Maybe you’ve only applied to colleges across the country. Maybe you just got a new job in another state. Whatever the case, you and your partner are about to enter into a long-distance relationship, and you’re freaking out. I feel you: my girlfriend just moved to Washington, D.C., and I still live in Los Angeles, I don’t want to talk about it, it’s fine. Still, we’ve spent a lot of time preparing for this new phase of our relationship, and we’ve come up with our own little system to ease the frustration of being 3,000 miles apart. If you’re far away from a loved one, here are five things you can do to stay close:
1. Send care packages.
Okay, this is probably the most obvious one on the list, but still: who doesn’t love gifts? You can always surprise your partner by ordering them something from their Amazon wishlist, but it’s far more touching and personal—not to mention cheaper—to assemble a care package. You can fill it with big gifts or small trinkets, with mementoes from your relationship, with that signature cookie recipe your partner loves… or you could fill a bunch of your own stuff that you want to keep at their house for when you come to visit. (What? My girlfriend thought it was funny!)
2. Watch stuff together.
My girlfriend and I used to watch The Bachelor together every week with one of our friends. In fact, we’re still doing it, even though she’s in D.C. now—we watch on Tuesdays, dial in my girlfriend on speakerphone, and sync our Hulu accounts over the phone. You can “go to the movies” together, too: just pick roughly similar showtimes and then hop on the phone right after.
3. Surprise them with lunch.
Picture this: you’re at the office, it’s been a long morning, and you’re starving but have no idea what to eat for lunch… when a delivery person arrives with an order from your favorite sushi place/bakery/pizza joint, courtesy of your S.O. on the other side of the country. How stinking cute is that?! You can also experiment with other workplace deliveries, depending on where your partner works, but food is probably a safe bet no matter how how strict or impersonal their workplace is—and, hey, everyone always says the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach.
4. Make a mixtape.
This is an old-school move, made extra easy in the streaming era: is there anything sweeter than sending your partner a list of songs just because those songs made you think of them? If you’re committing to a real-deal mixtape on CD (or cassette), consider decorating the CD and making custom album art or liner notes.
5. Plan a date night.
Sure, it isn’t the same as being there in person, but you can still get in some quality time with your S.O. by planning a special date night together over FaceTime or Skype. Maybe you’ll decide to “cook together”, or read poetry to each other, or even play a board game—no matter what, setting aside special time to reconnect face to face will reassure your partner that you are prioritizing them. And, hey, something’s gotta tide you both over until your next visit…