Living nearly 4,000 miles away from your partner is never truly “easy,” but there are some days when it’s harder than others. Birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas are all times of year when we want nothing more than to be close to our loved ones, but Valentine’s Day might be the hardest of all. Call me crazy, but there’s just something about being totally bombarded with flowers, “I love you” displays, chocolate, and heart-shaped tchotchkes that makes me miss my boyfriend! (And yes, of course it’s still hard if you live just an hour’s drive from your sweetheart).
Mark and I count ourselves lucky to have had one special Valentine’s Day together in Washington, D.C., but it’s obviously not realistic to schedule a visit every year just to have a romantic date on February 14. Instead of moping each year since, we’ve welcomed the challenge of making Valentine’s Day work for our relationship. For those of you also navigating the adventure of long-distance dating, here are a few ideas to make your far-away Valentine’s Day (or any other day) a little more special:
Watch a film together
Whether you’re screen-sharing on Skype or watching separately, then debriefing over WhatsApp, watching the same film is a classic date experience that can really be done from any location. And of course, the streaming options are nearly endless. I’d recommend a romantic film that also has an international element – nothing like dreaming of your partner and a future trip at the same time! My top recommendations: Chocolat, Brooklyn, and Before Sunrise, which all tell the stories of beautiful, unlikely relationships against the backdrop of some truly romantic locales.
Send a letter
Between texting, videochat, and social media, it’s easier than ever to feel connected to your long-distance partner. Still, nothing compares to the feeling of opening a handwritten letter that’s traveled hundreds–or thousands–of miles from your lover’s hand to yours. Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to sit down with good ol’ pen and paper and craft a love note to send the old-fashioned way. And if the letter happens to come with flowers or chocolate? I wouldn’t be upset.
Cook a meal together
This long-distance date may be a challenge for anyone not very apt in the kitchen, but cooking and eating a meal together over Skype is a unique way to spend time together and engaging in a shared experience. Spend time choosing a recipe together (here are a few suggestions), then cook and eat while videochatting. If you’re dealing with a significant time difference, try making breakfast for dinner, or just enjoying a cup of tea. There’s something sweet about knowing your S.O. is enjoying the same thing at the same time, even if it’s as simple as a hot drink.
Plan your next trip together
This is my favorite option on the list. Since you can’t be in person on Valentine’s Day, making plans for the next time you see each other is a wonderful way to expand your horizons and bring you closer to your partner. Even if you don’t have anything concrete coming up, working together to seek out destinations, search for cheap flights, and look up landmarks and museums is a fun activity and will yield results that can be used at some point in the future. You can even use the time to plan a “someday” vacation to take together – take some time over Skype or on the phone to add some “dream destinations” to your bucket list.
Happy Valentine’s Day! What are your favorite long-distance dates?