Ah, long-distance: all of the fighting and none of the physical intimacy of a normal relationship. It’s a struggle, for sure, but the person on the other end of that blurry FaceTime can make it more than worth it. I like to consider myself a long distance pro – I was in a fairly serious relationship for four years, three of which were long distance (ex-boyfriend if you are reading this, I promise I will not be roasting you). That’s six birthdays, three anniversaries and three Valentine's Days spent apart that made things not so easy. But I like to think that over those three years, I learned how to be an attentive, caring girlfriend even from miles away. And so, I present to you, in the midst of my break-up mourning period, my own personal long-distance Valentine’s Day guide. Enjoy my tips, I’ll be sitting in bed with a tub of ice cream!
An early (or belated) Valentine’s Day
It’d obviously be ideal for you to spend Valentine’s Day with your significant other. And if you can, definitely go for it! But if it’s in the middle of the week or there’s just no way around it, fear not – the ~spirit~ of Valentine’s Day lives on. As far as I know, there’s no rule that Valentine’s Day must exclusively be celebrated on Feb. 14. So make it work for you! Try to plan a visit for February in general and celebrate Valentine’s Day then. This can make it even more special – sure, everyone has Feb. 14, but only you two have Feb. 2.
PDA: Long-distance style
Long-distance relationships seem to have their own special twist on public displays of affection. You might not be able to hold hands with your partner or make everyone around you uncomfortable with your non-stop snuggles, but you can remind the world just how much you love your relationship thanks to social media! Valentine’s Day lends itself to some great Instagram captions (See my own: “don’t need valentine’s day to know how lucky i am :)”). Gross, I know, but if you can’t actually kiss your partner for all to see, seven kissy-face emojis can be a less satisfying but adequate substitution.
The “thinking of you” delivery
Good news for long-distance couples: you can send just about anything over the internet. No joke, over my three years of long-distance, my boyfriend and I have sent each other cookies, flowers, cupcakes, a potato with a picture of us on it and a tee shirt from one of our favorite TV shows – just to name a few. You can even send brownies with pictures of you guys on them (though be careful, my friend once tried to send these to her boyfriend, and he ended up with a batch of brownies with an elderly couple and “Happy 50th Anniversary!” on them). Whatever you choose, you can really personalize the gift with a note, letting your loved one know they’re on your mind. And while a surprise gift might be best of all, in my experience, knowing the gift is coming is just as heartwarming.
A romantic (FaceTime) date
Let’s be real. If you’re in a long-distance relationship, chances are you spend the majority of your time together on Facetime. But that’s totally ok! It’s truly a life-saver for the long-distance couple, making the distance seem not so long. It’s Valentine’s Day, so we might as well celebrate the incredibly cheesy, and I can think of nothing cheesier than a FaceTime date – something I will sheepishly admit to having done on several occasions.
The one time I tried to surprise my long-distance boyfriend by showing up on his birthday, I got so nervous I spilled the surprise to him the night before – after which he told me that he had already been informed by several of his friends that I was coming. And I absolutely hate surprises, so he knew better than to surprise me. But, for the couples that can handle a surprise, it’s always an adorable idea. Nothing like a good surprised-your-significant-other video on Facebook to guarantee hundreds of likes. Just make sure to coordinate with a friend on the other end so that you’re not completely stranded and lost when you get there.
Reject Valentine’s Day altogether
Who needs Valentine’s Day anyway? You’re unconventional, you do long-distance, so why start listening to the norms now? Valentine’s Day is, by no means, a necessary holiday to partake in. I’ve gone back and forth on whether I actually like Valentine’s Day over the years, but I’ve come to realize it’s totally personal preference – who cares if you don’t celebrate?
Long-distance sucks, it’s no secret. But, hopefully that doesn’t mean your Valentine’s Day plans have to suck too. Hey, a custom potato, a sexy Facetime date, or even just a simple 'I miss you' text could lead the way to romance.