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A long-distance relationship is trickier than most. Creating and maintaining connection with someone who might live hundreds, if not thousands of miles away, can be difficult—but it’s also essential for the growth and well-being of your relationship.

“Connection is everything,” relationship coach Krishna Avalon says. “It’s what we humans crave most, also what scares us the most. Without connection, what kind of relationship can you even have?”

That being said, Avalon says a long distance relationship will require effort to stay connected, and more so than one that’s geographically closer. This means getting a little extra creative and attentive when it comes to spending quality time with your significant other. If you’re in a long distance relationship and looking for ideas to stay connected with your partner, below are some ideas to keep connected until you see each other again in person.

Leave voice memos for each other

“The nervous system receives information in all ways; sight, sound, touch, smell, intuition. Leaving a voice memo tunes your partner into your voice and will be received much differently than text,” Avalon says. “Maybe even sing a voice memo. Or leave one super sexy sentence. Or a joke to make them laugh.”

Ask open-ended questions

As a relationship progresses, it becomes easy over time to assume you know your partner inside and out, but as sociologist and sexologist Sarah Melancon says, “There’s always more to learn!” That’s why she recommends asking open-ended questions since they are “fun, creative, and allow you to see aspects of our partner’s personality, opinions, and values you may not see day-to-day. This can help you both feel more seen and keep up the interest while you’re apart.”

Coming up with questions can be hard, but there are lots of resources to help. Melancon recommends the following to learn more about your partner: Gottman Card Decks app, {The And} cards and app, and a sex-specific set of cards called Honest X, designed to help facilitate communication on taboo or stigmatized topics around sex.

Get your questions together and make a night of it with your partner, or throw in some questions throughout the day via text.

Write a letter the old fashioned way

While sending a “How was your day” text is fine, Avalon suggests stepping it up a notch and writing an old-fashioned letter. “Last night I wrote in my journal, a letter to my lover. It felt so good to express my feelings even though he wasn’t available by phone. It also brought me out of my head and into my heart,” she says. “Receiving a letter in the mail feels romantic and unexpected. [Thinking of someone] is a love language, and will help you connect to your partner and show them that you are thinking about them. Send gifts, even small ones. Anything can be sent through the mail these days—use that to your advantage.”

Play games together

Fun is definitely a must for couples, especially for those in a long-distance relationship, which is why Melancon suggests having a game night with your partner. “Playing games together online or on your phone gives you something concrete to look forward to together. Playing games can also help you express different parts of yourself—for instance, your strategic or competitive side. This can help you feel closer to your partner, knowing different aspects of yourself are loved, accepted, and welcome.”

The possibilities are endless. Look up your favorite game online, whether it’s chess or Exploding Kittens, and make it a date.

Eat a meal together

Just because you live apart doesn’t mean you have to eat solo. In fact Melancon recommends you don’t. “Eating together is a common date activity, and not just because we’re hungry three times a day,” she says. “As we digest our food, the hormone oxytocin is released. Nicknamed the ‘love hormone,’ oxytocin plays a key role in social bonding. It is a bit too simplistic to say ‘couples who eat together, stay together,’ but sharing a good meal can certainly help you feel closer.”

Choose the same recipe and cook together or order out from the same place. “Sharing the same food can help you feel like more like you’re in the same room together,” she says.

Try long-distance sex toys

No doubt one of the most difficult aspects of a long-distance relationship is the lack of physical and sexual connection. While masturbation can be great, Melancon says many of us tend to do pretty much the same thing every time. “We know what works and we go for it—but this can get old after a while.” That’s why she recommends using long-distance sex toys.

“While nothing will replace your partner’s mouth, hands, or other body parts, long-distance sex toys allow you to ‘touch’ one another no matter how far apart. When we have sex with a partner, there’s a sense of anticipation and mystery, because we can never know exactly what they’ll do next. Long-distance sex toys can help capture some of the chemistry and interaction that makes sex satisfying.”

There are numerous options, though Melancon recommends The Lovense Max 2 and Lovense Nora, which are are remote control sex toys that pair together via an app. “These amazing toys respond to each another’s movement, so as one partner thrusts more strongly, the other partner’s toy similarly increases the intensity.”

Meditate together

Meditation can be another unique option to connect with your partner. Avalon suggests meditating on your relationship and what you each want to experience from it. “One time during the day, perhaps you set a timer, stop what you’re doing and meditate for five minutes about your relationship and what you want.” Avalon says it’s key to practice the feeling more than the thoughts. “This is an incredibly powerful practice in connection because our words and minds often get in the way of what we create, and our words and minds create noise. Practice feeling what you want with your partner. Practicing it at the same time will bring so much intention to your relationship and your life in general.”

   



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