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Shrinking the Distance

Smile courtesy of http://www.kristinaevey.com

All too often long-distance relationships (LDRs) become a countdown to the next visit; it’s hard to avoid the feeling that all you do is wait. Don’t let a LDR become all about the distance. You’re in a relationship for a reason! And every day is an opportunity to get to know your partner a little better. So quit your pining and check out the list below of fun things to do together in a LDR.

A computer, Internet access, and a web camera make a LDR almost bearable. The ability to see John’s face each night and hear his voice (when the sound of static isn’t too bad) is a luxury I know LDRs in ages past couldn’t boast. If you have one or all of these great technological advances, read on!

Popcorn, please! – Dim the lights, cozy up in pajamas, and pop some popcorn because it’s movie night. Watching a movie together is classic date material, and recreating the feel of a live date can make the distance between you and your partner seem smaller. John and I usually plan the date a day in advance, take turns picking out the movie on netflix.com or hulu.com/, cue the flick to the identical starting time, and count down, pressing play at the same moment. Watching a movie through a service that supports a web cam, like Skype or oovoo.com/home.aspx, is great because with the video of John’s face minimized to the side of the screen, I have access to his reactions to the action. If you don’t have a web cam, don’t underestimate the power of a simultaneous phone call, allowing you to converse as if you were together.

When movies are too long… – Start a series together. Go to the sites above, or any other site that provides television series (often the television providers’ websites do), and choose one that interests both of you. Favorites of ours include The Office, Game of Thrones, and Modern Family.

Let the games begin! – The Internet provides countless opportunities to foster a little healthy competition between you and your partner. Any game you could play together live, you can play together virtually. Facebook provides many games, and Yahoo! games is another great source.

It’s good to see your face – I know you can relate when I say that some days I just don’t have time to dedicate to a long conversation with John. On these days John and I sign on to Skype, accept the invitation to a video call, mute each other’s sounds, and let the silence reign. That is, we keep each other company. It’s nice to look up from my English homework and see his face, brows furrowed in concentration over an engineering problem or mouth open in laughter at a comedian he’s watching. A big challenge in a LDR is accepting the life your partner has outside of you, but time spent on other things can still be rewarding.

Sharing is caring – And it also creates bonds. Who said a couple in a LDR can’t grow? Sharing songs via YouTube is one of my favorite past times with John, and sharing pictures is a great way to spark conversation. However, sharing has the power to pull your partner even closer to you. John celebrated his 21st birthday while I studied abroad in Argentina, and I wasn’t sure how to celebrate with him from thousands of miles away. Taking the suggestion of my friend, I packed my bag for school that day with a picture of us together. Throughout my day, on the bus to school, in school, in the supermercado, and finally with a sign that said Happy Birthday!, I took pictures of me with the picture of us. At the end of the day, when I uploaded the pictures to my computer and sent them to John, he was ecstatic to receive them. I had shared my foreign life with him, taking him with me where he wasn’t able to go.

My computer is broken, and while the task of purchasing a new one is on my list, the other tasks cast great shadows. Combine this with John’s malfunctioning web cam, and you can see that technology has not been a friend to us recently. Don’t fear! A computer is not necessary to keep a LDR going.

Letters – A letter is a simple way to connect with someone, representing the time you spent writing it, the time it spent traveling, and containing an aspect of you that your partner may never see: your handwriting. Nevertheless, sometimes a letter to John seems pointless; we’ve already hashed and re-hashed the events of the week before the letter will get to him. Then I remember how happy receiving a letter makes me. And a letter doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be!) just news. Include magazine clippings, favorite quotes, doodles up and down the sides of the page. Fill the paper with your personality, and your partner will appreciate it even more.

My friend is also in a LDR, and she loves to send her partner care packages. Last week she sent him pumpkin bread because he had never tasted pumpkin! Care packages stuffed with anything (balloons, socks, chocolate) are a way to experience new things together and show you care.

Over the wire – A great phone conversation should not be underestimated. An hour or two spent chatting sometimes leaves me wanting nothing more complex, but when I do, texting is the perfect resource. I know I’ve mentioned the game “Text me a picture of what you’re looking at right now.” This puts you behind the eyes of your partner, seeing his/her life at the same time as you’re experiencing yours. Turn the camera the other way to snap a shot of yourself, and send it to your partner by surprise – I guarantee it will prompt a smile.

 

Explore this website for more exciting things to do together:

http://www.lovingfromadistance.com/thingsforldrcouplestodo.html

 

Melinda Clemmer
Melinda traveled short distances with her family but took her first big trip to Europe, as a student ambassador, when she was 13. The sights, sounds, and smells enchanted her, and soon she traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina for a university Spanish immersion program. Since then she has lived in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, California, and Texas and sees every new challenge as a great future story. When not traveling, Melinda’s craving for good stories and amazing travel is satisfied by reading writers’ contributions as Wanderful’s Managing Editor.

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