your partner’s emotional bids lets your lover know that you’re interested in him or her, and that you hear them. In a long distance relationship, responding to emotional bids tells your partner that you’d like to be there with them, even if you can’t be physically by their side.
2. Plan date nights, even when you’re apart
Don’t save date nights for the times when you and your partner are together! Plan a regular date night with your partner. You could watch a movie together over video chat, or even have a coffee date at your favorite coffee shop and share conversation with a phone call.
3. Share your dinner recipe
The next time you plan out your grocery list for the week, send a quick text to your partner and ask them if they’d like to join you for dinner. It could be a simple meal or a more complex family recipe you can cook together over video chat! Regardless of what’s on the menu, sharing a meal despite the distance is a fun way to connect in a long distance relationship!
4. Plan a surprise visit
Even if you live miles apart, it’s important to spend time getting to know your partner face to face. It could take a bit of planning (and saving, depending on how much distance separates you!), but surprise visits are a fun, creative way to connect with your partner.
Maybe your partner’s birthday is coming up and you could surprise them with an in-person date night. Or if your anniversary is coming up, start planning the surprise they would never expect!
5. Start a book club together
Pick a book you’ve wanted to read for a while, or a Catholic book that can help you both grow spiritually. Set a date on the calendar to discuss chapters and enjoy the meaningful conversation that flows from your book club.
6. Keep an eye on your texts
Have you ever misread a text? If so, join the rest of humanity when it comes to the ability to misinterpret someone’s tone or intention when reading a text message. Because texts strip communication of things like vocal tone and facial expressions, it’s easy to take something the wrong way.
Even though texts are convenient, set some boundaries in your relationship when it comes to communicating. Make sure that you don’t talk about serious topics over text. Instead, make time for a phone call or video chat to discuss those heavier subjects.
7. Continue to invest in your friends and family
If you recently started dating someone long distance, it’s easy to spend all your time with your new partner (or thinking about your new relationship!). But don’t stop investing into your friends and family, despite your relationship status.
8. Rewire the way you think about long distance relationships
It’s tempting to just focus on the inconvenience of long distance relationships. You aren’t in the same city as your boyfriend or girlfriend, and that can be difficult to say the least. But long distance relationships also offer incredible opportunities.
They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but long distance relationship can also help you be more intentional. Because your partner isn’t there by your side all the time, the time that you do spend together can be meaningful. Even though time zones make communication rough, planning out your conversations can help you be intentional with what you share on phone calls and video chats.
9. Send some old fashioned love letters
Technology makes long distance relationships easier than ever, but there’s something to be said for a good old fashioned love letter.
Take an evening to pen your girlfriend or boyfriend a love note letting them know what you appreciate about them. Since our mailboxes are often just filled with junk mail and ads, your letter will be a welcome change for sure!
10. Talk about your expectations together
Do you get frustrated about your long distance relationship, or wonder if your boyfriend or girlfriend is putting in the right amount of effort? Feeling frustrated with your communication could be the result of expectations that were never communicated.
Take time to share what you’re looking for in an long distance relationship, and then ask your partner to do the same. When you know where the other person is coming from, communication and conflict resolution can become much easier.
11. Connect over the little things
What does your partner’s daily life look like? Chances are, if you’re long distance, the nitty gritty details of someone’s daily schedule can slip through the cracks. Be intentional with your boyfriend or girlfriend and ask them about the little details of their day. What news stories did they read? How is that situation at work going? How do they take their coffee in the morning? Your love will enjoy sharing about their day, and you’ll get to know your partner even better.
12. Get to know your partner’s schedule
Does your partner work the night shift, making day time calls tough? Are they in school, with homework eating up their evenings? Maybe they have a Bible study on a certain night of the week, or they go out with friends on Saturday nights.
Knowing each other’s schedules can help you plan phone calls and visits intentionally. This isn’t to say that you should feel like you have to keep constant tabs on your partner. But it is good to know what someone’s general schedule looks like so that you can be aware of schedule conflicts and openings!
13. Polish up your communication skills
The most important skill to brush up on in any relationship is communication. This is especially true in long distance relationships. One area that you can focus in on is honesty in conversation. If you hate conflict, it can be tempting to avoid conversations that make you squirm. But your relationship can only grow if you’re honest and authentic with each other.
14. Pray for your partner
You may be miles and time zones apart, but you can always pray for your partner. Set aside time in your personal daily prayer to focus on praying for your boyfriend or girlfriend. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner how you can specifically pray for them, too!
15. Invest in other couples dating long distance
At some point during your long distance relationship, it will seem that literally everyone else isn’t having to deal with the same challenges you’re facing. But if you’re in a long distance relationship, you’re not alone. In fact, there are 14 million people wishing their boyfriend or girlfriend lived closer to them (and that’s just in the United States!).
Get to know other couples around you who are in the same long distance season as you! You can learn from each other’s relationships and build community at the same time.
Chloe Langr is a very short stay-at-home-wife, whose growth has probably been stunted by the inhumane amounts of coffee she regularly consumes. When she is not buried in a growing stack of books, she can be found spending time with her husband, geeking out over Theology of the Body, or podcasting. You can find more about her on her blog "Old Fashioned Girl."