There's an old song by Paul Simon (Simon & Garfunkel) that has become a classic. It's titled "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover," and it literally lists off 50 ways to do this in the course of a single song.
It is clever and creative. In fact, after the song was released, people began to memorize the song and list the ways to prove that there were actually 50 of them given. At the opposite end of this scene would be "50 Ways to Keep Your Lover." It would list all the ways to keep your current squeeze and relationship alive and well.
But what if that relationship partner is far away? How do you keep that relationship fresh, exciting, and romantic? In ancient times, we had two avenues - phone calls or snail mail. Today, there is immediate communication through phone calls, texts, and video calls, which is certainly an improvement. But can all of that keep the spark alive?
Long distance relationships are tough to keep alive, although today, a long-distance relationship at least includes the ability to be together virtually through all of the video chat platforms we now have. Still, staring at your partner's face and speaking love language, or even engaging in some steamier activities, can get a little "old" after a while.
What would you two be doing if you weren't apart? Obviously, you would have dates - you might go to movies, clubs, out to dinner, to the zoo, even to the gym, or hiking together. You might have a date night at home binge-watching movies or playing video games. You might even take short road trips or vacations. How about getting creative with this long-distance relationship and planning some virtual dates?
No virtual date can be the same as when you are both fully present physically, but until that happens, you can plan some virtual dates that can be a wonderful way to add some fun encounters and spice things up a bit, as opposed to just skype conversations and videos. A skype date is fine, but there are so many more options. Many of these will require a video chat platform, but others will involve accessing the same online sites and even using email and snail-mail. Have fun as you plan a variety of things together.
Here's how this is done. And it is one of the best long-distance date nights you can have if you've been apart for a while. If you've been using video chat, you have probably been in casual dress. It's time to get dressed up and have a fancy night.
So, each of you puts on your finest, having some champagne or your favorite cocktails, setting up a formal table, and even lighting candles. You have coordinated the time zone, and each of you has ordered dinner for the other to be delivered at the same time. Sit down at your tables and have that virtual meal together. You could even pretend that this is your first date.
Many resorts now provide virtual reality tours of their facilities and the towns where they reside. You can do this throughout your separation actually. Choose a destination you would both like to visit, access the resort website together, and have that virtual trip together. Every virtual vacation will help you narrow down a real one once you can plan it in reality.
Long-distance relationships are made much easier with today's technology, but there is also something to be said for older methods of love language too. Certainly, emails can be very welcome. Most remember the movie, "You've Got Mail" starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, before the days of video chatting and instant messaging. They literally fell in love online, before the times of dating apps. Sending a love email can be a bit of a surprise to your partner and just something different enough to give them a smile.
But you should think about old-fashioned mail too. Here are some things you can do using this outdated method of communication:
It's easy to order gifts from online companies and have them delivered. But this can be a bit impersonal. How about you put together a gift box of things you know your partner likes or will find special and sending them via regular mail. You can even send them to each other at the same time and wait to open them until you both can sit down together during one of your video chats, for an unboxing date.
When people open their physical mailboxes, they usually find ads, bills, and other junk. What a surprise to receive an actual personal letter. What an even greater surprise if it is from your partner. Sending these at random times during your separation is a fun way to put a little spontaneity into your virtual lives together. As for the content of those letters? They can be just plain romantic, steamy, or a good combination of both. Put your genuine feelings into writing and don't be afraid to express them in the love and sex words that are meaningful to both of you.
What is the favorite thing your partner loves for you to do to them in bed? What is their favorite meal? How do they love to see you dress around the house? What is their favorite takeout food? Do they have a favorite coffee shop and a favorite latte from that shop? What are their favorite places to go with you when you are together? What are their favorite things to do when the two of you are home together? Put together an entire book of coupons that you have constructed and designed yourself and send it in the mail.
It's one thing to have photos in digital albums. You can scroll through and look at them any time you want, no matter where you happen to be. But there is also something to be said for holding a photo in your hand or, better, framing a couple of your favorites and having them on your bedstand or on an end table by your couch, or even on a wall in the kitchen while you cook or magnetically attached to your frig. Some people even stick them to a bathroom mirror so that it is the first and last thing they see each day. Print out some of your partner's favorites and send them. You can even include suggestions of where they could place them.
If you both have colognes or perfumes that you have used regularly, especially when you were together, ship them off to each other. Then both of you can spray that scent in places and at times when you want to "smell" one another - on your pillow, for example.
Gaming has become a huge past-time and even a profession for some. If you and your partner are into one or more specific video games, then, of course, you will be playing them while you are apart.
But how about some variety by playing online games for a long-distance date night? There are just a huge number of games that can spice up your lives and result in spending fun time together. Here are a bunch of options:
These are decks of cards (available online) that ask questions of one another. Some are simple, funny, and light. But many go much deeper too. They probe values, principles, etc., by posing scenarios that ask what the person would do in such a situation. These cards can help each of you get a much more in-depth and profound understanding of each other. There are lots of versions, many of them even X-rated for your pleasure. Mix things up a bit with lots of variety.
There are both card games (check out all of the options at Cardzmania or Vipspades for all your options) and other types of games that you may play in person all the time - Scrabble, Monopoly, Catan, Scattergories, etc. Check out Pogo for lots of choices. All of their games are free to download. You can plan a game night often if you are close to the same time zone. If not, choose games that you can play at any time - those that will save your moves so your partner can play when they are available. A little friendly competition can spice up nicely.
There are all sorts of fun online quizzes - we've all seen them on social media platforms. Some of them can become pretty revealing about a person's values and beliefs too. Whether this is a first "date" or for those who have been long-distance couples for a while, these quizzes can be pretty revealing. There are also puzzles
This is a really popular activity for couples or groups right now, and it is all done virtually. You and your partner can join a zoom painting class together. It might also be one of the best virtual date ideas for a double date with another couple or even a group of mutual friends. You will both have to get supplies in advance of the event, and those should include your favorite wine and appetizers or snacks. Even if you believe you don't have any artistic talent, give this a try - you'll both be surprised at what you can create. Zoom painting parties became popular when Covid hit and continue even now when restrictions are easing.
Another variation here would be for both of you to get adult coloring books and color together during Skype dates, maybe following a virtual dinner date when you're not ready to call it a night yet. An extension of spending quality time together is always a good thing.
As long as your phone batteries are fully charged, it is late enough that neither of you will be expecting any important calls or messages, and the time zones are close enough, you can end your day with a video chat and just do not hang up. Your phone will go into "inactive" mode eventually, but when you both wake up in the morning and push that button, you'll still be together, having "spent the night together."
Everyone knows Spotify as a music app that lets you choose from among millions of pieces of music, develop a playlist, and enjoy hours of your fav songs. One feature that Spotify added during Covid was its Group Sessions Feature. Subscribers can share their favs with up to five other people and talk about them. You and your date/partner can share your music but also ask them to play certain songs in response to questions you ask.
For example, you might ask your partner, "Play a song that represents a low period in your life." Or "Play a song that describes your mood right now." Or "Play a song that is the most meaningful to you." Once the two of you are playing songs as answers to the other's questions, thought-provoking questions and deeper conversations can be had. These can then make both of you feel connected on a deeper level. Or as can also happen, if this online dating is with a relatively new relationship, you both may find that you are not really compatible and can move on.
This is certainly not a typical date night, but it might be an important activity for long-distance couples who are beginning to get serious. Many a relationship expert has developed such tests, and there are several that seem to be the most popular. Couples do not necessarily "fail" such tests, but these may point out things that will need to be worked on if a couple really wants to keep their relationship moving forward.
This is obviously for couples who have been together a while and who intend to share their lives for the long haul. And a virtual house hunt can be done on each partner's own time and then the "finds" are shared later when they have virtual time together. Zillow is probably the most popular and comprehensive resource for house hunting. Searches can be narrowed by any number of factors. And Google maps will show an entire neighborhood once a specific house is found. Virtual tours are pretty much available on most properties now. So each of you does some house hunting, sends the results to the other, and then set a specific date and time to go through them together.
Since Covid, lots of performers have gone to live-streaming, and that has stayed on even though restrictions have now eased a bit. Look at the concert schedules together and pick one that you both will like. And if time zones present a problem, it's no problem really. Livestreamed events are available after the fact too.
If you are both into fitness, there are a few ways to share that passion.
Decide how many of each exercise and reps you will both do. Film yourselves as you complete the routine to "prove" to the other that you are following through, and send those videos to one another
This is a fun way to work out together if times zones are compatible.
Push each other to set new goals and see who can meet them first. How many pushups can you do? Video yourself doing them and then challenge your partner to beat your record. You can do this with weight-lifting, bicycling, crunches, or any other exercises that you both agree on.
A quick google search will give you bunches of online fitness coursework options. Check out these top 10 and pick one that will be a fit for your levels.
Video chat while you are hiking. You can each point out cool scenery or spots of interest as you move along. This gets both of you out and away from "couch potato" activities.
There are so many options here, and many are even free. What do you both have an interest in learning? Check out these options:
Choose a foreign language you both want to learn and enroll in any of the many online courses together. Take the course and practice together
Is there an academic subject that both of you have an interest in? Check out what is offered by online platforms such as Coursera or lots of universities. Do your homework together.
Take an online cooking class together. Many are now offered through zoom. This is probably a good idea for couples who have been together for a while, rather than a first date situation.
Join the same online book club, read the same book, and then spend time video chatting about it as you complete sections. An online book club will be easy to find these days.
If you haven't done an escape room thing, you are missing out on a really great date idea. Basically, these facilities are dotted all over the place in large metropolitan areas. Participants are placed in an environment, usually a large room, and then must figure out to get out of there. This activity is best done in groups because they require lots of ideas and creative thinking.
But a virtual escape room can also be found. In fact, many organizations use these as team-building exercises.
This is best done as at least a double date if not a group activity with friends. If you two are new to your dating relationship, each of you can pick a couple of friends to join in. This will give both of you insights into the kinds of friends you have. It's one of those virtual date ideas that are pretty unique.
A variation on this would be to take a tour of a virtual haunted house together.
Whether it's an old TV series that both of you loved or one of the current Netflix series that is ongoing, choose one that you both are "into" and choose times during the week when you are both available to watch at the same time. At the end of each episode, take some time to talk about what happened, what you think will happen next, etc. It's like you are actually sitting on the couch and watching it together. And add the popcorn, drinks, or other snacks you would share if you were physically together.
How much do you two know about the constellations in the night sky? This night-time date idea can actually be pretty romantic. Each of you should go outside and view the sky, picking out constellations that you know and "quizzing" each other to name them. The fact that it is night and that both of you are gazing at the same sky can give you a feeling of closeness - this can carry over to your romantic good nights as you climb into bed.
While this is not a long-distance date that can be fun, amusing, or romantic, it is one of those long-distance dates that should happen periodically. If your relationship is new, then you should have an initial talk about your long-term goals - personal and professional. Each of you needs to understand those because, in the end, your support of each other's goals will be critical to relationship success.
But goals do change too. So it will be important that one of your long distance date ideas will be to check in on progress or changes in those goals. These are probably better termed long distance relationship dates, since they will become important factors over time and confrim that you are both on the same page about your futures.
An unknown author had this to say about long-distance relationships:
"Definition of a long-distance relationship: Inconveniently the most effective way to find out if you really love each other."
Yes, LDRs are tough, whether they are the beginning of a new relationship, a part of a long-term permanent partnership, or anything in between. Having a large toolbox of virtual date ideas - from hooking up while in a coffee shop, to taking an online class, to playing games and creating adventures that put you virtually in the same place, to a memorable meal that you share during a video call. You will need to plan ahead for many of these activities, but it's worth it if you want to keep this relationship alive and well. And keep yourselves open to new ideas that will keep you connected. The possibilities are endless.
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