Being in a long-distance relationship can be as fulfilling as it is occasionally infuriating. Going months without an in-person visit with your loved one can feel like a deal-breaker, and scheduling Skype dates weeks in advance doesn’t always feel super romantic. But in the age of omnipresent internet connectivity, living apart from your partner doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t go on dates with them. Thanks to the ubiquity of video chat programs, including FaceTime, Skype, and Google + hangouts, staying in close touch has never been easier. And getting creative with your long-distance dates can produce some truly intimate – not to mention original – shared experiences. So in the interest of inspiration, we’ve rounded up 5 great dates you can do from a distance.
- Romantic Takeout Dinner
Who says you can’t have a romantic dinner with your loved one from 3,000 miles away? All you need is an internet connection and a few bucks, and you’re halfway to a super-cozy dinner date.
The key to magic of this date is not spending a lot of money; it’s all about getting the setup just right. Remember: unlike in a restaurant, you control the environment that is your dining room table. So make it – and yourself! – look nice. Pick up some tea lights and flowers. Consider some light music. When date time rolls around, pour yourself a glass of wine, gussy yourself up, and “meet” your bf/gf on video chat, where the two of you can peruse Seamless together, make awkward small talk, take forever deciding on your respective takeout orders, and generally enjoy the dating lifestyle. Dating in person is hard, too,
Thanks to the current state of technology, movie night no longer requires a $15 ticket and a trip to the mall. These days, you and your loved one can watch the same movie, at the same time, from the comfort of your respective couches — all while
signed into video chat. Sure, you won’t have access to the newest releases, but you will be able to avoid rowdy teenagers, outrageous snack prices, and long bathroom lines. Plus, you get to pick how much butter to put in your popcorn. Sometimes old standards are better than the latest action flicks, anyway: Netflix livestreaming has a robust selection of the classics, foreign films, rom-coms and television shows (binge-watching “Orange is the New Black” would be a great excuse for a 13-hour marathon date, for instance), and iTunes offers a whole cache of indie rentals that are released online simultaneously to their theatrical debuts. Amazon Prime, like Netflix, offers thousands of livestreaming TV and movie options as well. Not in the mood for a real movie? Peruse YouTube together and share your favorite videos of dancing babies, Roomba cats, and Justin Bieber lookalikes.
So settle in with a blanket and a snack, and feel free to chat as much or as little as you want throughout your selection. For a homemade movie treat, try whipping up Real Simple’s Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn, Bon Appetit’s Salty Chocolate Chunk cookies, or, if you’re feeling a little more ambitious, Martha Stewart Living’s delicious Movie Theater Bark.
When you’re in a long-distance relationship, it can be easier to focus on the heavy stuff (ie “relationship issues”) than it is to dwell on the playful, day-to-day business of being a couple. One way to have a little fun is a light and breezy game of 20 questions, wherein you and your partner each write out a list of 20 things you don’t know about the other and then take turns asking them in a phone or video calls. Couple has a great “List” function that would be perfect for this, but you could also collaborate on your questions over Google Docs or email. It’s a great way to learn the little things about each other — first pets, favorite books, most embarrassing moments – while changing up the routine phone call format. Word to the wise: Don’t try to sneak in serious questions that deserve their own, separate conversations. Your significant other might feel trapped, and the game will suddenly be way less fun.
It’s a rainy Friday night, and you and your lover are both curled up at home, ready for some quality time and a cozy, low-key evening in. How about Scrabble? Monopoly? Risk? Sure, you may live on different continents, but no distance will prevent you from ginning up a good, old-fashioned competitive game night rivalry. You can play pretty much any board game online now – not to mention the thousands of games that exist only on the internet or mobile devices. Try the ever-addictive Dots from Betaworks, Words With Friends, or play a few games of Hangman and Tic Tac Toe on Couple’s “Live Sketch” function. You can also settle into Thumbkiss for a rousing game of “Capture the Thumb” or “Thumbwar.” Feel free to keep the video chat screen open to keep the “dialogue” (read: ruthless smack-talk) flowing.
Book clubs can be great places to gossip with friends and go wild on a lavish cheese plate. But they can also facilitate some particularly smart, interesting, and unusual conversations. If you find yourself struggling to come up with new things to talk about in marathon phone calls with your long-distance partner, why not start a little book club? The two of you can pick something you’ve both been wanting to read – be it a novel, a memoir, hell, it could even be a magazine article – and set a date to discuss. Believe us, you’ll find yourselves talking about far more than the source material.
There are some great devices that make sharing books easy and fun. At Amazon, you can lend a Kindle book to another reader for up to 14 days, and the Nook allows some sharing as well. Pocket has a great in-app share feature if your selected material is a magazine article or other internet-centric publication. Finally, if you’re reading a classic that’s in the public domain — Women in Love, anyone? — Project Gutenberg and Google Books offer great digitized editions.
Do you have additional suggestions for long-distance dates? Share them in the comments!