By. Jaclyn Lupo
Yesterday a box from Venus et Fleur - the forever-flower company I’m obsessed with - was delivered to my house. There were special instructions to “not open until February 14th”, so I have my suspicions about what might be inside. My significant other knows how to spoil me from 1442 miles away.
To say I know a thing about long-distance relationships is an understatement. We’ve been apart for four months now and won’t be united until *fingers-crossed* November 2021. Here’s some background: Caitie is one of those courageous army soldiers, and I’m a college student. She’s serving overseas, and I’m at home working towards a degree in fashion design. Because of the pandemic, the military has restricted leave from her base. Chances are we’re going to complete a 13-month streak of not seeing each other, so I’m not kidding when I say I’m suffering for your freedom (if you’re a fellow American).
In all honesty, long-distance sucks. It’s emotionally exhausting, especially when the waiting feels endless. Patience tends to run thin more often than not, and there are weeks we’re both so busy there’s not even time for a short face-time call. Of course, the “good morning” and “good night” texts are lovely, but no amount of words spoken can make the miles shrink or encourage the clock to move faster. Long-distance is certainly not for the faint of heart.
We could both easily find partners who are closer geographically, but the thing is, there’s honestly no one else I’d rather be with. If you believe in soulmates, Caitie is most certainly mine. The stars aligned the day we met, and my life has felt complete ever since. During Bootcamp, the drill sergeants told Caitie to “embrace the suck” whenever a challenge arose, and that’s exactly what we’re doing to get through this year apart. There’s no way for us to change the situation, so we’ve had to adapt to keep our romance alive.
A word of caution: long distance only works if it’s finite. Even if it won’t happen within a year, there needs to be an end goal that you can both work towards. Knowing that one day the waiting will end and you’ll be with the love of your life is the motivation to overcome the struggles of a LDR. However, dating can still be fun, even if it’s essentially virtual. If there’s anything we’ve learned through 2020, it’s that social connections can still be just as strong virtually as they are physically. With that in mind, here are some fun ways to spice up the romance this Valentine’s day, and beyond:
Get Dressed Up for Your Partner
As a fashion diva, this one’s my personal favorite. Put on a flirty dress to wow your love, or opt for something that makes your style shine, and then video call your partner. If you usually facetime in the evening before sleeping, this allows you to see each other in a different light!
Send a Handwritten Note
Get *super* romantic and write your partner a list of reasons why you love them. Nothing is better than receiving snail mail, especially if it’s from your favorite person. For Christmas, I made Caitie a box of “Open When…” letters, and she claims it was the most thoughtful gift she ever received. It’s inexpensive and will certainly make their day. If you have a long-distance partner, I dare you to send them a nice surprise letter after you finish reading this article!
Gift Them Something Special
Opt for something personalized instead of a generalized candle. Gift a necklace with your initials, or make the TikTok famous Spotify artwork with a song that’s symbolic of your relationship.
Because Caitie is a zillion times busier than me, we give each other book recommendations to be enjoyed on our time. When we talk, we always discuss the novels and it’s certainly brought us closer now that we’ve merged our libraries. A two person book-club is another approach; instead of recommending a book to your partner, read a new book with them.Be sure to have conversations about the text, it’s amazing what you can learn about each other when discussing literature!
Plan a Trip Together (for the future)
Make plans for spending time together, when life allows you to be united. Pick a destination that excites you both, and start making plans. Not only will this give you the motivation to get through the waiting, but you’ll have fun fantasizing about this vacation that you’re going to make a reality!
Enjoy a Video Call Free From Distractions
Turn off all notifications and just enjoy the presence of your partner. This is critical to ensuring that the relationship continues to grow and blossom despite the time apart. Ask each other both lighthearted and deep questions. Use this time to know your partner fully. True connection is so beautiful, and it requires your full attention.
If you’re in a long-distance relationship, I have great empathy for you and your partner. There will be days when you hate that you’re in this situation, and your feelings are completely valid. It’s healthy to feel angry, especially on holidays like Valentine’s day when the whole world seems to be next to their lover except you. I promise you’re strong enough to reap the benefits of waiting. When you feel like giving up, remember why you chose them in the first place. Take yourself back to when you first met, then fast forward to the day that you’ll be reunited in the future. A kiss with your love after all those months apart will be worth it.
Jaclyn Lupo is an editorial writer passionate about fashion, sustainability and culture.