Video chatting and texting are essential tools in the digital dating world, especially when you and your partner are apart. However, there is only so much you can do with multicolored heart emojis, minute-long voice memos, and animated GIFs. Here are my favorite ways to keep a long-distance relationship alive and well:
Share Reminder Photos
Who doesn’t adore sending and receiving cute–and sometimes spicy–pics? Photos are an excellent way to stay in touch and share daily activities and accomplishments–even if it’s just how good your winged eyeliner looked before girls’ night.
When my boyfriend and I began our whirlwind Web 2.0 romance, we discovered Locket (available for iPhone and Android). Locket is a widget that displays photos right on partners’ respective home screens. Not only does the widget encourage us to keep each other up to date on our activities, it also lets me remind my boo how cute I look in my different outfits and makeup looks of the week. Locket also archives the photos sent back and forth on the widget, so you don’t need to fear losing a stellar selfie.
A Dating App Worth Keeping
Most single people these days have been there: Once you embark on a serious relationship, it’s time to delete dating apps like Tinder, Hinge, and Bumble. However, other apps can stay on your phone forever. I highly recommend going Official. The app encourages healthy relationship habits and routines. Through the app, you can connect, archive memories, and make new ones. My favorite features are the “love buttons,” with “I need attention,” “send love,” “let’s dip,” and “I’m in the mood” icons that notify my boyfriend of my real-time thoughts and needs. On Official, you can also plan dates; compare intimate desires; create daily check-ins; and save notes, memories, and upcoming events. The app is helpful and fun, and it can get sensual–which is a total must. My partner and I like to use the daily sentimental questions feature to see who can come up with better answers. In our friendly competition, I reluctantly admit he is beating me by a day or two.
Building playlists together is a great way to express your own feelings through other people’s poetry (because sometimes only an Ariana Grande song can capture your love) or to just vibe out, whether you’re together or apart. I adore using features on Spotify, such as group sessions or the ability to add collaborators for playlist editing or to listen to what my partner is playing. It’s a great way to feel close to your partner while commuting, working out, or relaxing at home. Having my other half in my earbuds is a fantastic experience, even if he does saturate our creations with a bit too much experimental indie pop. I have discovered there is a limit to how much Lana Del Rey I can handle on the way to my 9:30 am psychology lectures.
Go on Digital Dates
Dates and intimacy can be digital. Setting time aside for FaceTime or Skype dates while wining and dining (and whatever may follow, wink wink) over the phone is a great way to plan a date. I utilize the FaceTime screen-sharing tool to listen to music and watch TikToks together while still on the phone. Netflix Teleparties are also a blast, as you and your partner can watch a movie together and chat about the film through an easily installable widget extension. Darpinan, in an interview with movie therapy expert Kristen Meinzer, discusses how films can help us explore partnerships and release blocked emotions. As an artsy NYU student living near Washington Square Park, I recently watched Kid Cudi’s Greenwich Village-based artist love story Entergalactic on Teleparty with my boyfriend. We had a blast pointing out animated versions of landmarks I live near, rooting for the love interests, and fangirling over celebrity cameos.
Plan Everyday Activities Together
Planning activities together is a must, even if you are 3,000 miles away from your loved one. I like to compare schedules to know when my partner is available and find time to go to the gym, eat, or work simultaneously. I especially like to go shopping at the same time. Growing up in the 2010s as a loyal follower of the clothing-haul era on YouTube, I very much appreciate a post-outing unboxing and fashion show/modeling moment over video chat.
I adore my long-distance relationship. It has taught me to trust, establish healthy boundaries, communicate effectively, and be independent. Digitally dating my bicoastal bae has been an unexpected gift, and I would not trade the experiences we share, whether together or across the country, for anything. Love in the 21st century is more accessible than ever before.