There is no denying that long distance relationships can be exceptionally difficult. Despite the love you and your bae share, being apart during special occasions is the absolute worst. While everyone else is out making reservations or setting up candlelight dinners, those FaceTime dates you once looked forward to can become a cold comfort.
The good news is that you're not alone, and there is hope. Recent studies show that nearly 14 million Americans identify as being in a long distance relationship, and almost 10% of marriages start out as long distance.
Romantic occasions like Valentine's Day, birthdays, Christmas, and anniversaries don't have to be painful reminders of what you don't have. Instead, they can be fun ways to show your partner just how much they mean to you, in new and unique ways.
Figure out how long it would take a care package to reach your long distance love and start planning. One simple but very thoughtful idea is to find a box and fill it with their favourite things. Search for small items that wouldn't get broken in the mail, but that have meaning to you as a couple, or your partner individually. Bonus points if you're able to theme the entire package. For example, if your girlfriend is really into comic books, line the box with comic pages from old issues and fill it with figurines, harder-to-find variant covers of her favourite issues, and copies of related movies. Or, if your boyfriend is a huge Whovian, fill it with Lego Daleks, a figurine depicting his favourite Doctor, and some extended universe books or audio plays.
DIY Part Of Your Gift
Spend some of those nights waiting for your Skype date to start creating something by hand you can send your loved one. Maybe he is really into pocket squares and unique ties, or perhaps she'd go nuts over a homemade mug. Wherever his or her interests lie, there is a DIY tutorial somewhere on the internet to help you create it.
Send A Series Of Letters
One of the hardest parts of a long distance relationship happens when one of you is going through a difficult time in another area of your life. Your instinct is to be there for them, in any way you can, but often miles and the expense of plane tickets can keep you apart. One way to still show that you care is to send a series of letters, cards, or gifts meant to be opened during those difficult moments. Include a few for special occasions that you may miss while you're apart.
Plan A Date Anyway
Anyone in a long distance relationship has figured out the magic that is video chatting. Between Skype and Facetime and Facebook's video calling there are tons of ways to see your love, even if you can't be with him or her. Pick a movie you both want to see, order something similar for dinner, and break out a bottle of wine. If the movie you both want to watch is on Netflix, rather than trying to hit "play" at the same time, download Showgoers, an extension for Chrome that syncs your Netflix with someone else's.
Screw The Miles
Plan a trip together. Pick a location that's part way between your city and theirs, and come up with lots of fun things to do. Lots of couples who live together never get the opportunity to travel together, so take advantage of this perk of a long distance relationship. Flights to your city from theirs might be expensive, but maybe meeting in the middle is more your speed. Or find another destination you've both always wanted to go and plan a trip there. When thinking about the awesome, touristy things you can do together, don't forget to plan some down time, to just enjoy each other's company.
Through it all keep in mind that long distance relationships are far from hopeless. A recent study published in the Journal of Communication even found that couples who don't live in the same geographical area tend to have more meaningful interactions, and were more likely to communicate in a healthy way. While holidays and special occasions can make the struggle of being in a long distance relationship feel that much worse, finding ways to stay close with your partner can make the miles seem meaningless.